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Pioneer breaks out iPhone-friendly, multi-zone AV receivers

Darren Murph

No question, the little iPhone / iPod compatible bit is included just to stir up a buzz, but it's hard to say that the inclusion doesn't make Pioneer's latest line of AV receivers a touch more desirable than models past. Here at CES, the firm is delivering four new AVRs, all with "high resolution audio" and HDMI 1.3 repeaters. The higher-end VSX-919AH and VSX-1019AH models both feature Pioneer's proprietary Hybrid Amplifier Technology II (P.H.A.T.), Dolby TrueHD / DTS-HD decoding, 120-watts x 7, KURO Link and multi-zone pre-outs, while the latter unit steps it up with a Faroudja 1080p video scaler. Those with smaller budgets / appetites can opt for the 5.1-channel VSX-519V or VSX-819H (pictured above), which include 110-watts x 5, fewer ports and less awesome extras. The foursome will hit shelves in April for $200 to $500 depending on model; full rundown is after the break.

Gallery: Pioneer breaks out iPhone-friendly, multi-zone AV receivers | 4 Photos

At CES 2009, Pioneer's home entertainment group is introducing four new A/V receivers.

A/V Receivers

Pioneer's top A/V receivers are iPhone-certified providing a complete solution for digital audio playback.

The Pioneer-brand A/V receivers continue to bring digital media content into the living room with a complete IPod (including iPhone, iPod Nano and ITouch) solution for high-quality sound reproduction in the home. To ensure quality audio reproduction, the new models are outfitted with the company's industry-leading digital sound processing technologies that improve compressed and lower-quality music files to near CD performance.

Pioneer's Advanced Sound Retriever (ASR) technology provides quality surround sound playback of compressed audio files

Continuing to set a standard in state-of-the-art audio quality, the A/V receivers from Pioneer feature the following enhanced processing functionality:

• Advanced Sound Retriever (ASR) greatly enhances sound quality of iPhone, iPod and satellite radio devices by restoring critical data often removed from a compressed audio file. The result is a fuller, more dynamic listening experience when heard on a home speaker system. The VSX-919 and VSX-1019AH feature ASR-multi that restores multi-channel audio such as Dolby Digital or DTS 5.1 for DVDs and satellite television programming.
• Auto Level Control (ALC) equalizes volume levels found in digital audio tracks (i.e. MP3 and iPod ), input sources, and even television channels and commercials by restoring the gap in recorded and playback volume without diminishing quality to ensure the most natural sound performance from all content. The VSX-919 and VSX-1019AH feature multi-channel ALC to provide a consistent volume level between TV channels and commercials delivering multi-channel digital audio now standard in television content.

All models offer multi-zone operation for premium, customized audio entertainment throughout the home

Continuing to offer full home automation solutions, Pioneer incorporated a number of installation-friendly features for 2nd zone audio/video and even an independent on-screen display with Sirius and iPod album artwork (VSX-1019AH). Featuring sleek, black cosmetics trickled down from the Elite line, Pioneer's new A/V receivers bring high end to home theaters from the inside out.

When connected to a Pioneer Blu-ray Disc player, the A/V receivers enhance CD playback via PQLS, previously only available in Elite line

Pioneer's engineers developed unique settings in its A/V receivers to harmonize audio performance. Pioneer created jitter-free playback and dynamic sound quality for music CDs. When connected to a new Blu-ray Disc player via HDMI, Pioneer's A/V receivers (VSX-919AH & VSX-1019AH) utilize a proprietary Precision Quartz Locking System (PQLS) that synchronizes data between the Blu-ray Disc player and the receiver, providing listeners with the ultimate precision in CD playback.

Built for high-definition surround sound

The four new models bring high resolution audio to fulfill HD video entertainment. The VSX-919AH and VSX-1019AH models feature Pioneer's proprietary Hybrid Amplifier Technology II (P.H.A.T.) to ensure high quality, high power, multi-channel sound performance at greater efficiency levels. By maintaining minimal heat, the new receivers utilize a pure signal path with minimal internal and external disturbances. Additionally, Pioneer's top three models also deliver Dolby® TrueHD and DTS®-HD high resolution audio formats found on high definition Blu-Ray discs. Users can take advantage of Pioneer's room tuning capabilities for a truly customized experience for all audio listening. All four units offer full sound processing for Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, DTS, and DTS 96/24. The top three add Dolby Pro Logic IIx, DTS-ES, and DTS NEO:6. The top two models add Windows Media Audio 9 Professional™ for supreme audio playback of movies, home movies, portable music and more.

From entry-level to its top-of-the-line model Pioneer's four new A/V receivers now provide HDMI 1.3 repeaters that allow home theater fans to take advantage of the format capabilities including Deep Color, x.v. Color and Lip Sync.

Product Specs

Pioneer VSX-519V A/V Receiver
• 110 Watts x 5 @ 1 kHz
• HDMI Repeater (2 In / 1 out)
• Deep Color
• x.v. color
• Lip Sync
• Phase Control
• 2 channel Auto Level Control
• 2 channel Advanced Sound Retriever
• Front Mini Portable Input
• Component Video Inputs (2 in / 1 out)
• Audio Inputs (4 in / 1 out - includes Tuner)
• Audio/Video Inputs (3 in / 1 out)
• Digital Inputs (3 - 1 coax / 2opt)
• Blu-ray Disc Ready with 5.1 channel inputs including subwoofer pre-out
• Multi-Zone Audio Pre-Out
• New System Remote Control
• Date/Pricing: April 2009 / $200

Pioneer VSX-819H A/V Receiver
Step up features:
• 110 Watts x 5 @ 1 kHz
• HDMI Repeater (3 In / 1 out)
• Deep Color
• x.v. color
• Lip Sync
• Dolby True-HD / DTS-HD Master Audio
• Auto Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration (MCACC) with room EQ is a room tuning function that optimizes sound playback based on the size, shape and surface of a room. It equalizes each speaker with relation to its position in the room, to match the front speakers or to split room audio in two parts
• iPod Digital USB / USB Memory Audio / On-screen display – iPod digital (USB) front panel port that allows users to access and control their iPod via the packaged iPod cable. iPod Digital provides "plug and play" immediate enjoyment of iPod content; there is no need for a separate dock or iPod connecter cable from the manufacturer. Users can view a dedicated OSD with full song information
• Sirius Satellite Radio with on-screen display
• New Preset Remote Control
• Date/Pricing: April 2009 / $300

VSX-919AH A/V Receiver
Step up features:
• 120 Watts x 7
• P.H.A.T. II @ 1 kHz
• Full Color GUI / OSD
• 2 Channel Presicion Quartz Lock System (PQLS) – Syncs audio and video information (content) coming from a connected Pioneer Blu-ray Disc player to ensure HD content is decoded and played back accurately on a HDTV
• Multi-channel Auto Level Control
• Multi- channel Sound Retriever
• Neural THX / WMA-9 Pro
• Advanced MCACC is Pioneer's room calibration feature that delivers ensures studio quality sound for an array of room configurations. Evidence of Pioneer's relentless pursuit of multi-channel stereophonic precision, Advanced MCACC immediately optimizes acoustics in a room, making subtle adjustments to connected speakers and neutralizes the sound field of the primary listening area with meticulous fine-tuning.
• KURO Link – When a Pioneer A/V receiver is connected to a Pioneer KURO, users can control both devices utilizing just the television remote control. Volume, power, play and channels are just some of the options that can be controlled with the single remote.
• Analog to Analog Video Conversion – Up / Down
• Analog to HDMI Up-conversion
• PureCinema Video Processing – Improved technology ensures smooth, high quality playback of standard definition content when shown on a connected HDTV
• 3D Noise Reduction
• 3D Y/C Separation
• Audio Inputs (4 in / 1out - includes Tuner)
• Digital Inputs (3 - 1 coax / 2 opt)
• Multi-Zone A/V Pre-out: Allows 2 room audio enjoyment. For example, 5.1 surround sound in a living room while a CD is being output in another room. 2 zone environments can also enjoy Sirius & iPod sources.
• New Preset Remote Control
• Date/Pricing: April 2009 / $400

VSX-1019AH A/V Receiver
Step up features:
• HDMI Repeater (4 In / 1 out)
• Faroudja 1080p Video Scaler – converts analog video content to better match the resolution of a connected display for a high quality home theater viewing experience
• Digital Inputs (4 - 2 coax / 2opt)
• iPod 2nd Zone with OSD – access and control iPod content via multi-zone with full color jacket art graphics
• New Preset Glow Remote Control
• Date/Pricing: April 2009 / $500

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