Pioneer’s New 9.2-Ch AVR Targets Cinephiles, Gamers

Pioneer has pulled the wraps off a mid-priced AV receiver that targets cinephiles and gamers with the lure of an “ultimate” surround sound experience.

Onboard 11.2-channel processing for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X makes it possible for the new 9.2-channel Elite VSX-LX503 ($999) to accommodate 7.2.4-channel speaker layouts with the addition of an external amplifier or 7.2.2 using only its onboard power; the receiver is also equipped with Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X upmixing for remapping legacy movie and game soundtracks to enhance immersion with any speaker layout.

The LXC-503 boasts an 8-ohm FTC power rating of 120 watts per channel and draws on Pioneer’s Direct Energy amplification to enable “high power output to all speakers simultaneously” and is one of the first AV receivers to carry “Works With Sonos” certification to ensure seamless integration with Sonos products; the feature is enabled via a firmware update.

Multiroom audio abounds with support for up to three zones, including one with a 5.2-channel main-room setup. On the video side, the receiver is ready to handle three high dynamic range coding formats: HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision.

Connectivity options include seven HDMI ports, all of which support 4K (60p/4:4:4/24-bit), wide color gamut (BT.2020), and HDCP 2.2.

Pioneer is quick to point out that the Elite moniker further implies audiophile treatments such as the use of shortened signal paths, “clean grounds,” and surround, center, and height channels that receive the same treatment as the main front left/right channels. Pioneer said the LX503’s quad-core 32-bit chip works with Aureus floating-point DSP to facilitate clean sound plus “seamless top-to-bottom, side-to-side, and front-to-back [surround] coverage.”

Audio performance is further bolstered with 192 kHz/24-bit hi-res audio capability with support for DSD at 11.2 MHz and 5.6 MHz/2.8 MHz plus Pioneer’s proprietary MCACC (Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration System), which automatically compensates for differences in speaker size, level, and distance, and equalizes frequency response for optimal clarity.

In addition to supporting Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, the receiver provides quick access to the music streaming services Amazon Music, Pandora, Tidal, TuneIn, Spotify, and Deezer.

Other features include:
• Compatibility with the DTS Play-Fi and FlareConnect wireless multiroom platforms
• Chromecast streaming from compatible apps
• System control via Pioneer’s Music Control App
• Phase Control technology to improve overall cohesiveness and clarity
• Reflex Optimizer to compensate for the shift in phase that occurs with Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers, which use top-firing drivers to reflect sound off the ceiling

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drny's picture

On paper this Pioneer seems to be a great bargain considering all the bells and whistle.
Now Al, place a request for a loaner to review and let's see what's what.