After a series of setbacks, the new Pioneer range is finally available in stores. As a reminder, the brand suffered from the health crisis in 2020 which paralyzed the Asian factories, the fire at the end of 2020 of the AKM factory, supplier of the Pioneer Dacs, then the delay assumed by the brand to integrate the new HDMI 2.1 cards signed Nuvotron free of bugs (see our news item HDMI 2.1 bug in 2020 Home Cinema amplifiers, see you in spring 2021). Not to mention, in 2022, the lack of electronic components that affected all economic sectors. That's a thing of the past now…
Pioneer VSX-LX305, what's new
The Pioneer VSX-LX305 of course takes up most of the specifications of the Pioneer VSX-LX304 which appeared in 2019, modulo some welcome developments to integrate all the technological developments of the moment. Starting with six HDMI 2.1 inputs/two outputs (see our CES 21 news > Pioneer VSX-935, Pioneer VSX-LX305 and Pioneer VSX-LX505: 8K, HDMI 2.1 (40 Gbps)) compatible HFR 4K/120, 8K/ 60, VRR, ALLM, eARC, QMS (Quick Media Switching) and QFT (Quick Frame transport). Note that three HDMI inputs are 40 Gbps models and three have a bandwidth of 24 Gbps (9 Gbps only for the front one). Both outputs are 40 Gbps specimens. Similarly, an 8K Ultra HD upscaling of 4K UHD sources and another in 4K UHD of 1080p sources are included.
Still in terms of new features, there is the management of HDR10+, in addition to HDR10, HDR HLG and HDR Dolby Vision and the Works with Alexa and Works with Hey Google functions. Thus, it is possible to partially control the Pioneer VSX-LX305 by voice through an Amazon Echo or Google Home type speaker. Namely, again, the Alexa Multiroom Music function will be on the program via a later Firmware update. The list of upgrades also mentions the presence of a DAB+ tuner (40 presets).
And to be complete in terms of new features, we must also mention the Bluetooth transmitter functionality (see below) and the Dirac Live automatic calibration function.
For the rest, there are nine discrete channels with a power of 170 W/8 ohms and 185 W/6 ohms per channel (Class AB Direct Energy amplification), the Dolby Atmos 7.2.2 or 5.2.4 function, rich connectivity (see below in this news). Ditto for the Imax Enhanced certification, the automatic MCACC Advanced calibration (against the “simple” MCACC) allowing fine adjustment of the LFE channel supported by the Reflex Optimizer function to manage the Dolby Atmos speakers.
Network and multiroom lens
There is also Works with Sonos certification, a remote control with direct access to three custom audio presets, AirPlay 2 compatibility, and Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization and DTS Virtual:X functions.
There is built-in Dual Band 2.4 GHz/5 GHz Wi-Fi compatibility, UPnP (DLNA) audio gateway, Hi-Res Audio certification, access to Web radios (TuneIn) and many services audio streaming (Spotify, Deezer, Tidal…).
In addition to AirPlay 2, the Pioneer VSX-LX305 incorporates another wireless (or wired) network protocol, DTS Play-Fi. As a reminder, the latter also offers multiroom management. Several speakers or Play-Fi devices can coexist in the same household, communicate together, and all the functionalities of a multiroom configuration are available: streaming of the same music source on all Play-Fi products, or the possibility of streaming on each of them from a separate source.
We note this year the use of a 192 kHz/32 bit converter and the management of Wav/Flac, Alac, AIFF (192 kHz/24 bit) and DSD (2.8 MHz via HDMI or USB and 5 .6 MHz via Ethernet or USB).
Finally, in addition to the Wi-Fi function already mentioned, Bluetooth 4.2 APT-X HD compatibility is integrated, in reception but also in transmission. It is therefore possible to send a musical signal from the amplifier to a compatible peripheral (headphones, sound bar, etc.). The front USB port (iPhone/iPod/iPad certified) supports MP3, AAC and WMA formats for fast and easy listening via streaming. There is also Phase Control processing (active in multichannel) for perfect sound synchronization of all channels, an AM/FM RDS tuner (in addition to DAB+) and the Advanced Sound Retriever process to improve the sound quality of compressed stereo audio files .
Of course, in addition to enjoying Dolby Atmos, the Pioneer VSX-LX305 also has the DTS:X decoder.
In addition to the six HDMI 2.1 inputs already mentioned (three 40 Gbps and three 24 Gbps) plus one on the front (this is a split rear input), plus two outputs, all HDCP 2.3 certified and transparent 2160p/50, 2160p/60 signals up to 4:4:4 and BT.2020. Of course, these connectors are also Deep Color (36-bit) and xvYCC certified. The 3D Ready label is still there. Also present, an optical, a coaxial, five stereo RCA including a Phono, an Ethernet port and nine pairs of screw terminals. Plus two front and rear USB Host ports, an RS-232C socket, a front 3.5 mm mini-Jack auxiliary input and a headphone output. Also noteworthy, zone B stereo management (with dedicated Dac to take advantage of digital sources) via RCA (which can also be used as a Pre-Out 2.0 output) and a color OSD.
To come back to the nine pairs of terminal blocks, four of which can be used for a zone 2 and a zone 3, two others for a pair of Atmos speakers or to bi-amplify the fronts, plus two subwoofer outputs bass.
And to come back to the second HDMI output, this allows the same audio-video signal carried on the first to be sent to another room to power a video projector in addition to the TV, for example. If the Zone 2 HDMI parameter is activated, this is then completely independent of the first, in order to feed a secondary room with a different audio and video signal.
Immediate availability. Indicative price: 1,599 euros.
Reminder of the key characteristics of the Pioneer VSX-LX305:
• Model: 9.2
• Power: 9 x 185 W at 6 ohms
• Inputs: 3 HDMI 2.1 40 Gbps inputs, 3 HDMI 2.1 24 Gbps inputs, 1 optical, 1 coaxial, 4 RCA stereo, 1 Phono, 2 USB Host ports (front and rear), 1 Ethernet port, 1 front 3.5 mm mini-Jack auxiliary input, 1 RS input -232C
• Outputs: 2 HDMI outputs (with Zone 2 HDMI option to carry two independent audio-video signals on each of the HDMI outputs), 2 subwoofer outputs, 1 headphone output, 1 stereo RCA Pre-Out ( zone B/2), 1 zone 3, 9 pairs of screw terminals
• OSD functions
• UPnP (DLNA) audio gateway functions
• Dialog Enhancement functions
• ALLM functions
• VRR functions
• QFT functions
• QMS functions
• Ultra HD 4K/120 fps functions
• Ultra HD 8K/60 fps functions
• Flac HD compatibility
• AIFF compatibility
• Alac compatibility
• DSD 2.8/5.6 MHz compatibility
• Wav compatibility
• Audio Function Advanced Sound Retriever
• Audio DTS:X
• Audio Reflex Optimizer function
• Audio eARC function
• Audio Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer function
• Audio Dolby Atmos 7.2.2 /5.2.4
• Audio MCACC Advanced automatic calibration
• Audio 192 kHz/32-bit digital-to-analog converter
• Ultra HD/4K Pass‑Through video
• HDR10 video
• HLG HDR Video
• Dolby Vision HDR Video
• BT.2020 Compatibility Video
• Ultra HD Pass-Trought Feature Video
• 3D Ready Video
• Video HDR10+
• Video Upscaling Function Ultra HD/8K (24/25/30/60)
• Video Upscaling Function Ultra HD/4K (24/25/30/60/120)• Imax Enhanced certification
• Bluetooth 4.2 network
• Dual Band Wi-Fi network (2.4/5 GHz)
• AirPlay 2 network
• ChromeCast function network
• Network DTS Play-Fi certification
• Network Works with Sonos certification
• Bluetooth APT-X Qualcomm HD network
• Bluetooth TX network
• Bluetooth 4.2 APT-X network
• Multimedia Works with Hey Google
• Multimedia Works with Alexa
• Multimedia Amazon Multiroom Music
• Hi-Res Audio streaming via USB/network: Alac, AIFF, Flac and Wav up to 192 kHz/ 24 bits, DSD 2.8/5.6/11.2 MHz
• Web radio(s): Amazon Music, Spotify, TuneIn, Deezer, Tidal
• Tuner AM/ FM 40 presets
• Hi-Res Audio certification
• Direct Energy amplification
• Works with Sonos certification
• HDCP 2.3 certification
• DAB+ tuner
• Roon Ready
• HDCP 2.3 certification
• Headphone output: yes 6.35 mm jack
• Other(s): Dolby Atmos Upmixing function, DTS Neural Upmixing, active zone 2 with dedicated Dac, Android/iOS Pioneer Remote app
• Dimensions (W x H x D, mm): 536 x 265 x 458
• Consumption: 760 W (0.15 W in standby)
• Weight : 10.4 kg