Pioneer has announced a new flagship Elite 11.2.4 channel AV receiver, the VSX-LX805 ($2,999 / about £2,500 / AU$4,500). This is Pioneer’s first flagship model since the rights to its AV brand were acquired by the Premium Audio Company, a subsidiary of VOXX International that also has the Klipsch, Jamo and Integra brands under its umbrella, and it’s nothing but feature-packed .
Like all best AV receivers, the VSX-LX805 offers processing support for both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X and is also IMAX Enhanced certified. A firmware update scheduled for June adds Auro-3D processing, making the new Pioneer Elite model a full-featured option for immersive audio.
The VSX-LX805’s 11 Class-AB amplifier channels are rated at 150 watts each and can be used to power up to three zones. It has 15 RCA preamp outputs for future amp upgrades, along with stereo XLR input and output connections.
There are a total of seven HDMI 2.1 inputs and three HDMI outputs, one with eARC. Of these, inputs 1-6 support 8K pass-through, along with 4K 120Hz signals from PS5 And Xbox Series X game consoles, and there’s also support for VRR, ALLM, and Quick Media Transport (QMS), which allows the receiver to switch between video outputs at different frame rates, such as 24 fps and 60 fps, without interference.
Streaming also gets expanded support on Pioneer’s new receiver, with Chromecast, AirPlay 2, DTS Play-Fi, and Bluetooth aptX HD all accommodated. Chromecast and DTS Play-Fi offer high-resolution audio streaming, and DTS Play-Fi recently added gapless playback as a feature, so both will be a great way to listen to music on the VSX-LX805. Otherwise, it has built-in support for Tidal, Spotify and Amazon Music Unlimited, giving you direct access to those music streaming services when using Pioneer’s control app.
Dirac Live and Dirac Live bass control
One of the more interesting features of the VSX-LX805 is Dirac Live. This is an advanced form of room correction processing to optimize the sound of multi-channel speaker systems, and the built-in full-bandwidth version Pioneer offers allows you to correct for audio frequencies above 500 Hz, unlike the more limited bass-only version supported by some Products.
You can also upgrade the VSX-LX805 for Dirac Live Bass Control for systems with single or multiple subwoofers (the cost is $349 for a single sub and $399 for two subs).
In the company’s own words: “Dirac Live Bass Control uses all-pass filters, plus machine learning and artificial intelligence, to calculate gains, delays and all-pass filters for each subwoofer. In this way, the Dirac solution ensures that low frequencies are added, not only controlling the average, but most importantly minimizing seat-to-seat variation, as we can now achieve a level of control in multiple locations at the same time.”
Analysis: Pioneer AV receivers are back, and they’re back in style
When a major audio brand is acquired, the new version often becomes a pale shadow of its former self. There are countless examples of this to draw from over the decades, and some of us covering the AV space had pretty much given up on the Pioneer Elite, which had faded from view a few years ago.
But with the new Elite VSX-LX805 AV receiver, the brand is back and looking stronger than ever. Same as the recent one Launch of Sony AV receiver, Pioneer’s flagship is equipped with the latest connectivity options, with support for 8K and 4K 120Hz on multiple HDMI ports. This essentially future-proofs the VSX-LX805, and anyone who buys one now can rest easy knowing that the latest generation HDMI version is supported and that whatever video signals they pass through it will pass through without a hitch.
The streaming options of the VSX-LX805 are comprehensive and even surpass the new Sony AVR offering in that area. And thanks to its hefty power specs, it should be able to drive all sorts of speakers without breaking a sweat. Spatial audio support is equally impressive, with Auro-3D complementing the usual Dolby Atmos and DTS:X options.
But even with all those features, the built-in Dirac Live and the Dirac Live Bass Control option are the features that really trump the new Pioneer. Having used Dirac Live extensively in the past, I am aware of the dramatic improvements it can bring to the sound of speakers located in less than perfect rooms (meaning most rooms, in fact). And the Dirac Live MacOS or PC application also lets you fine-tune the correction curves to taste, going a step beyond the automatic room EQ processing built into many other receivers.
The Pioneer Elite VSX-LX805 will be available this spring.