Pioneer VSX-920-K review

Packed with unusual features plus all the ones we’d expect, but sound quality is a little disappointing

16 Aug 2010
Pioneer VSX-920-K
Our Rating 
3/5
Price when reviewed 
500
inc VAT

The VSX-920-K is a fairly expensive AV receiver and it's one the most sophisticated we've seen. There are nine 140W speaker outputs, giving 7.1 surround plus stereo in another room. All video sources can be fed to the HDMI output, which simplifies cabling when using analogue devices. There’s an Ethernet port to feed the internet radio function, plus a port for an optional Bluetooth audio receiver.

The front panel houses analogue AV inputs plus a USB port that can read MP3s and WAV files (but not AACs) from mass storage devices. The remote control and front panel display make light work of browsing folders on the disk. A cable is included to connect an iPod or iPhone to this USB port, with an integrated composite cable for video playback from the player.

Track selection is either via the receiver’s or the player’s controls. A dock would have been tidier than a cable, though. There are seven phono inputs, but we’d settle for fewer if it allowed for an additional, front-mounted HDMI port. There’s only one coaxial S/P-DIF input but that’s still one more than most people will need.

Pioneer VSX-920-K

Sadly, the VSX-920-K’s sophistication comes at the expense of ease of use. The remote is overpopulated with buttons, many of which have multiple labels. There’s a large dial on the front panel to switch input sources, but it’s not as convenient as individual buttons. Setting up to send different sources to the two zones was convoluted.

Sound quality of the amplifier stood up well in isolation but comparisons with the Onkyo SR608 and SR308 revealed slightly harsh high frequencies and less of a sense of space in stereo music tests. Blu-ray soundtracks fared better, with a detailed surround soundstage and plenty of oomph.

This AV receiver is well equipped for modern listening habits with its internet radio, USB, Bluetooth and iPod support. However, at this price it’s frustrating to have to accept a comprise in sound quality, however small.

Details

Price £500
Rating ***

Connections

HDMI inputs 4
HDMI outputs 1
Component inputs 2
Component outputs 1
Output resolutions PAL (576i), 720p, 1080i, 1080p
Total SCART sockets 0
SCART socket type N/A
S-Video input 0
S-video output 0
Composite inputs 5
Composite outputs 2
Stereo phono inputs 7
Stereo phono outputs 3
Coaxial S/PDIF inputs 1
Coaxial S/PDIF outputs 0
Optical S/PDIF inputs 2
Optical S/PDIF outputs 0
Multi-channel input no
Headphone output 1/4in
Speaker configuration 7.1
Main unit end speaker connection type spring terminals and binding posts
Speaker end speaker connection type N/A
Other connections subwoofer line out, calibration mic input, wired remote, USB, Adapter Port
Wired network ports 10/100
Wireless networking support none

Playback

Surround sound formats Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-HD HRA, DTS-HD MA
Optical drive no
Region free N/A
Supported playback disc formats N/A
Audio format support N/A
Video playback formats N/A
Image viewing formats N/A
Radio FM, AM

Speakers

Speaker configuration 7.1
RMS power output 1260W
RMS power centre 140W
RMS power front 280W
RMS power surround 560W
RMS power subwoofer 0W
Wall mountable no
Centre speaker cable length N/A
Front speaker cable length N/A
Surround speaker cable length N/A

General

Extras remote control, calibration mic, FM antenna, AM antenna
Size 420x379x158mmmm
Subwoofer dimensions N/A
Centre speaker dimensions N/A
Front speaker dimensions N/A
Surround speaker dimensions N/A
Power consumption standby 0W
Power consumption on 51W

Buying Information

Price £500
Warranty one-year RTB
Supplier http://www.forumhifivisual.co.uk
Details www.pioneer.co.uk