Home theater receiver manufacturers are normally active in making new announcements during the first quarter of the year. This 2013 is no different as Pioneer announced 2 new mid priced models in the Elite series, namely the Pioneer VSX-43 and VSX-70.
The Pioneer Elite VSX-70 comes with several new features, 7.1 channels of high power amplification with high quality engineering and performance that befits the reputation of the long running Elite series.
The VSX-70 is designed a little bit differently than the existing Pioneer Elite SC models. It does not have a flip down panel where all the buttons and connection ports are located. Instead, the Pioneer VSX-70 features a similar design to the other VSX models in Pioneer’s standard AV receiver lineup. But since the VSX-70 is an Elite model, you can see the same Elite logo below the info display as well as various other golden elements such as the Pioneer logo and the onscreen text.
The front panel pretty much resembles a typical high-end VSX model with no composite ports on the front. The USB and HDMI ports on the front are sufficient for most modern devices nowadays. The phones jack and mic jack are on the opposite end of the front panel.
The Pioneer VSX-70 lacks the Class D3 amplification that is present in all other SC Pioneer Elite models but you can still expect great audio performance from fairly large setups. Since this is a 7.2-channel receiver, you have plenty of options available. You can opt for the full 7.1 surround sound speaker setup or come up with a 5.1-channel setup in the main room and another 2.1-channel setup in another room. There is a second HDMI output called HDZONE so you can extend another video source to another display in addition to adding a second audio source. Multi-zone support is even better with the VSX-70 than other VSX models thanks to the custom installation support. Several third-party control devices are supported so you can build a nice custom home entertainment center. There is an RS-232 bus connection on the back and it supports full IP commands.
More people are using their smartphones and tablets for home computing so it is only proper for new AV receivers to better support them. A new addition to the Pioneer VSX-70 is MHL compatibility for the front HDMI port. This allows the newest smartphones and tablets to connect directly to the receiver using a micro USB to HDMI MHL adapter. This not only outputs HD resolution from the smartphone or tablet screen but it also charges the device. The specification is MHL 2.0 too so you can also send 3D content while enjoying faster charging speeds and 1080p 60Hz support. Take note that the rear HDMI ports don’t have the MHL specification but they are all 3D ready and support 4K Ultra HD. The VSX-70 can also upscale content to 4K so all of the existing content you have can look better on large 4K displays with the help of the Pioneer VSX-70.
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The USB port on the front has also been updated to support Apple’s very latest iPhone, iPod and iPad devices. All the newest generation Apple products use a Lightning cable and the VSX-70 fully supports the new standard. Gone are the days of requiring a dock since the Pioneer VSX-70 can charge the device as well.
But the networking features are what make the VSX-70 a very nice hub for mobile devices. With AirPlay, new and some old iOS devices can stream music wirelessly to the receiver. Android devices lack this wireless technology but HTC features something similar called HTC Connect. This means that if you have a new device like the highly-acclaimed HTC One, you can stream music to the AV receiver without sacrificing audio quality.
Pioneer released a new version of its mobile app and it works exclusively for high-end VSX and Elite models including the Pioneer VSX-70. Called iControlAV2013, this new app also turns your iOS or Android device into a full remote control but it is has been redesigned to be more intuitive while providing more controls. You can also control the streamed music coming from other devices in the network.
Some of these features might sound complicated to non-enthusiasts but Pioneer wanted to make it easy for everyone by developing a software called AVNavigator. This program has been around for a while and it makes the setup process very easy. Combined with the full GUI, you can easily do things like use the Advanced Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration (MCACC) or setup a multi-zone environment. The full instruction manual is included too. This app is also available for the iPad.
All of this power comes with a very handy power-saving feature. Home theater receivers with a standby mode is nothing new but the VSX-70 features an advanced form called ECO mode which brings down the power consumption to just a tenth of a watt.
The Pioneer VSX-70 is a great example of the continuing trend of providing consumer quality core audio and video performance features combined with cutting-edge wired and wireless network connectivity and streaming options. It exudes quality and class at this price point with top notch video and audio performance to boot.