Upgrading your home theater system can be problematic if you are stuck on a very tight budget. Even if you want to add a certain feature such as network connectivity, you still have to decide which home theater component you wish to replace. For instance, upgrading either your HDTV or Blu-ray player can yield similar results but you have to spend money and find ways to sell your old model so you don’t lose too much money overall. It can be even worse if you want to upgrade the audio quality of your home theater system too. When it comes to cost-cutting, adding a component to the home theater system is much better than replacing a component. If your home theater system lacks an AV receiver, you have a great opportunity to give the home theater system an upgrade without worrying about the stress involved in selling an old model. The Pioneer VSX-1122-K is just one of the major contenders that hope to be a valuable home theater upgrade for $600.
In general, the external design of home theater receivers is pretty consistent across various brands. The VSX-1122-K has that generic look too with two knobs on the sides for adjusting volume and input source. But Pioneer’s choice of a brushed metal finish makes the Pioneer VSX-1122-K and other Pioneer home theater receivers stand out more. A brushed finish is actually a pretty common choice for AV receivers but isn’t really considered that much for AV receivers priced under $1,000.
In addition to the usual front panel buttons and info display, there is a small panel on the bottom portion of the AV receiver which you have to push so you can see the front panel inputs. These front inputs include a USB port, A/V inputs and an HDMI port so virtually all modern portable devices and flash drives can be plugged into the home theater system with ease. The back of the VSX-1122-K features 6 additional HDMI ports and HDMI out along with another USB port and Ethernet port.
Below is the back panel layout. Click on image to enlarge for a clearer view.
The Pioneer VSX-1122-K is a pretty good affordable choice if you need support for a 7.2-channel home theater system. It has an output wattage of 630 watts which is just about enough to support a second zone in case you want to output audio to another room with a basic stereo configuration. You can activate this kind of setup by using the Virtual Surround Back mode so the back surround speakers can be reserved for the second zone. If you do not need that kind of setup, you can use the available inputs for improving the quality of movies by using the Virtual Wide or Virtual Height modes. Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby Pro Logic IIz are all supported so Blu-ray movies can really make the most out of these formats.
In order to get the optimized experience, calibration is necessary and the VSX-1122-K makes it pretty easy to so with its Advanced Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration system or MCACC. It utilizes the microphone that comes with the AV receiver so it can gain important statistics regarding the speaker setup including the distance between each speaker and the listening point. All the technical configurations are then applied automatically so you can move on to enjoying content.
The Pioneer VSX-1122-K is also a good choice for improving the video experience of your home theater system. Like other recent Pioneer home theater receivers, every HDMI port has the 1.4a specification which boasts 3D support as well as Power Save HDMI Standby Through and Audio Return Channel. But if you still use some older components that cannot plug into any of the HDMI ports, the video quality would normally look bad on a large display. This isn’t the case with the VSX-1122-K and higher-end Pioneer AV receivers because the Pioneer VSX-1122-K has the Advanced Qdeo Video Processing technology which opens up the conversion from component and composite video to HDMI so these sources enjoy a single wire too. Videos can also be upscaled to 1080p while reducing noise and dramatically improving the overall look of the visuals.
If you are not satisfied with the networking features of your home theater system or lack thereof, the VSX-1122-K can fill in the missing functionality nicely. iPad, iPhone and/or iPod owners will benefit the most because the Pioneer VSX-1122-K supports Apple’s proprietary AirPlay streaming technology which makes it extremely simple for users to send audio and video to the AV receiver wirelessly. The VSX-1122-K does not have a built-in Wi-Fi component but the AV receiver can still act as a wireless hub if the wireless router is close enough for a typical Ethernet cable to connect the two components. If the wireless router is too far, you need to get the AS-WL300 wireless adapter for true wireless freedom. It is important to note that cheaper Pioneer AV receivers are not compatible with this adapter due to the lack of a rear USB port. For basic media players like the iPod Nano, it is still possible to connect the device to the front USB port for music playback as well as power charging. Other non-AirPlay devices can still wirelessly stream audio to the Pioneer VSX-1122-K via Bluetooth providing that the AS-BT200 Bluetooth adapter (sold separately) is present.
Android and iOS device owners can also download the iControlAV2012 app for free which turns the device’s touchscreen into an intuitive remote control exclusively for mid-range and high-end Pioneer AV receivers including the VSX-1122-K.
The Pioneer VSX-1122-K is simply an excellent all-around home theater receiver with plenty of tricks. The specifications are enough to really add a premium cinema experience to just about any ordinary home theater setup and the extra networking features really open up a lot of possibilities. Legacy support is also better than Pioneer’s low-end products. But perhaps the most surprising thing about the VSX-1122-K is its ease of use. Not only does this AV receiver feature a colorful GUI but it also uses AVNavigator which is basically an onscreen walkthrough that takes you through the process from speaker setup to calibration and all the way to firmware updating.
Discontinued by Manufacturer
Update: There is a newer model > Pioneer VSX-1131