Sound, one of the most valuable treasures we have as human beings. The availability to make sound, listen to it and let the beat drop is a good often taken for granted. Below the review of the A/V-receiver Pioneer VSX-524.
|5.1 Dolby Surround Sound||Can be hard to set up|
|Four HDMI ports||USB play only available on i-Devices|
|4K Pass-through||Missing bluetooth|
|3D compatibility||AM/FM range|
The VSX-524 is a lower end surround sound system with surprising features. The surround system at this point will not cost you more than 280 bucks and that is good money for what you get in return. First of all let’s start with some features you will receive with this system. You will get a 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound with 105 watts per channel, HDMI Audio Return Channel or ARC, 3D ready and Ultra HD Pass-through. For a lower end surround, this is as good as it gets.
Look and feel
The look and feel of the VSX-524 is not as the price would suggest. The system comes in a beautiful matte black front with two big knobs on the left and right. The left knob is to adjust the frequency of the radio and the right knob is to manually adjust the sound level. The display of the VSX-524 is relatively large with a good visibility. The VSX-524 gives you the old school look with a new school feel. The remote control, unfortunately, is not easy to handle. If you are not used to setting up a surround system, then you might run into some hiccups along the way setting up this VSX-524.
Features and use
As stated in the specs, the audio receiver does come with a remarkable set of features for its price. First of all the 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound. We all know a Dolby certified sound system should give you the best sound available. Well, with this set it certainly gives you a proper sound. Given this is a short review, I will not go into any details but all and all, the sound of this thing for the price? Great! In comparison with a Yamaha? No complaints there. The Pioneer and Yamaha on these price levels give practically the same sound output. The sound can be transferred by your TV using the HDMI ARC or the optical input. Both will give you around the same sound, but the optical is a much smaller and slimmer cable. Of course if you are connecting all your devices to your surround system, the HDMI ARC is the best option. The receiver has four HDMI ports and one HDMI ARC port. Further there is the usual optical output, component and composite output. As far as connecting your 5.1 surround speakers on it, there are five inputs: front R, front L, center, surround R, surround L and the subwoofer input. There are even possibilities to set one speaker on a higher rate dB than the other ones. If you want to go insanely crazy you can set all speakers on a different dB level. Also, the bass and treble levels can be adjusted to your likings.
As far as 3D is concerned, TV companies are less and less interested in supporting this feature on new TVs. However, if you have a 3D TV this set will give you 3D ready. This set supports 3D until a given level. Full 3D like in movies and series is supported, but will not be as good as a Full 3D support. If you are a 3D fanatic and who watches 3D a lot, this set will not do it for you.
But what about my 4K TV? Can I watch Ultra HD content through this system? Yes you can. The system has 4K pass-through. 4K pass-through is a fancy for saying: “yes, it can display 4K content.”
AM/FM radio, for those who are still using this at home, is also available with this receiver. Delivered with it is an antenna which you can set up in your TV furniture and. The setup is as easy as plugging the wire into your receiver. That is where the hard part begins. I am living in a fairly big city but the range of the AM/FM radio is horrible. You have to point the antenna exactly at the right spot and not move at all, and then you will be able to listen to the radio without any problems. The radio needs some work and if you are a fan of radio, well, this might not be your best bet.
Another very handy feature is the availability to connect your smartphone to the USB-port at the front of the receiver and play music. Ahem… let me rephrase that. Another feature is the availability to connect your iPhone, iPod or iPad to the receiver and play music on it. Unfortunately Android is not supported. This is the biggest drawback of the Pioneer. On top of that, there is no bluetooth option in the Pioneer. So, to play music without using your TV or Chromecast with an Android device is not possible. To play your music easily you have to or put a Chromecast in your receiver or start your TV and open a radio or music channel.
All in all a great receiver for either the beginner or the expert of surround systems. For its price the receiver has a lot to offer, with a lot of features. For the price you will get a reliable, enhanced system. Of course a budget receiver also has its drawbacks. For starters bluetooth is almost a necessarity in these systems and USB only supports i-devices. To end on a positive note, the sound is great. Of course it depends on what kind of speakers you use, but overall, no complaints in that department. And be honest, that is what matters the most.