Pioneer VSX922 AV receiver

Posted by Ub3rG33k on Jul 25, 2013 in Tech |



As mentioned in the Pioneer S-21W Subwoofer post, I’ve now picked up my new AV Amplifier, to replace my rather ill Onkyo SR606. I’m still quite surprised how technology has moved on in the last couple of years. In 2010 when I bought my Onkyo amp, I remember finding it quite difficult to find one with TrueHD for an affordable price, now it seems like you can pick one up for around the £200 mark. As I didn’t want to spend a lot, (as I’m pretty sure the 4K TV’s will start to come down in price over the next couple of year, and no doubt I’ll be upgrading again then) I decided to go with a low end amp until the inevitable future upgrade.

So, had a little butchers around the Richer Sounds website, found an amp with TrueHD, 7.2, six HDMI inputs, tick, tick tick, and decided….this will tide me over nicely. Once ordered I started to look into the specs a little more, realised this also had a lan port on the back….interesting I thought and continued reading. It seems for £239, I’ve bought an amp, by a decent company, that not only mirrors the functionality of my existing amp, but also adds all the sexy network features like Apples AirPlay, DLNA certification, HTC streaming play, and Internet Radio!. As previously mentioned, it’s only been three years since I was last in the market for an amp, and something with this functionality would have surely been over a thousand pound back then.

One additional feature I’ve utilised is the option to have ‘Front High’ speakers. Essentially this is an additional two speaker ports that allow you to have your 7.2 setup, and add an additional two speakers that simply hang from the room (or close to), which adds an additional dimension to the front speakers. Luckily for me, when the Subwoofer was delivered, it also came with the S11 surround speaker pack, giving me the additional speakers I needed.

So, onto the functionality, like with most AV amps, you plug in a number of source devices, and the amp will do what’s needed, and display the goods on your TV, and output the audio through the amp. I have to say, the amp is very easy to use, and very easy to set up. I spent a little while plugging in my front high speakers, added the sub, plugged in the mic and used the Full Auto MCACC to set up the speakers and boom! Done!. I know I’ll spend the next week or so tweaking, but for an initial set up, it sounds pretty good, and easily on par with the 606.

Once again, did my normal tests, Black Hawk Down, the Pod Race from Phantom Menace, and played a little Crysis on the Xbox 360…this thing sounds good!. It’s amazing how much different in the sound dynamics the two front high speakers make. I don’t know if my ears were playing tricks on my, but there was a scene in Black Hawk Down where a helicopter was above you, and I swear there was a gunship hovering above my house!

I then turned my attention to Airplay, as anybody who knows me knows I’m an Apple fan boy. Checked the settings, renamed to Network Friendly name the Amp to something more personal, checked the airplay devices on my phone and sure enough, there is was. I switched on the Network standby mode on the amp and switched it off. Sure enough, as soon as it recieved the Airplay signal, it sprung into like displaying the IDtag of the song I was playing…very shiny. As a further test, I fired up Spotify on my phone, send the audio via Airplay, and sure enough the IDtag was shown on the song. One thing I do need to be concious about is, turning the volume up and down on the phone, is direct control of the amp volume, which I accidentally turned up to +12db….which as you can imagine was rather loud 🙂

One thing I really liked about this amp is the Auto Surround function. Dependent on the audio source, it will switch to accommodate, however by default it’s stereo. This means that when I play music through it, it’s simply coming out in stereo, fully utilising the front two speaker, and just them, which sounding great. I found with other amps that they’ll trying and be smart and change it to Pro Logic II Music and process the sound through all the speakers. If that however floats your boat, you can switch this feature on, but I found it sounded a lot purer set to stereo.

The one little niggle I’ve found with it so far is the DVD ports on the back. It seems the DVD input is HDMI or Component or S-Video, and same with the audio, it’s HDMI, Optical or Stereo. This may be how most amps work, but with having the Wii plugged in via the component ports, it’s essentially rendered one of the HDMI ports inactive. I was able to share the input on the Onkyo with multiple devices, and simply switch between them. Maybe I simply need to read the manual, or buy a Wii to HDMI converter, or upgrade to a WiiU.

Final thing I played with before I called it a night was the iPad app iControlAV2012. The app talks to the amp via the network and allows you to get detailed information for the speaker setup and the ability to control many aspects of the amp. One feature I found very useful was the ability to rename the inputs using the app. There seems a lot to look at, and I’m sure I’ll spend the next week or so ‘playing’ with the app and amp, as based on the manual, there are a LOT of settings to play with!

All in all, a cracking sounding, fully featured amp for a budget price.

Unboxing pictures below, as well as a few screens from the iPad app.

Pioneer-VSX-922-K Pioneer-VSX-922-K Pioneer-VSX-922-K Pioneer-VSX-922-K Pioneer-VSX-922-K Pioneer-VSX-922-K Pioneer iControlAV2012 App Pioneer iControlAV2012 App






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