Price: $330 in ~ A Glance: 3D-compatible • On-screen display, analog just • Compatible with iPod/iPhone and iPad using provided USB cable • Bluetooth compatible; requires adapterThis entry-level A/V receiver is a small investment the gets you right into the new 3D landscape. It"s an effective enough for a small to moderate-sized room, it provides crucial surround codecs for the latest movie soundtracks, and also it offers quick setup v Pioneer"s exclude, auto-calibration system. While it does market an onscreen display, offering it some points beyond even lower-priced AVRs, the doesn"t calculation the OSD via HDMI. Bluetooth compatibility and also a USB port gives some added functionality and also accommodation for wireless headphones and also portable media devices.FeaturesOn the challenge of it, the Pioneer VSX-821 has actually all the functions you could need, especially in one AVR selling for fine under $400. It delivers a respectable 110 watt to each of 5 channels and is 3D-ready. Uneven pricier AVRs, the VSX-821 doesn"t carry out a whole slew that surround codecs, but it certainly provides the most crucial ones, such as Dolby TrueHD and also DTS-HD understand Audio, i m sorry the unit instantly detects and decodes once your BD player is set to bitstream. It likewise provides DTS Neo:6 (though friend won"t check out it in the spec sheet), Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby agree Logic IIz. There are also nine DSP (digital signal processing) surround settings you deserve to use on stereotype sources, though I uncovered the surround delays to it is in too too much for my tastes.
The 4 HDMI inputs room passthrough only—the AVR does not perform any kind of deinterlacing, scaling, or other video processing. A USB port allows you connect Apple iPods, iPhones, and even iPads because that playback of save media such as songs and videos. A provided cable plugs into the AVR"s front-panel USB port, and also the other end attaches come the apple device"s traditional 32-pin jack. Separating off from the USB connector is a composite-video jack (RCA) that plugs into one that the AVR"s composite inputs. Friend can additionally connect one Android phone/tablet via USB, yet it only supports audio, no video.Using the optional AS-BT200 or AS-BT100 Bluetooth adapter, you can pair the VSX-821 through a selection of Bluetooth devices, such together headphones and portable media players. The main thing that holds this AVR ago is the analog-only onscreen display. I"ll provide more details in the Setup section.
ErgonomicsThe former fascia is plastic, yet the glossy ebony black offers a affluent and advanced look. When the unit is lighter 보다 more-expensive models, the chassis shows up to it is in reinforced in a method that various other lower-priced AVRs space not. It has actually a hard and substantial feel. The behind panel is laid out well and is much less cluttered than pricier AVRs with an ext features and channels.The front-panel screen is straightforward to read, and the buttons are easily identified. The remote won"t take long to learn, though some of the buttons are quite small, such together the small Setup button. Moreover, some buttons have double functions requiring the usage of a shift key. Over there is no backlight, therefore you"ll have actually to become adept at finding an essential functions such together inputs and also volume by feel in the dark. SetupFrom a physical standpoint, setup was far an ext pleasing v speaker binding posts on all channels, quite than a mix that binding posts and also spring terminals uncovered on less-expensive models. However, there constantly seems to it is in a huge BUT v these lower-end products.With the Pioneer VSX-821, it"s the OSD (onscreen display), i m sorry is not presented via HDMI, only the composite and component video clip outputs. This required an additional connection from the ingredient or composite calculation on the AVR come a equivalent input top top the TV; I offered a ingredient connection.As a result, the only means to view the onscreen setup menu, including auto-calibration, was to switch the TV input come component, then access the setup menu on the AVR. This felt favor a genuine throwback from an additional age, but I suppose it helps cut costs. If you"re favor me and also only have HDMI resource devices, friend don"t desire to be switching to a various TV input just to check out the AVR"s OSD.Pioneer"s exclude, MCACC (Multi-Channel ACoustic Calibration) auto-calibration mechanism is included into the VSX-821. I found it come be less complicated than other auto-calibration equipment I"ve used, mainly due to the fact that it only calibrates because that a solitary listening position. Audyssey, a well-know third-party auto-calibration system, is uncovered on several other manufacturers" AVRs, and it calibrates two to six positions, promising anyone in the room optimum sound. However, Pioneer believes you can only that s right calibrate the "sweet spot" for one position at a time. When this model only provides enough memory because that one calibration setting, higher-end Pioneer AVRs sell multiple memory settings for different positions in the room. Because that instance, you can have two different setups for sitting squarely in front of the video display or float in a recliner off to the side of the room. Each setting insures you acquire the best possible surround field wherever you sit, but it is not expanded out to include an entire group of people by calibrating because that multiple points. MCACC does have actually one thing in usual with other auto-calibration systems—it renders setup lot faster and also generally much more accurate 보다 a hand-operated adjustment. The said, if you want to tweak the automatic adjustment, over there are manual settings because that speaker size, level, distance, and also subwoofer crossover frequency. I doubt that once the setting is locked into memory, most folks won"t desire to make any type of further adjustments. Because that auto calibration, connect the offered mic come the front-panel jack and also follow the onscreen prompts. It"s nice to check out this user-friendly feature make its method down to entry-level AVRs.
In enhancement to the 5 pairs of speak binding posts for the main system, over there two an ext pairs for speaker in an additional room or perhaps for a separate pair of speakers in the same room because that listening come 2-channel music. However, the AVR can play only one collection of speaker at a time, either the 5.1 mechanism or the stereo "B" pair.PerformanceThe VSX-821"s all at once audio performance was more than acceptable, and also it handled relatively high volume level well. There were some absent sonic nuances the are current with my mid-priced Onkyo TX-NR609 AVR, such as higher depth, raised dynamic range, and also a more delicate sonic signature. The said, ns don"t think anyone is expecting audiophile performance at this price point, and also the Pioneer VSX-821 is a heavy performer. While it didn"t exhibition a preponderance that bass, I uncovered the all at once sonic signature come be slightly heavier and darker than the Onkyo. I wanted the Stream direct mode because it plays the same variety of channels together the tool sends. If it"s stereo, I get stereo; if it"s a Blu-ray soundtrack, the AVR will provide the proper discrete soundtrack without any extr processing.The had USB cable lets you affix an apologize iDevice, however the video signal is break-up off to a composite connector, which substantially compromises video clip quality. This doesn"t make much distinction with SD content, yet HD photos are serious downgraded.If you don"t have a house network, this cable is the only way to display screen content indigenous an iDevice. However, if you have a home network or setup to set one up, you might want to take into consideration the $99 apple TV. V the recent iOS5 and also Apple"s Airplay feature, you have the right to wirelessly attach your iDevices come your video clip display come stream particular content or mirror the screen of your iDevice. Streaming matches the content"s resolution, so friend won"t it is in downconverting any HD content. The unit"s analog-only OSD is the key reason i didn"t offer it a optimal Picks designation. Still, if this AVR fits your needs and also budget in all other respects, it"s a fine product for the money.

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I simply think that v a slightly higher budget, there are commodities representing an even greater value, consisting of other Pioneer AVRs.