Advantages Compact, Excellent sound, attractive and slimline, versatile, multifunction remote
Disadvantages Only SCART connectors for inputs, Adaptor needed for non-scart stuff
When looking for a decent AV amp to complement my DVD player, I couldn't believe how bloody enormous most of them are. I have enough HiFi gear on the rack without making it look like the flight deck of the Starship Enterprise.I eventually managed to fight my way through the tortuous one-way system in Watford (I must be MAD) to RICHER SOUNDS in St Albans Road. (they have a car park at the back).
After looking at the Yamaha and Marantz offerings I decided that a 2001 monolith lookalike would go down like a lead balloon, and then I saw the Pioneer....They had VSX-C301 hooked up in the demo-room and despite the traffic and shop noise, the sound was powerful and clear without being strained and distorted. It is clear that it is generously rated for higher volumes (with the appropriate speakers).
It is compatible with Dolby Prologic-2, DTS, Stereo and has a variety of sound modes to tailor it to your room.
The set-up menu is reasonably easy to use, but I do recommend RTFM (Read The F***laming Manual).
The back sports LOADS of connections (apart from no HiFi phono ones that is). There are FOUR SCART connectors 2x input only for DVD and STB (Set Top Box), with the remaining two being Input/Output Video and DVR/TV the latter allowing you to daisy-chain a Digital Recorder (DVD recorder) with the TV. Output on the Video is composite, on the DVR is Composite/S-Video/RGB. This is a very versatile little unit.Other connections are for the 5 surround speakers that are powered by the amp. There is also a subwoofer outlet for a POWERED Subwoofer. This Amp is NOT designed for passive subwoofers. I don't use a sub as the sound to me is overblown.
Remaining connections are:- 75 Ohm FM antenna, AM antenna loop, AC mains input, DVD coax socket, DVD optical socket and a DVR/TV optical socket. I told you it was versatile. There is also a "control socket" to allow linking several Pioneer units to share controls. To be honest I don't use this facility despite also having a Pioneer DVD player.**** IMPORTANT ****** On some DVDs you may find that the voices sem to have disappeared. DON'T PANIC, I solved this by connecting the DVD player to the Amplifier with an additional Coax lead (It is actually a single phono to phono plug lead. Thought I'd let you know as this drove me NUTS as it only occurred on a couple of DVDs, one of them being the SciFi film THX1138..
The remaining feature visible on the back is a COOLING FAN, so DON'T OBSTRUCT IT. before you worry, the fan is VERY quiet in normal use and although I have run up the volume on several occasions, the fan is inaudible (certainly over the film/music)
Considering its power output of 50W RMS (5x channels) per channel in surround mode (8 Ohm and 75 WRMS into the more standard 6 Ohm), the Pioneer is extremely compact, measuring 420mm (W) x 70mm (H) x 383mm (D).
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