Pioneer has two new 5 channel receivers ready to hit store shelves. The Pioneer VSX-532 and VSX-832 are very similar to what we’ve seen from other manufacturers this year, however both of these new amps have a couple surprising add-on’s. Let’s take a look at the not so surprising stuff first.

Pioneer VSX-532

Pioneer VSX-532

The Pioneer VSX-532 is a 5.1 channel AV receiver that’s capable of pushing 80 watts of power to 2 channels at 8 ohms. As far as connectivity, the 532 has 4 HDMI inputs and 1 output. The HDMIs support Ultra HD (4K/60p/4:4:4) and HDR (High Dynamic Range) pass-through with HDCP 2.2. The Pioneer VSX-532 isn’t a network enabled amp, so you can’t get it on your network. However, it does offer wireless music streaming thanks to built-in Bluetooth.

 

Pioneer VSX-832

Pioneer VSX-832

The Pioneer VSX-832 is also a 5 channel receiver, and has approximately the same power output as the 532 with 80 watts (2 channels driven at 8 ohms). It also comes with 4 HDMI inputs which support Ultra HD (4K/60p/4:4:4) with HDR (Dolby Vision and HDR10), BT.2020 and HDCP 2.2.

 

The VSX-832 has built-in Bluetooth, but unlike the 532 it also has an ethernet connection and WiFi.  This makes it possible to access a variety of internet music streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, TIDAL, and Deezer. The Pioneer VSX-832 supports three multi-room music services: Chromecast, DTS Play-Fi and FireConnect.

 

None of the features mentioned above are that unique among the AV receivers we’ve seen introduced so far this year. However, both amps are bringing something new to the table. For one, the VSX-532 now includes Pioneer’s MCACC calibration suite. This may not sound like a big deal, but Pioneer has not included any type of calibration system in their entry-level models the past couple years. So seeing the entry-level 532 with an auto calibration suite is a welcomed sight.

 

Pioneer’s 5- channel VSX-832 does something we haven’t seen before. It supports both Atmos and DTS:X. Typically these two formats have been reserved for receivers with 7+ channels. However, the 832 breaks the rules. The 5-channel amp can be setup in a 3.1.2 speaker arrangement which means you’ll need to sacrifice your surround channels, but don’t worry. Pioneer has a solution. The 832 incorporates what they call a surround enhancer. This tech is similar to what you frequently see in today’s sound bars. Essentially, the amp uses digital processing to “trick” our ears into thinking surround speakers are present. If this works as claimed, the 5-channel Pioneer VSX-832 could give a home theater performance on par with a full fledged 7-channel receiver.

 

Our experience with this type of tech in sound bars has been hit or miss. It does widen the sound stage and surround effects are sometimes convincing, but nothing we’ve heard has worked as well as a true multi-channel setup. We’re eager to see if the Pioneer VSX-832 does a better job.

 

The Pioneer VSX-532 and Pioneer VSX-832 are expected to both be available this month.

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