The Good: The Pioneer VSX-824-K has great sound quality and a good amount of connectivity options. It also supports AirPlay and can easily be placed on your network thanks to it’s ethernet port.

 

The Bad: Unfortunately, the VSX-824 doesn’t give you many internet streaming options.

 

Summary: Overall, the Pioneer VSX-824-K gives you a lot of bang for your buck. It lacks some of the networking features of more expensive units, but if sound quality is more important to you than internet music streaming, then the 824 could be a good choice for you.

Pioneer VSX-824 5.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver (Black)

Price: $389.88

2.7 out of 5 stars (32 customer reviews)

3 used & new available from $177.23

 

Pioneer has a well deserved legacy in the audio industry. They’re probably better known for their car audio offerings, however when it comes to home theater they also have a substantial amount of quality av offerings. This year Pioneer’s VSX-824-K 5.2 channel receiver is one of their newest models to hit store shelves. Boasting 140 watts of power per channel and 6 HDMI inputs the VSX-824-K offers good sound quality and features.

 

Pioneer VSX-824-K Appearance & Design

Pioneer VSX-824-K

Most AV receivers stick to the same tried and true design aesthetic and the Pioneer VSX-824 doesn’t rock the boat in this regard. It’s basically just a big black box with two knobs and a few buttons on the front. The front panel has a brushed aluminum appearance which does give the 824 a bit of style.

 

The included remote of the Pioneer VSX-824 is your standard AV remote. It’s not the worst we’ve seen, but it’s not the best either. Sony’s done a good job this year on their 850 and 1050 models of simplifying their remotes. Pioneer’s remote for the 824 takes the opposite approach but overall the  button layout isn’t too shabby. Pioneer VSX-824

 

Pioneer also makes a control app called the iControlAV5 for both iOS and Android devices. It works pretty well for the most part. It’s not the most intuitive interface but it does allow you to control the major features of the VSX-824 such as input switching, volume, and sound modes. After spending time with the iControlAV5 app our impression was that it’s much better suited for use on a tablet because of the larger screen size. The additional real estate afforded to you with a tablet makes the app much easier to navigate.

 

Pioineer VSX-824 Connectivity & Features

The Pioneer VSX-824-K gives you an ample amount of connectivity options beginning with it’s 6 HDMI inputs. It also includes one ethernet, three analog, 1 digital coaxial, 1 digital optical and 2 subwoofer pre-outs. Overall, it’s a pretty good assortment of connectivity options. Like most of this year’s mid-range AV receivers, the 824 utilizes HDMI 2.0 connections. One of the HDMI inputs on the back is MHL compatible. This port is also a Roku Certified input which means if you happen to have a Roku streaming stick this port is designed to accept it. Our only gripe with this is that the port is on the back of the receiver. It would have been more convenient to put this input on the front of the receiver to make it easier to access.

Pioneer VSX-824

 

Although the VSX-824 doesn’t have built-in WiFi or Bluetooth, you can add both with optional add-on adapters. This may be a disappointment to some, however the 824 does offer AirPlay support which will allow you to stream music from your iPod directly to the receiver. The 824 is also HTC Connect certified which allows you to also send music from compatible android smart phones.

 

 

The built in ethernet port allows you to connect the Pioneer VSX-824-K easily to your home network. If you have a DLNA compatible device on your network that you like to stream music from, then you’ll be glad to hear that the 824 is also DLNA certified.

 

The one area where the 824 may lag behind some of it’s cohorts is with internet streaming options. In truth, the fact that you even have the ability to stream internet radio thru the receiver is a plus. However, with the Pioneer VSX-824 you have a rather limited amount of streaming options. The only available choices are Pandora and internet radio. It’s also Spotify ready, but this requires you to have the Spotify app installed on your mobile device. The internet streaming options are a stark contrast to what Onkyo offers with their receivers where they give you an overabundance of internet streaming choices.

 

As you’d expect, the 824 is capable of decoding all the major HD audio formats including Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio. For music playback it also supports a healthy amount of audio formats including; MP3, WMA, AAC, Apple Lossless, WAV, FLAC,  and AIFF.

 

Pioneer VSX-824-K Setup and Performance

The Pioneer VSX-824 uses Pioneer’s Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration (MCACC) system in order to properly tune-in your system. After plugging in the included microphone and selecting the “Auto MCACC” feature the receiver takes care of the rest. The 824 then sends out a series of test tones to each of the speakers in your setup. It then sets the speaker distances, levels and crossover. With our setup the MCACC did a good job. It was spot-on with our speaker distances. The only gripe we had with it, was that it set our front and surround speakers to “large”. Seeing this we went in adjusted them to the appropriate “small” setting.

 

In our listening tests the Pioneer VSX-824-K performed admirably. We listened to several FLAC files including George Benson’s “Breezin” and weren’t disappointed. The 824 proved itself capable of providing deep rich sound. On a few songs we did feel that the 824 had a slightly bright sound, but overall it was an accurate performer.

 

For movies it proved equally adept. We watched several action laden movies and were impressed with it’s prowess. The surround channels of the VSX-824 seemed especially dynamic and lively. It’s bass output was balanced, detailed and punchy when needed. On quieter scenes, the dialogue was crisp and clean. When cranked up, the Pioneer VSX-824-K didn’t break a sweat. It wasn’t until we nearly maxed out the volume that we started to hear some distortion.

 

Conclusion

The Pioneer VSX-824-K ,with an MSRP of $399, has a fairly good balance of features considering it’s price point. It doesn’t have built-in WiFi or Bluetooth, however it can be easily put on your network thanks to it’s built-in ethernet connection. If the aforementioned WiFi and Bluetooth aren’t crucial selling points for you, then It’s good sound quality and connectivity options should make it a viable option for your home theater.
Buy At Amazon

Pioneer VSX-824 5.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver (Black)

Price: $389.88

2.7 out of 5 stars (32 customer reviews)

3 used & new available from $177.23

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