The Good: The Pioneer VSX-1124-K is the best sounding mid-range receiver we’ve reviewed this year. Lot’s of flexibility for those who like to customize their listening experience. The AV Navigator simplifies the setup process, especially for first time users.



The Bad: Outdated and cumbersome interface. Does not include built-in WiFi or Bluetooth like some of it’s competitors in this price range.


Summary: The Pioneer VSX-1124-k has “best-in-class” sound quality, however to achieve this Pioneer had to make some notable omissions. The lack of Bluetooth and WiFi are a little disappointing, however it does have AirPlay support. Overall, it comes down to what’s more important to you. If your top concern is sound quality then the 1124 is a no-brainer. If you need a variety of network streaming features then the Sony STR-DN1050 or the Onkyo TX-NR636 may be better options.

Pioneer VSX-1124-k Review

Pioneer VSX-1124-K Review

Pioneer VSX-1124 Performance

The sound quality of the Pioneer VSX-1124 could be described with one word “stellar”. Typically AV manufacturers throw around all sorts of jargon…. “ESS SABRE” this and “Advanced MCAAC” that, but too often all of these fluffy high-tech phrases are more style than substance. However, with the Pioneer VSX-1124, this is one time where the “fluffy jargon” actually rings true. The 1124 has a remarkably warm sound which, in retrospect, is a characteristic of many Pioneer receivers.


If you haven’t heard of Hozier, you probably will soon. Hozier is an Irish musician who’s music is a unique blend of rock, soul and blues. His song Jackie and Wilson, perhaps illustrates this uncommon mix better than any other track on his album. The background guitar and drum melodies have a definite rock pedigree, however the rhythm and vocals denote a strong soulful blues influence. The Pioneer VSX-1124 created a lively and warm performance. Vocals were clear and crisp even at moderately high volumes. Bass was smooth and cohesive. This CD in particular has a live “in concert” sound quality to it that the 1124 was able to produce beautifully. Our only issue was that when cranked to it’s fullest the 1124 started to crack under the strain, but nevertheless it produced a great listening experience.


Transformers: Age of Extinction was our movie of choice for testing out the home theater chops of the 1124 and it left us impressed. Of the mid-range receivers we’ve tested so far this year only the Sony STR-DN1050 and the Yamaha RX-V677 had sound quality on par with the Pioneer VSX-1124-K. The detailed audio from the 1124 made every “clink” and “clank” of the metallic behemoth’s easily audible. Every explosion produced a visceral thump that was kinetic and punched us satisfactorily in our chests. The Pioneer 1124 also produced a very wide and engaging imaging area. Bullets and missiles bounced from speaker to speaker creating an enveloping and seamless sound field.


Appearance and Features

The Pioneer VSX-1124-K’s appearance is what you’d expect from your typical AV receiver. It’s basically just a big rectangular metal box. It has a brushed aluminum front with a high-gloss display panel. The front panel is relatively clean and free of button clutter.


Pioneer VSX-1124-k Rear

For connectivity, the 1124 has an ample supply of HDMI 2.0 inputs with 7, and 2 outputs. It’s also capable of both 4K- Ultra HD passthrough and upscaling. Along with the HDMI inputs it has 1 USB input and 1 digital optical and 1 digital coxial. However, it does fall short on analog audio inputs since it only supplies 3. This could be a problem for anyone who has older equipment. However, this is something we’ll probably see more of in the future from other manufacturers since less and less equipment requires analog inputs. Something you won’t see listed with the 1124’s set of features are WiFi and Bluetooth. Both of these require the purchase of separate add-on’s which is a little disappointing since some manufacturers in this price range offer both. On the other hand, the Pioneer VSX-1124 does include an ethernet port on the back so you can easily get it on your network.


The Pioneer VSX-1124 may lack WiFi and Bluetooth, but it does offer AirPlay support which worked well in our listening tests. Also, the 1124 is DLNA compatible so you can stream music to it from other DLNA compatible devices on your network once it’s connected. The 1124 also gives you access to internet radio via vTuner as well as Pandora and Spotify. One of the HDMI inputs on the back is MHL compatible and Roku ready so you can plug in your Roku Streaming Stick into this port and enjoy your favorite shows.


Setup and Calibration

The 7.2 channel Pioneer VSX-1124 is rated at about 90 watts per channel at 8 ohms and 165 watts per channel at 6 ohms. It offers support for multi-zone playback via HDMI, so you can watch two different HDMI sources in separate rooms.


Menu navigation on the Pioneer 1124 is a mixed bag. The AV Navigator allows you to access some of the settings of the 1124 through a web browser on your computer or smart phone via the IP address or through the app that’s available in the app store. Where the AV Navigator really comes in handy is with the initial setup. It asks you the type of equipment you have, your speaker arrangement and the types of inputs. It then walks you through the speaker connections, the input connections, and the MCACC calibration process. While you’re doing the initial setup, you’ll also have the opportunity to rename your inputs. Overall this is a pretty handy tool especially for first time users.


Navigating the on screen interface of the Pioneer VSX-1124 is another story. The outdated user interface is cumbersome and archaic, especially when you compare it to the GUI that Sony rolled out this year on their mid-range receivers. Truth be told, the Pioneer VSX-1124 has tons of features that anyone who truly likes to tweak their listening experience will enjoy. You could easily spend hours digging through all of the settings. However, that’s the crux of the problem. Making any changes to the settings requires you to “dig” through a variety of cumbersome menus to get to where you need to go, but the payoff is well worth it when you’ve reached the end of your journey. The remote is overloaded with buttons. Anyone purchasing this receiver should invest in a good universal remote like the Logitech Harmony Smart Control.

Pioneer VSX 1124 Remote

Usually I’m not a big fan of the smart phone/tablet apps that manufacturers make available for their receivers, however in the case of the 1124 I preferred the app over the on screen menus. In fact Pioneer would be better off taking the app and adapting it for use on future receivers.


Calibration is relatively simple. Once you plug in the microphone, the receiver gives you the option to run the MCACC calibration. Like most calibration systems the 1124 sends a series of test tones to each speaker. Overall, the MCACC calibration did a pretty good job. The only issue we encountered was that it set our front speakers to large. The front speakers we used for testing are capable of going down to about 30Hz which isn’t bad. However, even at 30 Hz their not capable of the bass extension that a good subwoofer can provide. Many times even after calibration we end up adjusting the speaker settings to our liking. In the case of the Pioneer VSX-1124, the settings came out nearly perfectly. We only needed to change our front speakers to small and we were off and running.



Despite the outdated GUI and cumbersome menus the Pioneer VSX-1124 is a near perfect AV receiver. It has excellent sound quality which is the most important aspect of any av receiver. If it were possible to take the onscreen GUI from the Sony STR-DN1050 slap it on the Pioneer VSX-1124 and throw in WiFi, it would easily be a 5 star receiver.

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