Pioneer is bringing Apple AirPlay, Internet radio, and DLNA 1.5 networking to an everyday $379 from last year's $549 with the launch of four new mainstream-series models.
Pioneer's 2012 mainstream AVR series includes the networked $449 VSX-1022 with Apple AirPlay, DLNA 1.5 certification, and Internet radio.
The AVRs, due in stores this month, are the 5.1-channel VSX-522 at an everyday $249, 5.1-channel VSX-822 at $379, 7.1-channel VSX-1022 at $449, and the VSX-1122 at $599.
At least one more mainstream-series AVR is planned for later this year along with new Elite series AVRs.
New features in select models include streaming of 192kHz/24-Bit FLAC and 192kHz/24-Bit WAV music files through front-panel USB ports and via a home network. "We wish to dispel the myth that music files have to be compressed low-bit-rate, low-depth MP3," a spokesman said.
Another new feature, available at $599, is automatic real-time subwoofer phase adjustment.
In Internet radio, the $379 VSX-822 and $449 VSX-1022 feature the Pandora music service and vTuner, which enables streaming of thousands on Internet radio stations. The $599 VSX-1122 adds the SiriusXM streaming service. All of the networked AVRs, however, feature AirPlay to let users push music streams from Internet-music apps residing on a hand-held Apple device, the company said.
Like last year, $249 is the opening price for AVRs with 3D-capable HDMI 1.4a inputs and outputs, HDMI audio return channel, HDMI standby passthrough, and Dolby Pro Logic IIz front-height post processing. In the 5.1-channel AVRs, a preout is available to add on a stereo amp to power the front-height channels.
The $349 price point remains the opening price point for an Apple-certified front-panel USB port that streams music from a USB-connected iPod, iPhone, or iPad and charges the mobile devices.
In one change, Pioneer's proprietary front-wide technology starts at $599 rather than $549 because the $549 price point has been dropped from this year's selection.
In another change, the models starting at $379 get the ability to stream 192kHz/24-Bit FLAC and WAV music files through their front USB ports and via a home network. Last year, 192kHz/24-bit FLAC streaming over a network started in the Elite series at $900, and 96/24 FLAC streaming over a network started at $549. No AVRs last year supported FLAC over USB. Over USB, WAV streaming was limited to 16-bit files.
A new feature for 2012 is automatic phase control, available in the $599 AVR to automatically adjust the subwoofer's time delay to deliver more accurate sound and tighten up the soundfield, the company said. The technology analyzes subwoofer phase every 30 seconds for 10 seconds in real time, then makes adjustments gradually in three seconds. Last year, this feature was a manual adjustment in the $549 AVR, the company said.
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