Pioneer Electronics Canada today announced the addition of four 5.1 and 7.1-channel audio video (A/V) receivers to their line-up.

Recognizing the impact the Apple iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad has had on Digital Home owners, the new Pioneer VSX-521, VSX-821, VSX-921 and VSX-1021 receivers all come with a USB/video cable so homeowners can playback of audio and video from their iOS device. The higher end VSX-1021 receiver can also be used as an Apple Airplay wireless device.

Features of all four new receivers which come in a glossy black finish include: the ability to decode the latest HD audio formats (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, and Dolby ProLogic IIz); Auto Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration (MCACC) which analyzes the room’s speaker configuration and then optimizes the sound level and equalization; and Auto Level Control which compensates for fluctuating volume levels across digital audio tracks, television channels and commercials.

In addition, all four receivers have HDMI 1.4a inputs including support for the audio return channel (ARC) that send audio signals to the receiver from compatible TV tuners and online services built into televisions, such as Netflix. For the consumer who intends to periodically use the built-in speakers of their televisions, the Pioneer line-up also includes a new HDMI Standby Through feature to pass audio and video from a set top box through the receivers without the need to turn on the component.

The set up VSX-1021 also comes wth AVNavigator software, a suite of PC applications intended to simplify the physical and software setup of the receiver. For example, the Wiring Navi application asks users a series of questions about the components connected to the receiver and once answered, the application automatically updates the receiver with all of the correct settings. An interactive manual application lets users learn about the features of the AV receiver by letting them push a button on their receiver which then takes the user directly to the portion of the manual that explains what the button does. Alternately, users can click on a section of the owner’s manual and the feature of the receiver will automatically activate (i.e. when the user clicks on the FL Dimmer section of the owner’s manual, the Front Panel Display of the receiver will dim).

For iOS users, Pioneer also announced its new Air Jam and iContrlAV2 iOS apps which can be used with the VSX-1021 A/V Receiver.
  • Air Jam – Used in conjunction with the VSX-1021 receiver and AS-BT200 Bluetooth adapter (sold separately), Air Jam lets you pair up to four devices via Bluetooth. Once connected, each user can cue songs from their music libraries to create a collective playlist to play back on their A/V Receiver. Each connected device will display the list of songs added by all users and the device each song will play from.
  • iControlAV2 – The app enables control of volume, bass, balance and room settings and is further enhanced when used with an iPad, integrating all four app controls into a single screen. Additional features include a graphic representation of before and after MCACC room calibration, and sound adjustments that enable users to create their own equalizer settings with a simple “touch and draw” on the screen. The iControlAV2 App also includes Blu-ray player control when connected to a compatible Pioneer Blu-ray player.
The Pioneer VSX-521 and VSX-821 will be available in Canada later this month for $329 and $429 respectively. The VSX-921 and VSX-1021 will be available in April for $499 and $699 respectively.

Discuss all four Pioneer A/V Receivers in Digital Home's A/V Receivers discussion forum .