Pioneer has just pulled the wraps off of its new Elite-branded A/V receivers, and this year’s lineup has a lot of requested features from today and tomorrow built right in. Included in that list are expanded native lossless codec support, more zones, expanded control apps, 4K passthrough, and brand new power-saving eco features that should make anyone looking to upgrade give these the VSX-43 and VSX-70 a serious look. Here are some of the new specs and some interesting notes from the press release:
- Music Enthusiast – The Elite VSX-43 and VSX-70 offer playback of WAV, MP3, WMA, AAC and FLAC files from a networked computer or plugged in drive via the front USB port. For 2013, Pioneer has built in playback of high-resolution AIFF and Apple Lossless files as well as Gapless playback for AIFF, Apple Lossless, WAV and FLAC files. Offering a diversified listening experience, the receivers have access to today’s most popular Internet radio music services including PANDORA® and vTuner®. Both receivers are also Windows 8* certified and feature DLNA® 1.5 certification for music content playback from a networked DLNA server or DLNA application running on a Windows PC, Mac, or smartphone connected on a home network, either through a wired Ethernet connection or optional wireless Wi-Fi® adapter (AS-WL300; available for use with VSX-70).
- 4K Ultra HD Pass Through – Pioneer’s new receivers are designed for the next generation 4K Ultra HD resolution standard, with the ability to pass through 4K video signals to compatible displays, offering the highest quality video image available. Additionally, the VSX-70 can upscale analog and HDMI video signals for 4K Ultra HD resolution when used with the latest 4K displays.
- Smartphone Content – Elite model receivers allow iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users to enjoy playback of audio content stored on their devices as well as the display of album art and metadata when connected to a television monitor. Users can take advantage of the convenience of Apple’s AirPlay3, allowing users to stream their iTunes music whether from Mac or PC, as well as music stored on their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
Further integrating the smartphone, Mobile High Definition Link (MHL) connectivity has been built into each receiver. The front HDMI input doubles as an MHL 2.0 input for connection of an MHL equipped Android™ smartphone or tablet to play back audio and video content (including high-definition 3D content) as well as faster phone charging. Android users with compatible HTC® smartphones (including the new HTC One Phone) have the convenience of HTC Connect4, which enables direct music streaming to the VSX-43 or VSX-70.
Personally, I’m very excited about the FLAC support, since even these days too few devices have the codec built-in, and thanks to HDTracks I’ve got some great albums that I currently need to use a dedicated device to play on my sound system.
Also worth noting is that although both models are obviously geared toward the custom integration channel — with RS-232 control over IP and out-of-the-box compatibility with Crestron and Control4 — they also feature a number of consumer-friendly features, like AVNavigator, a two-way interactive owners manual for PC, Mac, and iPad.