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Pioneer VSX-1019AH-K 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver - Product Review

Pioneer VSX-1019AH-K - Review - Page 2 - Evaluation and Final Take

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Pioneer VSX-1019AH-K 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver - Front View

Pioneer VSX-1019AH-K 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver - Front View

Photo (C) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com

Aduio Performance

Using both analog and digital audio sources, the VSX-1019AH-K, in both 5.1 and 7.1 channel setups, delivered an excellent surround image.

This receiver also provided a clean signal via the direct 5.1 analog audio inputs from both DVD and Blu-ray disc sources, in addition to HDMI/Digital Optical/Coaxial connection options. I fed both uncompressed two and multi-channel PCM signals from the OPPO DV-983H, OPPO BDP-83 and Pioneer BDP-320, as well as undecoded bitstream output from the above players to get a comparison between externally processed audio signals and the internal audio processing of the VSX-1019AH-K.

Another aspect of the VSX-1019AH-K was its Zone 2 capability, which is becoming more common in this class of home theater receivers. Running the receiver in the 5.1 channel mode for the main room and using the two spare channels (normally devoted to the surround back speakers) I was able to access DVD and Blu-ray audio in the main 5.1 channel setup and access CD playback from a CD player (using analog audio connection option) in the two channel setup in another room using the VSX-1019AH-K as the main control for both sources. Also, I could run the same music source in both rooms simultaneously, one using the 5.1 channel configuration and second using the 2 channel configuration.

The VSX-1019AH-K can perform second zone operation with its own amplifiers or using a separate external amplifier via Zone 2 preamp output. It is important to note that only analog audio sources are available in a 2nd Zone. Refer to the VSX-1019AH-K user manual for specifics on this feature.

Pioneer VSX-1019AH-K 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver - ABT1015 Video Processing Chip

Pioneer VSX-1019AH-K 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver - ABT1015 Video Processing Chip

Photo (C) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
Another audio feature that I checked out was PQLS, which is supposed to provide a better sounding result for two-channel CD playback by removing "audio jitter" normally present when playing CDs using a digital audio connection. For this to work, both the source component and receiver have to include this feature. Using the PQLS-equipped Pioneer BDP-320 as the source, I could not hear a difference in audio quality in my system with the PQLS function turned on or off.

Video Performance

The VSX-1019AH-K has just about all the video connections you need, including HDMI, Component, and Composite video connections, but S-Video is not included (S-video connections are being eliminated on many receivers). The only other connection complaint is that is would have been nice to offer a front mounted HDMI input connection, but at a $499 price point, this is not a deal breaker.

The VSX-1019AH-K offers both analog video upconversion via to resolutions up to 1080p and can also pass a native 1080p source unprocessed through to a 1080p television or monitor.

The image on a Westinghouse LVM-37w3 1080p monitor showed no visible difference, whether the signal came directly from one of the 1080p source players or was routed through the VSX-1019AH-K before reaching the monitor.

What this means is that the VSX-1019AH-K provides excellent pass through and switching of HDMI source signals. Blu-ray Disc and already-Upscaled DVD source material looked great.

On the other hand, when connecting a standard resolution (480i) source using a composite video connection and Silicon Optix HQV Benchmark DVD as a reference test tool, the video processor of the Pioneer VSX-1019AH-K does a below average job on factors such 480i to 480p conversion and 1080p video upscaling.

The tests revealed the following: Poor de-interlacing on rotating and bouncing lines, average deinterlacing on a waving flag motion and video noise reduction, good detail enhancement without being overly harsh, film/video cadence detection was not stable, such as some that are used in video production and animation such as 2:2, 2:2:2:4, 2:3:3:2, 3:2:3:2:2, 5:5, 6:4, and 8:7. Read a further explanation of frame cadences. For a visual look at some of these test results, refer to my Video Performance Test Gallery.

What I Liked

1. Excellent audio performance, extensive surround sound settings, including a front-stage surround function that only requires the front speakers and subwoofer.

2. Four HDMI inputs and front USB port for iPod and Flash Drive content. Control and access of iPod and Flash content is very straight forward and easy.

3. MCACC speaker setup system works very well. Also, it is easy to make any additional manual adjustments for personal preference.

4. Built-in Fan in addition to heat sinks keeps receiver from getting too hot.

5. Large front Panel LED display. The front panel display is easy to read from across a medium-size room.

What I Didn't Like

Pioneer VSX-1019AH-K 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver - Remote Control

Pioneer VSX-1019AH-K 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver - Remote Control

Photo (C) Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
1. Below average video upscaling performance. This was disappointing taking into consideration that 1019AH-K's predecessor (VSX-1018AH-K) provided better performance in this area (Check out the VSX-1018AH-K video performance test results for comparison).

2. No HDMI input on front panel.

3. No S-video Connections.

4. Complicated to use for the novice - Remote control has small buttons.

5. No dedicated phono turntable input connection.

Final Take

Home Theater receivers have definitely evolved, with even mid-priced units incorporating features and performance, in some cases, that did not even exist as recently as a couple of years ago.

Having had a chance to get a hands-on with the receiver, I can say that it performs its primary role very well, providing a satisfying listening experience from both movie and music source material.

The VSX-1019AH-K offers convenient and abundant features. One of my favorite features is the front mounted USB port for connecting an iPod. In addition, the MCACC automatic speaker setup system provides fairly accurate results.

This is one of the least expensive receivers to offer 1080p upscaling. The VSX-1019AH-K, However, I found this aspect of this receiver's performance to be disappointing. For full details, check out my suppplementary Video Performance Test Gallery.

For additional perspective on the Pioneer VSX-1019AH-K, also check out my Short Review, and supplementary Photo Gallery.

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Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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