33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Pioneer VSX921-K AV Receiver, 8 Oct 2011
I bought the Pioneer VSX921 as a replacement for a Creative/Cambridge SoundWorks 5.1 Surround Sound Set, and a HDMI 4-1 switch.
After reading the reviews in What HiFi, i liked the concept of controlling it all through the iPhone App.
I tried out all the apps from rival brands, Onkyo/Yamaha/Sony, and the Pioneer was the most impressive by far.
I was originally intending to use the old speakers. But the VSX921 requires an Active Subwoofer. (Connects by a single phono connector)
So i ended up getting a set of Q Acoustics Cinema 2000 speakers. They work well together.
The packaging was a bit basic. I may have been spoilt by the quality of Apple packaging,
but the box this came in was so flimsy i'm surprised it arrived without damage.
The instruction manual is woefully inadequate. It may have lost something in translation. It only covers setup and basic operation. The setup procedure is in fact quite simple. Connect all the wires, attach supplied setup microphone, run though full auto MCACC automatic setup procedure. But i couldn't follow the instructions. They didn't make any sense. But browsing though the menus, it didn't take long to work out what to do, its not rocket science :)
The remote control has a huge number of buttons, and very little in the way of instructions,
but as i'm going to be using the iPhone to control it 99% of the time, this doesn't matter.
Switching between HDMI sources is trivial, this works really well in the free iControlAV2 iPhone App.
Changing source switches both the video feed and audio settings to match, without you needing to think about it.
The built in 1080p up-scaler is simple to use. Just be careful if you're TV can't support this resolution. Its easy to turn it on by mistake.
If you do, you have to resort to the front panel and remote control to sort it out. No instructions supplied for this either.
I had no problems setting up the network connection. It picked up an IP address from DHCP.
Enter this IP address in iControlAV2, and the iPhone takes control. Its really good.
The internet radio works well. Sound quality is good. It renders the built in AM/FM receivers pointless as all the stations are there as well. But browsing through the thousands of radio stations, the iPhone app could do with some improvements here, as to get back to the volume control, you have to navigate all the way up the directory tree, and out of the H.M.G. section. Then after adjusting the volume, you have to browse back down the tree to find your place. Its easier to keep the remote control at hand.
AirPlay is fantastic. But heres another place where Pioneer's useless instruction manual lets you down. The only instructions given are how to connect your iPhone to the Receiver by the supplied cable. Thats not AirPlay.
I had to search google to find out how to use AirPlay, and even then i stumbled upon the answer myself.
You just turn on the receiver. Then on your iPhone, run iPod, and an extra symbol appears after rewind/play/fast forward, it looks like a TV with a triangle pointing into it. Press that, choose VSX-921, this auto starts H.M.G. on the receiver, and the sound from your iPod comes out of your speakers. Magic :)
So to summarise, the VSX-921 is a very good AV Receiver, it puts HDMI switching and 5.1 speaker control at your fingertips.
AirPlay and iPhone control is awesome!
I was going to knock a star off for the appalling manual.
But fundamentally the hardware is very good, and once you've worked out how to use it, you won't care how bad the manual is.
But Pioneer.. come on, you can do better than this, sort it out!