VSX-523-K Review

The Pioneer VSX-523-K is a feature rich, high performance entry level A/V Receiver

You’ll enjoy many features which were available only on higher end receivers just a few short years ago.vsx523k

This is a 5.1 model, which is perfectly sufficient for most people. 140 watts again is more than enough for a condo, apartment or moderately sized home.

Initial set-up is simple. Pioneer’s MCACC Automation Room Calibration works brilliantly and quickly. We did make some minor manual adjustments after the automatic routine was done, but they were minor.

We tested the sound modes and found them to really make a difference. Dolby® TrueHD® and DTS-HD® Master Audio provide terrific sound in most applications, but we found DTS surroundmode to work really well with Netflix and Hulu-Plus which we accessed via Roku.

We found the VSX-523-K’s four HDMI® inputs to be a bit limiting, but again, it will likely be sufficient for many owners. The HDMI inputs provide connectivity for all your sources like Blu-ray DiscTM players, cable boxes, and gaming consoles. The HDMI inputs support both 3D and new 4k Ultra HD content. One feature which we consider to be a necessity is HDMI Standby Through, which allows  your sources (cable box etc.) to pass through the receiver to the television even when it is in standby mode. We would never consider a receiver lacking this feature.

Apple® connectivity on the VSX-523-K will not disapoint  The front USB input now supports music playback and control for the new iPhone® 5 and iPad mini. The USB port located conveniently on the front panel lets you play back all your favorite music files, like MP3, WMA and AAC files.

Make no mistake, this is Pioneer’s entry level receiver. While we rate it very highly and believe it to be a great buy, consider an upgrade to the VSX-823-K if you are concerned about future-proofing your investment.

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