Pioneer challenges with nine channel Dolby Atmos VSX-LX303 and VSX-LX503 AV receiver duo

posted on Tuesday, 22nd May 2018 by Steve May

home cinema  4K  Dolby Atmos 

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Pioneer is looking to shake up the home cinema status quo with two new, highly specified nine-channel Dolby Atmos AV receivers, the VSX-LX303 and its step-up, the VSX-LX503 (pictured above). The latter, which delivers 180 W/ch (into 6 ohms), can handle speaker layouts up to 7.2.4, with the addition of a stereo amp. All seven of its HDMI inputs support Ultra HD 4K/60Hz pass-through, as well as Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG (Hybrid LogGamma) formats.

The VSX-LX503 also boasts Pioneer Direct Energy amplification, said to have been developed specifically for object-based soundtracks. Phase Control is used to resolve phase-lag between the subwoofer and front L/R speakers, while a Reflex Optimizer claims to improve sound-image localisation when using Dolby Atmos enabled speakers. Circuit design favours shortened signal paths. Twin 12v triggers, IR in/out, and RS-232C with IP represent control options. 

The VSX-LX503 is also Apple AirPlay Certified. High-Res audio format support comprises 192 kHz/24-bit FLAC, WAV, AIFF, ALAC and Direct DSD 11.2 MHz. Both models utilise a a 384 kHz/32-bit AKM DAC (the AK4458), and offer dual band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth with Chromecast built-in.

Room calibration is via Pioneer’s Cohesive Surround-Sound Field MCACC (Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration) system. In additon to DTS Play-Fi technology for wireless streaming, the receivers  can drive stereo channels in two additional zones, while supporting 5.1 in the main home cinema room.

VSX-LX303(B) Rearpanel

The VSX-LX303 (pictured above) is rated at 170w p/c and sheds DSD High-Res Audio support.

The VSX-LX503 retails for £1000, while the VSX-LX303 sells for £800. Both models ship in June.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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