Pioneer VSX-21TXH

Amongst the myriad of AV receivers the Pioneer VSX-21TXH has hit the market and has shelf space with the elite badge, putting this somewhere in the top class of AV receivers which means that this isn’t as cheap as some on offer. So is the extra cost worth it for you or do you need to start with something simpler? This is a member of Pioneers flagship group of receivers and is packed to the guns with the latest and best in home cinema entertainment system technology, so just what is it that makes the Pioneer VSX-21TXH so special?

Pioneer VSX-21TXH Receiver

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Design

The Pioneer VSX-21TXH is one of four new additions to the ever expanding Pioneer ‘Elite’ family. The VSX-21TXH sticks to the tried and tested design that screams Pioneer from a distance. The left and right sided round controls, the fake double stack effect, this time with the top stack being significantly larger than the bottom, the clarity of screen we would expect from some of the top dogs in the market, this time with orange easy to read lettering, and finally minimal buttons with red selection lights and a blue central light that glows reassuringly like the mother ship. There is one power button in the bottom left hand corner, and apart from this the unit is clear of clutter and breathtakingly sleek with a high gloss finish. The air vents on top are rectangular and again seem to vary from unit to unit. These seem to favor practicality choosing airflow over pattern. However, for most of us the top of the unit won’t be seen, so this isn’t a particular issue.

Functionality

There isn’t much that this receiver cannot do. In fact, it pretty much impresses on all fronts. The ‘Elite’ badge range of AV receivers are the first range to get the all impressive THX certification for D class receivers, which is quite an achievement as this is one difficult company to impress and get a certification out of. It is little wonder as the unit features 7 channels, and is just bursting with programmability that cannot fail to impress even the most technically minded. It is just loaded with features.

There isn’t a format out there that this cannot handle and process well. From CD to iPhone, video to DVD, it makes light work of Blu-ray with some excellent clarity and definition, and can produce spine tingling audios that will have you diving behind the couch on the scary bits, until you realize that you are in Dolby surround sound, and the monster on the television set is back there with you!

This is one clever piece of kit but isn’t for the beginner, as although the set up is fairly straightforward to get the most out of the Elite range of AV receivers you will need to get into some of the advance programming modes, so having some knowledge is vital to turn the Pioneer VSX-21TXH from a good piece of kit to a complete wow factor gadget that really makes the home cinema experience for you and your family.

One little used feature, unless you can get to grips with it, is the clever Pioneer auto level control. You can control any spikes in the playback quality and swiftly fill any gaps, keeping the audio level completely consistent so you get a floorless quality that is never compromised. As with many other Pioneer units, this is iPod or iPod ready and also works as a very large digital photo frame as it can process and display most picture formats on screen too.

Conclusion

What you need to be careful of in the world of AV receivers is thinking that cost is the main consideration. For lots of positive and genuine reasons the technologies are getting more and more complex, so be sure that you know how to use what you buy, or else have plenty of time to sit and read the manual or online forums and learn this new technology. Otherwise, you could spend a lot of money and actually be disappointed with the overall performance. An elite unit isn’t really meant to be used straight out of the box, and for fear of repeating, don’t go for this if you don’t fully understand the technology. This is awesome stuff and if set up correctly the Pioneer VSX-21TXH will provide a performance second to none.

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