Pioneer VSX-934 7.2-channel receiver review

May 2020
Pioneer VSX-934 Review

Packed full of features the Pioneer VSX-934 AV 7.2 channel Receiver is offers a superb range of audio options, 4k picture quality and built-in Wi-Fi, it’s affordably priced at £359 (buy at Amazon).

 

With an excellent range of HDMI and phono inputs, the VSX-934 seamlessly combines and distributes content. You can easily connect Blu-ray players, game consoles and record players.

 

In addition to these options, the Pioneer VSX-934 has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth allowing you to stream music from your favourite services and any smart device. It also works with SONOS and Apple AirPlay 2.

 

Each of its 7 amplifier channels provides 170 watts of power. You have plenty of volume on tap whether you’re listening to your favourite album, watching a movie or gaming.

 

Build around Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, the VSX-934 faithfully recreates audio while creating an immersive 3D surround sound experience. If you lack space to run all 7.2 speakers effectively, the VSX-934 still delivers excellent sound thanks to Dolby Atmos Height Virtualiser and DTS Virtual:X.

 

The visuals are equally impressive with native 4k resolution. The Pioneer VSX-934 features Ultra HD, HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision pass-through with support for HDCP 2.2.

 

As one of the best AV receivers currently available, we rate the Pioneer VSX-934 as 9/10.

 

 

Pros

  • Supports several audio decoders (including Dolby Atmos /DTS:X / DTS Neural:X Upmixing)
  • Automatically upscales picture to 4K quality
  • 7 channels of 160 Watts

Cons

  • No RGA (Audio and Video) phonos input
  • Limited remote range

 

 

 

Design

The well-designed Pioneer VSX-934 measures a sizeable 43.5 cm by 17 cm by 37 cm, making it easy to slot into any home cinema rack.

 

Front panel

The front panel has three sections with the first (left-hand side), containing a power button, input selection knob and headphone jack. Also, there is a mini-jack input for the set-up microphone.

 

The middle section features the screen and bulk of the controls. As Pioneer has tried to maintain a sleek design, most buttons are quite small. And while we’d like slightly larger buttons, it not a deal-breaker.

 

Sitting in the middle is a large LCD screen display, which is used to display a range of information. The row of buttons below covers the radio tuner, Zone 2 function, menu and a screen dimmer button.

 

Below this row are preset buttons which allow you to recall settings, FM/AM tuner button, and a button to activate the listening mode.

 

The final section on the right contains the master volume knob as well as a USB port and AUX mini-jack input.

 

Rear panel

Moving to the rear, there are two antennae for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. 6 HDMI inputs, 5 stereo phonos inputs, 2 digital inputs (coaxial and optical) and 2 antenna inputs (FM and AM). Also, there is a second USB port and a LAN port for wired internet.

 

In terms of outputs, the rear has 7 powered outputs for speakers, 2 passive sub-woofer outputs and stereo phonos for Zone B. There are 2 HDMI outputs with the main one being ARC enabled.

 

Remote

Finally, the remote, which covers a lot of ground yet is well-designed. There are buttons for selecting the input, between the 3 presets, and track controls.

 

A mute button sits above the volume control. Next to this is a subwoofer volume control and DSP mode buttons. Below these volume controls are buttons covering a range of system options.

 

 

Pioneer VSX-934 rear

photo by Pioneer

 

 

Features

The HDMI and audio phono inputs enable you to connect a range of devices including game consoles, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, and record players. The built-in FM and AM radio allow you to listen to your favourite terrestrial radio stations.

 

The 2 USB ports (front and rear) are ideal for playing many file formats. An AUX mini-jack on the front for easy connection of media players. These all allow you to quickly and painless watch or listen to a range of media.

 

In terms of digital inputs, the VSX-934 offer both Bluetooth and access to streaming service using the onboard Wi-Fi (you can hardwire using the LAN port. Enjoy music from your smartphone or favourite streaming service (such as Spotify, TIGAL, Prime Music and TuneIn Internet Radio).

 

Each of the 7 speaker channels offers 160 watts of power. The Pioneer VSX-934 supports the latest audio formats including Dolby Atmos, DTS: X, and Dolby Atmos, DTS: X.

 

If you can’t run a 7.1 speaker set-up, you have the option to use 3.1 or 5.1 speaker set-up combined with either Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizer and DTS Virtual: X. Both faithfully recreate a 3D sound experience without the need for treble or surround speakers.

 

The picture quality is as impressive as the VSX-934 supports pass-through for HDR10, Hybrid Log-Gamma, and Dolby Vision. All HDMI sockets are 4K compatible, allowing you to enjoy content in the latest and highest possible quality, even when upgrading to the latest devices.

 

The VSX-934 works with SONOS enabling you to play any music or audio from your SONOS app. You can even add the Pioneer receiver into your existing SONOS set-up.

 

The Pioneer VSX-934 can also power a set of speakers in the next room without needing a separate power amp.

 

Set-up

As with any AV receiver, the Pioneer VSX-934 requires an hour or so to get it properly set-up and optimized for your room.

 

Start by plugging in your media players and any other device you want to use into the inputs. Next, connect the main HDMI output to either your TV or projector. Finally, wire in each speaker in your set-up. If you need help, start with our speaker placement guide.

 

With the unit wired in, it’s time to get the connect the internet and radio. The VSX-934 can connect to the internet in two ways. The first is using the built-in Wi-Fi which uses one of the rear antennae (the other is used by the Bluetooth function) to send and receive data. A rear LAN port enables you to hard-wire the unit into your router.

 

There’s one final step. Plug the included microphone into the mini-jack on the front panel and enter the MCACC (Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration System) mode. This will optimise your Pioneer VSX-934 for the room and speaker set-up.

 

If you’re not happy with the result or want to tweak further, there are plenty of options which allow you to fine-tune the unit’s performance including 3 DSP modes and subwoofer volume on the remote.

 

Pioneer VSX-934 angle

photo by Pioneer

 

 

Performance

As a flexible unit, the Pioneer VSX-934 can handle a range of set-ups. If you lack space then you can use 3 speakers (left, right and centre) and a subwoofer and let the Pioneer replicate a surround sound experience. You could run the unit as a 5.1 or 7.1 speaker configuration.

 

There’s plenty of HDMI inputs and outputs to connect a plethora of devices. The multiple phonos inputs are of limited use and we’d prefer an RGA input and even a VGA input. However, the HDMI inputs should be sufficient.

 

Where the VSX-934 excels is decoders. Both audio and visual are processed using the latest decoders ensuring your purchase is future proof. The multiple Dolby decoders produce an immersive sound and as a 4K ready unit, the picture quality is excellent. Even older formats shine as they are upscaled to the best possible quality.

 

If that wasn’t enough, Pioneer regularly releases firmware updates which can be download via the onboard Wi-Fi or saved to a USB drive and uploaded direct.

 

Even if you only use the unit as an AV receiver, it’s still a fantastic investment. Of course, we’d encourage you to try the Bluetooth function, built-in Apps, and radio!

 

 

Is the Pioneer VSX-934 worth buying?

As a flexible unit, the Pioneer VSX-934 can handle a range of set-ups. If you lack space then you can use 3 speakers (left, right and centre) and a subwoofer and let the Pioneer replicate a surround sound experience. You could run the unit as a 5.1 or 7.1 speaker configuration.

 

There’s plenty of HDMI inputs and outputs to connect a plethora of devices. The multiple phonos inputs are of limited use and we’d prefer an RGA input and even a VGA input. However, the HDMI inputs should be sufficient.

 

Where the VSX-934 excels is decoders. Both audio and visual are processed using the latest decoders ensuring your purchase is future proof. The multiple Dolby decoders produce an immersive sound and as a 4K ready unit, the picture quality is excellent. Even older formats shine as they are upscaled to the best possible quality.

 

If that wasn’t enough, Pioneer regularly releases firmware updates which can be download via the onboard Wi-Fi or saved to a USB drive and uploaded direct.

 

Even if you only use the unit as an AV receiver, it’s still a fantastic investment. Of course, we’d encourage you to try the Bluetooth function, built-in Apps, and radio!