Well, what can I say. I like the receiver, when it works. The only think which is very annoying is that though it is not connected to any radio receiver, it always sends some ratio station signal to the speakers along with the desired signal. This happens in any selected mode, so it must be a genuine problem of the receiver. Though I am in Germany, it is a Durch progran, so I am really without clue how this can be fixed. This of course limits my satisfaction a lot.
About three years ago I invested in the bargain of a lifetime, a superb Pioneer stereo system composed of a File Type Compact Disc Player a PD-F1009, , a VSX D512 Audio/Video Multi Channel Receiver, A DV-565A DVD Player, a CT- W208R Double Cassette Deck, a pair of S-H510V Speakers and an S-CR59 (centre and two rear) Set of Speakers and a Pioneer Stand to house it all, brand new, for under £650. The sound I have to say is fabulous. Ive already Reviewed the CD player, Im now going to review the VSX D512 Audio/Video Receiver (The Amplifier)
As I said in my previous Review I bought it from a catalogue clearance place (Bargain Street, Thorpe Arch Retail Park near Wetherby), the boxes filled up my little brothers E class Merc Estate. On the subject of Bargain Street they do some incredible deals on Electricals, I bought my PC (a Sony PCV RS402 with TFT monitor for a hundred quid less than PC World were selling the tower on its own) When my new toys arrived home the first job was to visit the local Pioneer Specialists to work out what connections and how much cabling Id need, also to get some ideas how to set it all up. The Second job was to rearrange the lounge to make it all fit and then to set it all up which actually wasnt that difficult. All of the Instructions were well written and really straightforward. The hardest thing was to set up the speakers to get the best sound.
Like the CD Player the Amp came in its own substantial box, not the lightest piece of equipment (9kg thats heavier than the CD Player which I thought was heavy), together with 47 pages of well written and detailed instructions covering every aspect of its use, a remote control (with batteries) and a Loop antennae and a wire antennae. Its black and is fairly large, (420mm[W] x 158mm[H] x 393mm[D]). It looks like a really solid and well made piece of equipment and has excellent build quality. Mine was manufactured in July 2003 (it tells you on the guarantee). I bought it February 2004 it has played thousands of hours since without any problems at all. I use Radio, CDs and also DVDs all of which play through the Amp. So its had a lot of use. Pioneer dont half make good quality products.
Setting it up was a bit more complicated than the CD Player. Primarily because everything is wired into the Receiver. So the first job was to sit down with the instruction manual and read it through a few times. As Ive already explained it is well written, a non techie like me can easily understand and follow it. I basically started at the beginning and worked through setting it all up. One of the most useful bits in the instructions, for me at least, was a section on speaker placement, even down to a little plan showing which speakers go where. The plan shows an overhead view so there is no confusion over left and right. I have to say it probably took a couple of hours to set everything up and to position and re-position the speakers and to set up the relative volume of each channel receiver etc , its all in the instructions. It was worth it. The sound is just wonderful.
As I explained in my CD Player Review, this was the first time Id had a proper separates system, before this the best Id had were Sony mini systems, nothing like this. The Amp is basically a very well built Black Box, which actually looks really nice. There are two knobs and lots of buttons on the front which control the various functions. Theyre actually all fairly common sense and easy to use. Apart from the power button I dont tend to use any of the other buttons/knobs I just use the remote control. The Remote is well laid out and very user friendly. You can in fact control all of the Systems functions from that one control, from CD, to DVD to Radio to Tape.
So what does it do:-
Playing Sources numerous types of sound modes from straight forward stereo to Dolby Pro Logic (4.1 Channel Surround Sound) to Dolby Pro Logic11 Movie(5.1 Channel Surround sound) to Pro Logic 11 Music (5.1 Channel Surround sound which is different to the movie pro logic). There are then Advanced surround modes for Movies, Music, Virtual surround Back (gives the impression of extra speakers), Loudness, Midnight Loudness (which is quite nifty you get effective surround sound for movies at low volume levels so you dont annoy the neighbours/wake the kids up) etc etc.
Im not a technical expert all I know is that the sound it produces is awesome. You can tell the difference between the different surround modes. Incidentally the Receiver is a 6.1 system. (that means there are 6 satellite speakers) its one of the better sorts of surround sound system. I havent got a subwoofer so mine is set up as a 5.1 - it still produces excellent quality output.
The Tuner (Radio) FM and AM, the usual features, automatic and manual tuning, 30 station presets, Radio Data systems (allows you to search for FM stations broadcasting certain sorts of info/programs). It also has the EON (Enhanced Other Network) function for stuff like Traffic Bulletins when the station changes automatically and then changes back after the bulletin. I keep mine turned off, I dont usually want to listen to traffic bulletins whilst Im at home. Unfortunately it doesnt receive Digital Radio but I dont care.
Amplifier 80w per channel (especially when youve got 5 channels) is more than enough for me. The instruction manual has all the detailed technical data, which I have to say I dont understand, so Im not going to comment on it other than to say that the sound it produces sounds great.
I have to say that it was one of the best purchases I ever made. I use the system on a daily basis, the quality of sound is exceptional. I havent (and I am not at all technically minded) encountered any technical difficulties with the Receiver. Yes its probably now out of date but it does everything I want it to, and more. I think its ace. So Yes I recommend it.