- Good power output to speakers, THX certified, great automatic calibration
- Nothing to report
A great receiver with a good set of features and impressive auto calibration.
Price$ 1,999.00 (AUD)
Best Deals (Selling at 1 store)
- International 130VSX 1350.00
The Pioneer VSX-AX3 is a sturdy-looking machine that stands quite tall (188mm) and tips the scales at 18.4kg. It's finished in brushed aluminium, and a minimalist approach is taken to the layout of buttons, the bulk of which are tucked away out of sight behind a flip-down front panel. A multi-jog selector wheel provides easy access to the menu system and sources, and the electronic display is busy but informative.
Pioneer confusingly classifies this amplifier as having a maximum RMS of 130W x 7, but goes on to list each of the seven channels at 100W driving 8 ohms (20Hz to 20kHz, 0.09% THD). As with all power ratings, use it as a rough guide and make your judgments based on hands-on demonstrations of output or independent third-party reviews such as this. We can tell you that the VSX-AX3 has more than enough power on hand to drive the most demanding of speakers. It is also THX Select certified, featuring THX Surround EX processing along with Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, DTS, DTS-ES, Dolby Pro Logic II (not IIx) and DTS Neo:6. Numerous DSP modes are thrown in for good measure, as is a "Source Direct" mode that bypasses unnecessary audio-processing circuits.
The VSX-AX3 is well-equipped in terms of input and output options, with both 7.1 pre-outs and inputs available for external amplification and SACD/DVD-Audio respectively. There are also four A/V inputs and two A/V outputs, plus a whole swag of analog audio inputs and outputs. Digital input options are limited to a single coaxial input and two optical inputs. Seven sets of sturdy multi-way binding posts let you connect a full complement of 7.1 speakers, but there's no outlet for a second set of front speakers for multi-room listening. There are also no component video inputs or outputs whatsoever.
Multichannel Acoustic Calibration EQ System (MCACC) is the name Pioneer gives its automatic calibration routine. It involves connecting a small microphone to the receiver, placing it at your listening position and starting the calibration sequence. This takes a few minutes but is simple and effective. It's quite loud as it bounces a variety of sounds around the room while it determines the optimum settings. The difference between the pre-calibration receiver and the post-calibration receiver is quite astounding: the soundstage closes in around the listener to form a single, cohesive listening experience. An incredibly comprehensive (some might say mind-boggling) set of manual setup options are available for those of us who trust our own ears implicitly. But really, there's no need, since MCACC works so well. General operation is intuitive and getting the machine to do what you want is easy.
We had high hopes for this receiver, and can happily report we weren't disappointed. In Source Direct stereo mode, the VSX-AX3 produced a soundstage that gave musical instruments and vocals a sense of "space" around them. Directional surround-sound effects were precise, and there was real impact through the mid-range and subwoofer channel. Dialogue through the centre channel was strong without being chesty.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sony Xperia Z5 Premium review: Is the world ready for a 4K phone?
- 2 Mazda MX-5 (2016) review: Absolute driving purity
- 3 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
- 4 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera UHD TV review: good hardware, fragmented software
Best Deals on Good Gear Guide
Latest News Articles
- LG releases first flat screen OLED TV in Australia
- Samsung's 4K Blu-ray player debuts locally in May
- Report: Amazon wants to take on Spotify with a new music streaming service
- Apple is reportedly seeking exclusive content for the Apple TV
- Apple's Q1: Record $US18.4 billion profit, but iPhone sales are slowing
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- FTDigital Marketing Specialist | Media BuyerNSW
- CCTeradata DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Unified Communications Consultant - National IT ServicesNSW
- CCBusiness Analyst - Digital -PenrithNSW
- FTFraud AnalystVIC
- FTJava Full Stack Developer - MelbourneVIC
- CCService ModellerNSW
- CCProgram Master SchedulerNSW
- CCDBA (Oracle/SQL)NSW
- CCEnterprise Architect - Network & InfrastructureNSW
- CCTechnical Lead - .NET TechnologiesACT
- CCInfrastructure Project ManagerNSW
- CCBusiness Analyst - Scrum/Pega SystemsNSW
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (JAVA/J2EE/SQL) 160205/AP/541Asia
- FTProject Manager | SharePoint, Office 365 SkillsVIC
- CCProject CoordinatorNSW
- FTApplication Packaging & Deployments Team LeaderNSW
- CCPortfolio-Program SchedulerNSW
- CCVMWare Horizon View 6.1 roll out & IT support | Short contract | Macquarie ParkNSW
- CC.NET DeveloperACT
- CCSolution ArchitectNSW
- CCSenior Server EngineerNSW
- FTAnalyst: Business Intelligence & AnalyticsVIC
- FTUX Front-End DeveloperWA