- Dozens of connections, HDMI switching, great audio calibration options, learning remote, iPod connector included
A fully featured AV receiver with all the features we could ask for.
Price$ 1,999.00 (AUD)
There's only one solution for today's discerning home theatre enthusiast, and that's to buy an AV receiver. What's it the solution to you may ask? Well, just about everything it turns out, especially if you opt for a powerhouse such as Pioneer's VSX-AX2AS.
The AX2 really is a very good AV receiver. Sure, it's big, ridiculously big in fact. It's also not the most attractive thing we've ever seen, though if you want to give guests the impression that you have a nuclear powered device sitting in your living room, it fits the bill perfectly. What's special about the AX2 is that it's one of the first AV receivers we've seen where we haven't thought "if only it had that" or "what's wrong with these designers, that's ridiculous."
Pioneer has truly crammed an incredible amount into this package. For a start there are the inputs. We're used to having a lot of connections on AV receivers, but Pioneer has taken things to the next level. Four HDMI inputs/outputs are the most useful inclusion, especially as HDMI is becoming increasingly common. Then there are the whopping ten composite connections, four component, eight S-video, five optical digital and others besides. Being a 7.1 system you'll also be able to connect up to seven home theatre speakers, with 170W of power provided per channel. Upgrading to the AX4 for an extra $500 also gets you USB and FireWire thrown in for good measure. If you have more devices to connect than the AX2 supports you clearly have too much money.
After connecting up all your wires it's time to get busy with some calibration. Like every AV receiver on the market these days Pioneer has bundled an automatic calibration microphone with the AX2. Unlike the others however, this one's really good. The idea behind these microphones is to set them up where you would normally sit. They then ensure all the speakers are set at the correct distance and balance the volume accordingly. Usually that's about the limit of their power, but the AX2 offers a whole lot more with reverb, standing wave and other acoustic enhancements. Should you really wish to get your hands dirty, the AX2 can bring up on-screen graphs for advanced equalisation adjustments. It's even possible to save six preset listening positions for your room, should you feel like moving round in the middle of a film. Other adjustments, such as the standing wave, can be normalised to give a balanced simultaneous calibration at multiple listening areas. These are great inclusions for the budding audiophile.
With regards to surround options, the AX2 has got all the usual suspects: Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Neo:6, Digital EX, DTS and a few others. But, behold, there's more! As a THX certified device there's a whole plethora of additional options designed to give cinematic style effects. There's THX cinema, THX music, THX surround, THX games; you get the idea. This might seem excessive, but it doesn't end there. Pioneer has also included various equalisation modes for different kinds of music and movies. That means things like sci-fi, musicals and drama for movies, or jazz, rock and chamber for audio. Finally, there's a special setting to give headphone users a surround-like effect.
Of course, with all these settings it's important that accessing them is made easy. Thankfully Pioneer has included an on-screen interface with the AX2 which makes things a good deal easier. Like every good AV receiver it's possible to reassign all the various inputs and outputs using the interface. Video output can also be switched from component input to HDMI output which is a useful inclusion. We especially liked the way the speaker outputs can be adjusted to provide bi-amplification to the front speakers using the rear surround amplifiers. This is another boon for the audiophile user. There's also a powerful learning remote with LCD screen that can be used to control all your external devices. This supports all the important functions such as macro controls too, though it is a little cluttered and cumbersome to use.
One final feature of note is the ubiquitous iPod support. No self respecting audio device comes without at least a tentative stab at keeping the legions of Apple fans happy these days, and the AX2 is no exception. It's nice to see that Pioneer has included the connection in the box; basically you just plug your iPod's dock connector into the included cable and the iPod menu appears on your screen. Pioneer's effort is one of the better implementations we have seen and the ability to continue listening to music while browsing through songs is useful. However, to browse photos or videos you have to switch back to using the iPod's own controls: a minor annoyance.
Pioneer's AX2 is definitely a great step in the right direction for AV receivers. We couldn't find much to fault with it. If you're after a powerful AV receiver with a plethora of connections then this is a great option.
Join the newsletter!
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Apple iMac Pro
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Toys for Boys
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
ESET Internet Security
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
ESET Smart Security Premium
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
Tivoli PAL BT
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy Watch review: Brilliant but not quite a breakthrough
- 2 HP Omen 15 (2018): Full, in-depth review
- 3 HP Envy x360 13 (Ryzen): Full, in-depth review
- 4 Moto G6 review: A solid mid-tier effort with few compromises
- 5 Dell G5 review: Easy to live with
Latest News Articles
- Telstra customers can now add the Kayo app to their account
- Streaming service delivers over 50 sports live and on demand for Aussie fans
- JBL introduces JRPOP Ultra Portable Speaker
- Turtle Beach’s Elite Pro 2 + SuperAmp is now available
- Hisense's first OLED TV finally gets Australian pricing and availability
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Oppo R17 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Google Pixel 3 XL review: Ghost in the machine
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies