Pioneer VSX-AX3

Pioneer VSX-AX3
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Good power output to speakers, THX certified, great automatic calibration

Cons

  • Nothing to report

Bottom Line

A great receiver with a good set of features and impressive auto calibration.

Would you buy this?

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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Brand Post

PC World Evaluation Team Review - MSI GT75 TITAN

"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."

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

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.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

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.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

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.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?