To Receiver or not to receiver that is the question?

Hello Citizens! Once again I’m back to give you a review on some new product! This week’s review will be a 2-For-1! This week we have the Pioneer Elite VSX-LX101 and VSX-LX301. These are two new additions to the Pioneer Elite family and they are both 7.2 surround audio/video receivers. So this week’s looks like a tough battle for your Masked Audiophile, but it looks like I can handle this pair of new criminals in the city. 

First up is the set-up, I had both of the receivers hooked up to my iPhone with an Audioquest lightning cable. I tested these receivers on the Bowers & Wilkins M1, 683, CM1, and CM9. I like to test receivers on the Bowers & Wilkins brand because to me I know the speakers are accurate, so the receiver will have to work its magic in order to impress me. 

The set-up for both of these receivers was really easy. I did not set it up through the onboard menu, I have my speakers already set the way I need them in my room. So I don’t feel it necessary to go the GUI (graphic user interface). But if this is your first receiver or your setting up a new room I highly suggest you use it. 

So here’s the specs for both receivers
VSX-LX101
– 80 watts per channel @ 8 ohms
– Discrete direct energy amp design
– AirPlay
 GoogleCast and Tidal streaming (soon with firmware update) 
– Dolby Atmos 
– 4k 60p pass through 
– HDMI 6 in/1 out 

What’s different on the VSX-LX301
– 100 watts per channel @ 8 ohms
– HDMI 7 in (1 front)/1 out 

So not too much of a difference between the two models. The specs for both of these receivers just aren’t there compared to older models. To me, there is much difference in last year’s vsx-45 and vsx-70 models. In my eyes, looking at the specs I don’t see a reason to upgrade from last year to this year. On the other hand, the sound that came out was pretty standard from a Pioneer Elite. 

When testing the sound, the wattage was really only good for the M1s and CM1s. (These are satellite and bookshelf speakers) When it came to the tower speakers though, it was a different story. The towers peaked to easily which is not good if you like listening to loud music. I would only recommend using these receivers for stereo sound if you’re running tower speakers. I always recommend separate amps for towers and love using Bowers & Wilkins sister company Rotel, but it’s quite expensive. But using this receiver to run a 2.1, 3.1 or 5.1 M1 setup is actually great. I can also see this receiver being used with Definitive Technologies PC600/PC800 package. But back to reality, when it came to the tower speakers, there was a ton of sound left out compared to when I use my VSX-70 which is 3 years old or when I’m at work and use the Marantz SR7010. 

All in all, I believe as an entry-level receiver for a beginning audiophile are someone who just wants a simpler setup I would recommend these receivers. But if you are a true audiophile and have had home theaters and stereo systems before I suggest that you at least wait for this year’s SC-LX501. Which will be out later in the summer. With the 101 priced at $500 and the 301 priced at $700, there are plenty of other options out there. 

Rating
VSX-LX101 — 3 Masks out of 5
VSX-LX301 — 3.5 Masks out 5 

Hope this review helps you out in your fight against bad technology I know this caped crusader, threw these criminals into jail. 

What I’m listening to this week?
New Song   – Dark Necessities (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Old Song     – Madness (Muse)
Demo Song – Soulshine Vol. 1 (Govt. Mule

What I’m watching this week?
Movie          – Batman Vs. Superman
TV                – Huang’s World (Viceland)
Netflix         – Orange Is The New Black 

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Samsung’s New Flagship, Won’t Be Sailing into My Home

Citizens! I posted earlier in the week on my Instagram (@themaskedaudiophile) that I was working on a review for the new Samsung UN78KS9800. Well, the time has come to do said review. If you don’t know about this television yet, sit back and enjoy learning about it.

This year Samsung decided to try to knock out this masked home theater crusader, but alas I still believe they have some work to do especially in the price category. At first glance this television is a beauty. It’s big, it’s bright, and it’s vivid! It has all the things you want in a television for you home theater. It’s 78 inch curved screen is pretty amazing if you ask me. Now with that being said, the television is also a full array panel. Thus, making this television a top contender for best television on the market. A full array panel allows the colors and black levels to be on par with the OLEDs and old plasma televisions. A full array panel is LED backlighting that covers the entire panel on the television. It allows for a ton more control on the local dimming, contrast, and color. Samsung along with Sony, both have full array panels this year, not to be confused with Vizio whom has a few backlit televisions that aren’t full array. The colors pop on this television without a doubt and the blacks are super detailed. We can all thank the full array panel for that.

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Horrible timing for this picture, but look at how big this television is! 

Being that the television is in the 9000 series of Samsung we do have the 10-bit panel and the super motion 240. The 10-bit panel will allow roughly 64 million shades of color that a traditional 8-bit panel. The super motion 240 on the other hand is really neat. It bridges the traditional black frame, between your a-frame and b-frame, with essentially a a.5-frame. It makes motion simulation really smooth. This television has no issue handling fast movements like sports (watched soccer) and action (watched star wars the force awakens) I went from regular antenna television all the way to watching 4k HDR discs on the Samsung 4K player. All in all, the television preformed extremely well and it looked absolutely spectacular. The only way I didn’t test it was for gaming.

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The good! This television is absolutely stunning. If you’re looking for a television that will feel like a movie theater this is it. The color is off the charts on the television.

The bad! When it comes to the motion and the black levels on this television I found it to be lacking. The black levels are not as good as the OLED or the Sony 940D in my opinion. The motion is also not as smooth as the Sony 940D which I put through the same paces as the 9800. I do however believe the 65 inch version of the 9800 does have better motion than the 78 inch version.

The ugly (Oh and I mean UGLY)! The price point on this television is not justifiable. The 78 inch version is a cool $9,999.98 and the 65 inch version is a less but still modest amount of $4599.98. Now normally I would say hey great televisions at a great price and the 65 inch I would agree more since the OLED in 65 inch is about $6,000, but when Sony has a 75 inch full array panel that currently is on sale for $5,999.99 I cannot in good faith recommend the Samsung. I don’t see how the price is justified in this television, maybe we will see a price drop like we did with previous and other models in the line-up, but I don’t foresee it happening soon.

All-in-all I will give this television 3 masks out of 5. Due to the price point and the lack black levels not being on par with its tiered competitors in other brands. My opinion save $4,000 and purchase the XBR75X940D from Sony, it’s 3 inches smaller but it has amazing black levels and color!

Citizens! This week we talked about televisions and I hope you enjoyed it just as much as I enjoyed watching everything on such a big screen! So normally I would say what I listening to this week, but since this is a television review, here’s what I’m watching this week.
In theaters – Finding Dory (It’s incredible, potentially better than the original…)
On Blu-Ray – Zootopia
On Netflix – Janis: Little Girl Blue
On Television – Game of Thrones (I finally started watching it)

Look forward to some more posts on the Instagram account and a post either this weekend or next week on the Amazon Echo. Alexa is to me is like Tony Stark’s Jarvis, but much less sophisticated. They should make a Jarvis mode, maybe a special edition Iron Man Echo when Iron Man 4 comes out. I really should send that idea to someone.

 

Well, until next time citizens, be safe out there when sitting and enjoying your home theater.