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Pioneer VSX-LX505 (with Dirac) Unboxing and Overview

BJL

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Thanks for your review. Can you comment on the differences and why you prefer the LX505 over the currently popular x3700h receiver?
I probably put it too strongly. There is nothing at all wrong with the 3700H, this was a personal choice because:

1. I dislike Audyssey, yes I know that it is possible to get a good result, but I much prefer Dirac Live. The Denon Audyssey app is another $20 and the idea of trying to fix a curve or do anything complex on an iPhone screen is a turn off for me.
2. The mono setting is important for me, I have well over a thousand tracks of monaural recordings, jazz, rock, soul, some classical, and I cannot tolerate the usual two speaker reproduction, it is bad (& inauthentic).
3. The Pioneer iOS app is excellent, but perhaps Denon's is as well, (if they have one), I didn't look.

Other than those to aspects, the two receivers seemed quite similar. Both were simple to set up. I do prefer the Pioneer UI, but that may be because I have spent time with it and I only kept the Denon for a few days.
 

StLouisRod

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What is the model of wireless audio transmitter that you use?
Thank you for the review: it does not seems that the LX505 is a game changer.
AR Acoustic Research AW871. 20 years old and the pair I have are still going strong. So much better than modern blue tooth equivalents.
 

buz

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Other than those to aspects, the two receivers seemed quite similar. Both were simple to set up. I do prefer the Pioneer UI, but that may be because I have spent time with it and I only kept the Denon for a few days.
Do you use the amps or is it in pre-mode? If using the internal amps, with what speakers?

Contemplating to get it to drive 4 Kef R3 and a Kef R2c
 

BJL

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Do you use the amps or is it in pre-mode? If using the internal amps, with what speakers?

Contemplating to get it to drive 4 Kef R3 and a Kef R2c
I use an external amp for the surround back (7.1.4 requires an external amp for those speakers), and the internal amps for everything else. My main 5 speakers are Eminent Technology LFT-16a's (relatively low efficiency) and for the 4 heights and surround back I have six SVS Elevation speakers (higher efficiency). Dirac balances the output, and I make the final adjustment using the Pioneer app, basically I set it so that the SVS speakers are attenuated vs. the Eminent Technology, which are set to 0 dB attenuation, the SVS at about -7 dB.

Works just fine. I thought about using an external amp but it turned out to be unnecessary for my application and listening habits (& I don't like to spend money just for the sake of getting a shiny new something or other). The receiver has not gotten excessively warm, so far, if it does I'll buy one of those external fan gadgets with a thermal sensor. I generally listen with the volume set in the range of -25 to -35

I bought the Pioneer because I wanted an all in one solution with Atmos decoding, a true mono output, and Dirac, simple enough so that I could spend my time listening to music and avoid obsessing over the details. My previous set up was a Frankenstein collection of separates, I eventually sold every piece.
 

StLouisRod

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Got my LX505 late 2021, and it has updated firmware at least once since then. Figure I'd post my impressions, and issues, for what it's worth. I would STILL like to know what DAC its using, though I can't say I'm disappointed with it's sound. But considering its predecessor faired quite poorly on this site, I am curious.

Overall, it has been a fairly frustrating affair to get the unit just to do what my 15 year old Sony A/V did with ease, much less the more advanced features. On more than one occasion I'd make an innocent change to a setting (i.e. change from 5.1 to 7.1 speaker config), which caused the unit to stop displaying an image on the HDMI output, regardless of input source chosen. Trying the soft resets did nothing. Only unplugging the unit for 30 seconds, turning back on, then off again (standby), then on, finally got it back to working.

  • Getting Zone 2 just to output whatever source was playing requires using the hidden buttons under the front flap, and gets turned off at seemingly random times, which is frustrating.
  • To avoid that annoyance, I tried just using the left/right pre-amp outs for my external amp music, but the signal level was MUCH lower than the Zone 2 outputs, making them virtually useless for that purpose. Many reviews center on the output voltage of the pre-amps, and I have to assume this one is woefully low. But I didn't measure them.
  • MCACC calibration always sets my twin subwoofers 6db too low, and also sets my mains as large, when they operate much better as small (80hz crossover). It also sets the EQ on the various speakers improperly to compensate for the "large" setting, which I then have to undo manually. Kind of defeats the purpose of "auto" calibration.
  • I also then tried Dirac Live calibration, but it sounded awful, likely because I didn't first reset the MCACC settings (which of course is NOT mentioned in the manual).
  • HDMI inputs 1-3 (the non-8k ones) will NOT send my Oppo BDP-103 (1080p) blu-ray PCM audio in anything but STEREO. However, plugging it into 4-6 does allow surround sound.
  • Only the 1-3 inputs will output to Zone 2, which means my 4k Roku playing hi-rez music, youtube music, etc. into input 4 can NOT be sent to my other room.
  • On the plus side, it runs cool inside my console cabinet with only 2 inches of air clearance above it. I still installed a 4" fan in the back of the cabinet to pull the warm air out, powered by a custom cable I made plugged into the low amperage (.25A) programmable trigger output. And why so LOW? Even though the fan is rated at .175 amps, the trigger just BARELY gets it started. However, even with the fan off, it ran fairly cool. This can't be said for many of the other competing A/V units, from the reviews I've read/watched. And no, I can't use the high (1 Amp) trigger for the fan, because I'm already using it to power my A/R wireless audio transmitter, which needs far more amperage to operate than a tiny fan.
Quick update to my issues. I followed the manual and completed a restart process, followed by a reset to factory default using the OSD. This resolved the "stereo only on inputs 1-3" issue. As I re-calibrate the speakers and change my settings back, I'll keep an eye on whether it drops to stereo only mode again. Maybe I can narrow down which change causes the drop and report to Pioneer. I also completed a 7 point Dirac Live calibration, and while it also set the speakers to large (not optimum), it sounds much better this time. Part of that is that I watched numerous youtube videos explaining the process in detail, which likely made my measurements more accurate this time.
 
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BJL

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Thanks that's reassuring...
You were asking about the internal amps powering my speakers, whether I was satisfied (I am), but the answer I gave was kind of vague, so I played some tracks and measured the levels with REW and a UMIK-2 mic, not ideal because REW is only using one channel, but reasonable for an objective comparison (if you have a UMIK mic, of course).

These are A-weighted measurements at listening levels I find comfortable and where the speakers are getting enough to be operating nicely full range, with the volume control set in the neighborhood of -25 or -30. I didn't use anywhere near the maximum level of the receiver, also note that the volume control isn't linear, it gets a lot louder fast at the top of the range. Maybe someone else knows how it is calibrated, but it works for me.

2.0 (stereo) classical - (Mozart 38th Symphony) level ranged from 45 - 65 dB(A)
1.0 (mono) R&B - Booker T & the MGs "Jelly Bean" fairly steady at about 65 dB(A) up to 70.
7.1.4 (Atmos) Electronic - Yello Point ranged from 45-61 dB(A) - this was a surprise for me, I thought it was louder than the measurement shows.

The ambient sound in the listening room, large window open, is about 35 dB(A) or less, sometimes up to 40.

I hope this is useful for someone.
 

DrStranger

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@greenpsycho Did you send the 505 to amirm for testing ? You mentioned in your first post that you would. I might have missed it in the review index if you did?
 

dlaloum

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Since most Dirac Live activities for the CES 2022 have been cancelled, the announcement of the new Dirac Live feature is no longer time critical so we are working on a plan to announce the feature at another time/opportunity and it is unknown when it will be.
However I feel I need to say more than that, so I'm "autoanswering" those very few questions where I can comment.

Is it somehow related to the Dirac's website document that I posted?
Yes, it is.

Is it different from Bass Control and Room Correction?
Yes, it's a different new feature that complements those.

Is it targeted to AVR/Processors?
Yes, it is

Will it be supported by existing units?
It can possibly be supported by existing units through a firmware update.
It is significantly heavier than DLBC though, so there's no guarantee.

Let me conclude by saying that it will take months as priorities have changed and we will see at least another announcement about a different subject before that.
Thanks a lot for your interest :)
Flavio
Hi Flax,

Just call me a "nag" ....

It's been almost a year now, with no update from Dirac with regards to new product/functionality

You intimated elsewhere that we should expect something in Autumn.... so, given Autumn is almost over, I thought I would do a little prompting!

I have been no Dirac Live for almost a year now, but would seriously consider an AVR upgrade if the appropriate new functionality were released - specifically the sort of functionality mentioned in articles from Dirac around SRC....

Writing with great lack of patience (sorry - not sorry :) )
 

DrDal701

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I've yet to find any information on the pre-amp mode with the LX505. There's nothing in the manual, and I can't find any discussion about it.

I currently have a Denon X3400H running a 5.1 system (looking to upgrade shortly....maybe the LX505 or the new Denon X3800H).
A 5 channel Rotel RMB-1585 amp powers my Paradigm Studio 100 v.5s, Studio CC-590 v.5 center and older Paradigm surrounds.
Sub is a Paradigm Studio Sub 12. Disc player is an Oppo UDP-203. New Sony X95K TV is on it's way.

Apparently the Denon X3700/X4700, in their pre-amp mode, will disconnect the amps from the pre-amp when all speakers are powered by
an external amplifier (not sure but I think the new X3800/X4800 may have improved on this feature?)

Any info on the LX505 pre-amp mode?

Any recommendations on which receiver would be good for my system...i.e. the LX505 or Denon X3800/X4800?
Majority of use will be TV/4K movies/sports, with some dedicated music listening.
 

Chrispy

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The only avrs I've seen mention of this type of pre-amp mode has been with D&M avrs...not that that's definitive or anything but would be interesting who else does something like that.
I've yet to find any information on the pre-amp mode with the LX505. There's nothing in the manual, and I can't find any discussion about it.

I currently have a Denon X3400H running a 5.1 system (looking to upgrade shortly....maybe the LX505 or the new Denon X3800H).
A 5 channel Rotel RMB-1585 amp powers my Paradigm Studio 100 v.5s, Studio CC-590 v.5 center and older Paradigm surrounds.
Sub is a Paradigm Studio Sub 12. Disc player is an Oppo UDP-203. New Sony X95K TV is on it's way.

Apparently the Denon X3700/X4700, in their pre-amp mode, will disconnect the amps from the pre-amp when all speakers are powered by
an external amplifier (not sure but I think the new X3800/X4800 may have improved on this feature?)

Any info on the LX505 pre-amp mode?

Any recommendations on which receiver would be good for my system...i.e. the LX505 or Denon X3800/X4800?
Majority of use will be TV/4K movies/sports, with some dedicated music listening.
 

dlaloum

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I've yet to find any information on the pre-amp mode with the LX505. There's nothing in the manual, and I can't find any discussion about it.

I currently have a Denon X3400H running a 5.1 system (looking to upgrade shortly....maybe the LX505 or the new Denon X3800H).
A 5 channel Rotel RMB-1585 amp powers my Paradigm Studio 100 v.5s, Studio CC-590 v.5 center and older Paradigm surrounds.
Sub is a Paradigm Studio Sub 12. Disc player is an Oppo UDP-203. New Sony X95K TV is on it's way.

Apparently the Denon X3700/X4700, in their pre-amp mode, will disconnect the amps from the pre-amp when all speakers are powered by
an external amplifier (not sure but I think the new X3800/X4800 may have improved on this feature?)

Any info on the LX505 pre-amp mode?

Any recommendations on which receiver would be good for my system...i.e. the LX505 or Denon X3800/X4800?
Majority of use will be TV/4K movies/sports, with some dedicated music listening.
There is no Pre-amp mode as such with the Onkyo/Integar/Pioneer AVR's..

The Pre-amp is always active, and the amps are always connected/powered - if there is no speaker connected, then they sit there with basic bias current going to them and nothing else happens.

So to use it as a preamp, just connect to the Pre-outs and go for it... (as I do!)

Performance as a preamp is excellent.
 

ivo.f.doma

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Is it possible to set the volume higher than 82dB with these AVRs? Because it's not possible on my Pioneer. I have a scale from -80dB to 0dB. I am interested in how Amir increased the volume to 84.5dB to reach the output of the preamplifier 2 volts.
 

Flak

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Hi Flax,

Just call me a "nag" ....

It's been almost a year now, with no update from Dirac with regards to new product/functionality

You intimated elsewhere that we should expect something in Autumn.... so, given Autumn is almost over, I thought I would do a little prompting!

I have been no Dirac Live for almost a year now, but would seriously consider an AVR upgrade if the appropriate new functionality were released - specifically the sort of functionality mentioned in articles from Dirac around SRC....

Writing with great lack of patience (sorry - not sorry :) )
Hi @dialoum :)

CES, starting on January 5, has been chosen for announcements... Autumn ends on December 21 so I've been a bit optimistic (15 days)
 

dlaloum

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Hi @dialoum :)

CES, starting on January 5, has been chosen for announcements... Autumn ends on December 21 so I've been a bit optimistic (15 days)
Spring ends over here at the end of November... (Australia) ... so I assumed Autumn would similarly end in November for those upside down people on the other side of the world!

Looking forward to the CES announcements - and the reviews once the NDA's are released!
 

buz

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After about a month, I am quite happy with mine but can't figure out how to activate compression, night mode or whatever you want to call it in the app?

Also, is there really no Loudness correction??
 

dlaloum

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After about a month, I am quite happy with mine but can't figure out how to activate compression, night mode or whatever you want to call it in the app?

Also, is there really no Loudness correction??

Late Night mode is compression ... (Quick Menu button on remote, Audio, Late Night )

Loudness correction - webmenu (ciuser/ciuser) , Audio Adjust menu (from left hand menu options) , Dolby, Loudness Management on/off

This is on my Integra DRX 3.4 - I would expect the same options to be there on the LX505.

Before you ask - yes only with Dolby Surround.
I have found Dolby Surround to be the most useful, currently universal setting for me.
 
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