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Review and Measurements of Pioneer VSX-LX303 AVR

andreasmaaan

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#21
I don't know how to interpret such a graph.
Here is another one they did, very different, for a AB class integrated:
I would also like to understand better how useful this graph is TBH. Perhaps someone with more technical knowledge of amplifiers can chime in.

What I do understand is this: where you see peaks in distortion (lower trace) around the zero-crossing points of the fundamental waveform (upper trace), this implies that the amplifier produces crossover distortion, which is a form of distortion whose level is inversely related to level of the fundamental.

Since auditory masking becomes more effective as level increases, distortion that increases in level as the level of the fundamental decreases (as is the case with crossover distortion) will be more audible than distortion that increases in level as the the level of the fundamental also increases (e.g. clipping distortion).

If you look at the graph of the Mark Levinson I posted, you see that the distortion primarily occurs at/around the zero-crossing point. This is not the case in the graph you posted. If the distortion in either graph is audible, it is more likely to be audible in the case of the Mark Levinson.

What I'm less sure about is how necessary it is to look at a graph like this, given we already have a THD/IMD+N vs power/voltage graph. It depends, I think, on whether the rise in THD/IMD+N as voltage decreases is attributable primarily to noise or distortion. If the rise is attributable to noise, any such crossover distortion is likely to be inaudible (buried under the noise). But IIUC, a THD/IMD+N vs power/voltage graph will not show this, hence the (possible) utility of this additional measurement showing only the distortion waveform relative to the fundamental.

It's a topic I'd like to find out more about, too :)
 

M00ndancer

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#22
I wonder how my 9 year old Denon AVR 1611 EU would measure. It got Audyssey MultiEQ with a test mic, so that's handy. Probably as bad as this Pioneer.
 

daftcombo

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#23
I would also like to understand better how useful this graph is TBH. Perhaps someone with more technical knowledge of amplifiers can chime in.

What I do understand is this: where you see peaks in distortion (lower trace) around the zero-crossing points of the fundamental waveform (upper trace), this implies that the amplifier produces crossover distortion, which is a form of distortion whose level is inversely related to level of the fundamental.

Since auditory masking becomes more effective as level increases, distortion that increases in level as the level of the fundamental decreases (as is the case with crossover distortion) will be more audible than distortion that increases in level as the the level of the fundamental also increases (e.g. clipping distortion).

If you look at the graph of the Mark Levinson I posted, you see that the distortion primarily occurs at/around the zero-crossing point. This is not the case in the graph you posted. If the distortion in either graph is audible, it is more likely to be audible in the case of the Mark Levinson.

What I'm less sure about is how necessary it is to look at a graph like this, given we already have a THD/IMD+N vs power/voltage graph. It depends, I think, on whether the rise in THD/IMD+N as voltage decreases is attributable primarily to noise or distortion. If the rise is attributable to noise, any such crossover distortion is likely to be inaudible (buried under the noise). But IIUC, a THD/IMD+N vs power/voltage graph will not show this, hence the (possible) utility of this additional measurement showing only the distortion waveform relative to the fundamental.

It's a topic I'd like to find out more about, too :)
What I understand is that you can look at the number of waves during the fundamental wave.
In your graph, there are 2 waves during the fundamental waves. It goes twice as fast so the frequency is twice as big. That means second order harmonic predominant.
In mine, there are 3 waves during the fundamental waves. Hence 3 time faster, so 3rd harmonic.
 

andreasmaaan

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#24
What I understand is that you can look at the number of waves during the fundamental wave.
In your graph, there are 2 waves during the fundamental waves. It goes twice as fast so the frequency is twice as big. That means second order harmonic predominant.
In mine, there are 3 waves during the fundamental waves. Hence 3 time faster, so 3rd harmonic.
I see many waves (spikes, really) in the graph I posted. That would I indicate much higher order than 2nd, I would have thought.
 

andreasmaaan

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#26
2nd order (two "bushes" during 1 fundamental form).
The many spikes are noise.
My interpretation!
Wouldn’t you expect noise to be independent of the signal? In this case the spikes occur at the same points in relation to the signal waveform.
 

daftcombo

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#27
I don't know. The guy at Stereophile interprets it as "a burst of high-frequency noise at every zero-crossing".
 
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#28
If you can be without it for awhile, I encourage you do send it in.

These AV products seem more underwhelming than I expected. I tested best I could an earlier Marantz pre/pro which wasn't terrible, but not really befitting its original price. I tested an Emotiva pre/pro which was basically a broken design. But you couldn't say it didn't meet spec because Emotiva doesn't publicly disclose any specs for the device. Indicating they knew how it performed in my mind. Maybe Yamaha is an honest company in the AV world. I'd like to find someone who is. I have a 15 year old mid level Harmon Kardon which basically equals these very expensive Marantz bits of gear, and beats this under-performing Pioneer Elite. But it doesn't have all the new formats and features. At one time Pioneer Elite gear was really very good. Now they are hoping you'll buy the name before realizing it is name only these days.

Thank you Amir for a site like this. It is so badly needed.
For "an honest company in the AV world," I would like to hear about NAD receivers, such as the T 758 and T777s. NAD touts its modular design construction, so that updates can be performed at the board level. Dirac is also standard. Reviewers say it power output claims are not inflated and that it has very good sound quality.
 
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amirm

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#29
Firstly, THD+N vs frequency (especially important for class D amps, apparently). Or, if that is not easy, one of the standard IMD tests (e.g. CCIF).
On the first, I tried. The unit would go into thermal back-off due to duration of that test (which is at multiple output voltages).

On the latter, I ran the (SMPTE) IMD versus power level:

 

estuardo4

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#30
my general assumption is that

1 receivers are always rubbish, a proper amp is better
2 all major hi-fi components except DACs (so speakers, amps, receivers) start at $1000
1. Agree. IMO you need a pre/pro and a separate power amplifier/s
2. For DACs, sure. But based on reviews on ASR and other sites, you can begin with $500 for the stereo amp, if it is using, for example, the Hypex or ICEpower chips. And for speakers, it definitely depends on room size, model, efficiency. But, IMO again, this is the component where you should spend more time testing on your own home.
 

andreasmaaan

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#31
I don't know. The guy at Stereophile interprets it as "a burst of high-frequency noise at every zero-crossing".
I think it's probably a slew of high-order harmonics, but either way, it's inversely proportional to the level of the signal, so if it's audible, it's not going to sound nice I guess.
 

nightfishing

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#34
Just my experience:

I bought an onkyo 686 a couple years ago to add surround to our living room. It was just fine for 5.2.2 but fell flat on its face when I tried to drive some new speakers (KEF Q350) in 2.1 mode. I actually was on the fence if the speakers were defective until I hooked them to an old hk integrated and heard them sing.

Otherwise it was fine, had a decent DAC (at least on paper) etc (I would send it in, but would cost more than its worth to ship back and forth lol)

It's biggest flaw (and what I wished I knew to look for at the time) was that it lacks pre-outs, so you are stuck with the internal amps. My 15 yo HK had pre-outs, so I "assumed" that a spanking new Onkyo would too. dumb ass lol.

I replaced it with a Marantz 7012 (and latter a 7013) and have the best of both worlds (all three worlds?) It drives the speakers just fine and has pre-outs so I can spend more $$$ on a power amp lol
 

restorer-john

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#35
Seriously Amir, you need to send it back, get a refund and point Pioneer to your review. Otherwise they win.

I wonder how those old, retired Japanese Pioneer audio engineers feel when they see poor performing gear bearing their proud company name?
 
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#36
I think so many of these receivers are let down by the fact that everything input via the analogue inputs is processed by an ADC.

A few years back I had a Harman Kardon Class D A/V receiver (DPR1005 IIRC), and anything sent via the analogue inputs sounded bad, but the digital stuff sounded ok...
 

SEKLEM

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#37
I think so many of these receivers are let down by the fact that everything input via the analogue inputs is processed by an ADC.

A few years back I had a Harman Kardon Class D A/V receiver (DPR1005 IIRC), and anything sent via the analogue inputs sounded bad, but the digital stuff sounded ok...
I remember those. Despite poor analog input performance, that was a superb display of engineering.
661F9944-7B32-4BC2-910D-6168C6FD5111.jpeg
 

bravomail

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#39
Thx for review, Amir! Can u u measure the weight of it? Mine is 18lbs (Yamaha 683). And ye - the guy who can lend his Yamaha 785(0) - pls do it if u have spare DAC and poweramp. I don't have poweramp, so cannot.
After seeing what cheap Class-D all-in-one can do, I wonder why AVR makers all don't switch to class-D? Because one thing for sure - cheap class-D sounded better, cleaner, punchier to me, than my current AVR. And class-D has size and thermal advantage.
As to what to do, Amir. I was really hoping you will try one of those compact Pioneer AVRs. So if u r within return window, and if u feel like it, pls return it and get Pioneer Elite Slim Receiver Audio & Video Component Receiver, Black (SX-S30)
https://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-Elite-Receiver-Component-SX-S30/dp/B01MTQ5UVK/
It features Class-D to boot! I'm hoping it won't cut out thermally so early being Class D.
 

amirm

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#40

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