Pioneer VSX-S 520 Visit Site

Pros / This is the smallest AV receiver on the market.

Cons / It lacks the power for great home surround sound.

 Verdict / Unless you have a big setup that demands a lot of power, then the Pioneer VSX-S520 is a great option that doesn’t hog space in your entertainment center.

Most AV receivers are bigger and heavier than a cinder block, which means they take up a significant part of your entertainment center’s shelf space. This isn’t the case for the Pioneer VSX-S520, which is the smallest AV receiver on the market at less than 3 inches high. However, the diminutive size means that it lacks the power of most AV receivers. It only has five channels and a weak amp, which means that it’s best for a small home theater system with speakers that have low power handling.

The Pioneer VSX-S520 is one of the few home theater receivers in this price range that only has five channels of audio. Most receivers have seven channels, which provide additional depth or dimension to the audio. That said, most movies are mixed to a 5.1-channel format, so the additional channels are superfluous in most cases. However, it’s likely that more and more movies will feature 7.1 audio in the future, so sticking to a 5.1-channel receiver could soon be a legacy issue.

As with most of the best home theater receivers, the video passthrough functions of the VSX-S520 are excellent. The receiver has four HDMI inputs that are compatible with deep-color, 4K and 3D video. Of course, the one downside to this is that there are only four HDMI inputs, whereas most receivers have six, but this is one of the sacrifices you make with a slim design.

The VSX-S520 features the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD audio decoders, the most common high-definition audio formats for Blu-ray. Pioneer promises to add the Dolby Atmos and DTS:X decoders in future updates, which is neat but sort of useless on a 5.1-channel system. The receiver also has the Dolby Pro Logic II and DTS Neo:6 matrix decoders that are ideal for upmixing a stereo signal to a surround sound system.

Like the best AV receivers around $500, it comes with multiple wireless options – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Apple AirPlay. However, since it’s much smaller than most receivers, it lacks legacy inputs. There aren't analog audio inputs or composite inputs for older DVD players or gaming consoles that lack HDMI outputs. It does feature a phono input for playing records on a turntable.

  • Rated Output for 8-ohm Speakers
  • Rated Output for 6-ohm Speaker
  • Warranty
  • Height
  • Weight
  1. According to the manufacturer, this is the power output when using 8-ohm speakers.
    More is Better
  2. 10  Pioneer VSX-S
    40.0 Watts
  3. 130.0 Watts
  4. 115.0 Watts
  5. 80.0 Watts
  6. Category Average
    86.0 Watts


The Pioneer VSX-S520 is the slimmest AV receiver on the market, which makes it ideal for home entertainment centers that have little space to spare. However, this comes with some downsides. It’s not very powerful. It only has four HDMI inputs. It only has five channels of audio. Still, this is a good receiver for a small surround sound system.

Pioneer VSX-S 520 Visit Site