PROS / It features audio decoders for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.
CONS / It doesn’t have two-zone audio.
VERDICT / The Pioneer VSX-LX101 is an excellent AV receiver with decent power output and more audio decoders than most receivers at this price point.
The Pioneer VSX-LX101 is a 7.2-channel AV receiver with elite upscaling and pass-through capabilities and most audio decoders used by DVDs and Blu-rays. While the power output is average and it lacks two-zone audio, this is a solid AV receiver for most home theater systems.
With 7.2 channels of audio, the VSX-LX101 can power up to seven speakers and send signals to two subwoofers. The audio decoders take full advantage of these channels. While it features the ubiquitous Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD decoders, it also has Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, which provide overhead channels. In addition, it has upmixing decoders for converting stereo inputs to surround sound, and Dolby Digital Plus – the main audio format used in most mobile audio streaming and video streaming platforms like Netflix.
Like all the best AV receivers around $500, the VSX-LX101 is compatible with 1080p, 4K and 3D video. This is crucial because a good home theater receiver should be the hub between your television and your input devices. You can connect your cable or satellite box, gaming system, Blu-ray player, DVD player, and whatever other input devices you own to the receiver, and then connect the receiver to the television. With six HDMI inputs, you should be able to connect most of your devices to it.
The VSX-LX101 is rated to output 80 watts of power per channel when using 8-ohm speakers, and 140 watts with 6-ohm speakers. This is about average for an AV receiver at this price point. Still, it’s plenty of juice to recreate the theater experience in most rooms. It even has two subwoofer pre-outs to make those low rumbles in an action sequence feel real.
One minor downside is the lack of two-zone audio. This is a feature that allows you to send a second audio input to two channels, creating a second zone of audio that’s independent from the main surround system. This is only necessary if you want to use the receiver to power two speakers in another room.
Like all the best home theater receivers, the VSX-LX101 has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It’s also optimized for Apple's AirPlay and Android's DLNA. This means you can easily send audio to the receiver over your home Wi-Fi network using your iPhone or Android phone.
Connectivity is perhaps the most important and most overlooked aspect of a receiver. It's the main reason to upgrade from an older model. The VSX-LX101 has exceptional connectivity with its six HDMI inputs. It also has composite inputs and a phono input, which is used for turntables. The only connectivity that’s missing is analog audio inputs for older systems like VCRs.
There isn’t much to complain about with the Pioneer VSX-LX101. It provides good power to seven speakers, has all the best audio decoders and features ample connectivity options. Whether you have a home theater room or a small surround sound system, this receiver is a good hub for it.