Any opinions on the Pioneer Elite VSX-41

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Gerry East, Jul 17, 2002.

  1. Gerry East

    Gerry East Auditioning

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    I'm considering a new receiver at about the $500 price point. In addition to the usual suspects at this price from Denon, Harmon Kardon, and Marantz, I'm interested in the Pioneer Elite VSX-41. From reading its specs, it seems to be basically an Elite version of the 811S. Does anyone have any experience with this receiver, or any thoughts on how it compares to other receives in its price class? Thanks for any responses.
     
  2. DanielSmi

    DanielSmi Second Unit

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    well being that it came out only 2 wks ago you probably won't find alot of people in anyone that has experience with this they didn't announce it until md- june and oes on sale some time this month probably in the beginning so it's probably shipping be now but it hasn't been for long.

    Daniel Smith
     
  3. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    IMO Pioneer Elite is a very safe brand to buy.
     
  4. Gerry East

    Gerry East Auditioning

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    Sorry, I didn't realize it had only been out such a short time. I saw it on a couple of web sites the other day, and it looked interesting.
     
  5. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Gerry, I saw one at Tweeter this past weekend. I own the 811S and I'd say that they are very similar spec/functionality wise, they look identical with the only differences being that I could see: the remote has an LCD display at the top and the LED display was red instead of blue. For me, I wouldn't see the need to upgrade to it from the 811S since I suspect they'll sound fairly similar (I suspect they have identical Crystal processing). The differences may be a somewhat better amp section in the VSX-41 and/or a bigger power supply. It does have something called Re-Eq which the 811S does not but I am not sure what that is. Pioneer doesn't have the manual on-line yet unfortunately.

    cheers,


    --tom
     
  6. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Re-Eq is the re-equalizing part of THX processing. Supposedly some DVDs have not been optimized from home theater viewing, and the sound track from the theater is just recorded to the disk. Since your HT is most likely not the same size/shape as a real theater, nor is it filled with 150 sound absorbing bodies and seats, Re-Eq is supposed to fix that. The problem is, its a crap shoot when to use it and when not to, since you dont know if a soundtrack has already been adjusted by the DVD producer. Also more and more DVDs are going to be fixed for HT use, so the feature becomes more and more useless.
     
  7. David Susilo

    David Susilo Screenwriter

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    There are more differences between the 811 vs 41.
    Some examples:
    1. different remote
    2. more digital inputs on the 41 (on front panel for video gaming)
    3. 3 years warranty on the 41 vs 1 year for the 811 (at least in Canada)
    4. 10% higher wattage in 41 (not that it matters)
    5. lower THD in 41 (also, not that it matters)
    and the already mentioned (but I find somewhat important): blue LED on the 41 and the Urushi finish is just too cool to be disregarded.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    David, the 811s actually has an optical digital input on the front as well. I'll never use it but it's there [​IMG] In looking at the remote, the only difference I can see is the LCD display at the top. I think the 850S also had a LCD display on the remote. My guess is that the main difference is probably somewhat better amplification stage. I believe they'll also be releasing a 43, and 45 model so it may be worth waiting to see what those have.
    cheers,
    --tom
     
  9. David Susilo

    David Susilo Screenwriter

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    Thank you for the info. Therefore, other than warranty and cosmetic design, there will be no real difference. I've just contacted Pioneer Indonesia (where these units were manufactured), they claimed that the amplification system is exactly the same (in terms of sound quality).

    I would personally wait for at least the 43 since it will use MOSFET amplification, will have a phono stage, more video inputs and the component inputs will be HD capable too.
     
  10. Gerry East

    Gerry East Auditioning

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    Thanks, everyone, for the responses. Since I'm not in a hurry, I think I'll take David's and Thomas's advice and wait for the 43. Any info on when that will begin shipping?
     
  11. David Susilo

    David Susilo Screenwriter

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    In Canada, it's scheduled for August 2002 release. Usually, Pioneer is about 2 weeks late. So I'd expect Mid-September 2002.

    Just my US$ 2 cents (approx $12,580.98 Canadian)
     
  12. Scott*CB

    Scott*CB Extra

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    I looked at both the 41 & the 811S today as I've narrowed it down to these two units for my system. The 41 was in a rack with three other Elite receivers (49, 47 and a left over 36). Compared to its fancy siblings, the 41 was clearly the ugly stepchild of the family. Unlike the Sony ES lines which look very similar through the line, the 41 is much closer to the 811S than it is the rest of the Elite line.

    From what I could tell, the 41 is a "911S" dressed up as an Elite with a bit more power and ReEQ and little else. I looked through the top at the guts and it looks pretty flimsy for an Elite. The power supply and heat sinks are kind of flimsy and the front panel doesn't have the elegant black gloss finish of the others, rather a shiny black plasticy feel. The display is the same as the 811S but with an amber cover plate. There was a noticable drop between the build and finish of the older 36 and the 41. I'd be curious to see it side by side with a 33TX.

    Beyond the cosmetics, the 41 did sound great. It smoked two high end Yamahas nearby sounding louder, bigger and warmer than each. Then again, the 811S sounds really good also so I wouldn't be surprised if they were very close if not identical.

    I was looking(hoping?) to see if the Elite would have the expected advantage in build quality to justify the extra $200 but it looks like the opposite is true. It seems like Pioneer is compromising build quality for features at the low end of Elite. This is less an indictment of the 41 than praise for the 811S. Probably, if the 811S weren't such a great package at it's price level the 41 would seem really great. It will be interesting to see where the level jumps among the upcoming 43 and 45s. I think I'll go with the 811S and spend the difference on better speakers or maybe just buy more DVDs.
     
  13. David Susilo

    David Susilo Screenwriter

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    Scott,

    Pioneer has the 'habit' of making its highest end regular line to be the same with their lowest end Elite model.

    It was the case with their old VSX-11, VSX-21, and now VSX-41.

    Both their models (the 41 and 811, and also their old 21 with its twin regular-line) are made in Indonesia.

    According to my friend who works at the manufacturing plant in Indonesia, their internal units are 100% identical with the exception of some features being disabled for their regular model, different remote, and a more-stringent quality control for each component that goes inside the Elite line.
     
  14. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Scott, I came to the same conclusions as you and own the 811S. The 41 seems like it is simply the 811S dressed as an Elite player so places like Tweeter can sell it and not have to match Best Buy prices on the 811S [​IMG]
    David, what you said is what I suspected. The 10 watts power difference in the specs is probably simply 811S's that passed the more stringent quality control procedures. I suspect it has the same amplification stage as the 811S.
    cheers,
    --tom
     
  15. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  16. Matt Jesty

    Matt Jesty Second Unit

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    o.k., HERE I GO TRYING NOT TO TROLL FOR FLAMES.....
    While I have always liked the "sound" of the Elite end of the pioneer line ,I have previously found them to be short on Balls ...However, I have been initially impressed with the 41 and plan on doing some "blind" A/B's against the Yammies, Denons, and ES'.....Always seemed to me that there was quite a differance in amp sections between Elite and regular pioneer, but will have to recompare this new "match-up"....no onscreen display would bother me though 'cause these aren't the most intuitive set-up menus.....
     
  17. David Susilo

    David Susilo Screenwriter

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    There used to be a time when Pioneer had 2 types of amps. Regular push-pull for their regular line and MOSFET for their Elite line.

    Now they have 3 types.
    1. regular push-pull for their regular line
    2. hybrid (whatever that is) for their double-dip/'mutt' line (for example, the 811 and the 41)
    3. MOSFET for their pure-bred line

    None of their amps are ballsy. However, although very subjective, I like the sound of their hybrid and (even moreso,) MOSFET. From my personal experience, even a low-end MOSFET can beat the sound of a high-end push pull. This is not saying MOSFET is better, just has a better sound characteristic to my ears.

    I would say that MOSFET is a poor-man's tube amp just based on its sound characteristic. And just like tube, it's not as ballsy as regular push-pull.
     
  18. Scott*CB

    Scott*CB Extra

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    David,
    Thanks for the clarification on the two lines. I'm still trying to figure them out. They seem very similar. The MOSFET would be a significant plus and is probably why the 47 and 49 sounded a lot better. I imagine the 43 will be MOSFET but it will also be at least twice as much as the 811S.

    Matt,
    I'm not trying to dis Yammies as I've heard they have excellent HT sound but the difference was really surprising. I would say the gap between the 41 and the Yamahas in volume and space was as significant as the difference between the 41 and the 49. Even cranked back it sounded bigger and warmer.

    The 41 may have higher QC but it didn't "feel" like an Elite whereas the 47, 49 and 36 were rock solid. The shiny black finish even seems cheesier than the brushed aluminum of the 811S. The remote is the same as the 850 and is identical to the 811's with the LCD which to me doesn't seem that big a plus. At this point, the 811S is probably good enough for me.
     
  19. David Susilo

    David Susilo Screenwriter

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    Given the choice, I would rather choose the 811 than the 41 counterpart. I don't feel the price difference is warranted. Regardless, since neither uses MOSFET (and the 43 will, with manual MCACC to boot), I'd wait (and am waiting, actually) for the 43 or the 45.

    Yes you can buy two 811s for the price of a 43, but to me, since I already have the 24TX (MOSFET) that's still in mint condition, I would wait and pay the get (at least) the 43. Again, IMHO, the price difference is now warranted (Hybrid vs MOSFET).
     
  20. Lyle_JP

    Lyle_JP Screenwriter

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    I would go with the 41 over the 811S for three reasons:

    * Better remote
    * Better warranty
    * Re-EQ

    The third reason is the biggest for me. I find that I use the THX mode on my receiver (39-TX) with a good deal of films. There are a lot of "harsh" mixes out there, and having some kind of re-equalization feature (be it THX or Re-EQ) is now critical for any receiver I purchase.

    -Lyle J.P.
     

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