Pioneer VSX-1015TX... Opinions?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by JeffLab, Sep 27, 2005.

  1. JeffLab

    JeffLab Stunt Coordinator

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    I am in the market for a new receiver, and have been eyeballing this unit for a little while. On paper, everything looks good, especially for the price. How does this unit compare in the real world? What are peoples experiences and thoughts on this?
    I am currently running a set of recently purchased Athena Audition Series speakers and 10" sub from an old JVC receiver, and am due for an upgrade. I don't want to necessarily break the bank on a receiver, but I am willing to shell out for quality.

    Any input is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Have you checked local stores to see if they have any? They seem to be in short supply, I believe due to the fact that they are selling well. In it's price range, I think it is probably an adequate choice. I tried out a 1014 and found it's power to be a bit overstated, so don't rely on their claimed power of 110wpc (the manual specifically stated this was a 2ch rating only). It should have no problem driving the Athenas.
     
  3. ChrisCan

    ChrisCan Agent

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    In It's price range the 1015 is an excellent receiver. Quality components and a strong amplifier plus surround modes galore. I am very happy with mine.
     
  4. Jasen Chandler

    Jasen Chandler Stunt Coordinator

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    I do home theater installations for a local electrical contractor. Just a few days ago I installed one of these recievers in a dedicated 7.1 channel theater room. Prior to the home owner bringing this reciever for us to install I had been using a kenwood 7.1 (vr-9050) that had been lying around for auditioning the system.

    I am so dissapointed in the pioneer. The Kenwood is rated at 20Watts less per channel and had way better output. The 1015 really falls short in sound quality and output power. I expected way more from a THX select 2 reciever. For curiosity sake I took over a friends Outlaw 1070 and it whipped all of them. The Kenwood seems to have a bit more power but the outlaw rated at only 65WRMSx7 killed the pioneer. I'm glad this isn't my room. Tough to get to reference levels with the pioneer without distortion.

    IMHO the new Kenwood recievers are WAY better and super easy to set up right. I'd put my $400 somewhere else besides the underpowered Pioneer.

    Good luck looking for a reciever.
     
  5. John S

    John S Producer

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    Not a power house for sure. Great AVR for smaller rooms, or for people that do not demand true pay theater like reference levels. I liked the AVR, but it would not handle the volume levels I run at. But true pay theater type reference levels are way way loud and most people I run across do not run them very often if ever.
     
  6. JeffLab

    JeffLab Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I went ahead and picked this puppy up over the weekend (bestbuy 30 day return policy!), and have had the chance to play with it a bit over the last few days. My first impression with it was that its a pretty nice unit, nice setup, easy to use, great features, but not as powerful as I had expected.

    Typically, I am running it between -28 and -10 db for the sound levels I am accustomed to. Anything below -55 is nonexistant, and at -55 is barely audible. -35 is about where my wife likes it.

    The thing is, I don't think I should be so high up on the volume scale to be producing these levels of sound. My room isn't huge by any means (450 sq ft), so it seems odd to resort to cranking it so high to achieve what I consider acceptable listening volumes for a unit that is supposed to fill a 2000 sq ft room.

    I am debating whether to keep this or to trade up for a more powerful unit. Bang for the buck, it has all the bells and whistles, but I am definitely considering spending a few extra dollars for a stronger receiver.
     
  7. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    Just remember volume scales vary wildly from model to model. I replaced a Pioneer Elite 43TX with a 1014TX and imediatly noticed the volume scales didn't match up and these are two similar units from the same brand. The 1014TX however had no problem powering my Swans 5 speaker + DIY sub setup to reference level in a 15 x 20 room. Features galore and alot of clean output. In my opinion the 1014TX and 1015TX are great values for power and features.
     
  8. SummyD

    SummyD Stunt Coordinator

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    JeffLab, I am in the same boat as you. I almost don't hear anything from the speakers below -60db volume either. See my thread titled "1015 not loud enough". All the bells and whistles are holding me back from returning this as well. It's great bang for the buck but does seem to fall short on the output power front. I am giving it a few more days before making the return or keep decision.
     
  9. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    Think about it this way... IF (not saying it is) 0db on the 1014TX or 1015TX were reference level then that would indicate that conversations would be around 75db and peaks around 105db. At -60db (in theory) that would lead to 15db conversation and 45db peaks. No wonder it's not audible. For reference your average computer fan is around 30db and percieved silence is around 10db. The lesson here... it's not an absolute scale and scales varry from model to model... AND even if it were an absolute scale relating directly to reference level and the db level below it you're listening at you still wouldn't hear ANYTHING at -60db. I listen to movies at -15db and TV at -20 to -25db. There's plenty of headroom above that. The scale probably isn't even linear because going from -15 to -10 seems to be a much larger jump than going from -25 to -15. Don't let the "-xx" db on the front make you think it doesn't have alot of output power. If it goes as loud as you want with a little room to spare then does the "-xx db" on the front really matter?
     
  10. SummyD

    SummyD Stunt Coordinator

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    Stephen, I agree with you. It's just a little difficult to digest that for the same manufacturer, the scale would vary that much.

    BTW your HT link is broken.
     
  11. SteveCallas

    SteveCallas Second Unit

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    The strongpoint of the 1015 is its features. Take it for $450 and add a $300 pro amp for your mains while letting the receiver handle the rest and for $750 I don't think there is any other current option that would be better.
     
  12. Chris Brock

    Chris Brock Second Unit

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    Maybe I am wrong but I thought that the big story and deal when the 1014 (exact same amp section as the 1015) came out was the robust power output from a reciever of this price. I thought it had been lab verified by a reputable magizine of actually producing 115w with 5 channels, 20hz-20khz driven and still over 100w with all 7? I went from a Yamaha 5760 and the Pioneer 1015 has noticably more power?
     
  13. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    5760 is one up from the bottom model isn't it? I would hope the 1015 had more power. The 5890 is a bit higher up in the food chain.

    IMO, I think the 1014 was more hype than anything, because it doesn't actually have that great of an amp section. Most of the hype came about when the 1015 had been announced and the price of the 1014 dropped into the $300-350 range, a category in which it would be considered to have a lot of power. Compared to most other $500 receivers though, I'd say it's par for the course.
     
  14. JeffLab

    JeffLab Stunt Coordinator

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    Stephen, I believe you are correct, I think I am getting hung up on the -xx db number on the front panel. Its a mental block I guess.
    Just for fun I went over to my buddy's place and gave his HK 335 a listen to last night, and he also has to really bring the volume up to get decent sound levels out of it. I'm feeling a lot better about this unit now that its been put into perspective.
     
  15. MikeyWeitz

    MikeyWeitz Supporting Actor

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    Steve's on the $$$.

    Couple the 1014 with a Pro amp for
     
  16. Steve_L

    Steve_L Stunt Coordinator

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    To be EXACT about what the Pioneer manual states about power output.

    The manual, on page 75 of the Pioneer 1015 manual states.

    Specifications:

    Amplifier Section:


    Continuous average power output of 120 watts* per channel, min., at 8 ohms, from 20 Hz to 20,000Hz with no more than .2%** total harmonic distortion (front).

    Continuous Power Output

    Front.... 120 W + 120 W (20 Hz-20Khz, 8ohms, .2%)
    Center....120 W (20 Hz-20Khz, 8 ohms, .2%)
    Surround..120 W + 120 W (20 Hz-20Khz, 8ohms, .2%)
    Surround back...120 W + 120 W (20 Hz-20Khz, 8ohms, .2%)

    Continuous Power Output

    Front.... 150 W + 150 W (1Khz, 6 ohms, 1.0%)
    Center....150 W (1Khz, 6 ohms, .1%)
    Surround..150 W + 150 W (1Khz, 6ohms, 1.0%)
    Surround back...150 W + 150 W (1Khz, 6 ohms, 1.0%)

    Total harmonic distortion .... .09% 20Hz to 20Khz, 110 W, 8 ohms)

    * Measured pursuant to the Federal Trade Commision's Trade Regulation rule on Power Output Claims for Amplifiers.

    ** Measured by Audio Spectrum Analyzer

    So, that's what Pioneer says in the manual. The only mention of two channels is the measurment of .02% total harmonic distortion measured on the front speakers.

    It celarly states the power output is 120 watts average continuous across the 20 - 20Khz spectrum at 8 ohms, with .2% Total harmonic distortion ALL 7 channels driven, not just the front two.

    Clearly things change with a more complex speaker load, where the impedance changes significantly across the audio spectrum, but, for general starting point of the power of this receiver it is 120W ALL Channels driven, per the manufacturer.

    My personal experience with this receiver is that it works excellent, and puts out excellent volume in a 13X23 foot cathedral ceilinged room with my Klipsch Synergy F-3 system. Of course the Synergies are 97db sensitivity rating so YMMV with less efficient speakers.

    I will say I am extremely pleased with my unit.
     
  17. SteveCallas

    SteveCallas Second Unit

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    Mikey, I'd take a look at the Carvin hd1800 or a QSC RMX-850 over the Crown - they both have variable speed fans instead of fixed, better FR, and are heavier than the Crown. I went with the Carvin because it's made in the US and has twice the power of everything else in this price range.
     
  18. lee ison

    lee ison Stunt Coordinator

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    the volume scale on pioneer only applies to that rec. the scale is not a standard reference level, the only reveiw ,from a creditable source says it put out the wattage advertised.I think there is alot of subjective opinions that are not based on fact that only serves to cloud the issue. it comes down to this, if you don't like it, take it back and find something you are happy with.listening to levels above 90 bd for extended periods will ruin your hearing ,it my not show up for years but when it happens you will miss alot of music, after all that's what it's about.the pioneer may or may not be the best rec. for the money, but used as a pre-ammp it's helluv a bargain.
     
  19. Wes

    Wes Screenwriter

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    I have had my new 1015 for about a month now and am very pleased with it. I will say this, I replaced it in my dedicated theater (see my web site) from a Pioneer VSXd-709s which I loved. The 709 was rated at 100wpc and it had more power then the new 1015. The 1015 has enough power for the room but I find I need to be at -5 on the volume to match the 709's -15. The biggect improvement over the 709 is the PLII that the 709 lacked. I ran a homemade EX/ES and have not heard much difference with the True EX/ES so my main advantage is the PLIIx and componet switching.

    I have ran Onkyo also but prefer Pioneer, every so many years Pioneer comes out with a good heavy receiver (over 30lbs) that is very nice, then for no reason at all the next years model is a wimpy light weight. I have seen them do this several times thru the years. I just wait till they bring back out a nice one like this 1015 and buy.

    Wes
     
  20. Victor Ferguson

    Victor Ferguson Stunt Coordinator

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    The Pioneer is one of the best bang for your buck recievers available right now.
    Is it a great value? Yes.
    Does it have plenty of features? Yes.
    Is it a powerhouse? No.
    People need to keep things in perspective when talking about budget recievers. There is always going to be tradeoffs and with the Pionner it trades off sound quality and amplifier performance for extra features. You could get a reciever with better sound quality and a better amp section for the same price but your not going to get all the features the Pioneer has.
    My advice on the Pioneer would be to purchase from a retailer that will allow no questions asked returns and see if it meets your needs. I personaly found it not to work well with my setup but it might be great for you, and keep in mind at less than 500 dollars there will always be tradeoffs.
     

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