Pioneer VSX-D711 review: Pioneer VSX-D711

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
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The Good Clean, uncluttered design; A/B speaker switching; 100 watts per channel; 5.1-channel Super Audio CD/DVD-Audio input; AM/FM tuner; component-video switching.

The Bad No onscreen display.

The Bottom Line With great performance for both movies and music, this affordable receiver can fill even large rooms with sound.

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Pioneer's inexpensive VSX-D711 might be the ideal receiver for those looking to move up from a compact shelf system to a decent home theater. In this case, inexpensive isn't a code word for a stripped-down, el-cheapo model. The D711 has a full feature roster, ample power, classy style, and refined sound quality, making it an ideal candidate for use in any space from cozy bedrooms to sizable home theaters. Pioneer's inexpensive VSX-D711 might be the ideal receiver for those looking to move up from a compact shelf system to a decent home theater. In this case, inexpensive isn't a code word for a stripped-down, el-cheapo model. The D711 has a full feature roster, ample power, classy style, and refined sound quality, making it an ideal candidate for use in any space from cozy bedrooms to sizable home theaters.

Design
The D711's uncluttered faceplate presents an informative display, a volume control, and an input selector. All of the rarely used controls and buttons are tucked away behind a flip-down panel.

Since the D711 lacks an onscreen display, we expected to muddle our way through system setup, but the procedure was straightforward. Pioneer's product designers are hip to the fact that most home-theater novices never even attempt to perform surround adjustments, so they provided what the company calls a Quick Setup option. Punch the QS button, and the D711 prompts you through a few easy steps. Die-hard home-theater fans can bypass QS in favor of a more advanced setup procedure.

The full-sized, preprogrammed remote is exactly the same unit that Pioneer includes with its pricier receivers. It's fairly easy to use overall, and we appreciate the fact that Pioneer doesn't lump all Dolby/DTS surround and synthesized signal-processing modes together. That's cool because you can always get to standard Dolby/DTS with just one click of a button.

Features
The D711's feature list includes the latest digital-to-analog converters along with DTS, Dolby Digital, and Dolby Pro Logic II surround decoding for music and movies. We were surprised to note the D711's power--it's rated at 100 watts per channel. In this price range, 60 watts per channel or less is typical.

Also noteworthy are the component-video-switching facilities: two inputs and one output. In addition, you get three digital-audio inputs and one output, all of which are above par. Sure, the D711 has 5.1-channel DVD-Audio/Super Audio CD inputs, but the standard audio and video connections, though adequate for use with small systems, aren't particularly generous. We also spotted a preout-center jack that facilitates hookup to your TV's audio input, thereby eliminating the need for a separate center speaker. There's also a front-panel-mounted set of A/V jacks that'll come in handy if you need to occasionally connect a camcorder or a game console.

Performance
The D711's effortless sound was evident when we settled into our listening sessions with the Frailty DVD, a stark psychodrama about a man summoned by God to kill people. This film's enveloping surround mix and creepily powerful score communicate incredible tension. Neil Young's Red Rocks Live concert DVD is decidedly a bottom-heavy recording, but the D711's awesome, low-end punch brought a real swagger to "Cowgirl in the Sand."

Elvis Costello's new live CD Cruel Smile contains a brilliant update of "Watching the Detectives"; the D711 conjured up every last bit of the performance's immediacy and raw energy. The Pioneer's sound is neutral and clean, but it's nowhere near as warm and posh as that of the pricier Denons that we've heard recently. However, the D711's audio quality is richer than that of Yamaha's latest offerings.

With its cheap and cheerful price of just $365 (list) and an online price of around $230, the D711 more than delivers the goods. Its potent power reserves, generous connectivity options, substantial build quality, and stellar sound add up to an irresistible package. However, if you need the latest and greatest Dolby EX/DTS ES 6.1-channel surround, which adds two more rear speakers, check out the D711's big brother, the VSX-D811S. pioneer vsx-d711

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Pioneer VSX-D711

Part Number: VSX-D711
Pricing is currently unavailable.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Output Power / Total 500 Watt
  • Response Bandwidth 5 - 100000 Hz
  • Color black
  • Additional Features Multi-jog operation
  • Functions AV receiver
  • Sound Output Mode Surround Sound
  • Type AV receiver