The VSX-1015TX is the flagship model of Pioneer's A/V receiver line, and as such it certainly raises expectations. The good news is that Pioneer's product planners didn't let us down. It's one of the more affordable receivers with THX Select 2 certification, which guarantees the receiver's performance in rooms of up to 2,000 square feet. It turned in stellar sound on CDs, DVDs, and high-resolution SACDs and DVD-Audio discs. We're also happy to report that the Pioneer VSX-1015TX's abundant feature set exceeds our expectations for its midline retail list price of $650.
Most of the lesser-used controls and buttons on the Pioneer VSX-1015TX live behind a large flip-down door on the handsome front panel. The exposed controls are well labeled and easy to use. The onscreen menus and navigation are more logical than most, and we felt right at home just a few minutes after opening the box and hooking up the necessary cables. Unlike some other models in Pioneer's A/V receiver line, the 1015TX is available only in black.
Pioneer's autosetup program, the MCACC (Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration), has always been one of our favorites, so when we heard it had been revamped, we were nervous the engineers might have messed up a good thing. Happily, they followed the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" school of thought: the new MCACC still balances the satellite speakers' volume levels, measures speaker-to-listener distances, and determines the various "sizes" of the speakers. Additionally, it equalizes the sound of your speakers in your room--a feature not found in earlier iterations--and includes the microphone needed to measure the levels. If you don't like the effect of the equalization, go into the 1015TX's manual MCACC mode and adjust the tonal balance of each speaker. This exceptional versatility is a welcome advance over that of the original system, and Pioneer deserves praise for devising the most accurate autosetup system on the planet. We're not going to name names here, but some competitors' auto systems are so poorly implemented, they do more harm than good.
Most A/V receivers' technical specifications are pretty useless, but the one that carries a lot of weight with us is weight. Paying lip service to quality is easy; massive power supplies and amplifiers are expensive and heavy. The 1015TX weighs almost 34 pounds and measures 16.8 inches wide, 6.75 inches high, and 18.3 inches deep.
The long and slender remote's LCD window displays the selected source, and we found the button layout easy to fathom. Curiously, you can't select the SACD/DVD-Audio input from the remote--the front-panel button is the only way to access it.