CNET First Look
Pioneer's mid-level receiver offers features and performanceThe Pioneer VSX-831 receiver offers a number of unexpected features for the money as well as solid home theater performance.
[MUSIC] The Pioneer VSX-831 is an excellent $450 receiver, which promises a lot of cool features in addition to solid home theater performance. It's easy to use thanks to a simple remote and an attractive interface. I also like the inclusion of six HD on my inputs, which is rather good for the money. These are also designed to pass 4K and HDR signals, which offers some future proofing. [UNKNOWN] offers several streaming features but some of them are yet to be switched on. The most interesting of these is Google Cast, which will offer streaming for many apps on Android and iOS phones. And second yet to be used is Fire Connect, which is a proprietary multiroom system. But if you want to keep it simple, you can also get Bluetooth and Spotify connected. Cinema performance is the star here with detail, dialogue, and plenty of low end muscle. As you'd expect from a surround receiver for the money, music is a little lacking with an overly bright sound. If you want to play music foremost you'll probably need to spend more money, around $600, but as it is the Pioneer VSX831 offers decent value in an easy to use package. [MUSIC]