Receivers are the heart of a home theater system. They connect all the speakers and other devices, like the TV, to the system and make them sound good. Pioneer vs. Denon: Which one should you buy? It turns out that Denon makes some of the best receivers, and they’re doing well in the market right now, too. Even so, Pioneer is often said to make the best receivers for raw power.
Denon is very good at making it easier to calibrate, set up, and choose settings, so it makes the receivers better in every sense of the word. You will get new audio formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS: X Pro, as well as the best receivers that can upscale up to 8k resolution.
Pioneer makes some of the best audiophile-grade receivers, like the Elite series, that can be used to play music. You should make sure you know how to run and change the system before you buy one. If you want a cheap Pioneer receiver, look into the VSX series, like the Pioneer VSX-834, which is a good one.
Pioneer vs Denon receiver: Best receiver review
Let’s have a look at Pioneer vs Denon receiver review to find the best match for you.
Best receiver for home theater: Denon AVR-S760H 7.2 vs Pioneer Elite SC-LX904-11.2
Comparing Pioneer Elite vs Denon receiver, the Pioneer Elite SC-LX904 uses Class D3 amplifier along with DSP and ESS9026 384 kHz/32-bit high quality DAC. Pioneer brags about this amplifier claiming it to be more efficient and can effectively reduce noise.
Feature and performance
Pioneer has PQLS & PQFA allow HDMI-CEC to enhance content from DVD player by eliminating jitter. If you use the “Audio Exclusive Mode”, it will disable HDMI video signal while it is not in use. Using the “AV Direct Mode” completely disables the network functionality. It also has Dialogue enhancement feature. Bluetooth, Wi-Fi is available in both receivers.
DSD sampling rate and SNR is much higher in Pioneer when compared to Denon. Video compatibility and upscaling features of Denon makes it go further than Pioneer for better visuals. However, the use of DSP and amplifier makes it much better in term of performance. It can deliver high-quality audio with excellent clarity and precision.
If we compare Pioneer vs Denon receiver in terms of video, the Denon supports up to 8k and eARC whereas Pioneer allow up to 4k content. Denon has Auto Low Latency Mode Pass-through and VRR that are needed for smooth gaming. Sound modes like Movies, Music and Games are available. Similar to Pioneer, Denon receiver delivers 3D surround sound along with overhead effects. Audio is quite immersive as well.
This makes movies more enjoyable. Dialogue enhancer ensures clearer and louder vocals. Denon receiver when paired with decent pair of speakers, shines and excels in quality. At this price point, Denon AVR-S760H is the best 8k receiver. It has Dual Speaker Presets to save two speaker configurations along with Audyssey settings.
With Denon HEOS you can connect compatible speakers like the Denon Home 150, 250, etc, and play multi-room audio. However, with Pioneer you get number of zones. These receivers come with user friendly remote control with which you can control several settings. They come with on-screen instructions along with detailed user manual that helps in setup and establishing connection. Streaming audio from Spotify, Deezer, Pandora is much easier with these receivers.
For Pioneer DC-LX904, it uses MCACC Pro Auto Room Tuning. Here you need to place the provided microphone in the listening position, then allow it to perform tests. This process is known to eliminate the effect of standing waves. The overall process should take 3 to 12 minutes. Denon Audyssey is quite a popular and reliable room correction software.
It also supports MultiEQ, Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume. Audyssey suggests that you perform measurements in six different locations. You should place the microphone within 2 ft. From the main listening positions while carrying out the measurements.
Inputs and outputs
Pioneer has six HDMI inputs, three HDMI outputs, Ethernet, USB, Phono In, Digital coax and optical, speaker out, 2 sub out, etc. Denon AVR-S760H has 2 Composite In, one out, 6 HDMI and 1 out, Phono In, 2 Digital optical in, 1 coax in, 2 sub out, USB, speaker out and etc. Comparing Denon AVR-S760H vs Pioneer SC-LX904, the Denon receiver supports HEOS but not FlareConnect, DTS Play-Fi, Chromecast built-in which are available in Pioneer.
In terms of ports and connectivity, Pioneer goes ahead by few points. It has gold plated RCA terminals, more number of speaker terminals, better supported formats like FLAC, AIFF, AAC. Pioneer works with Sonos whereas Denon works with HEOS. Comparing Denon vs Pioneer receiver price, the Pioneer Elite SC-LX904 is quite expensive.
Best receiver for overall use: Denon AVR-X6700H vs Pioneer VSX-LX503
Pioneer receiver has a metal body with a volume and input selection knob on the front side. It has Digital Quad-Core 32-bit DSP along with Aureus™ Floating-Point DSP TI. The VSX-LX503 receiver is best for mid-sized rooms. Denon uses monolithic amplifier Class AB type. It has an excellent dynamic range and can easily driver power hungry speakers.
Features and performance
If you make compare Denon vs Pioneer receiver, Denon X6700H has a number of channels. With Pioneer you can create a 5.1.4, 5.2.4 or 7.2.2 home theater system. However, with an additional amplifier, you can expand it to 11.2 channels. Dolby Atmos movie tracks are quite enjoyable with both these receivers. Pioneer ensures dialogue clarity as well. It makes the sound spacious with broad soundstage.
It has Phase control feature to make sure there is synchronization between the speakers and the sub. If you are using height speakers, the Reflex Optimizer option will improve the audio. Setup is much easier with detailed instructions. FlareConnect, Chromecast are only available in Pioneer. It also works with Google Assistant and DTS Play-Fi.
Along with the remote control, you can use the Pioneer Music Control App for selecting options. You can choose from three different listening modes: AUTO/DIRECT, SURR, and STEREO. With Mode button you can tune AM/FM or use it for multiroom. Denon’s X6700H sound quality has excellent clarity with details and precision. Similar to Denon X8500H, it has Dynamic Discrete Surround Circuit along with AL32 Processing and 32-Bit/192kHz DAC.
These features improve precision, resolution and reduces distortion. It has Clock Jitter that eliminates jitter and phase noise resulting in natural sound reproduction. If you compare the Denon AVR-X6700H vs Pioneer VSC-LX503 receiver, then you will notice Denon has Auro 3D. This will add Front Height, Surround Height and Top Surround to a 5.1 system.
This 3-dimensional audio standard will ensure realistic and powerful surround sound. Make sure speakers are placed in correct position. Denon X6700H is IMAX enhanced certified that ensures improved picture and sound quality. For this you will need an IMAX enhanced TV.You can choose from different listening modes like Auto detection, Denon Original sound, Stereo playback, etc.
If you use the Audio Enhancement features, you can even set audio as per your room size. It has HDMI with eARC so make sure you have compatible TV to enjoy high-quality content. It has Advanced ISFccc Video Calibration that delivers premium video quality and allows you to ‘fine-tune’ your TV or choose between different picture modes.
You can use remote, Denon AVR Remote app, HEOS app or voice assistant like Google Assistant and Alexa to control the receiver. A protection circuit secures the receiver from any damage due to excessive voltage or heating. In terms of video features, supported resolution and connectivity like HDMI 2.1, Denon seems to offer more options. Comparing the Denon vs Pioneer cost, the Denon X6700H receiver costs twice of that of Pioneer LX503.
Denon AVR-X6700H uses Audyssey MultEQ XT32 with Sub EQ HT, LFC, Dynamic Volume, and Dynamic EQ. But it doesn’t have any Audyssey DSX. Follow instructions on the display along with the manual. Pioneer VSX-LX503 uses the same MCACC. You can also manually tweak MCACC settings, in that case the Pioneer receiver user manual will help you.
Input and output
Pioneer VSX-LX503 has 6 HDMI In and 2 out, Ethernet, USB, Audio In, Phono In, digital coax and optical, speaker out, etc. While Pioneer has an adequate number of ports, comparing Denon vs Pioneer receiver, the Denon offer more advanced and versatile ports at lower price point.
Denon AVR-X6700H has 8 HDMI In and 3 out, 6 Analog In, Phono In, 2 Digital Coax and 2 optical, 2 Sub out, USB, gold-plated speaker terminal, etc. It supports HDMI 2.1 along with VRR, ALLM, and QFT making it one of the best receivers for gaming. These features ensure lag-free smooth gaming.
Best 7.2 receiver: Denon AVR-X2700H vs Pioneer VSX-834 7.2
Comparing Pioneer vs Denon receivers, the Denon cost twice of that of Pioneer. Although both have same number of channels, Pioneer has higher power than Denon. Denon has higher number of connections. Support for 8k and a few advanced audio and video formats might explain the higher cost.
Features and performance
Pioneer VSX-834 has a slim and sleek design compared to previous models. It delivers immersive audio along with virtual effects that makes sound more spacious and livelier. You can create a 5.2.2 sound system. The DTS codecs make the sound richer and more detailed. Unlike the Denon AVR-X6700H, the X2700H doesn’t have Auro 3D.
Comparing Pioneer vs Denon receiver, Pioneer doesn’t have any voice support, whereas Denon does. Pioneer VSX-834 video quality is well-defined and have excellent resolution. However, the video is much better and improved with Denon due to several formats like HDR 10+ and wide color gamut. Pioneer VSX-834 can fill up medium-sized places easily. Audio formats like Dolby and DTS eliminates any dead spots.
It has Personal Preset feature where you can save up to 3 customized settings. There is dialogue enhancement for prominent vocals. You can choose one from the Advanced Surround modes: Classical, Unplugged, Entertainment Show, Drama, etc. Both these receivers have Bluetooth 4.2 and Wi-Fi. Denon uses Class AB amplifier which is powerful but less efficient than Class D.
You can create 5.1 with Zone 2, 5.1.2 or 7.1 sound system. Similar to other Denon receivers, this one has 32-Bit/192kHz DAC to ensure excellent audio performance from CD or other audio sources. Along with audio formats, advanced DSP helps to attain optimum performance when connected to speakers. Sound quality will be powerful and will meet your demand even if you are an audiophile.
There are listening modes including Auto Detection, Denon Original Sound, Stereo Playback, and Direct Modes. You can tweak Audio Enhancement, Volume and Level Settings to get the best audio as per the content and your taste. It supports eARC which is absent in Pioneer VSX-834. Compatibility with HDMI 2.1, 4k @120Hz and features like VRR, ALLM make this receiver ideal for gaming.
Based on your content, you can choose video modes like games, Movie or auto. Setup is straightforward and it is quite flexible with options like AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth. Voice assistant, app or remote compatibility makes it much easier to control. Creating and controlling multi-room audio is much easier with Denon.
Playing content from Tidal, Pandora, Spotify connect is much easier with Denon. Two zones are available and you can take advantage of the All Zone Functionality to stream the same content both in the main zone and zone 2.
Room correction and others
Room correction software of Denon and Pioneer are same as mentioned above. MCACC ensures speaker position, SPL and the overall sound quality is a better fit specifically only for your room design. It works with Phase Control and Subwoofer EQ. Denon’s Audyssey is trustworthy and deliver reliable results. In this model the Sub EQ HT is missing from Audyssey.
Using Audyssey in Denon requires spending some money. You need to purchase the Audyssey MultEQ Editor App to use all the features of this software. This is a must have because without the app you will missing major features.
Inputs and outputs
Denon X2700H has 6 HDMI In and 2 out, Ethernet, 4 Analogue In, 2 digital optical In and 1 coax, 2 sub out, USB, etc. Comparing Denon vs Pioneer receiver connections, Pioneer falls behind with 4 HDMI In and 1 out, USB, Audio In, Digital coax and optical, 2 sub per out, speaker out, etc.
Pioneer vs Denon
Denon is ruling the receiver market currently. Pioneer has some of the best vintage receivers that shine out among many even today. Such as example is Pioneer SX-1980. Also, if you prefer warm sound profile, go with Denon. Whereas, Pioneer has a bright tonal characteristic. Comparing Denon vs Marantz vs Pioneer, Denon and Marantz are quite similar.
They are same in terms of features and functionality. Denon makes receivers ensuring they are user friendly in terms of control, connections and use. Denon is focusing on the mass market and making smart and reasonable priced receivers. Pioneer is the brand that remains out of focus, but still makes some of the best receivers. Between Pioneer Elite vs Marantz, Marantz is much appropriate for music.
People often prefer vintage receivers over modern ones because of their quality and performance. Some of the best Pioneer vintage receivers are SX-450 and SX-1980. Pioneer SX-1980 is said to be a premium product delivering high-fidelity audio even today. Audio purists and researchers predict modern receivers lost its ‘charm’ while attaining multiple advanced features.
If you think you game a lot along with watching movies, Denon AVR-S760H or X6700H will be your best option. In case you want features like FlareConnect or Chromecast built-in go for Pioneer Elite SC-LX904. Not all Pioneer receivers support voice assistants, like the VSX-834 model, so make sure the Pioneer model you chose have this feature.
Both receivers ensure ease of setup and elaborate user manual. Along with Denon and Pioneer, Yamaha, Onkyo and Marantz make some of the best receiver. While choosing one, make sure it has ample channels, adequate power to run the whole home theater and has decent performance. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are available in most receivers.
This part is going to answer some of the most asked questions collected from all over the internet. take this part as a parting gift from us.
Pioneer vs Denon receiver, which one should you buy?
Denon has a huge number of receiver models at different price range. If you are a newbie and just starting with home theater systems, you can easily choose an affordable one from Denon.
Will room calibration really make sound better?
Since room design and structure are different for each user, these room calibration software helps to improve audio. Room calibration definitely makes an improvement in sound quality. Audyssey is highly reliable and popular but MCACC is good as well.