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Pioneer’s latest budget-friendly Dolby Atmos AV receivers start at $379

Pioneer VSX-535 AV receiver.

Pioneer has announced two new AV receivers that offer Dolby Atmos and IMAX Enhanced support at budget-friendly prices. The VSX-535, is an 8K, 5.2-channel model that sells for $379, and the VSX-835, is an 8K, 7.2-channel receiver priced at $499. Both models are available starting March 6 at and select retailers.

The 535 and 835 feature 4K/120 and 8K/60 compatibility via their four HDMI 2.1a (and HDCP 2.3) inputs, plus ARC/eARC compatibility via their single HDMI output. These ports can also passthrough all major flavors of HDR, including HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and HLG. Gamers will appreciate their support of 2.1a features like variable refresh rate (VRR), quick frame transport (QFT), auto low-latency mode (ALLM), and source-based tone mapping (SBTM).

Along with the onboard AM/FM tuner, there are three analog stereo inputs and two digital audio inputs (optical and coaxial) for wired connectivity, while the integrated Bluetooth receiver lets you stream music wirelessly to these units from any smartphone, tablet, or computer. If you want to run a powered subwoofer, you can connect up to two simultaneously for increased low-end power. A second zone analog stereo output is also included.

As with the rest of Pioneer’s AV receivers, the VSX-535 and VSX-835 are equipped with the company’s Multi-Channel ACoustic Calibration system (MCACC) room-tuning technology, which can automatically adjust the receiver’s EQ for the specific acoustics of your environment.

Pioneer VSX-535

Pioneer VSX-535 AV receiver.

The VSX-535 has a 5.2-channel system with 80 watts of class A/B amplification at 8 ohms or 150 watts at 6 ohms. It can be configured in either a 5.2 or 3.2.2 setup, giving you a choice of whether or not to run discrete height channel speakers. If you choose a traditional 5.2 (or 5.1) setup, the built-in Dolby Height Virtualizer will let you hear a slightly less immersive version of Dolby Atmos’ overhead sound effects.

Thanks to Dolby Surround, even non-Dolby Atmos content can be upmixed into a more immersive, 3D-like presentation.

Pioneer VSX-835

Pioneer VSX-835 AV receiver.

The VSX-835 uses a 7.2-channel system with 80 watts of class A/B amplification at 8 ohms or 165 watts at 6 ohms. It can be configured in either a 7.2 or 5.2.2 setup, once again giving you a choice of whether or not to run discrete height channel speakers. The two height/surround channels can also be configured as a second zone.

The VSX-835 also has Dolby’s Height Virtualizer, but it ups the ante with the inclusion of DTS:X compatibility and an IMAX Enhanced mode, which Pioneer says has been optimized to adhere to strict performance standards around color, brightness, contrast, and audio fidelity.

As with the 535, it has Dolby Surround upmixing, but you can choose to use DTS Virtual:X  and Neural:X upmixers instead if you prefer the way they sound.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like spatial…
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