Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver

Pioneer VSX-1018 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver - Front View
Pioneer VSX-1018 7.1 Channel Home Theater Receiver - Front View. Photo (C) Pioneer Electronics, USA


The Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K Home Theater Receiver offers 7.1 channel audio processing with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, four HDMI audio/video inputs with video switching and upscaling, XM/Sirius Radio connectivity via optional tuner/antenna, and is iPod compatible via USB port. The Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K has an MSRP of $599. For further details on the features of this receiver, keep reading this product profile.

In addition, after reading this profile, check out my Short and Full Reviews, as well as my VSX-1018AH-K Photo Gallery and Video Performance Test Results.

Video Inputs and Outputs:

The Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K offers Three HDMI inputs and one output, as well as Three HD Component inputs and one output. There are four Composite Video and two additional analog audio-only inputs, plus a front panel A/V input for connection of an additional source, such as a camcorder. The Pioneer VSX-1018 also features a VCR/DVR/DVD Recorder connection loop.

The Pioneer VSX-1018 can also upconvert all standard definition analog video input signals to HDMI video outputs to simplify Receiver connections to an HDTV.

Audio Inputs and Outputs:

The receiver has five digital audio inputs (Two Coaxial and Three Optical), Analog stereo audio connections for a CD player and CD or Cassette audio recorder, and a subwoofer preamplifier output.

The VSX-1018 also has a set of 5.1/7.1 channel audio inputs for 5.1 channel DVD-Audio, SACD, Blu-ray, or HD-DVD 5.1/7.1 channel analog audio connection options. The VSX-1018 can also access multi-channel audio via its HDMI 1.3a connections. In addition, this receiver also has a set of 5.1/7.1 channel preamp outputs as well as 2-channel preamp outputs for multi-zone operation, and one digital optical audio output.

Audio Features - Sound Processing:

The Pioneer VSX-1018 features extensive surround sound processing options, including: Dolby Digital EX, DTS-ES, DTS 96/24. Also, DTS Neo:6 and Dolby ProLogic IIx processing enables the Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K to extract 7.1-channel audio from absolutely any stereo or multichannel source. In addition, the Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K is also has the ability to decode DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital Plus, and Dolby TrueHD soundtracks on Blu-ray Discs and HD-DVDs via its HDMI 1.3a compatible inputs.

Audio Features - Multi-zone Capability:

Another useful audio feature is the ability for the Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K to be used in a full 7.1 channel configuration, or in a 5.1 channel configuration in the main home theater room, with simultaneous 2 channel operation in a second room. However, if you want to use the full 7.1 channels for your home theater environment, you can still run an additional 2-channel system in another room by using the Zone 2 preamp outputs. However, you will have to add a secondary amplifier to power the speakers in Zone 2.


Amplifier Characteristics and Speaker Connections:

The Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K is rated at 130 Watts-per-channel into 8-Ohms at 1 Khz.

However, actual power output across all frequencies is lower.

Note: Across all frequencies (20 Hz- 20 Khz), the latest published specs indicate that the 1018 has a continuous power output capability of 110 watts per channel at 8 ohms, with a .09% THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) via its seven internal power amplifiers.

The Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K is up to challege from any source, including SACD and DVD-Audio, Blu-ray Disc, or HD-DVD.

Speaker connections consist of banana-plug-compatible multi-way speaker binding posts for all channels.

Video Processing:

The Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K features HDMI pass through of high definition signals up to 1080p.

Also, all standard definition video input signals are deinterlaced using and upscaled up to 1080p via the HDMI monitor outputs.


Additional Features - Front Panel Display, OSD, and LFE Features

The fluorescent front panel display and Onscreen menu system make setup and operation of the receiver easy and fast. Also featured is an adjustable crossover on the Subwoofer LFE (Low Frequency Effects) pre-out channel.

Additional Features - AM/FM/Sirius/XM Satellite Radio - Remote Control:

The Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K not only has the standard AM/FM tuner, but also has built-in Sirius and XM reception capability. Subscription and optional antenna are required for receiving Sirius or XM Satellite Radio Service. There are also 40 station presets provided that can be used for setting any combination of favorite AM/FM/XM or Sirius/XM stations or channels. Neural Surround Decoding provided for XH-HD surround signals.

A Wireless Infrared Pre-Programmed Remote Control is provided.

Additional Features - iPod Connectivity, Lip Synch Adjustment, Dialog Enchance:

With the front mounted USB port you can plug an iPod directly into the VSX-1018 without the need to purchase an additional accessory adapter. Using the wireless remote, you can navigate and access the files stored on your iPod.

In addition, the incorporation of Lip-Synch adjustment on the Pioneer VSX-1018 allows the user to compensate for audio/video time discrepancies that may be encountered from various sources.

Also included is Dialog Enhancement which insures understandable center channel sound levels when listening to DVD, Blu-ray, or HD-DVD multi-channel soundtracks.

Additional Features - MCACC:

The Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K also features an automated speaker setup function called MCACC. By connecting the provided microphone to the Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K and following the instructions outlined in the user manual. The MCACC uses a series of test tones to determine the proper speaker levels, based on how it reads the speaker placement in relation to the acoustical properties of your room. However, keep in mind that you may still have to some minor adjustments manually after the automatic set up is completed in order to conform to you own listening tastes.


Final Take

Home Theater receivers have definitely evolved, with even mid-priced units incorporating features and performance, in some cases, that did not even exist as recently as a couple of years ago.

With the VSX-1018AH-K, Pioneer has incorporated such features as three HDMI video inputs, HDMI video and audio switching with analog-to-HDMI video conversion and upscaling, advanced HDMI audio capabilities, iPOD compatibility, and both XM and Sirius satellite radio.

Having had a chance to get a hands-on with the receiver, I can say that it does perform well and offers convenient and abundant features. One of my favorite features is the front mounted USB port for connecting an iPod. In addition, the MCACC automatic speaker setup system does provide fairly accurate results, which can be fine tuned by the user. Also, this is one of the least expensive receivers to offer on-board 1080p upscaling. In fact, in comparison to other home theater receivers I have reviewed with built-in video scalers, the VSX-1018AH actually does a good job.

For a more thorough look at the features, functions, and performance of the VSX-1810AH-K, also check out my Short and Full Reviews, as well as my VSX-1018AH-K Photo Gallery and Video Performance Test Results.

If you are planning to purchase a mid-range home theater receiver, with lots of features and good performance for the price, then Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K may deserve your attention.

The Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K has a suggested retail price of $599.