Review: Pioneer vsx-24tx Surround Pre

Category: Preamps

This is the smallest of the Pioneer Elite THX-certified recievers (or it was a couple years ago when I got it). It puts out a respectable 90W RMS into 5 channels.

This is a very good receiver, far besting the Technics I had in my home theater before this. I have tried it as a receiver, processor only, and a power amp only, driving various speakers. In my 2-channel rig, it did fairly well powering B&Ws, but not as well as the Acurus A100. It was somewhat harsh and sloppy compared to the Acurus, though still respectable. As a processor, it does quite well, though I preferred the outboard DAC I normally use for PCM. As a catch all solution, however, this is a great piece. The interface and remote are both quite nice, and there is never any shortage of power. It's easy to set up if you know your stuff, and has every sort of connectivity one could ask for. It tends to run a little warm, but that is to be expected with a receiver like this. One very nice feature is that you can adjust the level of processing for DSP modes, so if the mode is too much effect, you just drop it down a notch. You can adjust balance for all 5 channels in 1 dB intervals with a 12 dB range.

I've had some problems with it, however, as the jacks on the back seem to like to break free.... lame. Then again, it's a fairly low-priced unit as THX receivers go, I got mine for $600 or so. The surround sound is convincing, and 2-channel has plenty of power, though not as refined as the A100 (The A100 also is a straight 2-channel power amp, so it has less work to do). The controls are great, and overall I'm very happy with this receiver. I recommend it to anyone needing a reciever in the price range.

Associated gear
Paradigm cc-350
Paradigm Monitor 9
Optimus LX-5
B&W DM 605 s2
Toshiba SD-3109
Various video sources

Similar products
Technics receiver
I have owned the VSX-24TX since January of 2000. IMHO, it is one of the better sounding A/V receivers in this price range. For the year it was released, the feature-set was pretty extensive. Build-quality is very good. All controls have a solid feel. FM performance is ok, as is the phono stage. Although the remote is decent, I have replaced it with a Home Theater Master MX-500. I have not had one single mechanical or operational problem with this receiver. That, despite it being accidentally showered with dirt from a contruction project (the drop cloth fell off).

Compared to other similarly-priced A/V receivers by Yamaha, Harman Kardon, Denon and Onkyo, I find the sound to be fairly warm, smooth and with good detail. Dynamics are only fair, and compression at higher volumes, especially in 2-channel mode, is easily apparent. Imaging is good, although the sound stage is a bit flat, with fair width, good hieght, and very little depth.

My only real complaint is a rather weak output voltage from the subwoofer/LFE output. I have had to add a Paradigm X-30 (14dB of line-stage gain) to bring the signal level up enough for my subwoofer.

In May of 2002, I added a Rotel 1066 6-channel amp to run the front three channels (rated at 150 watts X 3 in bridged mode). Although the improvement was significant, especially in terms of dynamic range, detail and soundstage, the differences were not that huge. This begs the conclusion that the Pioneer's amp section is very respectable for a mid-fi kit.

Associated gear:

Teac (vintage) CDP w/internal DAC
Toshiba SD-2109 DVD player
Vandersteen 1C (2 pair - front L/R and rear L/R)
Vandersteen VCC center channel
Definitive Technology PF15 powered subwoofer
Paradigm X-30 subwoofer crossover box
Behringer Feedback Destroyer Pro/Parametric EQ (to control room modes)
JVC and Panasonic S-VHS VCRs
JVC DishPlayer receiver w/optical digital audio output
Thorens TD-166 MkII Table
Shure M91HE pickup
Monster Cable ICs throughout
Kimber (entry-level) speaker cable