“To demo the receiver’s audio performance, I played back a wide variety of Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS:X, DTS-HD MA, and PCM content, including several Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and streaming titles from various sources like VUDU, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix. For the majority of my testing, I opted to keep the device in its “Direct” listening mode, which minimizes processing while still engaging the unit’s MCACC speaker calibration.
In general, I typically find that most home theater receivers offer very similar sound when compared to one another using the same speakers. With that in mind, I was actually a bit surprised to notice a warmer tonal quality through the VSX-933 compared to my Onkyo TX-NR555 after swapping the units out.
This distinction in sound mostly applied to playback using each receiver’s auto calibration EQ, but even in their pure modes, there seemed to be slightly more emphasis on the lower mid-range through the Pioneer. While mostly pleasing, this warmer profile also resulted in a comparatively boomy quality in dialogue and bass response at times versus the Onkyo’s brighter yet crisper output. In the end, which approach is superior mostly comes down to a matter of personal preference, and after finishing my evaluation of the VSX-933, I actually found that the Onkyo sounded a little too thin when I swapped it back in. ”