Along with the growing popularity of custom home theater builds, the comparison of Pioneer Elite VSX-LX304 and Denon AVR-S960H takes place. According to the results of our review, Pioneer Elite VSX-LX304 received 8.5 points out of 10 possible, and Denon AVR-S960H was rated 7.8 points. The release date of Elite VSX-LX304 is 2019, and AVR-S960H is 2020. Based on the data on the characteristics and features of both models, we can conclude that Elite VSX-LX304 has better performance than AVR-S960H.
For the built-in amplifier, the devices received different marks - 9 and 7, respectively, on a 10-point scale.
The number of channels is equal to the number of possible connected speakers. The Pioneer Elite VSX-LX304 supports 9.2-channels sound, but Denon AVR-S960H supports a 7.2-channels configuration.
RMS stands for the actual power of the receiver. The higher this value, the louder the sound can be produced. The differences between the models in terms of RMS power are significant - for the Elite VSX-LX304 this value is 100/8 W/Ohm, and for the AVR-S960H it is 90/8 W/Ohm.
|Stereo power (RMS), W/Ohm||100/8, 225/6||90/8, 125/6|
|Output impedance, Ohm||8, 6||8, 6|
|THD in stereo, %||0.08||0.08|
After reviewing the audio features of each model, we can rate the Elite VSX-LX304 9 out of 10, and the AVR-S960H - 6.
Bi-amping is the amplification of one speaker with two amplifiers. This amplification method has a positive effect on sound quality. Bi-amping is possible only on the Elite VSX-LX304.
Most receivers now come with a microphone included. It is with the help of this microphone that the auto-calibration system functions, which adjusts the sound of the receiver to the room.
|Digital to analog converter (DAC)||AK4458 384 KHz/32-bit||N/A|
|Pure direct (straight)||✔||✔|
|Auto speaker calibration||MCACC||Audyssey MultEQ|
|Speaker A/B switching||✖||✖|
|Other audio features||Advanced Sound Retriever, Hi-Res audio||Audyssey Dynamic Volume, Audyssey Dynamic EQ, Hi-Res audio|
The connectivity of competitors in our comparison is markedly different, Pioneer Elite VSX-LX304 scored 8, and Denon AVR-S960H scored 10 out of 10.
Bluetooth connection is now one of the main communication protocols for the receiver's control or even music broadcasting.
DLNA is the perfect way to use your local cloud storage to stream movies and music directly to a TV. You can use the DLNA protocol only with Denon AVR-S960H.
|USB||1 (USB 2.0)||1 (USB 2.0)|
Now music streaming services are gaining more and more popularity. They allow users to listen to millions of songs by subscription.
|Apple Music (AirPlay)||AirPlay, AirPlay 2||AirPlay, AirPlay 2|
|Other streaming services||Deezer, TIDAL, Pandora||Deezer, TIDAL, Pandora, SiriusXM, Qobuz, TuneIn Radio|
The presence of many connectors makes the receiver more versatile. But there are also narrowly targeted models, the number of connectors which are limited to a certain area of use. And when choosing their own receiver, users need to consider exactly your goals for using the receiver. For extensive connection, Pioneer Elite VSX-LX304 got 7 points, but Denon AVR-S960H received 8 points.
Pioneer Elite VSX-LX304 is equipped with 7/2 HDMI inputs and outputs, and Denon AVR-S960H has 6/2 HDMI inputs and outputs.
HDMI eARC is the next step in the development of audio return channel technology, which works in conjunction with HDMI 2.1. Using eARC provides the highest sound quality for home audio systems. HDMI eARC is available on Denon AVR-S960H.
The HDCP encryption protocol is now mandatory for most media devices. This security technology encrypts digital signals from one product to another. HDCP content-encryption protocol is present on Pioneer Elite VSX-LX304 in the HDCP 2.2 version, and Denon AVR-S960H has the HDCP 2.3 version.
|HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel)||✔||✔|
|HDMI eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel)||✖||✔|
|Digital content protection (HDCP)||HDCP 2.2||HDCP 2.3|
|Subwoofer output (LFE)||2||2|
|Headphone output||1 x 6.3||1 x 6.3|
|Optical digital input||1||2|
|Coaxial digital input||1||1|
|Phono (MM) input||✔||✔|
|Front panel connectors||USB, HDMI, phones, setup mic, AUX||USB, phones, setup mic|
|Multi channel preamp output||✔||✔|
The AV receiver is the heart of the home theater. And in this case, support for all current video formats ensures the best user experience, so it is very important to consider this when choosing a device. Video features of rivals in our comparison were rated 8 out of 10.
With the 4K pass-through feature, the AV receiver sends "native" 4K signals to a 4K TV from a video source without any processing. The Elite VSX-LX304 works with the 4K/60Hz video, and the AVR-S960H has the 4K/120Hz.
The AV receiver passes "native" 8K signals from a video source to 8K TV without any encoding, with the 8k pass-through features. The 8K path-through is available on Denon AVR-S960H.
|HDR (High Dynamic Range)||HDR10||HDR10|
|4K signal pass-through||4K/60Hz||4K/120Hz|
|8K signal pass-through||✖||8K/60Hz|
|HDMI signal pass-through||✔||✔|
|3D signal pass-through||✔||✔|
|HDMI pass-through in standby mode||✔||✔|
|Analog to HDMI scaling||✖||✖|
|HDMI to HDMI scaling||✔||✔|
|Other video features||DeepColor, x.v.Color, HLG, BT.2020||HLG, BT.2020|
In terms of evaluating additional features, the Elite VSX-LX304 got 9 points, but the AVR-S960H has 10.
Denon AVR-S960H has the ECO mode.
|Voice control||Amazon Alexa||Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri, Josh.AI|
|App control||iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android||iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android|
|Display||colour OSD||colour OSD|
|Tuner||AM, FM||AM, FM|
|Auto power off||✔||✔|
|Graphical user interface (GUI)||✔||✔|
|Firmware update||network, USB||network, USB|
|Other additional features||has not||IP Control, Web Control, RS-232 Control, App Control|
As the center of a home media system, each multichannel receiver has an additional set of terminals for connecting the second set of speakers to create additional audio space in Zone 2 or even Zone 3 where audio can have the separate source.
|Zone audio output||speaker, preout||speaker|
|Zone HDMI output||✔||✖|
|Multi-room control||Pioneer Control App, FlareConnect||HEOS App, Denon 2016 AVR Remote|
|Remote control input/output (IR)||1/1||0/0|
|DC trigger output (12V)||2||0|
Pioneer Elite VSX-LX304 got 8 points for the multichannel surround sound and Denon AVR-S960H got 7.
IMAX Enhanced is a licensing and certification program under which home theater devices deliver crisp 4K HDR pictures and powerful sound as it was designed by the IMAX engineers. Only the Elite VSX-LX304 licensed by IMAX.
|Dolby (other)||Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization||Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization|
|DTS HD Master||✔||✔|
|DTS (other)||DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DTS-HD, DTS-EXPRESS||DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DTS-HD, DTS-EXPRESS|