Let's compare Sony STR-ZA3100ES versus Pioneer Elite VSX-LX304 for an overview of all their pros and cons. According to the results of our review, Sony STR-ZA3100ES received 6.3 points out of 10 possible, and Pioneer Elite VSX-LX304 was rated 8.5 points. The release date of STR-ZA3100ES is 2017, and Elite VSX-LX304 is 2019. And as a result of the comparison, Elite VSX-LX304 seems to be a better option for the role of a home theater center than STR-ZA3100ES.
For the built-in amplifier, the devices received different marks - 7 and 9, respectively, on a 10-point scale.
The number of channels is equal to the number of possible connected speakers. The Sony STR-ZA3100ES supports 7.2-channels sound, but Pioneer Elite VSX-LX304 supports a 9.2-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 STR-ZA3100ES it is 70/8 W/Ohm.
|Stereo power (RMS), W/Ohm||70/8, 90/6||100/8, 225/6|
|Output impedance, Ohm||8, 6||8, 6|
|THD in stereo, %||0.09||0.08|
After reviewing the audio features of each model, we can rate the STR-ZA3100ES 7 out of 10, and the Elite VSX-LX304 - 9.
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)||N/A||AK4458 384 KHz/32-bit|
|Pure direct (straight)||✔||✔|
|Auto speaker calibration||DCAC EX||MCACC|
|Speaker A/B switching||✖||✖|
|Other audio features||Sound Optimizer||Advanced Sound Retriever, Hi-Res audio|
The connectivity of competitors in our comparison is markedly different, Sony STR-ZA3100ES scored 6, and Pioneer Elite VSX-LX304 scored 8 out of 10.
Wireless connection via Wi-Fi is possible on the Pioneer Elite VSX-LX304.
Bluetooth connection is now one of the main communication protocols for the receiver's control or even music broadcasting.
|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|
|Other streaming services||has not||Deezer, TIDAL, Pandora|
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, Sony STR-ZA3100ES got 9 points, but Pioneer Elite VSX-LX304 received 7 points.
Sony STR-ZA3100ES is equipped with 6/2 HDMI inputs and outputs, and Pioneer Elite VSX-LX304 has 7/2 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 only on Sony STR-ZA3100ES.
Connecting a vinyl player or phonograph is possible using a Phono input which is represented by mini-jack or RCA connectors. Only the Elite VSX-LX304 has a Phono interface.
|HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel)||✔||✔|
|HDMI eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel)||✔||✖|
|Digital content protection (HDCP)||HDCP 2.2||HDCP 2.2|
|Subwoofer output (LFE)||2||2|
|Headphone output||0||1 x 6.3|
|Optical digital input||2||1|
|Coaxial digital input||1||1|
|Phono (MM) input||✖||✔|
|Front panel connectors||USB, HDMI, setup mic||USB, HDMI, phones, setup mic, AUX|
|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 the STR-ZA3100ES were rated 7 out of 10 against the 8 for the Elite VSX-LX304.
Most of the AV receivers have a video scaling function, it is the process of reformatting the video signal to a higher resolution without losing the quality of the image. Upscaling the video signal resolution is possible with Pioneer Elite VSX-LX304.
|HDR (High Dynamic Range)||✔||HDR10|
|4K signal pass-through||4K/60Hz||4K/60Hz|
|8K signal pass-through||✖||✖|
|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||HLG||DeepColor, x.v.Color, HLG, BT.2020|
In terms of evaluating additional features, the STR-ZA3100ES got 6 points, but the Elite VSX-LX304 has 9.
Voice control allows you to control the basic functions of the receiver through a smartphone, smart speaker or using the microphone that comes with the kit. The Elite VSX-LX304 can be controlled by voice via Amazon Alexa.
|Voice control||✖||Amazon Alexa|
|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||has not|
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, preout|
|Zone HDMI output||✔||✔|
|Multi-room control||has not||Pioneer Control App, FlareConnect|
|Remote control input/output (IR)||1/2||1/1|
|DC trigger output (12V)||3||2|
Sony STR-ZA3100ES got 7 points for the multichannel surround sound and Pioneer Elite VSX-LX304 got 8.
Rivals in this competition licensed by IMAX.
|Dolby (other)||Dolby Digital Plus||Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization|
|DTS HD Master||✖||✔|
|DTS (other)||DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DTS-HD||DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DTS-HD, DTS-EXPRESS|