Let's make the Sony STR-ZA3100ES versus Pioneer VSX-LX303 comparison. According to the results of our review, Sony STR-ZA3100ES received 6.3 points out of 10 possible, and Pioneer VSX-LX303 was rated 8.2 points. The release date of STR-ZA3100ES is 2017, and VSX-LX303 is 2018. After comparison, it will become clear that among these two devices, the VSX-LX303 is more suitable for the role of the heart of home theater system.
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 VSX-LX303 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 VSX-LX303 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, 200/6|
|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 VSX-LX303 - 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, Reflex Optimizer|
The connectivity of competitors in our comparison is markedly different, Sony STR-ZA3100ES scored 6, and Pioneer VSX-LX303 scored 8 out of 10.
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|
|Other streaming services||has not||Deezer, TIDAL, Pandora, 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, Sony STR-ZA3100ES got 9 points, but Pioneer VSX-LX303 received 8 points.
Sony STR-ZA3100ES is equipped with 6/2 HDMI inputs and outputs, and Pioneer VSX-LX303 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 VSX-LX303 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||2|
|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 10 for the VSX-LX303.
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 VSX-LX303.
|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||✔||✔|
|Video conversion||✖||analog to HDMI|
|Analog to HDMI scaling||✖||✔|
|HDMI to HDMI scaling||✖||✔|
|Other video features||HLG||DeepColor, x.v.Color, HLG|
In terms of evaluating additional features, the STR-ZA3100ES got 6 points, but the VSX-LX303 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 VSX-LX303 can be controlled by voice via Google Assistant.
|Voice control||✖||Google Assistant|
|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|
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||FlareConnect|
|Remote control input/output (IR)||1/2||1/1|
|DC trigger output (12V)||3||2|
For the ability to create multichannel surround sound, each of the receivers received 7 points out of 10.
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 STR-ZA3100ES licensed by IMAX.
|Dolby (other)||Dolby Digital Plus||Dolby Digital Plus|
|DTS HD Master||✖||✔|
|DTS (other)||DTS-ES, DTS 96/24, DTS-HD||DTS 96/24, DTS-HD, DTS-EXPRESS|