1-on-1 Comparison

Side-by-Side Comparison

Pioneer Elite VSX-90 (USA version)



  • 7.2 channels
  • 7.1 channel processing
  • 100 W (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2 channel driven)
  • Dolby Atmos capable
  • 4K Upscaling, 4K Passthrough
  • AirPlay
  • Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • USB input

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Pioneer Elite VSX-90 was introduced in 2015. It is equipped with 7 channel amplifier with 100 W (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz and 2 channel driven) power per channel and is capable of 7.1 maximum channel processing. It supports Dolby Atmos, passes 4K/60Hz and upscales up to 4K/60p (Marvell Qdeo) video signal.

We evaluated the a/v receiver and gave 77 overall score out of 100. Our ranking system is based on the amplifier specifications, audio and video features, connectivity, multizone capabilities, radio and many other details.


Pros and Cons

In this section we present pros and cons of Pioneer Elite VSX-90.

  Front Wide Channel Support
  Dolby Atmos
  DSD via HDMI
  Auto Speaker Calibration System with Mic.
  New HDCP Version
  4K or 8K Video Passthrough
  4K or 8K Signal Upscaling
  Analog To HDMI Upconversion
  Many HDMI Inputs
  USB Input
  Composite Video Inputs
  Component Video Inputs
  Analog Tuner
  No Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization
  No DTS:X
  No IMAX Enhanced
  No Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixer
  No eARC
  No HDR10
  No HDR10+
  No Dolby Vision
  No Chromecast Built-In
  Does not Work with Amazon Alexa
  Few 8K Inputs
  Few RCA Line Inputs
  Few Optical Inputs
  No RCA Pre-Outs
  No Tidal
  Old Bluetooth Version


Here we are comparing Pioneer Elite VSX-90 to its predecessor VSX-80 and displaying the major changes.

UPGRADES Pioneer Elite VSX-90 vs Pioneer Elite VSX-80
Dolby Atmos vs
More Tone Control Channels All Channels vs Front L/R Channels
More Advanced Auto Speaker Calibration System MCACC Pro vs Advanced MCACC
Full Band Phase Control vs
Super Resolution vs
Wi-Fi vs via optional AS-WL300 adapter (sold separately)
Bluetooth vs via optional AS-BT100 or AS-BT200 adapters (sold separately)
Multi-Zone On-Screen Display HDZone vs
Higher Power Output (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2 channel driven, FTC) 100 W (0.08% THD) vs 90 W (0.08% THD)
Higher S/N Ratio (Line, IHF-A) 101 dB vs 100 dB

DOWNGRADES Pioneer Elite VSX-90 vs Pioneer Elite VSX-80
Dolby Digital EX vs
Surround EX vs
DTS Neo Neo:6 vs Neo:X
Dialogue Lift vs via Dialog Enhancement
Wide Surround vs
Virtual Depth vs
Stream Smoother vs
Pure Cinema vs
USB DC Out Port vs 1 Rear for AS-WL300 (5 V, 0.6 A)
Less Component Video Inputs 1 vs 2
Less Component Video Outputs vs 1
Less RCA Pre-Outs 0.2 vs 2.2
On-Screen Display Icon-based Graphical User Interface (GUI) vs Graphical User Interface (GUI) with Album Artwork (HDMI only)
adapterport vs

For more detailed comparison between the models please visit Pioneer Elite VSX-90 vs Pioneer Elite VSX-80.

Audio Section

7 channel Discrete Direct Energy Amplifier

Pioneer Elite VSX-90 features 7 channel power amplifier with Discrete Direct Energy design. It is rated at 100 W (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2 channel driven).

    Speaker Configurations

    Pioneer Elite VSX-90's 7 channel amplifier can be assigned for different speaker configurations.

    • Dolby Atmos Configurations: The following speaker configurations are supported for Dolby Atmos:
    • 5.2.2 with internal amplifier.
    • Configurations without height channels: There are also other speaker configurations available which do not include height channels:
    • 5.2, 7.2 with internal amplifier.
    • Front Wide Channel support: Pioneer Elite VSX-90 supports front wide channels. With the presence of two front wide speakers you can enhance the front surround stage. The following speaker configurations are available for front wide channels - 7.2.
    • 2-ch Bi-Amp: Pioneer Elite VSX-90 allows you to bi-amp up to 2 main channels simultaneously. During bi-amplification two amplifiers are used for one speaker. One amplifier powers the midrange and tweeter section of the speaker and another amplifier powers the low frequency woofers. Each amplifier is less loaded and performs better. In order to use this feature speakers must have 2 pairs of connectors.

    Dolby Atmos

    Pioneer Elite VSX-90 supports Dolby Atmos. It is a cinematic audio format in which sounds exist as individual entities, called audio objects. In Dolby Atmos, any sound can exist as an independent audio object, free of channel restrictions. They can be precisely placed and moved anywhere in your room, including overhead, to flow above and around you in three-dimensional space. Through the use of audio objects, overhead sound, and all the richness, clarity, and power of Dolby sound, Dolby Atmos turns your room into an amazing place for entertainment. The format supports up to 128 simultaneous independent audio objects in a mix for rich, realistic, and breathtaking sound. It recreates the director's original concept through descriptive metadata to provide customized playback for home theater and delivers sounds above you through overhead speakers, special upward-firing Dolby Atmos speakers, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar.

    Sound Processing

    • Advanced Sound Retriever: Compressed music enhancement in Pioneer Elite VSX-90 is done by Pioneer’s Advanced Sound Retriever. Hear the detail, warmth and clarity, the way the artist intended it, from all of your highly compressed MP3 and WMA files stored on USB, Smartphone and portable media players. By restoring data that tend to get lost in the digital compression process, Pioneers Advanced Sound Retriever Technology enhances audio reproduction all the way upto 20 Khz frequencies.

    Room Calibration

    Pioneer Elite VSX-90 comes with MCACC Pro room correction system and includes the calibration microphone.

    • MCACC: Pioneer’s exclusive Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration System (MCACC) delivers an easy-to-use, automatic sound adjustment system to precision-tune your Pioneer and Pioneer Elite receivers with minimal effort. Every MCACC system comes with a microphone to measure and analyze reverb characteristics. The equalizer optimally adjusts sound parameters to fit the size and shape of your home environment while maintaining the integrity of high-resolution playback without any degradation to the quality of your music.

    Video Section


    Pioneer Elite VSX-90 features 7 HDMI inputs. It has 2 outputs: 1 for MAIN and 1 for MAIN/HDZONE.

    • 4K/60Hz Passthrough: All inputs pass up to 4K/60p (4:4:4 24-bit)
      4K/60p (4:2:2 36-bit)
      4K/24p (4:4:4 36-bit) video signal.
    • 4K Upscaling: Pioneer Elite VSX-90 can upscale up to 4K/60p (Marvell Qdeo) from HDMI and analog sources.
    • Analog To HDMI Upconversion: The a/v receiver supports video upconversion, so you can connect your analog Component and Composite video sources and Pioneer Elite VSX-90 will output them via HDMI. This means that you will need only one HDMI cable to connect to your TV.
    • HDCP 2.2 Copy Protection: All inputs and outputs are HDCP 2.2 compliant which is a requirement for 4K/HDR copy-protected content transmission.
    • 3D Ready: Pioneer Elite VSX-90 is able to pass 3D video through HDMI.

    Multi-zone Playback

    Pioneer Elite VSX-90 offers multi-zone playback which allows you to play different input sources in 3 different rooms.

    Zone 2

    • Powered Zone 2: You can use the unit's 2 amplifier channels by connecting Zone 2 speakers directly to the speaker terminals. The remaining 5 channels will be left for main zone amplification.
    • Audio Pre/Line Output: If you have a dedicated amplifier for Zone 2 you can connect it to the a/v receiver via pre/line outs and use "pre out" option to control volume from the a/v receiver or use "line out" option - send fixed signal and then control volume on the Zone 2 amplifier.

    Zone 3

      Inputs and Outputs


      • Analog Line Inputs: There are 3 line inputs for analog audio connection.
      • Digital Inputs and Outputs: 0 optical input, 1 optical output and 1 coaxial input are available for digital audio connection.
      • Headphone Output: There is a 6.3 mm (1/4") headphone output jack on the front panel.


      • HDMI:
      • Inputs: 7 (1 front)   Outputs: 2 (1 for MAIN, 1 for MAIN/HDZONE)
        8K Inputs: 0
      • Composite Video: Connect you VCR, Laserdisc player and other old video equipment with composite video cables.
      • Inputs: 2   Outputs: 1
      • Component Video: Component video connection gives you the higher quality video compared to the composite video connection. So in case your old DVD player and other equipment do not have an HDMI output but have Component video output use this connection over the composite one. Pioneer Elite VSX-90 supports up to 1080p (1125p) resolution on Component video connectors.
      • Inputs: 1   Outputs: 0
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      Here we list all the available features and specifications of Pioneer Elite VSX-90.

      TypeA/V Receiver
      Release Year2015
      Front Wide Channel Support
      AmplifierDiscrete Direct Energy
      THX™ Certification
      Continuous 6 Ω Rated
      Certified 4 Ω Performance
      Bi-amp Capability Front
      Digital Signal Processing (DSP) EngineTexas Instruments Aureus
      DACSABRE Premier (ES9006S)
      DAC Specs192 kHz/24 Bit
      Maximum Channel Processing7.1
      Air Studios Monitor Certification
      Dolby Atmos
      Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization
      Dolby Atmos Music
      Dolby TrueHD
      Dolby Digital Plus
      Dolby Surround Upmixer
      Dolby Pro Logic PLIIz
      Dolby Digital EX
      Surround EX
      DTS Neural:X
      DTS Virtual:X
      DTS Neo Neo:6
      DTS-HD Master Audio
      DTS-HD High Resolution Audio
      DTS 96/24
      DTS Express
      DTS-ES Discrete 6.1, Matrix 6.1
      IMAX Enhanced
      Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixer
      PCM 2-ch/Multi-ch Input
      Music Playback via USBMP3, WMA, AAC, Apple Lossless, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, DSD
      High Resolution Music Playback via USB and/or Network 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz/24 bit
      High Resolution Audio Formats via USBApple Lossless, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, DSD
      Gapless Playback
      DSD via HDMI 2-ch/Multi-ch Input
      DSD via USB 2-ch Input
      DSD to PCM Converter
      USB DAC
      Jitter Reduction
      Auto Level ControlMulti-Channel
      Dialog Enhancement
      Dialogue Lift
      Sound Retriever Advanced (Multi-Channel / Auto with ARC)
      Sound Retriever AIR
      Digital Noise Reduction
      Tone Control All Channels
      Compressed Music Enhancer Advanced Sound Retriever
      High-resolution Music Enhancer Hi-bit24 Audio Processing
      Audyssey Dynamic EQ
      Audyssey Dynamic Volume
      Audyssey LFC
      Audyssey Sub EQ HT
      Audyssey DSX
      Direct Mode
      Pure Direct Mode
      Auto Surround
      Optimum Surround
      Advanced Surround10 + 1 Mode
      Wide Surround
      Front Stage Surround Advance
      Headphone Surround
      Virtual Speakers (Surround Back/Height/Wide)
      Virtual Depth
      Independent Subwoofer Outputs
      Auto Speaker Calibration System with Mic. MCACC Pro
      Manual MCACC
      MCACC Memory6
      Reflex Optimizer
      Phase Control
      Full Band Phase Control
      Standing Wave Control
      EQ Bands9-Band (Advanced)
      Symmetric EQ
      Distance Adjustment1/2 Inch
      Precision Distance
      Polarity Check
      Auto Subwoofer Crossover
      Enhanced ARC
      HDCP Version2.2
      Dynamic HDR
      Dolby Vision
      HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma)
      BT.2020 color space
      QMS (Quick Media Switching)
      ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode)
      VRR (Variable Refresh Rate)
      QFT (Quick Frame transport)
      3-D Ready
      Video Signal Passthroughup to 4K/60p (4:4:4 24-bit)
      4K/60p (4:2:2 36-bit)
      4K/24p (4:4:4 36-bit)
      Video Signal Upscaling up to 4K/60p (Marvell Qdeo)
      Analog To HDMI Upconversion Component, Composite
      Component Video Upscaling
      Analog to Analog Video conversion
      Component Video Maximum Resolution1080p (1125p)
      Stream Smoother
      Pure Cinema
      Video Parameter Adjustments
      Triple HD Noise Reduction
      Super Resolution
      isf Certified Calibration Control
      MHL Input 1 Rear (Version 2.0)
      DLNA 1.5 (DMR)
      Chromecast Built-In
      DTS Play-Fi
      Works with Amazon Alexa
      Works with SONOS
      AirPlay AirPlay
      Apple Product Connection iPod and iPhone via front USB
      Remote App iControlAV5 (for iOS and Android)
      InstaPrevue Input Source Prevue
      Ethernet Switch
      HDBaseT Compatible
      HDMI Inputs7 (1 front)
      HDMI Outputs2 (1 for MAIN, 1 for MAIN/HDZONE)
      8K Inputs
      USB Input1 Front
      USB DC Out Port
      RCA Line Input3
      RCA Line Output
      XLR Line Inputs
      Phono Input
      Optical Inputs1
      Optical Outputs
      Coaxial Inputs1
      Composite Video Input2
      Composite Video Output1
      S-Video Input
      S-Video Output
      Component Video Input1
      Component Video Output
      PC In
      Multi-Channel Input
      RCA Pre-Outs0.2
      XLR Pre-outs
      Front A/V InputsHDMI, USB
      Speaker A/B
      Headphone Out6.3 mm (1/4")
      Powered Zones2 and HDZone
      Zone 2 OutsRCA Pre/Line Out
      Zone 3 OutsHDMI
      RS-232C Interface
      +12V Trigger Output1 (Main, Zone2, HDZone)
      Remote (IR) Input/Output1 / 1
      On-Screen DisplayIcon-based Graphical User Interface (GUI)
      Multi-Zone On-Screen Display HDZone
      AVNavigator Built-in
      IP Control for CI
      PreAmp Mode
      Versatile Speaker ConfigurationSurround Back / Front Wide/ Front Bi-Amp/ Zone 2/ B-Speaker/ Powered HD Zone
      FL Dimmer
      Function Rename
      Remote ControllerLearning Remote Control (Lumius)
      Detachable Power Cord
      Analog Tuner FM/AM
      Digital Radio
      Internet Radio vTuner
      SiriusXM Internet Radio
      Front PanelBrushed
      Solid Aluminum Front
      Speaker Terminals9
      Large Speaker Terminals9
      Color-Coded Speaker Terminals
      3D Space Frame Construction
      Gold plated RCA terminals
      Power SupplyAC 120 V, 60 Hz
      Low Leakage Flux Power Transformer
      Transformer Stabilizer
      Power Consumption550 W
      Standby Power0.1 W
      ECO Mode / Hybrid Standby Function
      Auto Power Standby
      Dimensions (W x H x D)435 mm x 168 mm x 363 mm
      17-3/16" x 6-5/8" x 14-5/16"
      Weight9.8 kg (21 lb 10 oz)
      Warranty2 Years Parts & Labor
      Power Output (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2100 W (0.08% THD)
      Input Sensitivity and Impedance (Line)315 mV/47 kΩ (Line)
      S/N Ratio (Line, IHF-A)101 dB
      DSD Sampling Rates via HDMI2.8 MHz
      DSD Sampling Rates via USB2.8 MHz
      Video Input Sensitivity/Output Level and Impedance1 Vp-p/75 Ω (Component Y)
      0.7 Vp-p/75 Ω (Component PB/CB, PR/CR)
      1 Vp-p/75 Ω (Composite)
      Ethernet Standard10BASE-T/100BASE-TX
      Wi-Fi StandardIEEE 802.11 b/g/n
      Wi-Fi Terminal FrequencyDual band 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz
      Bluetooth Version2․1 + EDR
      Bluetooth Frequency2.4 GHz
      HDMI Terminal19-pin (not DVI)
      HDMI Output Type5 V, 55 mA
      HDMI Input/MHL Terminal5 V, 900 mA
      USB TerminalUSB2.0 (Type A) 5 V, 1 A
      Extension Terminal
      FM Frequency87.5 MHz - 108.0 MHz
      AM Frequency530 kHz - 1700 kHz

      * - 480i/576i and 480p/576p only
      ** - 480i/576i only
      *** - no 1080p/24 upconversion
      **** - 1080p signal is not converted


      In 2017 Pioneer Elite VSX-90 was replaced by VSX-LX301. Let us now have a look at some important changes that the successor brought.

      UPGRADES Pioneer Elite VSX-LX301 vs Pioneer Elite VSX-90
      Higher DAC Specs 384 kHz/32 Bit vs 192 kHz/24 Bit
      Dolby Surround Upmixer vs
      DTS:X vs
      DTS Neural:X vs
      Music Playback via USB MP3, WMA, AAC, Apple Lossless, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, DSD, Dolby TrueHD vs MP3, WMA, AAC, Apple Lossless, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, DSD
      High Resolution Audio Formats via USB Apple Lossless, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, AAC, DSD, Dolby TrueHD vs Apple Lossless, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, DSD
      Reflex Optimizer vs
      HDR10 vs
      Dolby Vision vs
      BT.2020 color space vs
      FireConnect vs
      FlareConnect vs
      Chromecast Built-In vs
      More RCA Line Inputs 6 (1 front) vs 3
      More Optical Inputs 2 vs 1
      More Optical Outputs vs
      Front A/V Inputs HDMI, USB, Mini-Jack vs HDMI, USB
      +12V Trigger Output 2 (A: 100 mA, B: 25 mA) vs 1 (Main, Zone2, HDZone)
      Tidal vs
      Deezer vs
      Bigger Power Supply 580 W vs 550 W
      Longer Warranty 3 Years Parts & Labor vs 2 Years Parts & Labor
      Higher S/N Ratio (Line, IHF-A) 106 dB vs 101 dB
      Higher DSD Sampling Rate via USB 5.6 MHz, 2.8 MHz vs 2.8 MHz
      Wi-Fi Standard IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n vs IEEE 802.11 b/g/n
      Newer Bluetooth Version 4․1 + LE vs 2․1 + EDR
      Wider AM Frequency Range 530 kHz - 1710 kHz vs 530 kHz - 1700 kHz

      DOWNGRADES Pioneer Elite VSX-LX301 vs Pioneer Elite VSX-90
      Front Wide Channel Support vs
      Dolby Pro Logic vs PLIIz
      DSD to PCM Converter vs
      Jitter Reduction vs
      Dialog Enhancement vs
      Sound Retriever Advanced vs Advanced (Multi-Channel / Auto with ARC)
      Sound Retriever AIR vs
      Digital Noise Reduction vs
      High-resolution Music Enhancer vs Hi-bit24 Audio Processing
      Headphone Surround vs
      Virtual Speakers vs (Surround Back/Height/Wide)
      Less Advanced Auto Speaker Calibration System MCACC vs MCACC Pro
      Higher MCACC Memory 1 vs 6
      Full Band Phase Control vs
      Standing Wave Control vs
      X-Curve vs
      Distance Adjustment 0.1 feet vs 1/2 Inch
      Polarity Check vs
      Analog To HDMI Upconversion Component**, Composite vs Component, Composite
      Component Video Maximum Resolution 480i/576i vs 1080p (1125p)
      Video Parameter Adjustments vs
      MHL Input vs 1 Rear (Version 2.0)
      DLNA 1.5 vs (DMR)
      Less HDMI Outputs 2 (simultaneous) vs 2 (1 for MAIN, 1 for MAIN/HDZONE)
      Less Composite Video Outputs vs 1
      Less Zones 2 vs 3
      Less Powered Zones 2 vs 2 and HDZone
      AVNavigator vs Built-in
      Less Presets 40 vs 63

      For more detailed comparison between the models please visit Pioneer Elite VSX-90 vs Pioneer Elite VSX-LX301.

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