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  • Pioneer VSX-523 5.1-Channel A/V Receiver (Black)
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Pioneer VSX-523 5.1-Channel A/V Receiver (Black)

by Pioneer
| 33 answered questions

List Price: $279.99
Price: $199.95 + $32.74 shipping
You Save: $80.04 (29%)
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  • Dolby TrueHD Dolby Pro Logic IIz/Dolby Digital Plus
  • Digital Core Engine with Texas Instruments Aureus DSP
  • HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC)
  • Pioneer Auto MCACC Room Calibration
  • iPod digital transmission via front USB terminal
2 new from $199.95 1 used from $129.99 2 refurbished from $129.99
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Pioneer VSX-523 5.1-Channel A/V Receiver (Black) + 2-Year Electronics Plan ($150-200)
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Product Specifications

Brand NamePioneer
Output Wattage80 watts
Color NameBlack
Special FeaturesDolby TrueHD Dolby Pro Logic IIz/Dolby digital plus, Digital core engine with texas instruments aureus DSP, HDMI audio return channel (ARC), Pioneer Auto MCACC room calibration, iPod digital transmission via front USB terminal

Technical Details

  • Dolby TrueHD Dolby Pro Logic IIz/Dolby digital plus
  • Digital core engine with texas instruments aureus DSP
  • HDMI audio return channel (ARC)
  • Pioneer Auto MCACC room calibration
  • iPod digital transmission via front USB terminal

Product Details

  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 17.1 x 6.6 inches ; 18.2 pounds
  • Shipping Weight: 25 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Shipping: This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
  • Shipping Advisory: This item must be shipped separately from other items in your order. Additional shipping charges will not apply.
  • Item model number: VSX-523
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,033 in Electronics (See Top 100 in Electronics)
  • Date first available at Amazon.com: March 5, 2013

Product Description

Product Description

The Pioneer VSX-523 5.1 channel AV receiver features Made for iPhone compatibilty, HDMI with 3D and 4K Ultra HD pass through. Pioneer sound enhancements include Phase Control, Advanced Sound Retriever, and Auto Level Control.

From the Manufacturer

Pioneer VSX-523-K AV Receiver
The perfect entry-level receiver with quality sound reproduction and technologies. View larger

The Pioneer VSX-523-K AV Receiver

With 140 Watts (1 kHz 1 % THD @ 6 Ohms) 1ch Driven or 80 Watts (20Hz-20kHz .08% THD @ 8 Ohms) clear audio reproduction and advanced new technologies such as 4K Ultra-High Definition Pass Through and an energy-saving ECO Mode, the new VSX-523 is the perfect entry-level receiver to introduce Pioneer's heritage of quality sound reproduction and innovative technology in your home entertainment system.

Apple Connectivity

Pioneer VSX-523-K AV Receiver

Continuing to lead the way in Apple connectivity, the VSX-523s front USB input now supports music playback and control for the new iPhone5 and iPad mini. The VSX-523 effortlessly brings all your entertainment sources together. Plug in a thumb drive into the front panel USB port and play back all your favorite music files, like MP3, WMA and AAC files.

Expanded HDMI Connectivity and Switching Functionality

Pioneer VSX-523-K AV Receiver

The VSX-523 features four HDMI inputs, providing connectivity for all your sources like Blu-ray Disc players, cable boxes, and gaming consoles. All four HDMI inputs support both 3D and new 4K Ultra HD content. Convenience features, such as, HDMI Standby Through is also supported allowing for your sources (cable box etc.) to pass through the receiver to the television even when it is in standby mode. When you're ready to upgrade your sources, so is the Pioneer VSX-523.

Eco Mode Pioneer VSX-523-K AV Receiver

ECO Mode

The new, energy-saving ECO Mode found on all 2013 Pioneer AV receivers goes far beyond the conventional wisdom about "green" electronics, with a standby power consumption of only 0.1 watt when enabled. Our ECO Mode offers all of the convenience features of today's modern AV receivers, including Network Standby and HDMI CEC support, while reducing power consumption in both on and standby modes, you can feel better about your entertainment experience without sacrificing power or features.

The intelligent ECO Mode analyzes your sources in real time, adjusting power consumption accordingly to meet your needs, or you can choose the power-saving settings that are right for you.

Powerful Sound Control

Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio

The VSX-523 supports the latest high-definition audio formats like Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio to give your Blu-ray Disc soundtracks unsurpassed audio quality. Pioneer also includes all Dolby and DTS surround formats best suited for the wide variety of available entertainment sources, including online streaming services, such as Netflix and Vudu.

Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio

The VSX-523 also features Pioneer's exclusive Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration system (MCACC), providing an optimized multi-channel listening experience by measuring every speaker's connection, noting its size and distance from the listening point, sound levels and timbre in order to calibrate, customize and maximize performance specifically for your room.

Choose the Pioneer AV Receiver That's Right for You

YesPioneer SC-1323 AV ReceiverPioneer SC-1223 AV ReceiverPioneer VSX-1123 AV ReceiverPioneer VSX-1023 AV ReceiverPioneer VSX-823 AV ReceiverPioneer VSX-523 AV Receiver
Amplifier TypeClass D3Class D3Discrete Direct EnergyDiscrete Direct EnergyDiscrete Direct EnergyDiscrete Direct Energy
Power180 Watts x 7170 Watts x 7165 Watts x 7140 Watts x 7140 Watts x 5140 Watts x 5
Number of HDMI Inputs/Outputs8 in / 2 out (Main Zone & Zone 2)8 in / 2 out (Main Zone & Zone 2)8 in / 2 out (Main Zone & Zone 2)6 in / 1 out6 in / 1 out4 in / 1 out
4K Ultra HD
Pass-through and Upscaling
(Pass-through only)
(Pass-through only)
(Pass-through only)
Video Conversion to HDMIYes
(Marvell QDEO)
(Marvell QDEO)
(Marvell QDEO)
MCACC Room CalibrationAdvanced MCACCAdvanced MCACCAdvanced MCACCYesYesYes
MHL 2.0 InputYesYesYesYesYes-
Powered Multi-Zone AudioYes
(Multi-Source) 1x Powered 1x Passive
HDZone (HDMI Zone Output)Yes
Made for iPhone/iPad/iPod (30-Pin and Lightning)Yes
(iPhone 5/iPad/iPod)
(iPhone 5/iPad/iPod)
(iPhone 5/iPad/iPod)
(iPhone 5/iPad/iPod)
(iPhone 5/iPad/iPod)
(iPhone 5/iPod)
AirPlay & HTC ConnectYesYesYesYesYes-
Windows 8 CompatibleYesYesYesYesYes-
DLNA 1.5 (DMR)YesYesYesYesYes-
Network File Music PlaybackAIFF/WAV/Apple Lossless/FLAC/MP3/AACAIFF/WAV/Apple Lossless/FLAC/MP3/AACAIFF/WAV/Apple Lossless/FLAC/MP3/AACAIFF/WAV/Apple Lossless/FLAC/MP3/AACAIFF/WAV/Apple Lossless/FLAC/MP3/AAC-
Gapless PlaybackAIFF/WAV/FLAC/Apple LosslessAIFF/WAV/FLAC/Apple LosslessAIFF/WAV/FLAC/Apple LosslessAIFF/WAV/FLAC/Apple LosslessAIFF/WAV/FLAC/Apple Lossless-
Pandora & vTuner Internet RadioYesYesYesYesYes-
iOS / Android Remote Control AppiControlAV 2013iControlAV 2013iControlAV 2013ControlAppControlApp-
AVNavigator PC / Mac Setup SoftwareYesYesYesYesYes-

Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

It was a very easy setup for me.
For some reason, pressing buttons on other remote controls also changes the setting on the receiver.
J. R. Slavik
All I really need is audio sent to my speakers from cable and Apple TV.
Dean Mellis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Sepen on June 23, 2013
Verified Purchase
Bought this on 6-20 and it was delivered on 6-22. I was looking for an inexpensive receiver for my bedroom ever since my 4 year old Onkyo 707 died. I had saw this a week earlier and wasn't too impressed due to the $249 price. I almost bought a Yamaha from Newegg that was also $249 but came with a $50 Newegg gift card. I held out though and saw that the Pioneer was at $199 on Thursday (6-20). Of course I bought it. First it was a great price, second it was perfect feature wise for my needs and third it was from Amazon. I had previously had a Pioneer about 13 years ago. I used it for several years and then gave it to a friend of mine who still uses it everyday.

It was a very easy setup for me. I am using some 20 year old Klipsch speakers, two KG 1.2 and a KV3 center. Also have a Bic sub. Together they are perfect for my bedroom setup. It has plenty of power, and the MCAA setup only took minutes. And you guessed it, it is the basic MCAA not the advanced version, but I knew it beforehand. I also have a WDTV Live, Directv, and a LG Bluray player attached to it along with a 54" Panasonic Plasma. The Klipsch are a dynamic sound and love it with the Pioneer.

Every thing worked perfectly out of the box. And no, it is not featured ridden, hence the price. Nope, no HDMI OSD, but I KNEW that before I ordered. It was a simple extra cable and a simple button press on my remote to change the input on the Panasonic TV. And guess what, I only have to do this once. Very simple to do. The manual is not on paper but a cd. It was very well written out though. I am very happy with it. If you know what you are getting then you should be completely satisfied.

If you want a basic car that has air and no power windows to get from point a to b, then this Pioneer should be right up your alley. If you want power everything with heated seats, then look elsewhere, or at least research it before buying it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By DAVID on August 11, 2013
Verified Purchase
Use it for home 5.1 theater system. Five speakers in ceiling that were there when moved in. Added a Klipsch sub-woofer to the subwoofer pre - out. System sounds great and you can feel the bass. You cannot beat this system for the price. Check the THM distortion levels at realistic levels (This one is < 0.08) Don't fall for a receiver with high watt levels that have 1% or worse distortion at your listen levels - turn em up halfway and you'll think something's wrong with your speakers. If they fail to give numbers then avoid them.

Remember this a fairly bare bones model. This only has maybe 4 HDMI inputs. You may want more power, inputs and speaker connections. It's probably enough for 75% of the people out there
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By james on April 29, 2013
I just purchased this after returning my Yamaha reciever that only lasted a day before it began to malfunction and I have to say I have fell in love with this, settings are a lot less complicated and is a lot easier to use than other receivers. I would recommend this to anybody from beginners to audiophiles because I really don't see the need for much more. 4 stars because my Yamaha had a aux jack as this one does not. Not a big deal though as there's still USB. Also customer service is outstanding way better than Yamaha and extremely helpful, this is my first review I have written since I have used amazon (and I've been using amazon to buy pretty much everything the past few years haha) but this thing is just outstanding, it houses 2 200 watt pioneer shelf speakers, and 2 500 watt Polk audio subs like a champ, I plan to add more speakers as I just began purchasing all this audio equipment last week and I garuntee this pioneer won't have a single problem.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Pearson on May 6, 2013
I purchased this receiver to replace an outdated model, since it was no longer compatible with my new HTPC computer I recently setup. I needed HDMI audio support, and this does a fine job at that.

Setup was very easy, once I hooked it up to my older TV that supported the RCA cable required to view the setup page. The auto surround configuration was quick and I must say it did a great job. Very well balanced in my theater room.

The reason for the 4 star rating instead of 5 is because of the need to use an RCA/video (the yellow one) cable to connect a display in order to see the setup screen. It will not display the initial setup screen via HDMI and my newest LED LCD does not have the older connections. I'm not sure why Pioneer did this. But I knew this going in and it wasn't hard once I had it connected to my old screen.

Overall, I'm very happy with the quality of the receiver, and even with the quirky initial setup issue, I would recommend this to everyone. Sound is great, controls are easy and after the initial setup, changing settings view the built in LCD is easy and fast.
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30 of 41 people found the following review helpful By fishpick on April 29, 2013
Verified Purchase
**UPDATE 4/30/2013**
Just another reason to avoid this receiver as the center of your AV setup. The manual is very clear on this - turn on the receiver and then turn on the source that's going to be sending the HDMI signal to the receiver. That works... but not all the time. There have been a few times that we have turned on receiver, then TV and had no sound but the TV reports it's sending a signal to the receiver... so then restarting the receiver - ta da - sound! The variable behavior of when it will and will not pass the ARC sound along is unacceptable.
Also - regarding the OSG complaint in the main review, after looking at every other receiver around this price point from other brands, it appears they all support their OSG on the TV via HDMI.

I purchased this to go with a new Samsung 55" 6400 TV (Samsung UN55F6400 55-Inch 1080p 120Hz 3D Slim Smart LED HDTV). Figured for the price this model was perfect for our living room big screen. With all the HDMI ports, the 3D passthrough, HDMI switching and audio return channel it seemed like a great receiver... not so much.

It's a nice looking receiver - sleek black front, nice big round knobs, great display dimming functionality and a "decent" remote... except for a right handed person the volume buttons seem to be on the wrong side of the remote - but that's minor. General sound from the receiver is terrific and drives the speakers and the sub without issue and is very clear.
Well - here's where the rapid drop in stars comes in...
First off - let's talk about the HDMI switching and the ARC (audio return channel) functionality.
Read more ›
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