Customer Reviews: Pioneer VSX-516-K 7.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver, Black (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
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on August 21, 2006
This receiver was worth every penny. I upgraded from an RCA 2300 receiver and let me tell you that more power gives better sound. I always had to turn the volume up on the RCA but the Pioneer has Dialogue Enhancement and that makes a huge difference. The language for operating the receiver takes some time to get used to. This is not something you can just plug in and play. It has a quick setup option which helps a little but does no justice. When I did that for mine I noticed that the audio was not matching the visual. It took a little bit of time to tweak it and now I love the overall results. One thing however is that the manual spoke of an Dolby Digital EX display option, but it did not say that it only pertained to 6.1 EX and not 5.1. I was freaking out because I was watching Episode I which had DD 5.1 EX and the EX icon that the manual spoke of didn't light up so I had to call Pioneer up, which by the way was not a bad experience, and was told that. I wish the remote was backlit and was a little bigger. I'm just excited now I have DTS options which are a whole lot better than DD. Before this receiver my sound was ok. With the receiver...I my sound is fantastic and I wan't to get everything DTS now and 6.1 if possible. I compared Blade 2 in 5.1 DD and 6.1 DTS and of course 6.1 rocked. My guests kept looking around them to see where the sound was coming from and the dialogue enhancement feature worked like a charm. Never asked to rewind or "What did they just say?" I think it is worth every penny.
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on September 11, 2006
In fact I did to try it out, got it for $220 at a retailer. I'm not one of those people that can tell huge a deference from one receiver to another with the same speakers. This receiver has all the bells and whistles you would expect in today's electronics (see pioneer web site and amazon product description). So fare I've driven a wide range of size, power and brand speakers though it and seems to do well with them all. Currently I'm using a set of the pioneer S-HF41-LR speakers and it drives them loud and clear no problem on any channel/setting. I won't dive into it's features as they will make any speaker sound better for a given apllicaiton, just the facts...

At 100 watts per channel it has plenty of power to drive reasonable 8" speakers. This receiver can handle loud sounds well (gun shots, yelling and all kinds of high impact sounds).

It has a core and coil transformer witch I know from years of messing around with electrical things are vary tough and can handle over heating quite well (provided the rest of the electronics can take it...).

It has a cooling fan (looks to be about 3"-80mm), that I would place at about 27 CFM or so just buy looking at it witch is an adequate size for auxiliary cooling if need be.

It has a remote control with nearly all the functions that the receiver has on it.

User friendly, once you figure it out it's quite simple to get the sound you want.

It's not vary efficient power consumption wise thou all pioneers I've had are like this. It gets pretty warm even with no speakers going meaning it`s wasting some power.

Not a lot of venting, most of the venting is tords the front (and may explain the fan and larg open heat-sink)

Complicated, for those used to just turning it on and messing with the treble and bass your in for a good amount of deferent settings, set ups and tweaking adjustments you can make. It's a bit much if your just after a quality 2.0 set up.

Tone (treble/bass) is not vary adjustable, though through deferent settings can probly get the sound you want.

LR balance is not quickly adjustable, you have to dig out the balance on the remote and is inconvenient if going buy the receiver.

The remote control seems too busy and might have a few to many bottons on it for those not use to it or those that are just concerned with adjusting the volume.

All and all I gave it 4 stars, once your use to it and can work your way around what you want to get out of it it's a killer deal for those that want to upgrade from your basic 2.0 system.
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on January 9, 2007
If you aren't looking to spend a lot, this is a great deal. Sounds great; and where can you find 7.1 receiver for $170??? Plus I got $30 off for signing up for the Amazon credit card.... so I got it for $140, which is less than what I payed for the older generation 5.1 Pioneer I used to have!
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on January 15, 2007
This is a great little receiver. At the price I paid it's untouchable. I wasn't even planning on buying a receiver but for the price I paid plus a $20 gift card, I couldn't resist. Besides, it wouldn't hurt to upgrade the older Sony I was using that was relying on my DVD player's DD and DTS decoding. I was reluctant because I had not done any research but I figured dirt cheap entry level cira 2006 had to be better than dirt cheap circa 2000.

After having tried it out, I'd have to agree with the few professional reviews I could fine. One reviewer said if you didn't need all the bells and whistles of this reciever's older sibling the VSX-816, this one was sonically just as good minus 10 extra watts per channel. CNet said the 816 was a much better value, but they weren't taking into account how much I had paid. They said the 816 was an excellent value. And The Perfect Vision named the 816 as part of their budget system of the year. They said, "This receiver sounds good and works well, meaning it's nothing like typically wimpy-sounding budget AVR's." So if what the reviewers were hearing was anything like what I'm getting from my 516, I think I made a sound investment.

As for the sound, it is noticably clearer than my old receiver. It certainly has much more updated features than my older receiver including Componenet switching and 7.1 surround. It does not, however, have s-video switching, but I was using an outboard switcher for lack of switching on my old receiver anyway.

If I were paying full price, I would definitely pay the extra $100 and go for the 816. But then actually, I wouldn't have bought anything because, as I said, it wasn't actually in the plans. I'm glad I got the deal though. I'm very pleased with my purchase.
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on January 14, 2013
I was very happy to replace my great home theater receiver with another just like it! This definitely adds a wow factor to the movie experience. Although I had panicked into thinking that I had lost my great home-theater sound treasure, I had later found out that it was a mistake I had made, when re hooking up my receiver! Now happily I have "insurance" on the very best home theater receiver I have ever owned. My used receiver was very gently used and very well packed.
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on May 25, 2006
This is a great entry level receiver. It is listed as a 6.1

channel. But it is also 7.1 capable. A good amount of power and features. Dolby Digital,Pro-logicII,DTS, and 5.1 inputs.

Bottom line great unit for any beginner.

The only flaw I see is the small crowded remote.
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on February 15, 2007
This entry level A/V receiver does a fine job of powering my home theater 7.1 speaker setup. It has ample power to make the Infinity Primus Theater Pack(5.0) plus Primus 360 fronts and Sony SA-W700 subwoofer sing. No apparent distortion at any sound level I can bear! Only minus on speaker set-up is that all "small" speakers must share same crossover point to subwoofer. Has one digital input with a multitude of sound effects. Handles digital input decoding automatically and well. Also has 5.1 analog inputs for SACD. All-in-all a lot of bang for the buck!
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on January 5, 2007
Works great for my 5.1 channel. As my first home theater investment in our new family, I'm very satisfied with the price and product. The various audio features are great. Especially like the Dialogue enhancement feature for movies that get a little quiet. Most pleased with the receiver and look forward to hooking up the extra 2 channels soon.
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on June 11, 2008
First let me say that before I bought this receiver I was using a Pioneer VSX-454, which worked great for 12 + years. 5.1 surround had been out for awhile and I wanted to upgrade to a receiver that could reproduce it. There are so many choices that it was hard to decide, but finally decided on the VSX-516-K, based upon past experience and all the great reviews. Though this may be called an 'entry-level' receiver, do not let that discourage you. If top notch sound is what you're looking for, I venture that there is no better value for the money.

First, it has PLENTY of power at 100 watts x 7, and the sound is clear and crisp. For my set up, I decided to go with the full 7 speakers, and the surround effect is simply awesome. For best effect, I recommend a digital coax connection from your sound unit (DVD for me). Additionally, I love to 'tweak,' and there are settings galore for customizing your setup. They include speaker distance from the listener, separate speaker volume for each of the 7 speakers, subwoffer crossover frequency and level adjustments, and much more.

Before I purchased this receiver, I'd never heard of discrete 6.1 surround (DTS ES). There are only a handful of movies that utilize it (Blade 2 is one of them). The sound effects are amazing. One thing about the receiver that I did find difficult was attaching the speaker wires to the binding post terminals, though this is minor when considering the overall value and quality of this receiver. Now I'm just hoping that it is as dependable as the VSX-454 was.
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on October 29, 2006
Pioneer has done it again. This is a fantastic receiver and very economical. I don't pretend to to be a sound specialist but I know what I like to hear and this unit delivers. It produces effortlessly and very quietly. There is NO hum or hiss that will deter from the sound at low volume. I love it!
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