Article –From the horse’s mouth
A current-generation surround-sound receiver that is expected to reproduce a 5.1 channel soundmix through six passive loudspeakers would require the use of six power amplifiers. This has required the construction of very large units in order to cater for these power amplifiers as well as the signal-handling circuitry plus a broadcast-radio tuner and this requirement is underscored with power amplifiers that implement traditional design techniques.
The year before last, Marantz released a series of surround-sound receivers that are the same height as a CD player, tuner or other source component. Some of us would have thought of them as being stereo receivers but these are able to do the 5.1 channel surround-sound job through the use of Class-D amplification which can allow for a smaller cooler-running amplifier.
Now Pioneer has come to the fray with a pair of slimline surround-sound receivers that appear to be as big as a hi-fi tuner or CD player.One of these units, the VSX-S510 has network abilities including the new Spotify Connect feature that allows Spotify Premium subscribers to “push” playlists or similar content established on their smartphones to this receiver. There are of course the usual suspects like adding vTuner Internet radio to this receiver’s broadcast-radio abilities and working with DLNA or AirPlay network-media setups.
What I see of this is that it is a step in the right direction towards a neater surround-sound setup without the need to head towards an integrated home-theatre setup. Yet, this model is able to exist in a position for those of us who are moving up from an entry-level surround-sound receiver towards something more capable and able to the part of the home network.