Pioneer Elite VSX-21TXH

Cornerstone of the Home Theater


Pioneer Elite has a long standing relationship with the audio/video world. Most notably, they have produced some highly recognized standouts in their plasma monitors and televisions. However, their line of receivers is definitely not to be overlooked. While searching for a replacement to a trusty (but tired) receiver which had manned the controls of my home theater for nearly a decade, the Pioneer Elite VSX-21TXH kept coming up. After hours of reading and comparing, the call to Pioneer Elite was made.

The Pioneer Elite VSX-21TXH is powerful. It’s the kind of power that confuses the squirrels in your yard and discombobulates small children.

When the VSX-21TXH arrived on the door step, it was quickly taken inside, unpackaged, and given life. After setup was complete, I performed a scientific test everyone should want to know and is required (by Gear Patrol law) to find out. How loud is this thing?  The answer was summed up quickly when my wife asked, “How can you sit in the room with anything that loud?” Smiles ensued. The Pioneer Elite VSX-21TXH is powerful.  It’s the kind of power that confuses the squirrels in your yard and discombobulates small children. Good stuff, folks. We aren’t just talking about the noise that came out of your mini-truck in 1993 either. The Pioneer Elite VSX-21TXH produces a rich, robust, and CLEAN sound as a result of a big-amp Direct Energy chassis – 110W x 7 channels.

Room calibration is a snap with Pioneer Elite’s Advanced Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration System technology.  Set the microphone in the center of the listening area and away it goes, sending a series of tones through each speaker automatically setting the individual levels. Minor adjustments were made over the course of testing to suit personal preferences, but the initial settings were very close.  A true testament to the development time put in with Pioneer’s in-house acoustics and calibration team.

A feature of the VSX-21TXH, Pioneer Elite is very proud of, is the Works with iPhone certification given to this receiver. A USB slot located on the front of the receiver allows quick access to your favorite iPhone/iPod playlist in a plug-and-play manner. Both XM and Sirius satellite radios are compatible, and custom installers also have a range of flexibility with the multi-zone capabilities of this unit.

Pioneer Elite’s view on video processing is “do no harm if you can’t help,” and is the basis of the HDMI with 48-bit Deep Color and x.v.Color video switching and 1080p video up-scaling.  This particular model is equipped with 4 HDMI inputs and one output, along with a plethora of component and composite choices.

The list of features and specs goes on for days and is available in greater depth here (), but in the end, this is a budget bombshell that delivers outstanding performance. And the thing is beautiful to boot!

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