AIR, Pioneer Cooperate on New Amplifier

Jul 8, 2002 12:00 PM, Editors


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Recording engineers from Sir George Martin's AIR Studios (North London) have recently completed a design project with electronics engineers from Pioneer to create an advanced-specification, 7-channel, A/V amplifier, the VSA-AX10.

The VSA-AX10, which is now available through all Pioneer distributors, has THX Ultra2 post-processing and works on all Dolby Digital and EX formats, including Dolby Pro Logic II, as well as on all DTS 5.1 and DTS-ES 6.1 formats, including the latest 96/24 DTS decoding. Although the VSA-AX10 is primarily aimed at audiophiles and home cinema enthusiasts, it was designed from the ground up to be a true reference amplifier for critical studio monitoring.

Tim Vine-Lott, AIR's technical director, said, "In the perfectly symmetrical and uniform environment of a recording studio control room, one hears remarkably holographic audio images from multichannel music and movie soundtrack sources. But our living rooms are far from uniform or symmetrical in layout, and, in most cases, nor are our loudspeakers perfectly matched."

Pioneer answered this problem with its MultiChannel Acoustic Calibration System (MCACC), which was developed with AIR engineers to aid nominally "perfect" setup in the home. The VSA-AX10 comes with a supplied microphone to measure living room acoustics and automatically set speaker distances, channel levels and time alignment. There is also a 9-band graphic equalizer (for each channel) that timbre-matches loudspeakers and can be tweaked manually to personal taste.

Vine-Lott said, "For professional purposes, the VSA-AX10 is ideal as a B-speaker amplifier, and we certainly can use it in all of our control rooms. However, the home environment is where it really comes into its own. It is so good that both myself and Geoff Foster (AIR's chief sound engineer) have got VSA-AX10s running in our living rooms."

John Bamford, product manager for Pioneer GB, added, "At Pioneer, we are proud to be the first company capable of manufacturing 'universal' DVD players that can play both DVD-A and SACD. Consequently, we were determined to make a 'reference-class,' multichannel amplifier that would get the very best from these burgeoning hi-res music formats. Our collaboration with AIR's engineers helped ensure that the amplifier was transparent to source."

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