The present review is aimed to compare two AV receivers - Pioneer VSX-531 vs Onkyo TX-NR686 that are meant to satisfy the needs of cinema and music lovers.
A significant difference between the receivers in the number of channels, Pioneer VSX-531 has 5.1 versus 7.2 for Onkyo TX-NR686. Regarding power, then VSX-531 has such a W/Ohm ratio - 80/8, 140/6 when TX-NR686 has a power of 165/6. The THD is the same and is 0.08%.
Characteristics of digital to analog converter (DAC) are different, 192 KHz/24-bit for VSX-531 and VLSC 384 KHz/32-bit for the TX-NR686. Only the TX-NR686 supports Bi-amping feature. Each of the AV receivers can transmit an audio signal directly to the amplifier and bypasses any DSP processing. Rivals from our review have Bluetooth support. Only the TX-NR686 supports Spotify. Compared AV receivers retain the quality of 4K/60Hz signal when transmitting from a source to a TV or projector. HDMI signal transmission in standby mode is implemented in each of the devices. Both competitors are not able to scale the HDMI signal. Dolby Vision technology found support only on the TX-NR686.
The Pioneer VSX-531 has 4/1 HDMI inputs/outputs versus 7/2 HDMI connectors of the Onkyo TX-NR686. The HDMI Audio Return Channel (ARC) feature supports both devices. Unfortunately, HDMI eARC is not available on monitored devices. The Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) feature is present in most modern AV receivers and the models in our comparison are no exception. Both models support the standard HDCP 2.2. The TX-NR686 has a built-in phono stage for connecting a vinyl player. An ECO mode is only available for the VSX-531. The setup assistant will help you configure Onkyo TX-NR686.
Only the TX-NR686 has a Dolby Atmos multichannel audio format support. A surround technology DTS:X is supported only by the TX-NR686.