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Onkyo vs Pioneer – Which Audio Receiver is Best for You?

To find out which company has superior options, check out our head-to-head comparison.

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Onkyo vs Pioneer

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 Onkyo TX-SR393Onkyo TX-SR494Onkyo TX-NR696Pioneer VSX-534Pioneer Elite VSX-LX104Pioneer Elite SC-LX904
ModelOnkyo TX-SR393Onkyo TX-SR494Onkyo TX-NR696Pioneer VSX-534Pioneer Elite VSX-LX104Pioneer Elite SC-LX904
Number of Channels5775711
Power Output155 W/Ch160 W/Ch175 W/Ch150 W/Ch170 W/Ch260 W/Ch
4K UHD
HDR
Dolby Atmos
DTS:X
HDMI447467
Wi-Fi
Bluetooth
Weight18.10 lbs21.27 lbs26.01 lbs17.6 lbs26.5 lbs34.2 lbs
Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price

 

Onkyo and Pioneer are very similar companies when it comes to creating audio receivers. They come in similar price ranges and sometimes the receivers themselves even look alike. But there’s no denying that both companies have been go-to brands for people looking for A/V receivers on tighter budgets. If you want to learn more about which brand is the right choice for you, let’s dive into our Onkyo vs Pioneer audio receiver match-up.

Onkyo vs Pioneer – Build Quality and Design

At a quick glance, the receivers of both Onkyo and Pioneer look pretty similar. Stylistically, many of their products have a lot in common when it comes to overall shape and the placement of buttons or knobs.

Overall, I would say that Pioneer has a bit of and edge when it comes to the looks department. Their receivers tend to have more colorful LED lights and the screen displays are a little brighter and sharper.

When it comes to build quality, Onkyo and Pioneer are pretty much identical, with one caveat. Onkyo receivers are known to have defective HDMI boards that occasionally need to be either replaced or repaired. Because of that, Pioneer comes out on top just by a little when it comes to both design and reliability.

Onkyo TX-SR393

Our pick

Onkyo TX-SR393 5.2-Channel A/V Receiver

  • Power Output: 155 W/Ch (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 10% THD, 1 channel driven)
  • Supports 4K/60p and HDR
  • Dolby Atmos® and DTS:X® playback
  • Advanced Music Optimizer
CHECK PRICE
Pioneer VSX-534

Our pick

Pioneer VSX-534 5.2-Channel Smart A/V Receiver

  • Power Output: 150 W/Ch (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 10% THD, 1 channel driven)
  • Ready for 4K HDR entertainment
  • Dolby Atmos® and DTS:X®
  • Bluetooth Compatible
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Onkyo vs Pioneer – Extra Features

Onkyo and Pioneer are also pretty similar when it comes to extra features or quality of life attributes. Many of their products in similar or identical price ranges offer much of the same features including compatibility with various devices thanks to multiple input ports, or Dolby Atmos Surround Sound audio, and more.

Generally speaking, I find that Pioneer is slightly ahead of the game when it comes to Onkyo. For similar prices their A/V receivers tend to have a little more wattage behind them, which means more power and more volume. Sometimes these differences in wattage are so small that they are insignificant, but sometimes they are large enough to warrant serious consideration.

Onkyo TX-SR494

Our pick

Onkyo TX-SR494 7.2-Channel A/V Receiver

  • Power Output: 160 W/Ch (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 10% THD, 1 channel driven
  • Supports 4K/60p and HDR
  • Dolby Atmos® and DTS:X® playback
  • Advanced Music Optimizer
CHECK PRICE
Pioneer Elite VSX-LX104

Our pick

Pioneer Elite VSX-LX104 7.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver

  • Power Output: 170 W/Ch (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 10% THD, 1 channel driven)
  • Ready for 4K HDR entertainment
  • Dolby Atmos® and DTS:X®
  • MCACC Auto Room Tuning
  • Works with Sonos, Apple AirPlay 2
  • Zone B Output for Wireless Headphones
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Onkyo vs Pioneer – Sound Quality

I must admit that for the most part, I generally cannot detect much of a difference in sound quality when it comes to Onkyo vs Pioneer. Many people have stated that the two brands are very similar when it comes to audio quality, and I happen to agree with the general consensus.

I will say however that I do find the sound calibration on Pioneer receivers such as the VSX-932 or the VSX-933 to be better than the Accu Equalizer found on many Onkyo receivers. If you don’t like to use EQs then you will probably not hear a difference in the sound signature. But if you are like me and always enjoy customizing the timbre of your audio then you will prefer Pioneer’s calibration system more than Onkyo’s.

Onkyo TX-NR696

Our pick

Onkyo TX-NR696 7.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver

  • Power Output: 175 W/Ch (6 ohms, 1 kHz, 10% THD, 1 channel driven)
  • Supports 4K/60p and HDR
  • 5.2.2-ch Dolby Atmos® and DTS:X® playback
  • Works with Sonos, Chromecast built-in*1, AirPlay 2, DTS Play-Fi®, FlareConnect™*2, Spotify®, Amazon Music, TIDAL, Deezer, TuneIn*3
CHECK PRICE
Pioneer Elite SC-LX904

Our pick

Pioneer Elite SC-LX904 11.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver with IMAX Enhanced

  • Ready for 4K HDR entertainment
  • Direct Energy HD Class D3 Switching Amplifier
  • IMAX® Enhanced MODE
  • MCACC Pro Auto Room Tuning
  • Works with Sonos, Alexa, Apple AirPlay 2
  • 2 Subwoofer Pre-Outs
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Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, it was a hard choice to make as both products really do have a lot in common, but I really believe that Pioneer A/V receivers win this battle in a very close photo-finish race.

Ultimately, both receivers will satisfy the basic needs for anyone looking for an A/V receiver—j especially if they are on a budget. I would even recommend considering getting an Onkyo receiver if you happen to come across one at a good price.

But generally speaking, as so many of their products are in the same price range, most of the time Pioneer will have just a couple of extra bonuses about it that will make it the slightly better choice for potential buyers.