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Pioneer vs Onkyo – Detailed Comparison

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Pioneer and Onkyo are two renowned and well respected brands in the audio industry that produces high quality speakers, headphones, soundbars,  subwoofers and amplifiers. 

In this article, we will cover a general overview of both brands, looking specifically at sound quality, durability, price and so on. Of course, each brand has different devices at different price points, however, we will compare them as closely as we can.

Quick History

Pioneer Quick History

Pioneer is a Japanese company whose full name is actually Paionia Kabushiki-gaisha. It was started in 1938 by Bozomu Matsumoto. The company started as a speaker, radio, and other audio equipment repair shop.

Since the company started, it has been a big part of making sound systems for homes, businesses, and other personal uses, like car stereos. Pioneer was the first company to develop a dynamic speaker (named Pioneer A-8) made of original parts for domestic use.

The Pioneer brand is the manufacturer of some of the major audio equipment today. This includes the first dynamic speaker for the home, which was also the first Hi-Fi speaker.

Another example includes the first professional LD player, which also became the foundation of today’s Blu-ray disc and DVD players.

Onkyo Quick History

Takeshi Godai established the Japanese company Onkyo in 1946. Godai intended to address the gap in delivering satisfactory Japanese-made dynamic speakers. The work Onkyo originated from a Japanese word meaning “sound acoustics.”

Sound Quality

Pioneer Sound Quality

To be fair, Pioneer home sound systems are only good as entry-level audio equipment. Although they provide a decent listening experience, they are best for non-demanding listeners.

However, in terms of car speakers, Pioneer speakers offer a quality that is convincingly worth every penny. The sound calibration on most Pioneer receivers (like the one on the Pioneer VSX-932) makes the sound more personalized.

The Technical Audio Devices (TAD) from Pioneer were produced in 1975 with the view of delivering high-end professional audio delivery. But, it has continued to deliver quality sound and can be found in most professional speaker brands.

Pioneer has also partnered with the amazing Gary Stewart Audio to deliver some of the best-sounding club speakers that keep the party going.

Onkyo Sound Quality

If you are an audiophile, you want a receiver that can deliver your specific notes as perfectly as possible. The range of AV receivers from Onkyo sound very impressive and complete with incredible functionality and product regardless of your listening environment.

When it comes to choosing and paying for the better fidelity unit, putting your money on Onkyo is one of the best decisions for audiophiles.

They have a more well-rounded sound signature that offers more detail; audiophiles refer to it as a more “clinical” sound. The highs, mids, and lows are equally discernable.

Features

Pioneer Features

For many good reasons, the Pioneer brand has been more popular in ‌car stereos and entertainment.

This is because of the continued research, development, and improvement of its features. Some of the major features of the Pioneer car audio system include:

  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Streaming features
  • Touch screen
  • Built-in navigation
  • Real-time traffic

But most of these features are also found on other Pioneer devices, with only minor changes to make them work better for this one.

The other features that are common to other Pioneer devices include Dynamic leveling, digital inputs, HDMI with ARC, Dolby Atmos, and DTS: X for a rich and immersive audio experience, and other features for ease of use.

Onkyo Features

Many people expect to get a bundle of features in today’s world, especially when paying more for a product. However, the features of an Onkyo receiver are mainly related to the system’s sound.

It has some of the best step-up receivers with features such as:

  • Dirac Live
  • Streaming suite
  • Support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa

Build Quality

Pioneer Build Quality

Pioneer products have a good build quality. This includes the use of aluminum panels and an excellent finish to protect them for a long time.

Even beyond the physical build, Pioneer audio devices have improved a lot on the components, which has improved their reliability over the years.

However, the fact that Pioneer makes different devices is a factor that cannot go without mentioning. While Pioneer AV receivers and car stereos are known for their powerful build quality, some of the other products from the brand are not so durable.

Onkyo Build Quality

People tend to look at their build quality first when buying expensive devices. However, other than looking good, the device should be able to deliver good service over many years.

When it comes to build quality, Onkyo is a bit shaky. Many people complain of their receivers either requiring repair or going dead in less than a year despite the two-year warranty on their devices.

Ease of Use

Pioneer Ease Of Use

One of the major features that make most Pioneer devices easy to use is the ability to connect to other devices easily.

This is clear in the car audio system, where they offer different levels of the device without making it hard to use. This includes everything from the touch screen on more expensive car stereos to the easy-to-use menu button on cheaper ones.

 Beyond the car stereos by Pioneer, their home theaters are extremely easy to use. It offers different setting options and sound changes that give it a more customized output.

But you don’t need a lot of technical knowledge to use these because everything is marked and there are manuals to help.

Onkyo Ease Of Use

Onkyo receivers are particularly easy to set up. As an excellent performer, the products are made with superb usability and valuable features that make them easily accessible by all users.

The direct source buttons added for ease of control in the absence of a remote further make the Onkyo TX-NR585, for instance, much more user-friendly.

Cost

Pioneer Cost

Denon products are distributed between low-cost, average-cost, and high-cost devices. They have some of the best products at a low price as well as elite high-end devices.

However, when the chips are down and we compare the device with an equal device from other popular brands, you might realize you get the best value for your money.

Here are some price ranges for different devices from Pioneer:

Stereos: $100 – $500

AV Receivers: $250 – $1500

Soundbars: $250 – $800

Speakers: $100 – $800

Headphones: $50 – $400

Onkyo Cost

Onkyo receivers are generally costly. This is most likely attributable to their high-quality build and good sound performance.

Speakers: $20 – $6000

Receivers: $200 – $3000

Amplifiers: $40 – $1000

Space Requirements

Pioneer Space Requirements

Pioneer audio devices vary from size to size, but Pioneer AV Receivers are known for having a bulky build. This factor makes space consideration a serious business when considering a Pioneer AV receiver.

AV receivers are made to last for a long time, but if they get too hot often, they may break down sooner than expected.

Different devices will always require different amounts of space to function properly. This is because the space will depend not only on the size of the device but also on the amount of ventilation it can provide.

The home theater is another Pioneer product that might need special attention when it comes to space. Pioneer home theaters are quite tall and require as much space as possible.

Onkyo Space Requirements

Generally, Onkyo receivers are a little taller. Although they may not take much space on your table, they are much taller and broader than many competing receivers in the market.

Remote Controls

Pioneer Remote Controls

Most Pioneer devices come with a remote control that makes it easier to operate across the room. This remote can also be easily replaced by getting another one from the popular audio store in case of damage or loss.

Pioneer also has a digital remote control app that can be downloaded from your app store. However, to use the remote control app, the device must be compatible with it and they have to be connected to the same wireless network.

Onkyo Remote Controls

Onkyo receivers come with remote controls that make them easy to control even from the comfort of a seat. Besides, the remotes are intuitive and easy to use. The wireless remotes are device-specific and can be purchased separately from the device.

On the other hand, the Onkyo remote for Android utilizes the home network to operate wirelessly and deliver several remote control functions to manage your Onkyo hi-fi systems. Besides, the app permits wireless streaming of audio from personal computers and handsets.

Onkyo is, therefore, more advanced when it comes to remote controls and will make your entertainment system easy to navigate.

Connectivity Options

Pioneer Connectivity Options

Here are the main connectivity options compatible with most Pioneer speakers:

  • Bluetooth
  • Wi-Fi
  • RCA
  • HDMI

Onkyo Connectivity Options

Onkyo receivers have several connectivity options to take care of the analog and digital features.

They are therefore compatible with older devices and the modern class of devices. Some of the vital connectivity features include:

Power Range

Pioneer Power Range

Most Pioneer products are power efficient, i.e., they deliver the best audio quality with minimum power consumption. For example, the mid-range Pioneer elite VSX-LX303 AV receiver is rated at 100 watts per channel.

Onkyo Power Range

Onkyo receivers have several connectivity options to take care of the analog and digital features.

They are therefore compatible with older devices and the modern class of devices. Some of the vital connectivity features include:

Frequency Response

Pioneer Frequency Response

Most Pioneer sound systems have smooth frequency responses and a rich sound output that lets them send out sound in a wide area. For example, the frequency response for Pioneer TS series speakers is something around 34Hz to 42Hz.

However, the frequency response differs according to each device, which means you might have to check the user manual for each device to understand its frequency response.

Onkyo Frequency Response

The frequency response is varied depending on the device. For instance, the speakers have a frequency response of between 50Hz to 20kHz.

Conclusion

Pioneer products cut across audio equipment for home, professional, and car use. However, they are more popular for the production of car stereos that are affordable, easy to use, and meet industry standards. If you need an audio device that’s well-affordable and with good build quality, you might consider Pioneer devices. However, you might have to overlook the sound quality a little bit. Although the build quality of Onkyo can be less than desirable, the vintage brand manufactures audiophile-grade sound systems. They are however costly.

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