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AIR, Pioneer Cooperate on New Amplifier

Recording engineers from Sir George Martin's AIR Studios (North London) have recently completed a design project with electronics engineers from Pioneer

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

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

Tim Vine-Lott, AIR’s technical director, said, “In the perfectlysymmetrical and uniform environment of a recording studio control room,one hears remarkably holographic audio images from multichannel musicand movie soundtrack sources. But our living rooms are far from uniformor symmetrical in layout, and, in most cases, nor are our loudspeakersperfectly matched.”

Pioneer answered this problem with its MultiChannel AcousticCalibration System (MCACC), which was developed with AIR engineers toaid nominally “perfect” setup in the home. The VSA-AX10 comes with asupplied microphone to measure living room acoustics and automaticallyset speaker distances, channel levels and time alignment. There is alsoa 9-band graphic equalizer (for each channel) that timbre-matchesloudspeakers and can be tweaked manually to personal taste.

Vine-Lott said, “For professional purposes, the VSA-AX10 is ideal asa B-speaker amplifier, and we certainly can use it in all of ourcontrol rooms. However, the home environment is where it really comesinto its own. It is so good that both myself and Geoff Foster (AIR’schief sound engineer) have got VSA-AX10s running in our livingrooms.”

John Bamford, product manager for Pioneer GB, added, “At Pioneer, weare proud to be the first company capable of manufacturing ‘universal’DVD players that can play both DVD-A and SACD. Consequently, we weredetermined to make a ‘reference-class,’ multichannel amplifier thatwould get the very best from these burgeoning hi-res music formats. Ourcollaboration with AIR’s engineers helped ensure that the amplifier wastransparent to source.”

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