Denon was founded by a merger between 2 companies called Denki and Onkyo.
We mentioned this in our Denon vs. Marantz sound quality post.
Denon produces all kinds of speaker products.
From soundbars, subwoofers, to bookshelf speakers, there are a lot of audio products Denon offers.
But what we really care about in this comparison is how Denon vs. Pioneer stacks up against each other in terms of sound products and quality.
Besides speakers, Denon offers audiophile products like receivers, preamps, and amps.
Denon is known for having "warm" sounds. For those who don't know, warms refers to the bass.
If you have warm sounds, it means your bass and vocals are easy on the ears. It also means bass and vocals are 80% of the product's focus.
To even the playing field for comparison, we're going to compare 1 product from both the speaker, amp, and receiver category. Keep in mind, all these products we're reviewing from each brand are also even in price.
Since these 2 products are fundamental to every listener, we figured this is the best way to compare these 2 against each other.
First up is the Heos 3 from Denon. It's a high-end wireless speaker built for medium-sized rooms.
The Heos 3 is a speaker which can be placed vertically or horizontally.
This is perfect for placing it anywhere around your vicinity. The standout feature of this speaker is its "smart" speaker capabilities.
With those capabilities you can stream your favorite music from popular platforms such as Spotify, Amazon music, or Pandora. In addition, you can also connect your device and stream from a smartphone or tablet.
Another smart speaker capability is the app they created to control the speaker. From there you can control settings and preferences including the volume.
A big part of why we wanted this product to represent Denon is because of its sound quality.
Dual wide range drivers are a big component for those warm sounds.
This allows it to have a "smooth, natural tonal balance."
These drivers are assisted by a 2-channel digital amplifier. The class D amps make the speakers efficient and allow it to have a wide range of sounds.
The PMA-60 exemplifies warm sounds.
It's compatibility with different types of speakers makes it perfect for both indoor and outdoor speakers.
It also has 50 watts on each channel. This is surprising considering its size. What's even better is the way it generates quality sound.
The Advanced AL32 processing system converts digital data into music. It's hard to go into explicit detail about what this technology does, but we're going to try.
In simple terms, the AL32 "uses an algorithm to obtain high-bit and high sampling output performance."
Direct from Denon's website: "A technology that reproduced 16-bit data with 32-bit quality."
This algorithm makes it so the conversion happens with no loss of data. And when the conversion is flawless, sound reproduction is better, and frequency response advances.
Besides this technology is its signal-to-noise ratio. Denon markets their class D amps as better than standard ones on the market, but there are reasons why.
One reason is it delivers 50 watts at 4 ohms. Another is because there are multiple ways to connect to it.
You can use USB, speaker cables, and banana plug connectors.
For those worried about unwanted noise via USB, the PMA-60 provides both a "noise isolation block and D/A conversion block that prevents audio quality from declining."
Denon optimizes for sound quality and design. Looking at both the PMA-60 and HEOS 3 made us realize that.
Their constant improvement in technology aligns with their philosophy of "passion, artistry, and technology."
The AVR-S54oBT is a receiver that varies in wattage power depending on the number of power amps.
Specifications list this receiver as being capable of having 5-13 amps.
If you have 5 amps, you'll have a minimum of 70 watts. If you want to get crazy with it, then 13 amps will give you a minimum of 150 watts.
Denon definitely optimized for video/audio components. An example of this is the 5 HDMI inputs. This allows for ultra crispy picture quality.
On top of this is the easy setup experience. Once your TV is setup with the AVR-S540BT, the Denon Setup Assistant walks you through how to setup your TV further, and it helps you get your sound together.
Not only is the setup experience easy, but it provides convenience. You can access your whole sound system with one remote. Or, if you're feeling really lazy, you can download the app on your phone and do everything on there.
Pioneer has been around for awhile too. Since 1938, Pioneer has been about producing high quality speakers.
It was founded by Nozomu Matsumoto and first originated in Japan.
Their product category is more prolific than Denon if you compare them by their websites. One noticeable product category it has over Denon is car audio.
In fact, Pioneer is considered a leader in car electronics. The products they provide for cars are subwoofers, amps, and of course, speakers.
But we're not here to talk about car audio. It's all about home audio on this site.
The speaker you see above is called the VA-FW40. We tried to even the matchups between the two and this speaker is both similar in size and price.
Pioneer tries to separate itself from the medium-sized speaker space by featuring its smart speaker capabilities.
You can talk to Amazon's Alexa by checking the weather, traffic, or giving it a question. You can also stream music like any other smart speaker.
Its hard to find any information on its wattage power but we're going to assume 50-100 watts of power. We know that's a huge range but it makes sense considering the speaker size.
A few specifications Pioneer releases is the VA-FW40 contains a passive radiator and twin woofers with powered separate switching amps. For those who don't know, switching amps are classified as class D amps.
Class D amps have the advantage of less heat which means a more durable circuit board. It also makes the speaker cheaper to purchase.
But one common complaint against Pioneer speakers is its signature sound. A lot of complaints have revolved around Pioneer's speakers having "too much color."
Having too much color means the upper frequency of their speakers hurt people's ears. This isn't the reputation you want for your speakers.
What sticks out right away with the GM-D8701 is it has incredible wattage power. The amp delivers 1,600 watts of max power. We haven't heard of such a thing until now.
What made this possible is its circuitry design.
Pioneer installed what is called the "protection control system." This system acts like a moderator and makes sure the temperature never gets too high.
With Pioneer designing this system, it allows you to connect more subwoofers which equals more power coming through.
A low pass-filter is something new we've never covered. This a great article on low pass-filters.
We mention low-pass filters because the GM-D8701 has one itself. A low-pass filter allows both your frequency range and listening preferences to adjust to your tastes.
A lot of the times low-pass filters are used for removing high frequency noise. But sometimes you might be paying more for a filter even though it doesn't do anything.
Understand what type of filter you're doing and understand the frequencies your speaker runs at.
For the GM-D8701 in particular, the low-pass filter works and audiences report there is no type of distortion.
All of this is available for a great price too. Definitely recommend this piece.
The Pioneer VSX-534 comes in at 80 watts with a standard frequency range of 20 Hz-20 kHz.
Besides Pioneer having a reputation of their speakers having too much color, this receiver in particular has reviews of it being warm.
A big part of its warm sounds is due to its "Advanced Sound Retriever Technology." This technology restores data in the digital compression process to try and reproduce the exact bits that came in.
Compared to Denon, the maximum wattage power on this receiver only goes up to 150 watts with 1 channel driven. Another area where Denon's receiver beats this one is HDMI inputs. This one has 4 while Denon has 5.
One similarity between the two brands is the VSX-534 also comes with 4k picture quality.
As for the setup competition between the two, We'd also give the edge to Denon. They just make it more convenient with their own app.
Denon vs. Pioneer?
Point blank, we believe Denon is a better brand for consumer audio products.
From smart speakers to receivers, Denon provides more features and better sound quality.
The only product category Pioneer has over Denon is car audio. But you have to take into consideration Denon doesn't even try to make car audio products.
If you're someone looking for a home audio product, Denon is the brand.