X-Z9 Receiver Features
The X-Z9 is a small, shelf-sized receiver with a stylish gloss black finish. Other than the volume control and a few logos, the X-Z9 looks like a black box until the power is turned on and its animated, easy to read display is activated. Initially the display shows the Pioneer logo, then changes to reveal the selected source, volume level or day and time. The clock includes a timer that can be used to wake up to or go to sleep listening to music, a nice feature. The front panel has power on/off, a USB input, an analog audio input for a portable player and a 3.5mm headphone output jack. The built-in CD/SACD player has touch-sensitive controls on the top of the receiver. Just a light touch opens the disc drawer or operates the player’s functions.
Most of the receiver’s advanced connectivity is found on the rear panel, including an iPod multi-pin connector (iPod cable included), separate XM and Sirius Satellite Radio inputs, a LAN (Local Area Network) port for Internet Radio or connection to a networked PC, analog audio in/out jacks for a tape deck (or other analog component), and even a phono input for a turntable. The speaker output terminals are for bare wire or speaker cables with binding post connectors. The system comes with good quality, large gauge speaker wire, instead of the skimpy ‘dental floss’ speaker wire that’s included with many systems.
One of the more interesting features on the X-Z9 is Internet Radio, with literally hundreds of radio stations, podcasts and other content from almost anywhere in the world - some are major stations and others are amateur broadcasts. I even found air traffic control communications, police communications, and other unusual content. Listening to Internet Radio is easy. Simply connect the receiver to an Internet router via the LAN connection on the rear panel, select Internet Radio from the Home Media Gallery and locate a station. The station identification scrolls across the front panel display. Pioneer’s Internet Radio partner is vTuner and a list of stations can be found on vTuner.com. Up to 30 Internet Radio stations can be stored on the receiver and recalled when desired. An on-screen display would make it easier to select stations, but the receiver’s bright display is adequate providing you’re close to the receiver.
Home Media Gallery
Playing audio files from a network requires a PC running Windows XP or Windows Vista, and since I use a Mac I was unable to test this feature. However, the Home Media Gallery supports the following audio formats (with some exceptions, depending on whether the format is compatible the server):