For some audiophiles, the term "receiver" is synonymous with low quality sound. The logic goes that the more stuff you pack into a single chassis (video circuitry, tuner, etc.), the more gunk you introduce into the system. While we don't necessarily agree with that line of reasoning, there's no denying that for some folks, a simple integrated amplifier would do the job nicely. Enter the Pioneer Elite A-20; priced at a very reasonable $299, there's no dirty "r" word here, just a pre-amplifier plus two channels of amplification. So how does the A-20 stack up to a bit of scrutiny from Audioholics? Read on to find out.
Build Quality & Features
As you might guess, the Pioneer Elite A-20 is a pretty bare bones piece of equipment. On the attractive brushed aluminum front panel, you've got the basics including a volume knob, tone & balance adjustments, a loudness button, a "direct" mode button, speaker A/B selector, and a headphone jack. That's it; there's no LED display, no attempts to simulate surround sound, etc. We're guessing for a lot of folks, that's just A-OK. Flipping over to the back panel, you get four pairs of standard 5 way binding posts, six analog inputs (including one phono input), a tape output, and a control in/out which allows centralized control of other Pioneer components via the A-20's IR sensor (the included remote offers some control for those other devices as well). Unlike the nice aluminum front panel, there's no audio jewelry on the rear, which isn't a big surprise given the price point.