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Two Pioneer Elite AVRs Step Up Amp Performance

Long Beach, Calif. – Pioneer
filled out the top of its Elite A/V receiver (AVR) selection with two models
whose third-generation digital amplifiers are said to deliver more continuous power
simultaneously to all channels compared
to any previous Pioneer AVR.

Both models are also the brand’s
first with DTS Neo:X processing, which up-mixes stereo and multichannel audio
programs to as many as 11.1 channels by adding a pair of front-height speakers
and a pair of front-wide speakers to traditional surround-sound speaker configurations

Neo:X also appears in one other
audio product, a $1,399-suggested Onkyo AVR.

The two Elite AVRs are the
flagship 9×140-watt SC-57 and the 9×140-watt SC-55 at expected everyday prices
of $2,000 and $1,600, respectively.

Both Elite AVRs are shipping with
a wide range of network features already available in

Elite models unveiled earlier this year

, plus they add multiple other

One of the features is new, proprietary


amplifier technology,
said to “deliver Pioneer’s highest-ever continuous power simultaneously to
all dedicated channels with extremely high efficiency, significantly less heat
production and ultra-low distortion,” the company said. They also deliver “extremely” fast response, “exceptionally detailed” midrange frequencies, and high
dynamic range from
any source with
all channels driven,
even when driving multiple audio zones, the company said.

“These receivers
can truly reproduce the dynamics of uncompressed audio soundtracks from sources
such as Blu-ray,” said Chris Walker, director A/V marketing and product
planning for home entertainment.

Also to enhance
amplifier performance, the company redesigned their aluminum heat sinks to
deliver 360 degrees of heat dissipation, and the amplifier section was
reconfigured to provide
an audio
signal path that’s a third shorter
than a previous
design. The Direct-Thru signal path directs audio signals from the audio input side
to the power supply while eliminating
through the circuit board or the need for a
circuit, the company
As a result, the
company said the amplifier
virtually no noise,”
and total
harmonic distortion (THD) is
reduced to 0.003
percent at 100

 For multizone use, both AVRs offer more
speaker-configuration options for surround-sound, multizone and biamplification
applications than other Elite AVRs. The SC-55 features seven options, and the SC-57
has 10 options. Both, for example, can drive
a 5.1-channel home theater while using the remaining four channels to drive two
separate stereo zones in other rooms.

For home-theater audio playback,
the SC-57 is THX Ultra 2 Plus certified, and the SC-55 is THX Select 2 Plus
certified. Both are the only two models in the Elite series certified for music
playback performance by London’s Air Studios recording studio.

Compared to the other Elite AVRs,
the two new models add the versatile amplifier configuration, dual Texas
Instruments Aureus 32-Bit DSP Engines, 
32-bit sampling, phono input, three-zone A/V with component video out
for zone 2,   improved build quality with
“3-D Space Frame Construction,” and isolated pre-amp/power amp circuits.

Both models are certified by
Control4, Crestron and Savant
for use with their home-control systems.

Like other Elite AVRs, the two new

feature such networking
technologies as Apple’s AirPlay, certified DLNA 1.5 networking, Internet radio, and proprietary iControlAV2 and
AirJam apps for the iPad, iPhone and iPod apps. The iControlAV2 lets consumers use their
mobile Apple device to control AVR and Pioneer Blu-ray features and select
audio content from a networked PC or network-attached storage device for
playback through the AVR. AirJam enables up to four people at a time to connect
their Apple device to an AVR to jointly create a master playlist of songs
streamed via stereo Bluetooth from the Apple devices.

Elite AVRs feature front-panel USB port certified for use with iPads, iPhones
and iPods to play back stored music. An included USB/composite-video cable also
lets users play back stored video.

Also like other Elite AVRs, the two new
models feature Marvell Qdeo video processor, whose benefits include up-scaling
of analog video to 1080p HDMI output. Also like other Elite AVRs, the two also
feature Advanced Video Adjust, which automatically optimizes video signals to
the type of display used, and Stream Smoother, which enhances compressed video
files, including video streamed through the Internet via networked Blu-ray