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Pioneer Adds Elite DD/DTS Receivers, CD-Recorder

Pioneer unveiled a second wave of 1999 A/V products highlighted by the first Dolby Digital/DTS receivers in its Elite series, the company’s second Elite CD-recorder, and a new entry-level Pioneer-series CD-recorder.

The company also introduced the first HDTV-ready rear projector in its Pioneer series (see page 58).

Also in the Pioneer series, the company unveiled the first U.S.-designed, U.S.-made speakers, which complement U.S.-pedigree Elite-series models.

All Elite receivers now come with DD/DTS decoding, complementing a single $550-suggested-retail DD/DTS receiver in the Pioneer series.

The Elite receivers, shipping in June at suggested retails from $650 to $2,300, also feature THX Ultra certification at the $1,200, $1,650 and $2,300 price points and THX Select certification at $1,000.

All feature six-channel RCA inputs for connection to DVD-Audio players, preamp outputs for all channels, and digital processing applied to analog and digital sources to deliver four home theater soundfield modes targeted for use with a specific movie genre: musicals, drama, action, and a midnight mode that boosts dynamic range without boosting SPLs, the company said.

All but the opening-price model feature 96kHz/24-bit audio DACs.

The top three add multiroom/multisource capability, and for the first time for Elite, multiroom controls appear on the front panel, not just on the remote. The trio also features an IR receiver compatible with multiroom systems from such companies as Niles and Xantech. Previous receivers required the use of an IR adapter.

Only the top two receivers feature built-in RF demodulators for use with Dolby Digital laserdisc players. All Elite receivers last year had built-in demodulators.

Elite’s second CR-recorder is also its first with CD-RW recording capability. The PD-R19RW, due in April at a suggested $1,200, complements a $2,000-suggested-retail CD-R model and adds a pair of features intended to lower distortion during recording by minimizing the incidence of “pit drops,” a spokesman said.

Record strategy control, for instance, identifies a recordable disc’s manufacturer and adjusts laser output to compensate for variations among manufacturers in reflectivity levels. A read-ahead feature enables the recorder to adjust laser output to compensate for reflectivity variations on a particular manufacturer’s disc.

In the Pioneer series, the PDR-509RW CD-R/RW recorder will become Pioneer’s entry-level model, complementing a $599-MAP opening-price model. Although pricing on the new model won’t be announced until July, its MAP will be below $599, a spokesman said. It’s not certain whether the MAP on the existing model will be changed, he added.

Not all features of the 509RW were available at press time, but it will offer at least two features that the current model lacks: a sampling-rate-converter bypass (to allow recording of multichannel DTS-encoded CDs) and record strategy control, the spokesman said.

The first U.S.-designed and -built Pioneer-series speakers feature a floating-baffle design intended to minimize distortion-creating enclosure vibration. The selection comprises three bookshelf models at $199 to $349/pair, a $189 center channel, a $399 150-watt powered subwoofer, and a $169/pair surround speaker whose design and wall-mounting hardware enable them to be mounted to deliver direct or diffuse soundfields.

To its Pioneer-series shelf-system lineup, the company added two single-CD models, each with separate amplifier chassis, chrome finish, three-way speakers, and vertical see-through mechanized CD-loading door.

One model comes with single cassette, the other with single MD, at a suggested $540 and $660, respectively. They ship in July and build on January shelf-system introductions that included an executive-style microsystem, the company’s first Dolby Pro Logic shelf systems, and its first minisystem available in optional colors.