updated 11:20 am EDT, Wed July 1, 2009
Pioneer Elite receivers
Pioneer on Wednesday brought out four new home theater receivers to its flagship Elite lineup, including the top-rung SC-27 and SC-25, as well as the slightly lower-end VSX-21TXH and VSX-23TXH. All four have a customized USB/composite cable that allow users to integrate their iPhones and iPods into their home theater audio systems. Once connected, the Apple devices can be controlled via the systems' remote controls, and their content sent to 2nd and 3rd zones setup in the home. The SC-series units are meant to reproduce Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks found on more advanced Blu-ray discs. Both have a Direct Energy HD Class D amp based on ICEpower.
The SC-27 is the first A/V receiver with a Class D amp to get THX Ultra2 Plus and AIR Studio monitor specifications for audio quality. While power numbers haven't been released, Pioneer did reveal both the SC-25 and SC-27 use Burr-Brown analog-to-digital converters and Wolfson digital-to-analog converters (DAC) for higher resolution signals. The SC-27 adds a pro-level Burr-Brown 192kHz/24-bit sampling rate converter for a wider dynamic range and jitter reduction.
The Elite VSX-21TXH and VSX-23TXH models use Direct Energy Class A/B amps with hand-picked DSPs. They both offer 1080p video scaling (including de-interlacing); the VSX-23TXH has front-panel mounted HDMI and USB inputs.
The four new models sport a visual interface that simplifies the initial setup and control. Digital music is helped by Advanced Sound Retriever and Auto Level Control, both of which help maintain detail and constant volume. Other noteworthy features common to the new Elite receivers include Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration (MCACC) room tuning that tunes the sound for a given room to cut down on low-end distortion and minimize lag between each of the different sound channels. Sirius satellite radio and Rhapsody Internet music services are accessible directly through the receivers. This network capability also allows users to hook up the receivers to their networked PCs and stream multimedia content.
They also feature multi-room, multi-source capability, with audio support for at least two zones. The VSX-23TXH offers a third zone, while the SC-27 has a second-zone component video output for sending out more than one HD video signal. All but the VSX-21TXH also have dual HDMI outputs.
The Pioneer Elite SC-25 and SC-27 will be available in August, with prices set at $1,700 and $2,000, respectively, while the Pioneer Elite VSX-23TXH and VSX-21TXH are due to ship later in July, priced at $900 and $700.
Pioneer Elite SC-27