updated 01:55 pm EDT, Fri August 5, 2011
Pioneer Elite receivers carry AirPlay, Air Jam
Pioneer wrapped up the week by adding two new Elite receivers with a heavy emphasis on their iOS links. The 7.1-channel SC-55 and 9.1-channel SC-57 hubs revolve chiefly around their new, Class-D3 amps. The two have quicker response times and reduced total harmonic distortion even as they consume less power and generate less heat.
AirPlay is straightforward but turns the receiver into an audio destination for any iOS device or iTunes-running computer on the same local network. A companion iOS app, Air Jam (free, App Store), lets those who outfit the Elites with a Bluetooth receiver create a shared playlist between as many as four iOS devices that streams through the one receiver. Owners can steer the hardware through iControlAV2 (free, App Store).
Other networking extras bring direct A2DP Bluetooth audio streaming, DLNA media sharing, and Internet radio that includes Pandora, Rhapsody, and Sirius XM. A Wi-Fi adapter is an option for homes where Ethernet isn't an option.
As regular receivers, they have Marvell's Qdeo for video processing for anything from Blu-ray through to video taken from iOS or another mobile device through a hybrid USB and video cable. It even adapts to streams and low-bitrate material, Pioneer says. The component can automatically tune the video depending on the type of TV or projector it's reaching. Audio extends up to not just usual Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio but DTS' latest NeoX format.
The SC-55 and SC-57, apart from their potential audio fields, are separated mostly by their custom configurations. Listeners can make up to seven custom setups on the SC-55 and ten on the SC-57. Pioneer is shipping both now for prices of $1,600 and $2,000 respectively.