Pioneer Steps Up Elite AVRs - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 263 Old 05-02-2012, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Joseph Palenchar -- TWICE, 5/2/2012
Long Beach, Calif. - Pioneer is expanding its Elite series of A/V receivers (AVRs) up in price point and adding such new features to select models as 4k by 2k HDMI passthrough, front-panel HDMI inputs with Mobile High Definition Link compatibility, and dedicated zone-2 subwoofer output.

Pioneer's top-end Elite AVR, the $2,500-suggested SC-68, features 9.2 channels, 4K by 2K HDMI passthrough, and front-panel MHL-compatible HDMI port."Pioneer's top-end Elite AVR, the $2,500-suggested SC-68, features 9.2 channels, 4K by 2K HDMI passthrough, and front-panel MHL-compatible HDMI port."
One of the five new AVRs adds a 192kHz/32-bit asynchronous USB DAC, said to be the industry's first in an AVR, for ultra-high quality music file playback from a USB-connected PC or Mac. In the line, the company is also expanding proprietary Class D3 amplifier technology to all five models from last year's two, expanding DTS Neo:X post-processing to three models from two, and topping out the line at a suggested $2,500, up from $2,000.

The new Elite receivers, available in June, are the $1,100-suggested 7.2-channel SC-61, $1,300 7.2-channel SC-63, $1,600 9.2-channel SC-65, $2,000 9.2-channel SC-67, and $2,500 9.2-channel SC-68. They will join the $650 VSX-60 and $450 VSC-42, which the company's website shows will be carried over. Details on whether other new Elite AVRs will be available to fill the gap from $650 to $1,100 were unavailable.

Of the new models, the $1,600 SC-65 and $2,000 SC-67 are THX Select 2 Plus-certified, the $2,500 SC-68 is THX Ultra 2 Plus-certified, and the $2,000 SC-67 and $2,500 SC-68 add additional certification from London's Air Studios recording studios.

Key changes in the line include the addition of 4k by 2k HDMI passthrough in the $1,600, $2,000 and $2,500 models and an expansion of DTS Neo:X post-processing surround technology to three models starting at $1,600. Neo:X 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. The top three 9.2-channel AVRs apparently will deliver all of Neo:X's 11.1 channels, thanks to their 11.1-channel preamp outputs.

The new line also adds a second HDMI zone to the top two four-zone AVRs, which also feature an HD-compatible component-video output for one of the four zones. The other AVRs are three-zone models with one component-video zone.

Also new is zone 2 subwoofer output, available in all five new models, which also feature dual subwoofer outputs in the main zone.

Other new features appearing in Elite for the first time include Direct Stream Digital (SACD)-compatible front-panel USB port in the top two models and, also in the top model, the industry's first 192kHz/32-bit asynchronous USB DAC for music-file playback from a USB-connected PC or Mac.

Now expanded to five models from two, Pioneer's Class D3 amplifier technology is promoted as delivering high efficiency while driving all channels simultaneously without a significant loss in continuous per-channel power output. The technology is said to ensure high dynamic range, lower impedance support, and high-quality sound, even if multiple zones are playing at once.

Like before, the Elite AVRs are networked models that incorporate Apple's AirPlay, DLNA 1.5, Windows 7 compatibility, Internet radio, PC setup control, Advanced MCACC automatic room calibration, multiple HDMI 1.4a inputs with HDMI audio return channel, and Dolby ProLogic IIz, which adds two front-height speakers to a typical 5.1-speaker setup.

Also like previous models, the new models feature virtual speaker technology to deliver phantom height, width, depth and surround channels without speakers dedicated to those applications.

Other carryover features include vTuner Internet radio, SiriusXM Internet radio, Pandora, optional Wi-Fi adapter, optional stereo Bluetooth adapter, and ability to play 192kHz/24-bit FLAC and WAV music filed via a home network or USB port. DACs with 192kHz/32-bit performance start with the $1,600 model.

The models also carry over compatibility with Pioneer's proprietary apps for iOS handheld devices, including the iControlAV2012 control apps and Air Jam, which lets multiple users create a combined playlist of Bluetooth-streamed songs from mobile devices.

Other features common to all include compressed-video enhancer feature, which improves the picture quality of video streamed from the Internet through such sources as connected Blu-ray players, and an advanced video adjust feature, which optimizes video settings individually for each connected video source as well as optimize the video output for plasma, LCD or front-projector display technologies.

The AVRs also feature Qdeo 1080p/24fps up-scaling from analog and digital video sources.

As for inputs and outputs, the $1,100 SC-61 features six HDMI ins and one out, and the $1,300 and $1,600 models feature seven HDMI ins and two outs. The $2,000 and $2,500 models add a third HDMI output.
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post #2 of 263 Old 05-02-2012, 12:10 PM
 
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They REALLY did step up their game!
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post #3 of 263 Old 05-02-2012, 12:33 PM
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The top three 9.2-channel AVRs apparently will deliver all of Neo:X's 11.1 channels, thanks to their 11.1-channel preamp outputs.

This is the best part.

If only they would do a better job of sub eq.
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post #4 of 263 Old 05-02-2012, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by KidHorn View Post


If only they would do a better job of sub eq.

A better job? What model does? So why are they refusing to do so?
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post #5 of 263 Old 05-02-2012, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by johnson636 View Post


A better job? What model does? So why are they refusing to do so?

Because they don't license Audyssey (or can't due to possible Audyssey non-competes for things like XT32/Pro), and won't put the money into R&D of their proprietary RC, why else?

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post #6 of 263 Old 05-02-2012, 01:52 PM
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Not only have they not implemented this type of equalization, they haven't mentioned it as a future possibility. It would be a shame if money was the only reason not to provide sub eq to it's users.
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post #7 of 263 Old 05-02-2012, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irwinroad View Post

The new line also adds a second HDMI zone to the top two four-zone AVRs, which also feature an HD-compatible component-video output for one of the four zones. The other AVRs are three-zone models with one component-video zone.

Hi,

Can someone help me understand what this means?

I assume it means that whatever is coming out of main HDMI can also come out of zone2 HDMI. Zone2 HDMI cannot output something different than the main. Is this correct?

Thanks,

-Matt
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post #8 of 263 Old 05-02-2012, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by thepoloman33 View Post

Hi,

Can someone help me understand what this means?

I assume it means that whatever is coming out of main HDMI can also come out of zone2 HDMI. Zone2 HDMI cannot output something different than the main. Is this correct?

Thanks,

-Matt


Zone 4's HDMI output can be different from what is going on in the main room.

Also, Zone 2's HD Component output can be different that what is happening in Zone 1 and Zone 4.....

Three zones of HD content at the same time..

Chris Walker
Pioneer Electronics
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post #9 of 263 Old 05-02-2012, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnson636 View Post

Not only have they not implemented this type of equalization, they haven't mentioned it as a future possibility. It would be a shame if money was the only reason not to provide sub eq to it's users.

There's also having the programming resources to rewrite MCACC for independent crossovers and do actually execute the EQ below 63 Hz, while optimizing the mains/sub splice. For all we know, the way that MCACC operates it may not be technically possible to do so without redoing the whole RC approach and assumptions. Which in comparison to adding 'hardware' may be a loss leader, especially since people that are asking/complaining about sub EQ are prone to buy a unit with Audyssey anyway. Remember, we're in the 1%, not the 'real world' of AVR buyers here at Best Buy or Walmart.

From the description, at least they're advertising a few points of differentiation from competitors with an advantage on SQ due to Audyssey - the DAC filter modes, USB/DAC for PC and laptops that might appeal to the music server crowd, Zone 4, etc. It doesn't matter if they're actually useful to many users, if offering something that others don't scores marketing points with those people that are buying 'value' at a particular price point.

As a Walkamo might say, "three zones of HD content at the same time" is a great tag line for selling the SC series as offering networking as a USP (unique selling point), and offering five SC units with various version of the same features a few hundred dollars apart from one another (the SC-68 aside) is all about protecting price points. For those of us that like our Audyssey units and used to be Pioneer loyalists until we made the sub EQ connection to overall SQ, we're not the audience. We're the Greek chorus.

Stuart

 

Denon 4311 with XT32 and Audyssey Pro

Oppo 93 and 103

Panasonic VT50

Sherwood R-972 with its version of the Trinnov Optimizer

MiniDSP 10x10 HD

PSB Imagine T2, Center, and Surrounds (as of 5/2014); HSU ULS-15 subs (2)

 

The Audyssey FAQ Guide can be found here:

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post #10 of 263 Old 05-02-2012, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by sdrucker View Post

For those of us that ... used to be Pioneer loyalists ... we're not the audience. We're the Greek chorus.

that, my friend, is very well said...

- chris

 

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I guess I would be more interested in knowing why the SC-55/57 released in August are suddenly obsolete and not supported in iControlAV2012

Or for that matter, any of the 2011 pioneer receivers

And will that feature to allow the user to upgrade the firmware ever be used or is that a tick mark in the sell sheet?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkamo View Post

Zone 4's HDMI output can be different from what is going on in the main room.

Also, Zone 2's HD Component output can be different that what is happening in Zone 1 and Zone 4.....

Three zones of HD content at the same time..

Chris Walker
Pioneer Electronics

Wow, that's excellent. Great news! I don't believe any other manufacturers have this feature yet.

Thanks,

-Matt
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None of them do. Many of them do not even have 9 amplified channels in their below $2k models....and Pioneer will have it in their $1600 model.
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post #14 of 263 Old 05-02-2012, 05:19 PM
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No sub eq? No thank you.

I wouldn't even consider another Pioneer ever again unless they address this, especially for the price the Elites are going for.
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post #15 of 263 Old 05-02-2012, 05:44 PM
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And will that feature to allow the user to upgrade the firmware ever be used or is that a tick mark in the sell sheet?

you're catching on

Steve
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Originally Posted by sdrucker View Post

. For those of us that like our Audyssey units and used to be Pioneer loyalists until we made the sub EQ connection to overall SQ, we're not the audience. We're the Greek chorus.

I can't say that I'm a loyalist of pioneer, ( I have a denon 391) but I do like the elites and it does bug me that with the price tag of the elites some form of sub eq is not used. I know I'm a nobody, but I'm beginning to believe pioneer is saying go somewhere else for sub eq we don't need you.
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Originally Posted by bhazard View Post

No sub eq? No thank you.

I wouldn't even consider another Pioneer ever again unless they address this, especially for the price the Elites are going for.

you & johnson36 are not alone

it's good that this issue is being raised early in this thread. it's so easy to get caught up in new gear fever, one should also consider what's not updated by the company year after year.

It's past time for Pioneer to update their MCACC software to provide same the capability as their main competitors.

I've posted a lot about this issue in other Pio threads so won't spend any more time here. It's up to more people like you to state why this issue is important to you as a buyer.

Steve
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It's time for Pioneer to update their MCACC software to provide same capability as their main competitors.

Thats the thing that makes me feel overlooked as a pioneer owner; most of their main competitors eq the sub (or two) yet they do nothing to address this
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post #19 of 263 Old 05-02-2012, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by sdrucker View Post


There's also having the programming resources to rewrite MCACC for independent crossovers and do actually execute the EQ below 63 Hz, while optimizing the mains/sub splice. For all we know, the way that MCACC operates it may not be technically possible to do so without redoing the whole RC approach and assumptions. Which in comparison to adding 'hardware' may be a loss leader, especially since people that are asking/complaining about sub EQ are prone to buy a unit with Audyssey anyway. Remember, we're in the 1%, not the 'real world' of AVR buyers here at Best Buy or Walmart.

From the description, at least they're advertising a few points of differentiation from competitors with an advantage on SQ due to Audyssey - the DAC filter modes, USB/DAC for PC and laptops that might appeal to the music server crowd, Zone 4, etc. It doesn't matter if they're actually useful to many users, if offering something that others don't scores marketing points with those people that are buying 'value' at a particular price point.

As a Walkamo might say, "three zones of HD content at the same time" is a great tag line for selling the SC series as offering networking as a USP (unique selling point), and offering five SC units with various version of the same features a few hundred dollars apart from one another (the SC-68 aside) is all about protecting price points. For those of us that like our Audyssey units and used to be Pioneer loyalists until we made the sub EQ connection to overall SQ, we're not the audience. We're the Greek chorus.

Honestly, how many will have 4 zones or 9 speakers?

4k? Displayed on what?

A lot more people have subwoofers and speakers that need different crossovers

Just singing to the chorus
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post #20 of 263 Old 05-02-2012, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by purdyd View Post


Honestly, how many will have 4 zones or 9 speakers?

4k? Displayed on what?

A lot more people have subwoofers and speakers that need different crossovers

Just singing to the chorus

Or maybe you'll someday sing _in_ the chorus ;-)

ccotenj can save you a seat:-).

Not that you're wrong....

Stuart

 

Denon 4311 with XT32 and Audyssey Pro

Oppo 93 and 103

Panasonic VT50

Sherwood R-972 with its version of the Trinnov Optimizer

MiniDSP 10x10 HD

PSB Imagine T2, Center, and Surrounds (as of 5/2014); HSU ULS-15 subs (2)

 

The Audyssey FAQ Guide can be found here:

http://www.avsforum.com/...

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post #21 of 263 Old 05-02-2012, 07:41 PM
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usb 32 bit dac would be great for connecting remote drive but I would be connecting lap top via hdmi...not USB....
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post #22 of 263 Old 05-02-2012, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Lotus00 View Post

usb 32 bit dac would be great for connecting remote drive but I would be connecting lap top via hdmi...not USB....

If you have the option to use class 2 asynchronous USB from laptop to AVR, why would you choose to use HDMI? The audible superiority of asynchronous USB is highly debatable, but the technical superiority of it for audio signal transfer is well established.

AJ
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Originally Posted by WiWavelength View Post

If you have the option to use class 2 asynchronous USB from laptop to AVR, why would you choose to use HDMI? The audible superiority of asynchronous USB is highly debatable, but the technical superiority of it for audio signal transfer is well established.

AJ

I have hdmi extenders on cat5 set up already which I use to connect lap top to my receiver. USB isnt well suited for longer runs is it?

I suppose I could make that cat5 usb instead of hdmi if that would be best. Can u connect to usb on the front and back? Actually I would prefer usb because then I could send the audio to zone 2 which cant be done right now via hdmi from aux/pc or game hdmi ports
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usb 32 bit dac would be great for connecting remote drive but I would be connecting lap top via hdmi...not USB....

It looks like there is still only a front USB connector for an external drive

That doesn't make much sense to me

Although it looks like the USB for the laptop is on the back of the computer
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post #25 of 263 Old 05-03-2012, 03:26 AM
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Nice to see that the marketing Pioneer guy is back when the new products are launched. And the most nicest thing is that he is not even answering the real questions
Exactly like last year and the year before....

@Walkamo if you can proof otherwise, please try to answer these questions

- User upgradeable firmware with real benefits as in features and not only the regular bug fixes
- Newest iOS/Android Apps availability for the previous models why is this just like last year exclusive for the newest ? Panasonic is doing it a lot better with their Apps for their Televisions.
- What about enhancements to the MCACC EQ ? Like Sub EQ ? Is this available ? Is this coming ?
- Where is the successor of the SC-09TX/SC-LX90 ?

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post #26 of 263 Old 05-03-2012, 04:53 AM
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^^
I couldn't have said it better myself! You must be one of the "chorus"

Yes, the hard questions he & the rest of Pioneer ignore. Especially anything involving the SC-09/LX90 & those of us with close to $7000 sunk into it Add to your list all the issues with their current BD players (he's blatantly absent from those player threads)

Putting aside how Pioneer treated SC-09 owners, the more relevant issue that's becoming obvious to more & more owners of previous generations is the lack of interest to update MCACC to remain relevant to everyone who has a subwoofer. It was SOTA 9 years ago, but hasn't been significantly updated since the VSX-80 & 90 series. The version that exists now is essentially no different than what was in the VSX-94TXH and the SC-09TX. And the 09 was introduced Sept 2007.

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Originally Posted by purdyd View Post

It looks like there is still only a front USB connector for an external drive

That doesn't make much sense to me

Although it looks like the USB for the laptop is on the back of the computer

actually, for most practical use of USB, both connectors should be at the front since both sources are not typically permanent connections. But that's a nitpick. You can leave a rear USB cable connected and stuffed onto a shelf or under a cabinet.

I do that with rs-232.

Steve
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post #28 of 263 Old 05-03-2012, 06:05 AM
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actually, for most practical use of USB, both connectors should be at the front since both sources are not typically permanent connections. But that's a nitpick. You can leave a rear USB cable connected and stuffed onto a shelf or under a cabinet.

I do that with rs-232.

Well to me the thing that would make the most sense is to have both front and back

The problem with the front is it is behind the door and so it must be open so it is not a very clean install

If you have something connected permanently, it should be in the back

The thing that would make the most sense would be to have a big fat NTFS drive connected to the back with flac files on them and use hmg to access all your music

Of course pioneer hasn't supported NTFS drives, doesn't have a USB connector on the back, and you can't play flac from USB, only through dlna. Perhaps some of that has changed but not the USB part
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Honestly, how many will have 4 zones or 9 speakers?

I have 9 speakers which will potentially change to 11 some day. So far, all the other manufacturers are reducing the number of channels they support.



Question about sub eq...what did people do before it was invented? Not a loaded question, just wondering what was done. Did people simply live with bad sub sound and now realize it can be so much better, or was there some manual eq procedure people used?
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^^^

manual... through the use of a parametric equalizer, such as a bfd or any number of other products...

- chris

 

my build thread - updated 8-20-12 - new seating installed and projector isolation solution

 

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1332917/ccotenj-finally-gets-a-projector

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