Official Pioneer SC-68/67 Thread - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 1847 Old 07-28-2012, 07:19 AM - Thread Starter
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I waited several days for a few new owners posting in the SC-57 thread to start this but no one has yet to take the hint wink.gif Since several threads are floating about asking about the new models, it's time to collect that interest in one thread going forward smile.gif So I'm starting it...

HiFiFun has an informative thread he started on the SC-61 so to me it makes sense if that one becomes an Official SC-61/63/65 Thread.

Yes, I got the new SC-68. Local dealer just got them in so I decided it would be a good choice to add new features I was looking for, while at the same time, I retain all the familiarity and knowledge I have kept up with about Pioneer's SC models since the 09 came out 4 yrs ago.

And yes, I still have my Pioneer SC-09TX Susano...it's not being replaced. I'm adding the SC-68 to my gear horde tongue.gif and my plan is to either use it or the 09 as a prepro into the other. I want to do some listening comparisons before deciding which amp section I'll use. Those of you familiar with Magnepan speakers know they are relatively inefficient so hi power is usually desirable to make them "come alive" biggrin.gif

Here's a pic I took yesterday with the 68 on the floor below the 09 in the rack. I'm working on swapping speaker & 2 player connections this AM so hope to do my initial calibration this afternoon.

More to come later...

I'm reserving 2 posts for initial thoughts.

For those who think I've cracked, I'll be happy to post why I eventually shot down the Denon AVP-A1HDCI & AVR-5308 to replace the SC-09.


Steve
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post #2 of 1847 Old 07-28-2012, 07:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Reserved for initial comments

I finished putting in a temp setup, speaker cable, 2 players, and cable box audio. No legacy connections, they're still on the 09 which is now unplugged for now.

1st up, it'll take some time to get used to a normal AVR display again wink.gif I admit I'm very spoiled by the SC-09 Susano's LCD display redface.gif

2nd up, the GUI & OSD

The OSD GUI and information has come a long way since the SC-09. While it's a similar menu structure, it looks more flexible; things are organized cleaner.

This brings me to a bit of a rant -

Over the past several yrs, I've read many posts complaining how brand x has so much better GUI & OSD than brand y. I admit I have not compared a Denon or Onkyo but based on what I saw going thru this setup menu, I have to ask - what more do the complainers want? tongue.gif The graphics for MCACC EQ and settings all look just fine to me! It's come a long way from the B&W DOS look in the 59txi and is definitely improved over the SC-09. I suspect all the other brands also show similar improvement over the last 4 yrs rolleyes.gif I don't need the GUI to entertain me for 10 min, I just need it to display the setup in a logical, informational & ordered fashion & the Pioneer does a fine job in this. The UI complainers must lead ADD lives. Only going to use it 1 or 2X a yr anyway - in the scheme of things, how important is it that it be all "graphical"? Rant over...

The menu is not hard to navigate or convoluted. For ANYONE familiar with Pioneer AVR's, it's a snap. Coming in cold, I had figured out the whole setup menu in <10 min. tops & had the Symmetry preset calibrated about 15 minutes later. With all the pre-assigned HDMI inputs, my input setup was EZ, didn't even bother to re-name them yet wink.gif

For new owners coming from a different brand, Pioneer has the CD AV Navigator to guide you thru the process. I didn't use it - I just dove right in wink.gif But looking at it on my laptop, it's probably a nice way to get a new user started.

OSD - this may have been there with the 57 or 37 models, but for me, it's nice to see volume and other info on the TV over HDMI, something that was missing from the early SC models. I'm sure most of this is old hat to owners of the recent generations but I'm coming at it from a 4 yr old flagship.

Again, this also may be true of the 57 but so far, all the audio/video parameter menus are also visible OS when you press the remote buttons. Great!

Steve
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post #3 of 1847 Old 07-28-2012, 07:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Reserved for PQLS

for DonH50 wink.gif

Hmmm...with BDP-09 player, CD PQLS only, not the night & day difference I got with the old Ilink'd Pio 59AVI & no PQLS HDMI'd Oppo players. That was easily discernible using the SACD layer between the 2 player setups.

Initial reaction using the CD layer of the Dead Can Dance SACD Spiritchaser is that PQLS *seems* to take a bit of the edge off Lisa Gerrard's vocalizations. Their recordings are all mastered with reverb, church hall ambience, accentuating her hi-pitched voice. She can be a bit edgy wink.gif I picked this recording specifically because of her vocals.

I have to listen a lot more with different kinds material before reaching any real conclusions. Will re-visit this post later today or tomorrow.

BTW - Pure Direct mode 2 channel listening.
vivatech likes this.

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post #4 of 1847 Old 07-28-2012, 08:19 AM
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Cool to see a dedicated thread for these nice receivers by somebody who is some sort of a 'authority' here about Pioneer Elite SC A/V Receivers smile.gif
I am looking forward to your impressions, last year I was on the bubble to buy the Pioneer SC-LX85(the Pioneer Elite SC-57) here in The Netherlands, but now the Pioneer Elite SC-68 is out and it has some really nice enhancements to the predecessor which I like I am looking at buying one of these.

The Pioneer SC-LX86(the Pioneer Elite SC-68) would be replace my old vintage '70's Pioneer SX-6000 for daily duty then I think smile.gif

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post #5 of 1847 Old 07-28-2012, 09:10 AM
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I also just purchased SC-68. It will be delivered on Aug.5. Really curious to replace my old Marantz non HDMI receiver.
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post #6 of 1847 Old 07-28-2012, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
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^^
will be nice to get your comments soon smile.gif

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post #7 of 1847 Old 07-28-2012, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prietz0r View Post

Cool to see a dedicated thread for these nice receivers by somebody who is some sort of a 'authority' here about Pioneer Elite SC A/V Receivers

thank you but I'm just one of many redface.gif some who've corrected me on occasion.
I like it so far. I pulled my 300 watt amp of out the loop for now because I wanted to give the new gen class D amps a true workout with my Magnepans.

And it's familiar & that's not bad, especially as one gets older tongue.gif

I already had to learn a new smartphone last month & still trying to learn new photo edit software to go along with getting back into photography after many yrs. Adding a different AVR brand & room EQ 201 would have pushed me over the edge wink.gif

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post #8 of 1847 Old 07-28-2012, 04:23 PM
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I'm intrigued by Pioneer's class D amps. If my memory serves me right, Magnepans are fairly inefficient speakers, so if they work well with your Pioneer, then it would be on my short list of future receivers to consider. Have fun with your new toy.smile.gif
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post #9 of 1847 Old 07-29-2012, 02:19 PM
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SS9001,

really curious to hear your initial impression on the Class D amps - sound wise. I was in the store and was checking on lower models of the new line up... 61 and 63 and surprisingly they were running really hot - temperature wise. I am assuming that is the case with 68 as well? As for the sound of those they sounded too dark to me, but that could be just me. For music I am using class A in a separate room, so hardly anything will compete with that. I was hoping to have a bit lower temperature with class D. Any impressions on USB conversion? That should sound really well. I know, I am rushing you, hehe.
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post #10 of 1847 Old 07-29-2012, 03:01 PM
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My son started up an SC-68 with large Definitive Technology tower speakers a few days ago. We spent most of the evening setting things up and had time to only manually set speaker levels (didn't take advantage of the MCACC routines at that time) before listening for awhile - but there was an immediate and obvious improvement in sound over his older, but top end, Denon receiver (which I have always liked). I would describe the sound as smooth but very detailed and clear, which has always been the hallmark to me of high end equipment. My son's floor plan is open, and with the volume at movie theater levels the top of the receiver was barely warm. I noticed when listening to movies that small, incidental sounds from the movie's set were apparent. I am told that after running the MCACC, that there was a better blend of the front speakers than my son had ever been able to achieve previously (he volunteers as a sound engineer on weekends and uses very expensive, professional mixers and related equipment. He definitely has a critical ear and knows how to extract the last iota of performance - so the MCACC process is performing well). All in all, I was impressed with the Elite's smooth, coherent soundstage. The MSRP seems a real bargain even before you factor in all of the flexibility and support for a wide variety of sources.

Dennis

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post #11 of 1847 Old 07-30-2012, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfbg77 View Post

SS9001,
really curious to hear your initial impression on the Class D amps - sound wise.

Really early in the comparison stage wink.gif but overall - I'm impressed with the amps. I have them running all 5 of my 4 ohm Magnepan planar speakers in addition to 2 normal speakers I use as rears. And played music & bombastic Death Race at very loud levels (the wife was away wink.gif), and no problems. And they sounded to my ears like a good class a/b amp. Smooth, detailed, excellent bass & quick transient attacks just like my 300/600 watt amp.

When the SC-57 generation 1st came out, several posters like Filmmixer posted the new amps were as good as or better than the Ice amps & so far I think they were right. I can't see any disadvantages wink.gif

I know I'll add my hi-powered 2 ch amp back into the system for the fronts, but for now, what I wanted to do was really stress the Pioneer class D amps as much as I can to see how they perform. So far, nothing went into protection mode & the speakers didn't sound strained at all.

Steve
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post #12 of 1847 Old 07-30-2012, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Dickerso View Post

I am told that after running the MCACC, that there was a better blend of the front speakers than my son had ever been able to achieve previously (he volunteers as a sound engineer on weekends and uses very expensive, professional mixers and related equipment. He definitely has a critical ear and knows how to extract the last iota of performance - so the MCACC process is performing well). All in all, I was impressed with the Elite's smooth, coherent soundstage. The MSRP seems a real bargain even before you factor in all of the flexibility and support for a wide variety of sources.

Careful, you don't want your son out of work wink.gif
Seriously, if both of you thought it sounded that good especially with his background that says a lot smile.gif MCACC does a good job for most, with the exception of equalizing separate subwoofers which currently it doesn't do. But there are specialized sub equalizers available if he adds a sub and wants to take it to the highest level. Plus he (or you) can manually tweak it.

Glad you both like it so far...enjoy!

Steve
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post #13 of 1847 Old 07-30-2012, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ss9001 View Post

Careful, you don't want your son out of work wink.gif
Seriously, if both of you thought it sounded that good especially with his background that says a lot smile.gif MCACC does a good job for most, with the exception of equalizing separate subwoofers which currently it doesn't do. But there are specialized sub equalizers available if he adds a sub and wants to take it to the highest level. Plus he (or you) can manually tweak it.
Glad you both like it so far...enjoy!

So are you getting one of those, Steve?

From personal experience, as you know, I've come to love the Denon 4311 with Audyssey Pro - even if "trust but verify" the calibration has pushed me well into the rabbit hole over the past few months. However, if you have sub EQ, you get much of the same EQ benefits, albeit from a different philosophical approach of parametric EQ vs. filters, with the higher end Pioneer Elite and Advanced MCACC. In fact, from a position of 20/20 hindsight as a former SC-57 owner, I'd argue that Advanced MCACC is easier to tweak for things like Standing Wave adjustments and delay > 63 Hz, than a post-Audyssey calibration unless you're in the rarified company of Audyssey Pro threadophiles. At least to my taste it's a steeper learning curve if you want to get the same kind of hands-on functionality beyond the "measure and forget" level (even with the Pro kit), so in that sense I understand your decision to stick with what you're familiar with.

Besides, someone using the current 'state of the art' Pio AVR has got to provide the historical memory/perspective for the newbie .It might as well be you:) At least you're entertaining.....

Having said that, is your current thinking that the SC-68's Class D amps are are holding their own against your Susano for a 7.1 system?

Stuart

 

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post #14 of 1847 Old 07-31-2012, 07:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdrucker View Post

So are you getting one of those, Steve?

From personal experience, as you know, I've come to love the Denon 4311 with Audyssey Pro - even if "trust but verify" the calibration has pushed me well into the rabbit hole over the past few months. However, if you have sub EQ, you get much of the same EQ benefits...At least to my taste it's a steeper learning curve if you want to get the same kind of hands-on functionality beyond the "measure and forget" level (even with the Pro kit), so in that sense I understand your decision to stick with what you're familiar with...Besides, someone using the current 'state of the art' Pio AVR has got to provide the historical memory/perspective for the newbie .It might as well be you:) At least you're entertaining...Having said that, is your current thinking that the SC-68's Class D amps are are holding their own against your Susano for a 7.1 system?

Yes, picked up at a local dealer last week smile.gif

I know many of you like audyssey & the Denon way wink.gif Believe me, I had been seriously looking but in the end...the points you make are the very same ones I considered. I already have multi32XT in the most critical area with the SVS equalizer I bought from AustinJerry in Dec. And a recent experience with a specialized speaker from Magnepan has changed some of my thinking on MCACC.

I think there are several features it has, which you also point out, that many seem to under-appreciate.

My recent experience trying to integrate a dipolar bass panel with 1 of Magnepan's centers, to fill in the hole from 80hz to ~100/120hz made me appreciate the flexibility MCACC. Plus the effect of phase control & standing wave filters which I think helped to make the sound from 2 separate speakers blend more into "one". The bass panel has its own internal Xover @200Hz so you can definitely tell directionality - even some vocals come thru. IMO, having 2 speakers act to sound like a single center can be tricky to pull-off, unless you go with Magnepan's bass mgmt work-around, which I'm not willing to do. And this was with the 09 before I got the 68. IMHO, there's more to it than EQ: Audyssey uses filters in the time domain, Pioneer has phase alignment by changing group delays.

Manually tweaking several freq bands definitely helped but still didn't integrate them completely. Only when I re-did the whole calibration, with new group delays, phase correction & completely different SW filters, did it "lock" into place.

To me, unless you combine a room correction system with a lot of measuring (Omnimic, XTZ) how can one positively know which room correction system is "best" for any given situation? On paper, Audyssey looks more advanced, no question. But when you add the phase control & SW filters, it's possible that any "real world" non-subwoofer differences are minor, if at all. It's also possible MCACC is more advanced than we gave it credit for when you consider these 2 features or at least they mitigate some of the difference wink.gif

If I didn't already have 2 sub EQ systems that I could use wink.gif I might feel think otherwise. But with both parametric EQ and the SVS audyssey to use, for me personally, I think I have reached the point of diminishing returns smile.gif More $$ thrown at less real "improvement" wink.gif

And I'll try to stay "entertaining" tongue.gifbiggrin.gif

Steve
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post #15 of 1847 Old 07-31-2012, 07:40 AM - Thread Starter
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And I didn't answer your question redface.gif

Are the new class D amps holding their own vs the Ice amp design? Yes, so far smile.gif and I'm trying to stress them as much as I can biggrin.gif

Steve
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post #16 of 1847 Old 07-31-2012, 01:29 PM
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Steve,

thank you very much for detailed review. I am still waiting for mine. Should be on Saturday here, I think. As for the Eq. systems, I am little bit suspicious, because EQing help in some areas, and yet affects the others such as phase. Because of that, with good speakers and reasonable room, I feel that EQing bass (room) is only what will leave the least signature. If the speakers or room are as bad that they need work to be done in mids and highs, than maybe is better fixing those before attempting EQ. I am curious to experiment and see what Ellite does in auto mode, but I used a lots of different software and hardware measurements and none offered day or night experience - just a different one.
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post #17 of 1847 Old 07-31-2012, 06:44 PM
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Just got a sc-67 to replace a lexicon mc1 and jbl synthesis amp. I must say the pioneer blows the separates I had away. I just can't seem to get enough or Amy output from sub in stereo mode. With extended stereo I get plenty o sub but it adds rear fill which I don't like. Also can't seem to find sub level control. I can view the sub level in the menu but can't adjust it. I already ran the mcac setup.
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post #18 of 1847 Old 07-31-2012, 09:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bens993 View Post

Just got a sc-67 to replace a lexicon mc1 and jbl synthesis amp. I must say the pioneer blows the separates I had away. I just can't seem to get enough or Amy output from sub in stereo mode. With extended stereo I get plenty o sub but it adds rear fill which I don't like.
Sadly this seems to be the common theme in these AVRs.
Quote:
Also can't seem to find sub level control. I can view the sub level in the menu but can't adjust it. I already ran the mcac setup.
I am pretty sure I could modify it in manual setup. Is that where you went? The unit is not in front of me so I can't walk through the menu but it was Setup->Manual Setup->Levels or something like that.

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post #19 of 1847 Old 08-01-2012, 02:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bens993 View Post

Just got a sc-67 to replace a lexicon mc1 and jbl synthesis amp. I must say the pioneer blows the separates I had away. I just can't seem to get enough or Amy output from sub in stereo mode. With extended stereo I get plenty o sub but it adds rear fill which I don't like. Also can't seem to find sub level control. I can view the sub level in the menu but can't adjust it. I already ran the mcac setup.

If you can see the ch levels but not change them, you are looking in MCACC Data Check & that's not where you want to be wink.gif

To change speaker settings:

In the 1st screen of the menu: System Setup > Manual SP Setup > Speaker Setting

1. set your front L/R to SMALL, set the crossover most likely to 80 Hz, the standard unless you are using small satellites OR
2. keep front L/R as LARGE then set Sub to Plus, forcing it to also be on at all times. Majority of advice is to set fronts to SMALL and let the sub do all the work, because most main speakers cannot reproduce ultra-low bass anyway. But it's your choice, you can try both ways out & decide.

Amirm is correct, you have complete control of all everything MCACC does by manually tweaking it.

To change channel levels:

In the 1st screen of the menu: System Setup > Manual SP Setup > Channel Level

You may be new to Pioneer world & the manual could be better organized IMO, but if you root around the menu, you should have no problems getting the hang of how the info is organized. Spend some time with it, don't have to change anything, just check them out smile.gif I can't remember all this myself & I've been using Pioneer Elites menus since 2003. In fact, I just confirmed where to go by checking my own avr just now wink.gif

take 10-15 min & explore..smile.gif

Steve
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post #20 of 1847 Old 08-01-2012, 06:33 AM
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Great to see a forum for the SC-68: can you please let me know if you heard any dif using the USB DAC versus regular playing?

MCACC Workflow tips <-- Click here
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post #21 of 1847 Old 08-01-2012, 07:59 AM
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Thank you for this thread Steve. I need to replace my older VSX-49TX and am either going with the SC-68 or Denon 4520ci. Thinking Denon will follow the trend and delete more of the back panel connections while Pioneer has been keeping them. Will have plenty of questions later! :-)
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post #22 of 1847 Old 08-01-2012, 11:49 AM
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Multi Channel Analogue input.
Do the new Elite receivers support this input format? I need it for my OPPO 95 Universal.
My SC-37 supports it but I blew out a channel last night.
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post #23 of 1847 Old 08-01-2012, 12:42 PM
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I think you can connect Multi Channel Analogue cables. It is on page 36 in the book

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/StaticFiles/Manuals/Home/SC-68_OperatingInstructions061512.pdf

MCACC Workflow tips <-- Click here
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post #24 of 1847 Old 08-01-2012, 02:51 PM
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Goodfellas Thanks. Only if spring for the SC-68. Thinking about it.
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post #25 of 1847 Old 08-01-2012, 03:26 PM
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I live in the audio desert of Louisiana. There is not a single authorized Elite dealer in the state. Sure wish Pioneer would drop their Internet sales restriction so I could purchase one with a factory warrantee.
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post #26 of 1847 Old 08-01-2012, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
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I live in the audio desert of Louisiana. There is not a single authorized Elite dealer in the state. Sure wish Pioneer would drop their Internet sales restriction so I could purchase one with a factory warrantee.

There is not a Best Buy with a Magnolia store near you?
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post #27 of 1847 Old 08-01-2012, 05:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by PeterK View Post

Thank you for this thread Steve. I need to replace my older VSX-49TX and am either going with the SC-68 or Denon 4520ci. Thinking Denon will follow the trend and delete more of the back panel connections while Pioneer has been keeping them. Will have plenty of questions later! :-)

and what a nice AVR the 49tx was smile.gif I also owned a 49 & 59txi - both were very impressive performers.

the SC-68 would be an excellent replacement for the 49. The Denon would no doubt also be a great AVR. The one thing to keep in mind, as I just found out this week, is that Denon changed their DenonLink jitter-control connection from cat5 to digital coax on the xx13 AVR's, obsoleting ALL of their existing & previous players that have DenonLink. Imagine just spending $2K - 4.5K for one of their players this year & now it's DenonLink is obsolete. I would be thoroughly pissed.

At least with Pioneer, they've already gone through several years of PQLS changes & now both their current players & AVR's are in sync with the same version. They've already dried up that well of forced gear upgrades wink.gif

I was shocked that Denon did this because up until they changed the connection, they handled their DL version updates in firmware. I always thought that was a much more customer friendly way than Pioneer did it, changing versions with each release of AVR's or players. IMO, Denon threw away an advantage they had over Pioneer. That said, if all there is to the change is a different connection, then going forward it may be a stable platform. But I'd sure hate to be the one with a $4000 player that's been gimped tongue.gif

But this may not be a concern to you smile.gif

Steve
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post #28 of 1847 Old 08-01-2012, 07:08 PM
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Just got a Panasonic BDT500 Blu-ray player and not using or needing DenonLink. Also just ordered a DSPeaker 8033Cinema to use with my dual subs. Really curious how that will affect things. I absolutely love my 49TX for sound and build quality. The SC-68 sure would simplify hookups with all those HDMI connections!! :-) The back of my cabinet is a huge pile of wires with dual 7.1 multi-channel hookups.
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post #29 of 1847 Old 08-02-2012, 06:17 PM
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steve, can you please let us know if you heard any dif using the USB DAC versus regular playing?

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post #30 of 1847 Old 08-03-2012, 04:03 AM - Thread Starter
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^^
not yet...haven't tried it, but I'll get around to it wink.gif

Keep in mind, I am not a computer audio or file download kind of person anyway. I have 40 yrs of shiny discs & yes, even vinyl, to keep my entertainment urges fulfilled smile.gif I'm a disc person at heart unless it's for ipod portability of course.

But I do intend to check it out, have to convert some of my collection in itunes to suitable files and put on a USB drive & let you know as soon as I can smile.gif I still have a lot of new things to check out wink.gif Just one new feature on my list biggrin.gif

Whether or not it's going to be as good as an hi-priced external DAC, like the $1500 W4S, I wouldn't be able to tell, since I don't have any to compare with. But I can get an idea of using it vs. reg playing.

stay tuned...

Steve
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