Remember when I swore I was going to get the VSX-80? It has been on backorder ever since I ordered it. While waiting for it to be in stock, I started wondering if an extra $300 would be worth saving the electric bill, as well as cutting down on heat radiation so I would be able to set my remote controls on top of my receiver when I'm not using them. Before I canceled the VSX-80, I had to confirm which would provide better tone quality and dynamic range. While Pioneer could have convinced many of us that the extra $300 would have saved our electric bills, when comparing Class D3, standard Class D, and Class A/B amplification, before they even mentioned efficiency, their youtube videos and product detail pages explain Class D3 amps as being able to take further advantage of the wide frequency response and dynamic range utilized by 24-bit PCM, DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD, DSD, and other high-resolution audio formats than Class A/B can, as well as the fact that compared to standard Class D amps, Class D3 amps don't use electromagnetic interferance filters, feedback loops, and current limiting. Add PQLS bitstream and the 120dB dynamic range of the jitter-tolerant, DSD-to-analog capable ESS Sabre Premier ES9006 DAC, you get performance which would have cost audiovideophiles $2k-$3k not to long ago! I know that the DAC is a 24-bit DAC, and not a 32-bit DAC found in more expensive models, but with no material recorded with 32-bit dynamic range, until such material becomes available, spending extra money for 32-bit dynamic range is pointless at this point. So, as far as I can tell, the SC-81 is a no-brainer, folks. I canceled my order for the VSX-80 and ordered the SC-81. It should arrive some time next week. I might not get it set up until the following week. I have a lot going on in my work and family life. After all this research, I have no doubt that it will be a drastic improvement over my 2010-model VSX-32, with Class A/B amps, PQLS multi-channel PCM, and a 111dB dynamic range Burr-Brown PCM1691 PCM-only DAC. However, in all honesty, I will say that from the moment I placed the order to the moment I get it connected, perform OSD setup, and play a movie, TV show, and album will seem like forever!
*Not HDCP 2.2 compliant!