At CEDIA 2014, the company introduced three new AVRs incorporating Dolby Atmos capability, including the Elite SC-89 flagship that powered its Atmos demo.
Pioneer is ready for the next wave in immersive audio. There is no doubt that Dolby Atmos was the star of the show among audio formats at CEDIA 2014, and Pioneer came ready to take advantage of the format's debut with a lineup of Atmos-upgradable AVRs. The three new models are the $1600 SC-85, $2000 SC-87 and $3000 SC-89. All three AVRs wear the Elite badge, and offer 9.2 channels of class D amplification. In addition to Atmos capability, a particular highlight of Pioneer's new AVR lineup is the inclusion of 18 Gbps HDMI 2.0 connections that handle 4K60p video with 4:4:4 color.
Pioneer noted that the use of class D amplification was advantageous for Atmos receivers because the format demands full bandwidth from every channel. For example, with all channels driven, Pioneer says the SC-89 can provide a grand total of 850 watts of power. The SC-87 and SC-85 provide 810 and 760 watts of power under the same spec. All of the new receivers feature MCACC Pro, the latest iteration of Pioneer's proprietary room correction technology. For its CEDIA 2014 Atmos demo, the company used a SC-89, powering its Elite Atmos-enabled speakers in a 5.2.4 configuration—and it sounded great.
All three AVRs offer a bevy of functions and formats, while the SC-89 adds a high-end asynchronous USB DAC with DSD support to the mix. Pioneer says "Each receiver model also incorporates advanced technologies and convenient features including HDMI® 2.0, Roku Ready® Certified, HDBaseT™ (SC-89 only), multi-room and multi-source setup and playback configurations, ESS SABRE32 Ultra DACs™ (digital-to-analog converter), 192 kHz/32-bit audio scaler, iControlAV5 Application compatibility and more."
Speaking to the USB DAC in the SC 89, Pioneer states that "The top SC model incorporates a USB 32-Bit Asynchronous Audio DAC allowing direct connection to both Windows® and Mac computers. Music played from the computer utilizes the highly accurate audio optimized clock within the receiver, resulting in less jitter and delivering studio-like audio reproduction. Additionally, the SC-89’s USB DAC supports DSD Native playback (both 2.8Mhz and 5.6Mhz)."
Pioneer SC-89 back panel
Pioneer SC-87 back panel
Pioneer SC-85 back panel
The new Atmos-upgradeable Elite AV receivers from Pioneer will ship in about a month. Pioneer expects to roll out its Atmos upgrade before the end of 2014.