Recommend older Pioneeer Elite AVR - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 11 Old 03-21-2016, 05:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Question Recommend older Pioneeer Elite AVR

Hi all,

Was looking at older Pioneer Elite receiver for a secondary system. I've been following the Pioneer Elite since the first ICE amps were introduced. I've read quite a bit about them, but haven't ever really seen many good head to head comparisons. For the most part I know this is because there's no real good incentive to compare older products.

Thought some of you on the board might have first hand experience. Wanted to know from a sound quality perspective, how the AB vs ICE vs D3 receivers sound. I know this is complicated by advancements in the pre pro circuitry, but I'm fine with comparisons that just focus on the sound regardless of the extra receiver variables. I'd like a receiver with decent power with the best sound possible, best bang for your buck, among older receivers.

Has sound quality improved with minor increments between these units, or has there been any improvements that resulted in significant improvements in sound.

Regards,

Mike
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post #2 of 11 Old 03-21-2016, 10:46 AM
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I do not recommend you buy any older Pioneer Elite receivers before the SC-79 series (definitely do not buy the SC-50/60 series). They were all made using a specific TI DSP which TI has reported to be defective. The DSPs have a failure rate of 83% at two years. If you were to repair the unit, they would replace the HDMI board with a new one that has the same defective DSP which means the unit will fail again.

Since the units generally failed after two years, the warranty will have expired so Pioneer is under no obligation to repair the units. The board costs about $500-600 depending on the model plus the cost of labor.

Regarding the sound. I like the Pioneer "digital" amps. They are very powerful with a lot of power reserves. They run cooler and can handle 4-ohm loads pretty well. Compared to most other brands, they usually test with about 50% more power when all channels are driven (the only brand to test as good are the top Onkyo models, but they have reliability issues). They sound more dynamic than Class AB receivers but to some, the Pioneers may sound a bit harsh.

My thinking is that most newer AVRs are pretty lightweight, literally. The top line Sony ES, Denon, Yamaha and Marantz receivers are all rated at around 125wpc. But when tested with seven channels simultaneously, they are pretty weak, roughly around 60-80wpc. The Pioneers have generally tested about 110-120wpc all channels driven. All the other brands top out at about 30 lbs. Five years ago, top line AVRs were about 50-60 lbs and they had a lot of power. The reason is that the older models had really big power supplies with large capacitors which made the units more heavy and with bigger power reserves for more wattage.

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post #3 of 11 Old 03-21-2016, 03:43 PM
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I'm currently using an SC-25 in one room and a VSX-23 in another. The 23 is the step-down model to the 25, both being made in 2009. Quite frankly, I can't tell the difference in SQ between the two, and I'm one of those knuckleheads who sometimes thinks he can tell the difference between different brands of avr's (but I'll never admit it in public ).

The 25 is more powerfull and does have a sound feature called "Optimum Surround" which seems to widen the soundstage a bit with stereo music. But otherwise. not much difference compared to the A/B amp in the 23 at all. I haven't heard the newer digital amps for a long enough period to have an opinion of them vs any other amp type.

I certainly agree about avoiding Pioneers made in 2011 and 2012. The 60 and 70 series as Jon mentioned, and the xx21 and xx22 standard Pioneers. I think the 2009/2010 era receivers are the sweet spot for me. HDMI 1.3, lots of legacy connections, strong amp sections, etc. They're old enough to have pretty much fully depreciated but not so old as to be un-usable in day-to-day life. The SC-27 seems to be the favorite of this era as prices for it are on the high side. But the newer models do have features that I'd love to play around with. My next avr will probably be an SC-85 or 95.

My favorite older receiver is the H/K 7200. But it's kind of arcaic by todays standards.
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post #4 of 11 Old 03-21-2016, 04:04 PM
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The latest Pioneer AVRs now have MCACC Pro which is supposedly more accurate (the program goes to one mm accuracy in speaker placement, or so they claim). But I like the fact that the MCACC now supports dual subs. Previous versions calibrated both subs as one. MCACC Pro now calibrates both subs separately.

Also, the higher end models support Dolby Atmos and some are upgradeable to DTS-X. While the latest models are HDCP 2.2 compatible, I think they are not HDMI 2.0a (correct me if I am wrong) until the DTS-X firmware is upgraded. One thing about the Pioneers, they still have the worst remote controls in the industry.

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post #5 of 11 Old 03-21-2016, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon S View Post
The latest Pioneer AVRs now have MCACC Pro which is supposedly more accurate (the program goes to one mm accuracy in speaker placement, or so they claim). But I like the fact that the MCACC now supports dual subs. Previous versions calibrated both subs as one. MCACC Pro now calibrates both subs separately.

Also, the higher end models support Dolby Atmos and some are upgradeable to DTS-X. While the latest models are HDCP 2.2 compatible, I think they are not HDMI 2.0a (correct me if I am wrong) until the DTS-X firmware is upgraded. One thing about the Pioneers, they still have the worst remote controls in the industry.
I hear this quite often. I actually like them. Lots of little buttons but you don't have to go into the Main Menu to access a lot of the features. Older Denon remotes were far worse imo. Marantz are the one of the better ones.
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post #6 of 11 Old 03-21-2016, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks to all for the responses. Jon thanks for that valuable tidbit regarding the 50s/60s.
I was considering something along the lines of an SC-07. Are there issues with these older Pioneer receivers that cause them to fail?

I currently have a Elite VSX-45, and while old, still works quite well has the old class A/B amps.
Just wish it had sound auto leveling for commercials.

Ideally I'd like to find something that would sound better. I'll look at the 27 as suggested.
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post #7 of 11 Old 03-22-2016, 08:31 AM
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The SC-07 is one of the first ICE amp models. ICE was developed my B&O (IIRC) and Pioneer no longer uses that design but their own. I understand the ICE amp sound is more edgy than Pioneer's D3 AVRs. If anything, these older AVRs would fail because of age. There haven't been any issues that I am aware of.

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post #8 of 11 Old 03-22-2016, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gene c353 View Post
I hear this quite often. I actually like them. Lots of little buttons but you don't have to go into the Main Menu to access a lot of the features. Older Denon remotes were far worse imo. Marantz are the one of the better ones.
I have an Elite 74 (xvti?) and love it. only reason I want to upgrade is that it only passes 1080i no up scaling. kind of a waste of a top level BR player when you route all HDMI through the receiver. And I too like the Pioneer remote once I learned what the buttons accessed it became second nature to use and adjust sound parameters on the fly.
Chris
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post #9 of 11 Old 03-22-2016, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by maggie View Post
I have an Elite 74 (xvti?) and love it. only reason I want to upgrade is that it only passes 1080i no up scaling. kind of a waste of a top level BR player when you route all HDMI through the receiver. And I too like the Pioneer remote once I learned what the buttons accessed it became second nature to use and adjust sound parameters on the fly.
Chris
I bet the 94TXH from 2007 would have been perfect for you. HDMI 1.3 (all you need for basic BR playback), 1080P transcoding and upscaling and the same 140 wpc rating as your 74. I had a 94 several years ago. Should have just kept it instead of running receiver after receiver through my house. But it has been fun!

The SC-05/07, 25/27 and 35/37, would also be excellent choices and prices for good used models are fairly reasonable, though the SC-27 is holding on to it's value a bit more. Otherwise, as Jon mentioned, these older Pioneers/Elites seem to be pretty reliable. My vsx-23 has been on for 4-8 hours a day (or longer) for 4 years or so without a hicup. They run very cool as well. 95, 105 and 115 degrees with 8, 6, and 4 ohm speakers.

I will upgrade both my older Elites one of these days but will probably stick the vsx-23 in the closet.
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post #10 of 11 Old 03-23-2016, 04:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gene c353 View Post
I bet the 94TXH from 2007 would have been perfect for you. HDMI 1.3 (all you need for basic BR playback), 1080P transcoding and upscaling and the same 140 wpc rating as your 74. I had a 94 several years ago. Should have just kept it instead of running receiver after receiver through my house. But it has been fun!

The SC-05/07, 25/27 and 35/37, would also be excellent choices and prices for good used models are fairly reasonable, though the SC-27 is holding on to it's value a bit more. Otherwise, as Jon mentioned, these older Pioneers/Elites seem to be pretty reliable. My vsx-23 has been on for 4-8 hours a day (or longer) for 4 years or so without a hicup. They run very cool as well. 95, 105 and 115 degrees with 8, 6, and 4 ohm speakers.

I will upgrade both my older Elites one of these days but will probably stick the vsx-23 in the closet.
What sets the SC-27 apart from the others?
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post #11 of 11 Old 03-23-2016, 02:48 PM
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Not much really. Here's the Product Sheet. Items in bold are step-up features from the SC-25. Not really a lot there. For some reason sellers are just asking, and maybe even getting, a little more for the SC-27 then for other models. The SC-37 looks like a better deal.
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