The Elite VSX 53 and the Elite SC55 DO have the same Hairline Aluminum front.
What is different is the pull down door with "Elite" written on it, check out the Product Sheets below, the E53 is Shiny and the SC55 carry's the Hairline Aluminum look onto the Door!
I have the VSX 53 but there are no finger marks on my "Elite" front door.
I open it with the right side, it is impossible to open it by pulling on the front flat surface, and I close it with the side.
I could put my hands all over the front when I close it, but I do not! It really comes down to how you want to open the door.
Myself, I like the Shiny Door, I have polished it with a Soft Cloth like I use on my Glasses. I guess to each their own, ya can't please everyone.
I just went downstairs to look at my E53 and it is as clean as the day I brought it home.
The only way that it is a Fingereprint magnet is if you put your fingers on the front of it and again, there is absolutely no reason to do that!
I would also imagine that if you wanted to, you could actually order the SC55 front pull down panel and put it on your Elite VSX53, the door is probably pretty cheap.
You could probably put it on yourself or take it to a Pioneer Authorized Service Center and tell them that you want to swap the door out.
You would then have the only Elite VSX 53 Customized to a SC55 front end! Hey, Over-Haulin'! LOL! Or Pimp my 53!
If you would have looked at the Product Sheets for each though, you would have clearly seen a different front Door.
The main Frame behind the door is the same though!
I posted pictures of my E53 early on in this, Official Post for the E52/53!
If yours is different, call Pioneer.
Product Sheet for the Elite VSX 53http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/ep...le%20Sheet.pdf
Product Sheet for the SC55http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/ep...le%20Sheet.pdf
My question is: Would you advise me, with all your wisdom about problems that might occur in both receivers, exchanging 53 for 52? They basically the same except additional HDMI out, which is not worth extra $200 to me. Or would you go with Onkyo TX-NR609 which is ugly like s**t but has comparable specifications for $700 less.
I also owned the Elite VSX 52 for almost a month before returning it and getting the Elite VSX 53.
The E52 was the one that gave me Pop's in my speakers, I have never noticed that with my E53.
Knock on wood I have not had any problems with my E53 or any of my Pioneers, I just help people that do, though it is usually just Setup's and those that do not want to read the Manual!
If you go to the Product sheet above for the Elite VSX 53, the BOLD text is the Feature upgrade from the VSX 52.
Granted, there are not a lot of changes between the two and you would really have to decide if they are features that you would want.The changes are:
1) Second HDMI Out
: For me I have an application for the second HDMI Out, not to mention that I read all the time where people are wanting HDMI Boxes to supply another HDMI Out for a Second Zone or Area.
Without the second HDMI Out it would need to be a Component Out or something else.
2) Aluminum Front Panel
: We discussed above, I think that it is Sharp Looking, for you Artsy!
3) Full Band Phase Control
: I noticed a difference (extra Step) with the MCACC Setup from the Elite VSX 52 to the Elite VSX 53 because of the Full Band Phase Control.
Also the SC 55 and SC 57 are the only other Elites with this Feature!
4) Zone 3 Audio Pre-Out
: This is an Extra that at this point I do not have a need for but you can never tell what the Future will bring, so it's OK with me..Growing Room!
5) IR (2In / 1 Out)
I am using 1 In at this point and again, it's there in the future if I need it!
So, I sat down and went through them just like I did here and decided that the changes between the E53 and the E52, at least to me, was worth the Upgrade!
I boxed up my E52 and swapped it out with the E53 and I have not looked back or questioned doing it for a second!
I thoroughly enjoy my Elite VSX 53 and am still blown away by it's sound time and time again, especially when I put in a Blu-Ray that really pushes it's buttons
and I sit in my living room and have to chuckle to myself at just how Great it Sounds!
I also had numerous times, I mean a lot when I went into a Best Buy Magnolia store (I got to know most of the Salesman, they had to think, "He's Back Again")
and they had the SC55 and the E53 one above the other.
I chose the exact same speakers for both and set each one up the same and just switched back and forth from receiver to receiver and listened.
I also chose Denon's and Onkyo's, everything that they had etc.. but I just kept coming back to the Pioneers!
The salesman were cool and would let me just close the door and just have fun! They did not bother me at all!
I noticed that the E53 was just a bit Brighter than the SC55 but not by much, they both sounded Great.
In the end, the SC55 did not sound $600.00 better to me than the Elite VSX 53, and except for bragging rights, I had to ask myself, was the $600.00 going to improve my Home Theater experience.
I also own a Condo and I just can't get that loud to really take advantage of the D3 Amp in the SC's.
Like owning a Ferrari in Ft. Lauderdale, it's strictly for Show, Status and the Babes!
You have nowhere that you can truly experience that Ferrari for what it was really meant to BE!
I was still going to Magnolia after I got the E52.
I did tell the Salesman that they needed to route ALL of the receivers into and through the 55" LCD that they had in the listening room,
so everyone could see the different GUI's and how the receivers passed Video!
They are A/V receivers after all but we just get to experience the Audio Part! What's up with that...Maybe in the Future!
So, that's my Pioneer Elite Story.....What will yours be in the end? That's up to you!
I get that you want it to look Good, and I think with the Gold and Blue, the Elites are the Bomb, but it's also what's under the Hood that counts and the Pioneers have it going on under the Hood!
Good Luck with whatever you choose! Technology Today, there are a lot of Winners for Everybody!
Makes no Diff to me, I've got Mine!
Just be happy with it and Enjoy! It's All Good!
Congrats on your purchase, even if it is short lived!
Happy New Year!