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Official Pioneer SC-68/67 Thread - Page 5

post #121 of 1837
Thread Starter 
^^
well, channel trims or no, are u enjoying it, trying out different features? biggrin.gif

I know you've posted on audyssey but why do you think it didn't work as well for you? how does the SC-68 stack up vs the 4311 besides audyssey? bottom line - why did you come back to Pioneer? smile.gif

do you have a Pioneer player to use to check out PQLS? I'm interested in how others perceive it over HDMI on different types of audio formats. I can only use it for CD's since I have the original version in the BDP-09 player. I wonder how much (if any) difference people hear on SACD & BD.
post #122 of 1837
Thread Starter 
I think there was several who asked about THX Ultra 2 mode on the SC-68. Today I rigged up a temp setup with the SC-68 & a DVD player to confirm this issue once & for all.

While the SC-68 has THX Cinema, Surround EX, Games, Music modes, there is no Ultra 2. OK - is this a big deal anymore?

Personally, I don't think so. The main use for Ultra 2 was to derive 7.1 rear channels from 5.1 sources. Happy to say that is no longer needed anymore, even with DTS-Master Audio. The 68 can add std PLIIx/z or Neo X modes to create rear channels from 5.1 DTS-MA tracks, whereas some of the older models apparently didn't have the DSP power to do that. So using Ultra 2 was needed to matrix them - unless you had a player that didn't duplicate the sides into the rears, like the Oppo's.

If someone likes the effect of THX modes, all you have to do is add THX on top of PLIIx/Neo X or you can just use select THX Cinema or other THX modes. THX Cinema still has all the normal THX technologies.

IMHO, the "loss" of Ultra 2 processing is no biggie. It isn't needed anymore, people are looking at > 7.1 anyway, plus the licensing cost to put it in means Pioneer would have to raise the selling price. And not many AVR companies even bother to include any THX processing now, only Onkyo. In the Denon 4311 thread, you don't find too many owners missing THX wink.gif

I don't think Denon, NAD, Yamaha, McIntosh, Rotel, even Anthem bothers with including THX. The cost is high & the benefits are dwindling as newer forms of matrix surround processing are added. Pioneer & Onkyo are in the minority.

Pioneer 1) still has THX processing & 2) still believes in THX certification. And the SC-68 is Ultra 2 Plus certified.
post #123 of 1837
Quote:
Originally Posted by ss9001 View Post

^^
well, channel trims or no, are u enjoying it, trying out different features? biggrin.gif
I know you've posted on audyssey but why do you think it didn't work as well for you? how does the SC-68 stack up vs the 4311 besides audyssey? bottom line - why did you come back to Pioneer? smile.gif
do you have a Pioneer player to use to check out PQLS? I'm interested in how others perceive it over HDMI on different types of audio formats. I can only use it for CD's since I have the original version in the BDP-09 player. I wonder how much (if any) difference people hear on SACD & BD.

I pretty much have put the system thru the wringer as far as modes. With the Pio SC-57, I like Neo X Cinema the best so far as it has more detail in the channels. I have the Denon 4311 in the living room with the Polk RT5000p setup and listen at reference to -5 for TV. For movies I use the Pio SC-57 in the HT room. The 4311 is too limited with choices for different movie modes (no Neo X Cinema and for the cost of this unit you would have thought that Denon would have included it) where the Pioneer pretty much gives you a larger variety and choices in this area. Also, the Pioneer iPad app is superior over the Denon app. I'm 69 so this is probably my last hurrah for HT systems.
post #124 of 1837
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsoko2 View Post

I'm 69 so this is probably my last hurrah for HT systems.

eek.gif us mature farts have to stick together - I'm early 60's so not that far behind.

"last hurrah" - gosh, let's hope not!! wink.gif
Edited by ss9001 - 8/24/12 at 5:42pm
post #125 of 1837
Quote:
Originally Posted by ss9001 View Post

On the SC68, to use the USB-DAC for async transfer, you must install a driver Pioneer supplies on the included CD. And it's Windows only, no Apple. If no driver, how does the PC recognize the Pioneer as a device?

Though I don't think I saw a reply to this specific question earlier, OS X has built-in driver support for 24/96 and 24/192 USB audio, whereas Windows does not, and that necessitates the driver. Many DACs that accept high resolution audio over USB (from Cambridge Audio, Wyred4Sound, NAD, etc...) will ship with Windows drivers but not Mac OSX drivers, as OSX doesn't need them. Also Windows 7 found the driver for the Pioneer for me with no issue.
post #126 of 1837
Thread Starter 
^^
Thanks, Smack smile.gif
I admit I'm not a Mac person, so I defer to your knowledge of built-in drivers. Other than dappling in Linux, I've been windows-centric since the win 3.1 days.

I do like ipods & iphones, tho wink.gif Next yr I'd like to add an ipad to my apple collection.
post #127 of 1837
I had posted earlier about problems with the SC-68 and drop outs using the DAC interface. There is no problem with the SC-68 at all, it's definately somewhere in my htpc set up. I hooked up the DAC interface using a brand new laptop with the Pioneer DAC drivers and it played wav and flacc files flawlessly, no dropouts, hiss or feedback. This was with a 5 ft. USB cable. Next I hooked the laptop up with the 32 ft. monoprice USB cable I had been using with my htpc and it also played fine, so that eliminates the long USB run as the issue.

I'll continue to tinker with my HTPC configuration to see if I can isolate the problem and will likely post under the HTPC forum for help.
post #128 of 1837
Thread Starter 
^^
troubleshooting - been there wink.gif at least you know it's not the Pioneer.
please keep us posted - maybe others can benefit when you figure it out.
post #129 of 1837
Steve - thanks for confirming the Ultra mode issue and your thoughts on it. I use the older Pioneer receiver for exactly what you say get the 7.1 out of 5.1 sources. Any 7.1 sources gets the pure mode

So here is my question with that said is there a mode now for 5.1 / 7.1 to get 9.1 out? I am having two more back-speakers put in and will the neo x mode create rear sound for this? Not going to do the front height setup just straight 9.1

Thanks!
post #130 of 1837
mhdiab, on my SC-68 there is no conversion to 9.1 directly (that I'm aware of), but you can add front height and front wide speaker effects from the Audio Parameters menu. I believe, in effect, this converts a 7.1 to 9.1.
post #131 of 1837
I have switched my 67 config from 7.1 bi-amp mode to 7.1 + zone 2. I cannot seem to send AirPlay to zone 2. Works fine in zone 1. Am I missing some trick?
post #132 of 1837
Ha. Found the culprit that was causing the dropouts with the SC-68 DAC interface to my HTPC. Used this great app - DPC Latency Checker - to go turn off one by one all the programs being loaded upon bootup and found the troublemaker. It's a motherboard utility that comes with Gigabyte motherboards called EasyTune6 used for tweaking your settings. It also has a hardware monitoring function that is set by default to scan every three seconds, which spiked the DPC Latency Checker dashboard everytime it scanned. Once I turned this feature off, all is bliss. Sounds fantastic with no dropouts, hiss, or whines. So relieved to figure this out, hope this helps someone else down the line. Thanks everyone for their suggestions.
post #133 of 1837
Quote:
Originally Posted by gr8sound View Post

mhdiab, on my SC-68 there is no conversion to 9.1 directly (that I'm aware of), but you can add front height and front wide speaker effects from the Audio Parameters menu. I believe, in effect, this converts a 7.1 to 9.1.

The 9.1 effect works even if you are using a direct conversion of 5.1 to 7.1. So, in essence (if I understand this correctly) the answer is, yes, you can covert 5.1 / 7.1 to 9.1
post #134 of 1837
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Molson1042 View Post

Ha. Found the culprit..

congrats! biggrin.gif
post #135 of 1837
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gr8sound View Post

The 9.1 effect works even if you are using a direct conversion of 5.1 to 7.1. So, in essence (if I understand this correctly) the answer is, yes, you can covert 5.1 / 7.1 to 9.1

yup smile.gif

as long as you have 9 spkrs connected, just adding D PLIIz or Neo X will get you the extra channels. altho I don't have ht speakers yet, I see no reason why it would be any different than PLIIx & rears.

and you use the Speaker selector (same button as selecting A/B, etc) accessed by the front panel or remote, to select which surrounds to use, depending on which speaker setup you initially selected. For 9 ch (normal) you can select FH, FW, or a combination of FH/FW that will change ht's to widths depending on audio content cool.gif Have no idea what algorithm it uses to decide which one to use at any particular time, but that could be an interesting effect or a goofy one eek.gif all the possible choices are described on pg. 78 in the manual.
post #136 of 1837
Quote:
Originally Posted by ss9001 View Post

yup smile.gif
as long as you have 9 spkrs connected, just adding D PLIIz or Neo X will get you the extra channels. altho I don't have ht speakers yet, I see no reason why it would be any different than PLIIx & rears.
and you use the Speaker selector (same button as selecting A/B, etc) accessed by the front panel or remote, to select which surrounds to use, depending on which speaker setup you initially selected. For 9 ch (normal) you can select FH, FW, or a combination of FH/FW that will change ht's to widths depending on audio content cool.gif Have no idea what algorithm it uses to decide which one to use at any particular time, but that could be an interesting effect or a goofy one eek.gif all the possible choices are described on pg. 78 in the manual.


ss9001, I have a question, but first let say thank you for all of your excellent information on the SC-68. My question is, isn't it possible to have virtual FH and FW through the Audio Parameters Menu? The default is off, however, and you have to go in and turn each on separately, which is recommended by the User Manual if you do not have FH and FW speakers actually installed. If so, isn't it possible to have a virtual 9.1 system from either a 5.1 or 7.1 base setup? In the case of the 5.1, you would need to first convert it to a virtual 7.1 where the surround sides provied additional surround rear outputs. For the 5.1, you can directly convert to a virtual 7.1 channel system using one of the several audio modes that do this. And, even if you prefer to stay with 5.1 (pure 5.1 channels from the source for example), you can still turn on the virtual FH and FW speaker effects that are sent to the fronts (I think). Do I have this right? Thanks.
post #137 of 1837
How is the sound quality, I am in the market for a new receiver and really would like to do an 11.4 audio is number one. Video is taken care of by Oppo BDP-95

My options are:

Marantz

Onkyo

Yamaha

Pioneer

Sony es
post #138 of 1837
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gr8sound View Post

ss9001, I have a question, but first let say thank you for all of your excellent information on the SC-68. My question is, isn't it possible to have virtual FH and FW through the Audio Parameters Menu? The default is off, however, and you have to go in and turn each on separately, which is recommended by the User Manual if you do not have FH and FW speakers actually installed. If so, isn't it possible to have a virtual 9.1 system from either a 5.1 or 7.1 base setup?

You're right smile.gif
I wasn't thinking of the virtual options. Checking the manual again, you can have virtual ht, virtual wide & virtual depth - and you're correct, all are in the Audio Parameters menu.

So even more options exist to derive the extra channels. It does say that you can only use virtual h/w if there are surround speakers & FH/FW in the setup menu is set to No. It also states that you can't use them if there are signals containing actual h/w information....so not sure if that means you don't use PLIIz & Neo X or not. It doesn't say implicitly, but it implies it, because there are certainly no sources with h/w.

Once I get this hooked back up again, hopefully in a week, I'd like to try this out, because I won't have real ht speakers for several months. That's phase 2 wink.gif I'll let you know.
Edited by ss9001 - 8/31/12 at 2:36am
post #139 of 1837
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wse View Post

How is the sound quality, I am in the market for a new receiver and really would like to do an 11.4 audio is number one. Video is taken care of by Oppo BDP-95
My options are:
Marantz
Onkyo
Yamaha
Pioneer
Sony es

in a word, sound quality is great! biggrin.gif not sure what to say here...it's certainly not bad wink.gif

To my ears, sound quality is just as good as the former $7K flagship SC-09 & subjectively a tad smoother, less edgy than the 09's Ice amps but that could be in the MCACC EQ tuning. It also compared favorably vs. a hi-powered class A/B amp I normally use for my fronts, even loud close to 0 dB. My speakers are planars, typically sound best with lots of power, and are both low efficiency & 4 ohms. The SC-68 drove all at reference without issues. I couldn't hear any obvious signs of strain or clipping.

The last Home Theater Mag test report on the SC-57 (same amp) showed a better distortion vs power curve than the formerly used Ice amps & backs up Pioneer's claims when they changed from them. And Walkamo @ Pioneer told me that they upped the power a bit in the SC-68 over the 57. It'll be interesting to see a review & tests, hopefully soon.

Based on a review or 2, Sony ES doesn't seem to be in the same league with the other brands anymore. Maybe at one time but not many reviews place them as a top choice anymore. Check Home Theater Mag & other sites. IIRC, weaker all channel power & room correction EQ is probably not going to be as advanced or in same league. But you should do your own due diligence & listening comparisons. What appeals to you may not appeal to me smile.gif I freely admit, this is my own personal opinion but for a top model receiver, I would consider Pioneer, Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, Yammie long before I'd look at the Sony wink.gif

IMO, choices come down to

-Pioneer class D amps vs conventional class A/B amps - is that a factor to you?
-Pioneer MCACC vs Audyssey (Marantz has MultiXT not the best Multi32XT) vs Yamaha YPAO. How important is it to have built-in sub EQ? even with non-audyssey AVR's, you can add ext sub EQ with a Velodyne SMS-1, used SVS EQ1, or an anti-mode. none will break the bank. MCACC has some unique features, like phase control, and the ability to manually tweak calibrations, if that's important to you.
-Specific feature differences
-Connectivity, including need for legacy. IF you intend to use the Oppo 95's analog multichannel outputs, I know the new Onkyo 5010 doesn't have them. And none anymore can apply room EQ to the analog multichannel's. But if you're using HDMI anyway, then it doesn't matter.

Does this help? or too much information wink.gif
Edited by ss9001 - 8/31/12 at 4:04am
post #140 of 1837
When my Integra dies this will be on top of my list as I said in another post one of our clients has one and I do like the sound signature.
post #141 of 1837
Quote:
Originally Posted by ss9001 View Post

Does this help? or too much information wink.gif

Thank you yes I am not too sure about ClassD amps! Also Audyssey XT32 is supposed to be really good.

I wished Marantz would get their act together usually they sound good
post #142 of 1837
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wse View Post

Thank you yes I am not too sure about ClassD amps! Also Audyssey XT32 is supposed to be really good.
I wished Marantz would get their act together usually they sound good

If you haven't already, you may want to check all the Pioneer Ice amp & new design threads smile.gif From the SC-09, SC-07, SC-27, SC-37 to the SC-57, there are a lot of owners. Pioneer won an award from CEDIA & Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity when the SC-09 was introduced. It may seem like a leap of faith - listen for yourself at a local dealer or BB Magnolia & compare with a Denon 4311 which has a huge following here smile.gif

And yes, Audyssey is v good, no question, but Pioneer MCACC also has its supporters. Personally, I almost went Denon but discovered what MCACC, phase control & standing wave filters could do to integrate a complicated center speaker combination I recently went to - coupling a Magnepan center with a Magnepan dipolar woofer panel & have it sound good with the mains & subs.

Whatever you decide, you're the one who has to be happy with it smile.gif But if you're considering Marantz, you owe yourself a comparison with this new Pioneer - IMO wink.gif

The Ice & this new design of class D amps really do have the capability to maintain their rated power all channels driven. Also, you may want to check out the Wyred4Sound, D-Sonic Ice based amp threads. And hi-end amp companies Bel Canto, Nuforce, Jeff Rowland, and others all use class D amp Ice or other designs. Class D is not the red-headed stepchild it used to be & gaining more interest & support.

If a subjectivist like reviewer Michael Fremer, who "worships at the altar" of vinyl & class A amps, was surprised about the sound quality of Pioneer class D amps, that has to say "something" wink.gif His review of the SC-57 @ Home Theater Mag was very complimentary - it's on their website.

I freely admit I'm a fan, hopefully not a fanboy tongue.gif I've tried to be as objective as possible while still being an enthusiast. Posters in the SC & player threads know I don't hold back when I have a criticism of Pioneer eek.gif You'll find some if you check my posting history wink.gif I've taken some straight to Pioneer US's head of marketing - Walkamo here on the forum who I have talked with, met @ CEDIA & emailed. So I'm not all flowery praise, like some here who review products wink.gif

at least you're tire-kickin' biggrin.gif
Edited by ss9001 - 9/1/12 at 4:01am
post #143 of 1837
Quote:
Originally Posted by ss9001 View Post

^^
whew...that's a lot to digest wink.gif Let me read it over & take it a point at a time. I don't have the time right now to answer - do have work to do eek.gif
But I'll post when I can. And I still have a PRO530 in the house, great RPTV. But I had to have a Kuro before Pioneer shut 'er down so the old went upstairs, home theater room got the new!

Been distracted with major car stuff and away from my new toy. Thought I'd try again - I realize my post was too rambling, so let me back up and keep it more concise. I'm interested in your setup, and would love if you shared it. At this point, my main question has to do with the suggested way to hook up. Using HDMI, I have BD and DTV DVR going into SC-67, then HDMI out to one input in the 151, input 4. By doing it this way, I have both my DTV DVR and BD going into the same TV input, so I have to switch the AV Selection on the 151, Movie mode when watching a BD movie, then back to Standard when watching DTV. Is there a better way? (The old way had the DTV DVR going directly into input 4, and the BD going directly into input 5. They each had their own saved AV Selection, Standard for DTV and Movie for BD)

As far as my BD looking grainy on Hunger Games, I watched Bernie and it was fine on Standard. But it was also not letterbox. I need to do more "testing" and comparing, but I did find the thread on various Movie mode settings on the 151 that I will try. My main observation, though, is that all the recommended movie mode settings have the sharpness all the way down. My complaint with using it at the default setting is that it is too washed out and too warm. I've been living in the "set it and forget it" mode since I purchased the 151, and now I realize that's just not good enough! Thanks in advance for your input.
post #144 of 1837
A quick question before deciding on an SC-65.

I have 9 speakers and 2 subs. Right now I connect only 7 of them.
Can I use all speakers connections of the SC-65 and hear from all of them without any special setup?

Thanks.
post #145 of 1837
@htwild1 Yes you can smile.gif There are 9 amplifiers in the Pioneer Elite SC-65 and also for the SC-67 and SC-68 smile.gif
post #146 of 1837
Does anyone here know if there is an inherent amplifier difference between SC-68 and SC-61, beyond the extra two channels? On both models, if you take the "total power" divided by the number of channels, you get 90. But the SC-68 is "rated" 140wpc and the SC-61 is rated 125wpc. I know that equates to almost no "perceived volume" difference, but I'm wondering whether there are power supply, capacitance, etc - factors like that which would make the -68 a siginficantly better two channel amplifier than the 61? Anybody? I'm trying to decide whether to return SC-61 and get a SC-68, and if I did it, the objective would be to get superior two-channel audio... good enough to get rid of a high end integrated I currently have driving the mains.

So is the S-C68 a considerable sonic upgrade, for two-channel AppleTV iTunes listening... compared to the SC-61? It sure weighs a lot more!
post #147 of 1837
^^^

unlikely... i'd wager a significant amount that if the two were compared in a properly controlled test, you would not be able to tell them apart...

of course, the same goes for your high end integrated as well...
post #148 of 1837
I have the SC-09 in my HT rack, but am eyeing the SC-68 for a multizone 2-channel application, for patio, deck, kitchen. For me, the 32 bit asynchronious DAC via USB in the SC-68, is huge since I just finished ripping my CD collection to FLAC...

In terms of amp power between the models, I always go for the most since I run 4ohm MKs, but, I have a feeling that the old rule re power in relationship to spl may not be strickly applied to these class-D amps given their increased efficiancy compared to class A-B amps...
post #149 of 1837
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

^^^
unlikely... i'd wager a significant amount that if the two were compared in a properly controlled test, you would not be able to tell them apart...
of course, the same goes for your high end integrated as well...

I know you're perhaps right about that! But it is a very sexy box and maybe I can't get past that. When I first brought home the SC-61 I connected the mains straight to it hoping for the best. But was disappointed... at high volumes it seemed to get strident in the highs and lose bass composure. But I had not spent much time tuning/optimizing the receiver before I put the integrated back in the chain. Maybe I'll try it some more with just the receiver but using the x-curve and eq a little bit.

Right now, pure direct to my integrated sounds like night/day difference but I don't know if that is just because I'm bypassing the intrusive eq and hearing what I'm used to.

But thanks for the input. I don't know how these are engineered... and I know Pioneer extends loftier THX certifications to the higher models - and I don't know the exact parameters for that.

I think this weekend I might take a stab at seeing how good I can make the receiver sound on its own. The integrated is 2 X 170, and maybe that is the difference (if there IS a difference). The speakers are somewhat inefficient at about 86db, and maybe the slight extra power of the 170wpc is what is paying off... I don't know.

I do know in the past I have been able to make what I considered a "weaker amp" sound like a "better amp" by turning down the treble on the "bad amp" a notch or two. So maybe some EQ and x-curve is the answer here.

And the difference between the DACs (24 vs 32) - that is audibly negligible too?
post #150 of 1837
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by russtler View Post

I have the SC-09 in my HT rack, but am eyeing the SC-68...
I have a feeling that the old rule re power in relationship to spl may not be strickly applied to these class-D amps given their increased efficiancy compared to class A-B amps...

another susano owner! yes! biggrin.gif
are you considering replacing the 09 or adding to it? I added to it wink.gif

power - I don't know yet how the new 68 amps compare vs the 09. Walkamo @ Pioneer had told me that there's a bigger power supply in the 68 vs the 57 so the 68 gets a larger power rating & that Home Theater Mag may be reviewing one "soon". Don't know how soon is soon but I'm very interested in a bench test to see smile.gif

the 57's power output rating was ~ same as the 09 with all 10 of the 09's amps in use but with all ch driven the 09 could still pump out more power. The 09's Ice power supply was 1400 watts & if you only used 7 channels, it could produce 7 x 200 watts. So, the increased power rating of the 68 vs the 09 may or may not be a wash. We'll have to wait for a review & test results to compare.

I do know that for these new amps, Pioneer finally has officially approved them for 4 ohm use & they do have lower total distortion in the middle part of the power curve due to the new design & simpler circuitry but will that be audible? wink.gif

I can say that the new amp design seems to have a nice class A/B sound to my ears (whatever that is wink.gif) & that with all my 4 ohm magnepan speakers connected, even at very hi volumes, its sound seemed very smooth & par with a hi-powered, hi current design 2 ch amp I use (600@4ohms) that's saying something. If I had to put a subjective label on what it sounded like vs the Ice amps (ccotenj - you can ignore this tongue.gifwink.gif), I'd say a little less "edgy". How's that for "audio-fool" lingo? tongue.gifbiggrin.gif To my ears, the Ice amps seemed a little brighter or edgier when really pushed hard, more so than the class A/B amp. This could be differences in MCACC tuning, the lower distortion, the higher sampling frequency in the amp design itself, or just my imagination eek.gif which is most likely the case wink.gif Here I am, going Michael Fremer on everyone biggrin.gif

Amp efficiency isn't relevant to SPL tho. 100 watts from class D is the same as 100 watts from class A/B. A watt is a watt, and the SPL is determined not by the efficiency of the amp but the efficiency of the speaker - how many dB's/ watt it produces.

What amp efficiency does effect is the power draw from the wall outlet needed to produce that watt of output. Typical class A/B amps are ~50% eff, while class D can be 80-90%. So it takes almost 2 x as much current for the A/B amp to produce that watt than the class D amp. That's the electricity savings part.

IF it weren't for several very unique features the SC-09 has that are very important to me, I could replace it with the 68 and not look back. That's why I am coming up with convoluted way to use both in my setup smile.gif For a normal sane person tongue.gif I think the 68 can pretty well replace the 09, especially if you don't use ILink/PQLS or care about adding DSP to the analog multichannel inputs.

You will give up the pretty display but you'll have full-blown OSD instead, even over HDMI, including full setup menus, including changing audio/video parameters, something I really missed not being able to do with the 09. AND you'll get the i-control apps...easy to control it with it. All the connectivity, streaming & control options, have come a long way in 4 years. I was a bit surprised redface.gif
Edited by ss9001 - 9/7/12 at 9:09am
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