Pioneer Micro Systems and Elite SC-LX501 AVR at CE Week 2016

CE Week is a small show that takes place in Manhattan, an island where real estate is famously pricey and in short supply. It’s fitting then that CE Week was chosen to host the US debut of three 2-channel audio Pioneer micro systems. Also on-hand were some recently-released AVRs that await an update supporting Tidal as well as Google Cast streaming.

The show was the US debut for the three micro-systems. The least expensive offering was an all-in-one design, the X-CM56—available in either black or white. The other two systems—HM-76 and HM-86—both feature separate speakers, wireless connectivity, and support for hi-res audio. The HM-86 comes with better speakers than the HM-76 and also features a dedicated headphone amp. At the moment I don’t have pricing or ship dates for these models.

The Pioneer Elite SC-LX501 was announced concurrently with the show and looks to be a competent AVR that serves as the entry point to its class-D amplified Elite lineup. Priced at $1000, the 7.2-channel SC-LX501 promises to provide 120 watts of power (.08% THD, 2 speakers driven) and 200 watts of power into a 4-ohm load (1% THD, 2 speakers driven).

Video connectivity is up to 2016 standards with full support for HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2, which facilitates playback of video up to 2160/60p 4:4:4, including HDR content.

The SC-LX501 is fully networked and supports numerous streaming services. Pioneer promises that Tidal and Google Cast will soon be added to the feature set through a firmware update.

Audio processing includes Pioneer’s MCACC room correction, 32-bit processing, and support for numerous two-channel and surround-sound audio formats. It’s ready to play Dolby Atmos soundtracks out of the box and a DTS:X firmware update is scheduled for the future.

A phono input caters to vinyl junkies while support for DSD (2.8MHz / 5.6MHz / 11.2MHz) ought to placate digital audiophiles.

Also shows was the already-released Pioneer VSX-1131 AVR that offers almost as many features as the SC-LX501 for $600. It can handle Dolby Atmos and is waiting for a DTS:X update as well as the anticipated Tidal and Google Cast firmware update. Check out this brief video of what Pioneer had to offer at CE Week.