Pioneer's new Elite AV receivers target high-end home theater
By Tim LeFevre
July 6, 2009
Pioneer Electronics US recently announced four new receivers to add to its Elite line-up, bringing greater clarity, detail and response to the high definition audio that Blu-Ray and HD DVD offer. The Elite SC-25 and SC-27 feature a Direct Energy HD Class-D amplifier, employing Pioneer’s ICEPower technology to ensure the levels of performance they expect from HD audio soundtracks.
The ICEPower design takes the amplified signal and compares it with the original input signal, compensating for any variance while suppressing distortion. It also accounts for any imperfections from the power supply. While this sort of negative feedback system is common to Class-D digital amps (like the NAD M2 Master Series amplifier) the algorithms that achieve this low-noise result will differ between manufacturers and is usually the factor that sets one model apart from another.
The Elite SC-27 is the industry’s first Class-D amp design to achieve THX Ultra2 Plus and AIR Studio’s monitor certifications. With these achievements, Pioneer hopes to re-affirm the company’s position as the pre-eminent manufacturer for critical home theater enthusiasts. THX’s Warren Mansfield commented saying “Pioneer has done a remarkable job of blending this new technology with the raw power and performance needed to accurately present cinematic soundtracks in the home.”
The Elite SC-27 and SC-25 utilize Burr-Brown AD converters and Wolfson DA converters, working to maintain high resolution performance through the entire signal chain. The SC-27 even takes it a step further with a professional grade Burr-Brown 192kHZ/24bit SRC (sample rate converter) for increased dynamic range and jitter reduction. The lack of this SRC on the SC-25 is perhaps the only thing that holds it back from achieving THX and AIR Studio’s certification also, as it shares much of the same Class-D circuit design as the SC-27.
The Elite VSX-21TXH and VSX-23TXH compliment the higher models in the series with a host of features to cater better to the HD era. They feature direct energy Class A/B amp design and advanced 1080p upscaling and I/P (interlaced to progressive) conversion of video signals.
Front USB and HDMI inputs also make quick connection of portable devices like a HDD or camcorder a snap.
All four new models in the Elite range allow you to play content from your iPod or iPhone and control it with the receiver's remote. Pioneer even bundle in a custom USB/composite video cable to make using this feature a hassle free experience. To enhance the quality of compressed music formats, Pioneer also employ Auto Level Control and Advanced Sound Retriever – the latter restoring a lot of the low bass and treble that’s discarded during the compression process. In keeping with the content sharing/streaming capability, the new Elite receivers also support Rhapsody and Sirius Satellite Radio.
Not to forget customers who want to integrate one the new Elite receivers into a custom system, Pioneer offer multi room/source capability, dual simultaneous HDMI outputs, RS232 control and even a custom installation website with immediate access to updated command codes.
The Pioneer Elite VSX21TXH and VSX23TXH begin shipping in July with a RRP of USD$700 and $900 respectively. The Elite SC-25 and SC-27 will ship in August with a RRP of USD$1,700 and $2,000 respectively.