Pioneer Elite SC-25 A/V Receiver : Product of the Day 8, 2010


Pioneer Elite SC-25 A/V Receiver

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I usually recommend a separate amplifier and preamp/processor when people write to me requesting a recommendation for an expensive receiver.  The Pioneer Elite SC-25 is a receiver that gives separates a run for their money, and even offers some clear advantages, especially when compared to budget separates.  I certainly don’t need any more electronics in my home, but I am having a hard time resisting pulling out my credit card and ordering one for my test system. At $1,800 retail and $1,399 direct sales, nothing can touch the features, technology and performance of the Pioneer Elite SC-25.

What makes the Pioneer Elite SC-25 special?  Some of the finest amplifier technology in the world, which is usually found in much more expensive products, no-compromise audiophile componentry, and state-of-the art iPod/iPhone integration and network functionality.

  • ICEPower Amps licensed from Bang & OlufsenICEpower digital amplifiers run cool and deliver tremendous power for their size and weight, while consuming very little energy.  One of the finest amplifiers I ever tested in my home was a Rotel amplifier that used ICEpower technology.  The small size and cool running was remarkable, but no so much as the clean sound that is unlike anything I have ever experienced.  It is hard to describe, but if I had to in a word, it would be “pure.”  Check out the Ice Amp Club at Polk Audio Forums and read the raves.  What’s more, the Pioneer Elite SC-25 delivers its rated 140 watts per channel with all channels driven.  Most receivers, even expensive ones, only deliver their rated power into one or two channels driven.  This gives the Pioneer Elite SC-25 comparable performance to a separate amplifier, which is almost unheard of in a receiver.  The only caveat is you must use it with speakers rated at 6 or 8 ohms.  If you have 4-ohm speakers stick with separates.
  • Pioneer Advanced MCACC Room Correction: The best system outside of high-end room equalization solutions such as those by Anthem, Pioneer’s MCACC will calibrate your speakers and correct for acoustic shortcomings of your listening room. The difference in sound quality is very noticeable.
  • Burr-Brown Analog/Digital and Wolfson Digital/Analog Converters: Burr-Brown and Wolfson DACs are known for exceptional sound and are found in the very best audio gear.
  • iPhone and iPod USB functionality, including album art:  Control your iPod or iPhone through the SC-25.  It will even display album art on your TV!
  • Front jack USB Photo and Audio Playback (MP3, WMA JPEG)
  • Network Connectivity: Streaming Internet Radio, Neural, Rhapsody, SIRIUS, and firmware updates

This is just a sampling… you really need to go to Pioneer’s website to see how amazing this thing is.  It even has a phono input for you fellow vinyl lovers out there!  You would probably be best served with an external phono preamp like a Parasound zPhono but this is certainly better than no input at all.

Competing receivers from Onkyo have more HDMI inputs, better video processing from HQV, and an ISF calibration function.  As for me, I would rather have ICEPower and Advanced MCACC and frankly I don’t have to think very hard to make that decision.  The features are nice, but usually a 100 watt ICEPower 5-channel amp costs as much as this entire receiver.

How much?  MSRP is $1,800, Amazon has the Pioneer Elite SC-25 for $1,399.  If I was spending $5,500 on a home theater I would get an SC-25 for $1,399 and a Definitive Technology STS system for $,3999.  What a sound that would make… Definitive Technology speakers driven by ICEPower amplifiers, all tuned to perfection by Pioneer’s Advanced MCACC…. ahh…

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Pioneer Elite SC-25 Receiver at

Questions? Email Don

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