Pioneer SC-LX87 AV-receiver

The range of pioneer caters to budgets from the extremely frugal to the decidedly lavish. In case you feel you sit in the latter group, you may have to go through the top of the heap and also the SC-LX87. And, although this main might not be as expensive as a few of the organization 's previous one-box offerings (such as the SC-LX90), it's still a very serious amplifier indeed.

The specs that are fundamental only actually tell half the narrative. The THX Ultra2-certified Pioneer packages nine channels of Class D amplification into the substantial chassis. Each is rated (albeit at a slightly benign six ohm measurement) speakers are unlikely to show a problem for it. Using Class D amps (here Direct Energy HD) isn't only a convenience attribute either, as Pioneer chooses for these energy-efficient compact power plants in products where there is absolutely no demand to save any room. And in keeping with Pioneer AV receivers the SC-LX87 continues to be tuned by AIR Studios in London to further try and enhance functionality.

The connectivity open for you to use this amplification is legendary as you might anticipate. HDMI inputs that are nine are on offer, which can in turn function three output signals (one). Additionally, the Pioneer supports a heritage set of composite video and component connections. These can be transcoded to HDMI; 4K upscaling is offered in addition to 'ordinary' hi-def resolutions. Sound Return Channel and standby passthrough will also be supported.

Audiophile ambitions

The sound side of the Pioneer is ambitious. There are numerous assignable digital and analogue audio connections that should let hookup to practically whatever you might be prepared to be sat on a stand close to the AVR - you even get a moving magnet phono stage, which will be a nice touch, although I imagine how many turntables any given SC-LX87 will see can be counted on the fingers of one knee. Sound processing is handled by an ESS Sabre32 Ultra DAC, allowing for all sound to be upsampled to 32-bit/192kHz. Really, this resolution can be handled natively - files can be streamed from a computer directly to the SC-LX87 via USB, and Pioneer provides an ASIO driver to help this. Another useful sonic treat is Spotify Connect, should you be a lover of the music streaming service.

The provided a long Ethernet cable eventually simply ran to my router and set up advice for the LAN adapter is prolonged but somewhat baffling instead. Pioneer has since furnished me with directions that make the method somewhat easier, but it remains some way from being plug-n-play.

Certainly, this program is preferable. Less tech-savvy family members will despise it, although it does, nevertheless, fit nicely together with the onscreen menus that are illogical and equally small.

The remote is pretty much the sole bum note in what's otherwise an extremely fine piece of industrial design. The Pioneer appears without being a leviathan imposing, thanks to clean lines and a few controls that are observable. Chrome and blue LEDs detailing help to break up the unrelenting blackness. The only minor annoyance is that one of the protective plugs refused to come out; I needed to use bare cable connections on this loudspeaker.

After running the excellent MCACC automobile set up, which gave accurate space, crossover and EQ settings for my Mordaunt Short Mezzos and Tannoy sub of Pioneer, the AVR revealed some quite likeable traits in the beginning. There exists a richness to its demo that means the SC-LX87 never sounds harsh or forward but manages to be large, managed and full bodied even when driven with ferocity. Integration between loudspeakers and sub is seamless.

Fast and furious

It follows that the rendition of the Pioneer is a fantastic combination of accuracy and bombast. The chase sequence with the tank - as magnificently daft a scene - is enormously strong but packed with detail along with a real awareness of the association of items. Yet the standout skill of the Pioneer is perhaps its ability with voices. The SC-LX87 keeps dialogue absolutely placed and crystal clear even when all hell is breaking loose on screen. When it comes to coherence and clarity, this is a receiver that is seriously accomplished.

There is no lack here, and as a consequence of the smoothness and clarity the SC-LX87 possesses it is possible to create genuinely vast soundscapes without air, as the numbers indicate. The vastness of Star Trek Into Darkness is bread and butter to the amp that is Japanese but it is just as at home with all the claustrophobic forests - in both events the soundfield is not completely unconvincing. This same smoothness and control makes the Pioneer a refined performer in stereo mode, although what keeps explosions under control in films can make the SC-LX87 sound ever so slightly safe.

Standard broadcast material can also be well handled as well as the unflappable nature of the Pioneer means that there's extremely little you can discover at the TV guide, which will upset its wackier end. With very warm-sounding speakers it is not impossible the SC-LX87 might encounter as a bit dull, but with anything that is remotely neutral, you should find this an AVR without it ever seeming fatiguing, that you may kick back with for long periods. Obviously, should you get bored, it is possible to spend some time tinkering with the app on the fly with EQ settings - although while enjoyable I fought to actually improve things.

There is a great deal to like about the SC-LX87 as an AVR. This is a refined, powerful and comprehensive performer that's not as unhappy with full-bore activity as it's with artwork house familiarity. The attribute set is, in addition, extremely great and there is no doubting its practical ability. The complex network setup, clunky interface and fiddly remote do take a number of the sheen off, however. The Pioneer is not too bad to ignore but it could cause you a few frustrations. Still, lots of the greatest things in life require you to work for them, eh?

Pioneer SC-LX87 AV-receiver photo