Home Theater Review

 

Pioneer SC-37 Elite AV Receiver Reviewed

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HTR Product Rating

Performance
4 Stars
Value
3.5 Stars
Overall
4 Stars

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Pioneer_SC-37_Elite_AV_receiver_review_front.gifPioneer, once a leader in the HDTV space, has since retooled its operations to focus mainly on home theater electronics, i.e. Blu-ray players, amplifiers, speakers and of course AV receivers. Pioneer has always provided an elevated lineup of products under the Elite moniker and the SC-37 reviewed here is Pioneer's most elite AV receiver.

Additional Resources
• Read more AV receiver reviews from the staff at Home Theater Review.
• Look at the Blu-ray player pairing options that exist for SC-37.
• Find a Plasma HDTV or LED HDTV to connect to the SC-37.

At $2,200 retail the SC-37 is not only Pioneer's most expensive AV receiver but also it's largest and most powerful, measuring in at 16 and a half inches wide by nearly eight inches tall and over 18 inches deep with Pioneer's own Direct Energy HD amplification churning out an impressive 140 Watts across all seven of its channels, making the SC-37 an ideal home theater receiver for anyone with a 7.1 home cinema. The SC-37 is 3D compatible thanks to its six HDMI V1.4a inputs. Speaking of HDMI, the SC-37 has two HDMI outputs for those, like me, who choose to run both an HDTV and a front projector in the same space. As well as being on the cutting edge of today's video formats, the SC-37 also supports and is capable of playing back the latest surround sound codecs including, but not limited to, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. The SC-37 is also THX Ultra 2 Plus certified. The SC-37 also features Pioneer's MCACC which stands for Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration system, which like Audyssey is an automated room correction program included with the SC-37; however the MCACC corrects for phase, standing waves, distance, polarity, EQ and crossover points.

Along with its host of both analog and digital inputs and features, the SC-37 is Apple certified meaning it's compatible with iPods, iPads and iPhones and will play back iTunes downloaded television and movies as well as music with all the appropriate meta data for each. Also, the SC-37 is capable of connecting to the Internet via its Ethernet input, giving it access to all the latest Internet and Satellite radio stations (subscriptions not included) as well as YouTube. Users even have the ability to connect their portable devices via Bluetooth with the help of Pioneer's AS-BT100 adapter port, though sadly it retails for $99 and is sold separately.

For more on the SC-37's including an in-depth breakdown of its many features, please check out its product page on Pioneer's website.

In terms of performance the SC-37 is a very capable AV receiver. In my time spent with the SC-37 I found its sound to be lively with an upfront nature, though do not mistake that for harsh or lean, for the SC-37 is neither of those things. The SC-37 has an articulate but not overly lush midrange that is grounded by a capable, but not thunderous low end. The SC-37's bass, while musical and taut, doesn't plunge as deep as some of the competition, though I can't say that I miss the extra half octave or so for what is present in the SC-37's bass performance is so tuneful that it makes other receivers sound slow and bloated in comparison. The SC-37's upper frequencies have a sweetness to them - though, like many receivers, lack a bit of organic air and decay which gives the SC-37's high frequency performance a decidedly digital sound versus an analog one. Keep in mind, this is not an indictment of the SC-37's performance for most AV receivers, regardless of price, possess this sonic trait. Dynamically, the SC-37 is simply explosive and its soundstage is equally impressive though it possesses more width than depth. As far as the rest of the SC-37's performance, I found no video degradation with it in the chain than without; this included its 3D performance as well. Pioneer's MCACC room correction software works as advertised and in my opinion sounds better than Audyssey's efforts. Overall, the SC-37 is an easy to setup, easy to use, capable AV receiver that competes favorably with its rivals from Onkyo, Marantz, Denon, Yamaha and Sony. It even manages to offer up some decidedly upmarket features not to mention good looks, which put it in the cross hairs of higher-end AV receivers from the likes of Anthem and Arcam.

Read about the high points and the low points of the SC-37 AV receiver on Page 2.
continue to page two
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