Pioneer Elite SC-05 Receiver Reviewed

Pioneer Elite SC-05 Receiver Reviewed

This good looking receiver has many features not found on other similarly priced models including THX Select2 Plus certification, DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby True HD decoding, Internet Radio and XM Sirius satellite radio. It also features Pioneer's Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration which optimizes your speakers based on room conditions

Out of the box, the first thing you'll love about the Pioneer Elite SC-05 receiver is its dashing good looks. Two sturdy control knobs, one for inputs and one for volume control, flank the screen. Beneath that, you won't find all the usual logos for things like surround sound and satellite radio that plague the front-panel of many receivers (Pioneer put the logos on top of the chassis instead). All this minimalism is enhanced by a beautiful mirror-black finish.

The front panel opens so that you can access various functions, like the iPod/USB port or a front video input for connecting sources in a pinch. While we can't rave as exuberantly about the remote's appearance, it works very well, with a good button layout and nice tactile response.

Additional Resources
Read over 100 reviews of top performing AV receivers from the likes of Pioneer Elite, Pioneer, Sony, Sony ES, Onkyo, Integra, Sherwood, Sherwood Newcastle and many others.

Read a review of the Pioneer Elite VSX-94THX receiver here.

Flip the unit around, and you will find every connection under the sun, including, among others, four HDMI 1.3a inputs and one out, three component, and seven S-video - that's plenty for any source you might have, whether it's a new Blu-ray player or a legacy component, like a standard-def DVD player.

Great features abound; in fact, you'll find many on this receiver that aren't available on some similarly-priced models. Audio goodies include THX Select2 Plus certification, DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD decoding, Internet Radio and XM Sirius satellite radio. The receiver also includes the company's Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration, which optimizes your speakers based on room conditions via a microphone. The only thing missing is HD Radio. To boot, Faroudja DCDi video processing optimizes the picture, and there is an Ethernet port for grabbing digital music off your PC.

 
That's a lot of receiver goodness for only $1,800, but the real bang for your buck is in the realm of performance, not bells and whistles. And this receiver performs like a champ, especially on audio. The aggressively mixed Dolby TrueHD soundtrack on the Eagle Eye Blu-ray Disc was explosive, dynamic and immersive. Subtle effects were just as interesting and delicate. You can also stream music and jpeg files via the Home Media Gallery feature. It was really nice to have the music and photos stored on my computer available on the home theater.
Likewise, video looked great through the SC-05's HDMI inputs. While the Faroudja processing doesn't handle HDMI (it passes video through untreated), it still looked fantastic on the BRDs of Election and Zodiac, with even the darkest moments of the latter coming through in great detail.

Read about the high points and the low points of the SC-05 on Page 2.

High Points
• The SC-05 has a great feature set for the money, with lots of extras you won't find on similarly-priced units. 
• This receiver really shines in the audio arena. Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio tracks are detailed, dynamic and immersive, enhancing the enjoyment of Blu-ray discs. 
• While some receivers go overboard with logos, the Pioneer shows restraint, contributing to its gorgeous aesthetics.
• The Home Media Gallery lets you stream your digital media from your computer to your home theater system.

Low Points
• The remote control's looks are lackluster compared with the SC-05's chassis.
• HDMI inputs do not benefit from the Faroudja processing.
• There is no HD Radio support on the SC-05.

Conclusion
This receiver is worth its weight in gold and, at 40 pounds, that's a lot of value. It's first and foremost a master at surround sound audio, making quick work of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio surround tracks. Video is also very detailed and sharp, and a robust feature set is icing on the cake. At only $1,800, Pioneer's Elite SC-05 is a great addition to any media room or small dedicated theater.

Additional Resources
Read
over 100 reviews of top performing AV receivers from the likes of
Pioneer Elite, Pioneer, Sony, Sony ES, Onkyo, Integra, Sherwood,
Sherwood Newcastle and many others.

Read a review of the Pioneer Elite VSX-94THX receiver here.

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