The 7.2-channel AV receiver launched in 2012, remains part of Pioneer’s current range and is readily available online. The beauty of buying a slightly older amp is that you get a similar spec to the newer models but at a lower price – yes you miss out on cutting-edge bells and whistles (its replacement, the SC-2023, adds tricks like 4K upscaling and MHL) but for all intents and purposes you’re still getting a kick-ass amp at a great price (under £500 from some retailers).
As part of Pioneer’s SC range, it’s a step up from the VSX series (home to the new Pioneer VSX-923) thanks to the inclusion of a digital Direct Energy HD amplifier, which promises lower power consumption and sound quality improvements over analogue amps.
But it sits below the high-end SC-LX series due to the lack of Air Studios tuning and other step-up features. Still with us? Good. Then let’s begin…
The SC-2022 is a bulky beast, standing 185mm high and weighing in at nearly 15kg, but it’s styled with Pioneer’s usual sense of flair and elegance. Build quality is also superb, thanks to the robust bodywork and insulated dual chassis.
The fascia is clad from head to toe in a brushed black finish, with huge volume and input selection dials either side of a large LED display that shows audio formats, selected sources and other crucial info. Below that, a thick flap keeps all the front panel clutter hidden away. Pull it down and you’ll reveal a bevy of buttons that let you control menus and select sound modes.
Also hidden behind the flap is a row of sockets for ‘on the fly’ connection of devices. These include an HDMI input – which doesn’t support MHL like the SC-2023 and 2012’s LX models – a USB port for media playback from pen drives and Apple devices, a composite video input for iPods, a headphone jack and port for the supplied MCACC auto calibration microphone.
The rear panel is absolutely packed with sockets, covering most audio, video and custom install needs. First up there are six HDMI inputs and one output, which is a healthy amount, although the single output might put off those who want to feed two displays at once – the SC-2023 ups the number to seven rear inputs and two outputs. Signals are passed through the SC-2022 when the unit is in standby.
For external audio sources there are four digital inputs (two optical, two coaxial) and five analogue inputs, which are joined by analogue outputs for zones 2 and 3 and 9.2-channel pre-outs. On the video side you’ll find two sets of component inputs and one out, four composite video inputs and three outputs.
Other sockets include RS-232, 12V trigger, IR and extension ports for custom installation, FM and AM aerial inputs, a USB port for Pioneer’s optional wireless LAN dongle (AS-WL300), an adapter port for its AS-BT200 Bluetooth adapter and an Ethernet port to unlock the on-board network features.
There are nine pairs of binding posts – front, centre, surround, surround back and front height/width – but as a seven-channel amp you can only have surround back or front height/width, not both.