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Pioneer SC-LX87 review

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Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Pioneer SC-LX87

Summary

Our Score:

10

Pros

  • Outstanding sound quality
  • Extensive features
  • Stunning build quality and design

Cons

  • Expensive

Key Features

  • 9 x 220W power output
  • THX Ultra2 Plus certified
  • DLNA certified
  • Spotify Connect and vTuner internet radio
  • AirPlay and HTC Connect
  • Manufacturer: Pioneer
  • Review Price: £1,499.95

What is the Pioneer SC-LX87?

Pioneer’s flagship 9.2-channel AV receiver is blessed with luxurious build quality, a feature list as long as Mr Tickle’s arms and sound quality tuned by the legendary AIR Studios in London. It’s THX Ultra2 Plus certified too – the highest badge THX can bestow on an AV receiver – and with DLNA certification, AirPlay, built-in Spotify and extensive support for mobile devices, it’s the sort of multi-talented machine that AV enthusiasts will go nuts over. The catch? It’ll set you back around £1,500…

Pioneer SC-LX87

Pioneer SC-LX87 – Design

The Pioneer SC-LX87 is a gorgeous-looking receiver, boasting a sumptuous brushed black fascia as thick as some LED TVs, but it’s not for the faint hearted. Like most high-end amps, its big, bulky bodywork commands a huge chunk of space and at 18kg it’s like hauling an obese child round the cinema room.

Everything about it oozes quality, from the large, smooth-turning volume and input dials to the thick drop-down flap that conceals a multitude of buttons and sockets. The casing is super-rigid and well-ventilated to keep those all-important components cool.

Pioneer SC-LX87

The front LED panel is large and packed with information, most prominently the audio format being played. Dotted around it are the volume level, speaker layout and other icons, all of which can only be seen up close. Under the flap you’ll find buttons that control everything from sound modes and input selection to onscreen menus and more.

Pioneer SC-LX87 – Connections

Also found under the front flap are a headphone output, a USB port (which supports all types of Apple device) and composite video input and a HDMI input, which supports MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link), allowing you to connect an Android smartphone and view hi-def videos on your TV.

This HDMI input is one of nine in total – on the back are eight more (so many that they ran out of devices to label them with) and three outputs, one of which can be used to output signals to a second zone. Naturally, Audio Return Channel support comes as standard.

Pioneer SC-LX87

There are too many sockets to list them in full, but let’s just say you’ll probably never run out of places to plug your kit, no matter how much your system expands. There are three sets of component inputs (and two outputs, one for zone 2); four digital audio inputs (two coaxial, two optical) and one optical output; loads of AV outputs, including sets for zones 2 and 3; 9.2-channel pre-outs and 7.1-channel analogue inputs. Of course you’ll also find an Ethernet port to access the network features and IR, trigger and RS-232 sockets for custom install use.

Completing the line-up is a USB port for the supplied wireless LAN adapter and a port for the asynchronous USB-DAC, which lets you directly connect a PC or Mac and play high-resolution music up to 192kHz/32-bit. It’s unique to this receiver and clear evidence of the Pioneer’s audiophile ambitions.

Prem Desai

January 21, 2014, 1:52 pm

I began reading this eagerly because I'm looking to upgrade my aging but stunning Denon receiver.

What drew my attention was the 10/10 score and superlatives such as must buy.

My excitement was soon shattered - this sports hdmi v1.4 ports only.

Not sure why Pioneer have released this stillborn amp.

Any self-respecting home cinema buff would stay well clear. There'll be a version with hdmi 2 soon enough.

Sim

January 21, 2014, 2:21 pm

So what with regards to hdmi v1.4...do you buy an amp cause of the hdmi port ? or do you get an amp based on what It can process and how good it sounds ?
No amp has hdmi 2 as it stands as of now. Only need hdmi 2 for playing 4k at 60hz.
And if one gets a 4K tv then plug it directly from source and use optical for sound problem solved.

Prem Desai

January 21, 2014, 7:38 pm

This is an AV amp - the V stands for VISUAL which is V-E-R-Y important in an AV setup.

Do not want to use optical for sound - messes everything up. Will wait for HDMI 2 as will every sensible soul.

I'd be surprised if a newer version with HDMI 2 did not pop up in a few weeks - hopefully at a lower price.

Sim

January 21, 2014, 8:01 pm

'messes everything up' ..please do explain ??
With regards to sound what is messed up ?
Oh and do you posses a 4K tv with HDMI 2 out of curiosity ??

Jordan Jay Currie

January 22, 2014, 10:13 am

8, out of 10

Bluetooth should be included not an extra
No HDMi 2.0 support

Dennis

January 22, 2014, 11:50 am

I bought this receiver in November and it is absolutely stunning ! It has all future features and it's sound, image, build quality is superb to all other AV receivers (Denon, Marantz,...).

Yamaha

January 28, 2014, 3:36 am

Only comes with an IR remote now, no option to upgrade to an RF remote unlike the past flagship Pioneer receivers. Deal-breaker for me, can't understand Pioneer's thinking.

johnj259

February 14, 2014, 3:36 am

DTS soundtracks are excellent via optical, what are you saying?

Prem Desai

February 14, 2014, 9:31 am

My point is why use 2 cables when 1 will do.

Also, not every device sports an optical port.

Prem Desai

February 14, 2014, 9:32 am

More cables. Already have too many!!

4k tv - no. 4k projector - yes.

Hope to get tv later this year.

Thomas P

February 20, 2014, 11:58 pm

you can buy the rf remote control and use it on lx87

Ashiq

March 16, 2014, 3:41 am

Need a help?????
can i play paradigm studio 100 v5.0 and center cc690 ( 8 ohm) with this amp or the amp going to be over heated. I planed to buy paradigm studio 100 and studio center cc690. Paradigm mentioned that speaker required 225 w max input power and receiver match for 50 to 300 w per channel.
please help me to choose.

ashiq

March 17, 2014, 4:48 am

I have paradigm studio100 and center cc690. Please let me know this amp can handle to feed those speaker.than i will change my yamaha rxv671 which have not enough power to handle those speakers.

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