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Pioneer SC-LX87: Features and Operation

By Danny Phillips



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Pioneer SC-LX87


Our Score:


Pioneer SC-LX87 – Features

The SC-LX87 feature list is staggering – you name it, this bad boy probably does it. We’ll start with music streaming – hooked up to a network it’ll access music from PCs, NAS drives and other devices with full DLNA compliance. It’s Windows 7 and 8 certified too.

The list of files that can be played via LAN or USB includes MP3, AAC and WMA, as well as WAV, FLAC AIFF and Apple Lossless. Fans of hi-res music will also welcome WAV, FLAC and AIFF playback up to 192kHz/24-bit.

Built-in AirPlay makes it easy to stream from iOS devices and computers running iTunes. Owners of HTC One phones can also stream music wirelessly thanks to the Pioneer’s HTC Connect support. Bluetooth isn’t built-in, but you can add it with Pioneer’s optional AS-BT200 adapter.

Pioneer SC-LX87

If you want to expand your musical horizons with some new tunes, there’s support for the Spotify Connect app too (which lets you play and control Spotify on mobile devices) and internet radio courtesy of vTuner.

But the real draw for hardcore home cinephiles is the SC-LX87’s stupendous spec, which includes a whopping power rating of 220W per channel and decoders for every Dolby and DTS format going, including Dolby Pro Logic IIz and DTS Neo:X. These expand the soundstage vertically with front height channels (and, in the case of DTS Neo:X, horizontally with front wide channels).

It’s also equipped with ESS Technology’s SABRE 32-bit Ultra digital-to-analogue converter, regarded by some as the industry benchmark, with two Texas Instruments’ Aureus chips providing the digital signal processing.

There are eleven Pioneer processing modes, including Advanced Cinema/Concert modes and Virtual Surround Back, while the Audio Scaler pimps up CD-quality two-channel digital signals to 32-bit and 192kHz in a bid to offer a ‘high-resolution experience’.

Being the top-end receiver, it features virtually all of Pioneer’s latest sound enhancements, including Advanced Sound Retriever, Precision Quartz Lock System (PQLS), Phase/Standing Wave Control and tons more – audiophiles will be in seventh heaven.

On the video side, there’s 4K upscaling and pass-through, plus Stream Smoother (which cleans up dodgy web-derived video) and Advanced Video Adjust to tweak the picture.

Pioneer SC-LX87 – Operation

Some companies, like Marantz and Onkyo, have mastered the art of making a super-complex receiver easy to use. Sadly, Pioneer has not.

Pioneer SC-LX87Using the supplied remote is a horribly complicated process – it’s covered from top-to-bottom in tiny keys and microscopic labels, many of which are cryptic abbreviations. Several of the buttons also appear to have two functions, and very often you have to hit the ‘Receiver’ key in order for certain buttons to work. Not good. But in its defence it’s backlit and sports a fetching brushed finish.

Thankfully help is at hand for owners of iOS/Android devices, as you can control the Peioneer SC-LX87 using Pioneer’s superb iControlAV2013 app. You can access all the main functions from your smartphone/tablet, and use the new Push Player setting to create playlists from the music stored on the device and push it to the LX87.

The LX87’s onscreen menus aren’t the most visually engaging, but we doubt its core audience will care too much about that. The moody black backgrounds and white text retain an element of simplicity that makes it easy to find the function you’re looking for.

The Home menu treads familiar Pioneer territory – a box on the left houses the options, illustrated by a monochrome icon on the right. It goes into an obscene amount of detail, allowing you to manually configure the speakers right down to the smallest details. If you can’t be bothered with that, then Pioneer’s MCACC configures all the key settings using the supplied microphone.

Elsewhere, media playback menus are clearly presented, and exploring music stored on networked servers or internet radio stations is straightforward enough – although if you have a big collection, scrolling through the lists can be tiresome as the cursor is a little slow on the uptake.

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.


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.


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


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,...).


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.


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


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.


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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