There are no two ways about it – the Pioneer SC-LX87 is a stunning performer, reproducing movie soundtracks with immense power and astonishing sonic dexterity, capturing the elusive sense of wonder for which movies were invented.
First and foremost though, it’s a proper powerhouse. When we fired up the wonderful Troll Hunter on Blu-ray, each encounter with one of the hulking creatures simply blew us away.
The LX87 takes the 7.1 DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack and maps out a massive, immersive soundstage, populating it with layer upon layer of detail and forceful effects – but doing so with the sort of control and poise befitting a high-end receiver.
When the first Tusselad troll emerges, the rustling and crunching as it parts the trees are crisp and clean, while its roar is suitably menacing.
And when it starts chasing the filmmakers, you instantly get a sense of its heft and size – its footsteps are positively thunderous as it lumbers through the forest, each footfall underpinned by a burst of the deepest, tightest bass imaginable.
The Pioneer adeptly orchestrates the subsequent chaos with fast, accurate steering that sends the creature’s snuffling and snorting to every speaker, while the crew’s panicked cries cut sharply through the noise.
Despite its staggering power, the Pioneer LX87 remains unruffled when pushed up to and beyond the THX reference volume level. There’s no straining or harshness in the sound, even when the movie’s last troll, the gigantic Jotnar, starts stomping around the desolate Norwegian landscape – the Pioneer simply takes everything in its stride, making the scene thrilling and magical.
The Pioneer also conveys the Norwegian dialogue with absolute clarity and digs out the soundtracks finest details. As you can tell, we’re rather smitten by this wonderful receiver.
It doesn’t let the side down when playing stereo music either. A hi-res (24-bit/96kHz) FLAC file of All Will Surely Burn by Sons of Kemet, downloaded from the Naim Label website, sounds fabulous. The LX87 conveys this frenetic jazz composition with remarkable energy and superb timing, giving each instrument sufficient space and picking out the finest nuances in every sound.
If you’re after an AV receiver and have £1,500 burning a hole in your pocket, then we really can’t think of many better ways of spending it than the Pioneer SC-LX87. It’s a truly fabulous AV receiver, offering a comprehensive list of features, extensive connectivity, stunning construction and sound quality that’ll blow you away.
Pioneer’s stunning flagship receiver is a must buy for any self-respecting AV buff.