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Pioneer SC-LX87: Performance and Verdict

By Danny Phillips



  • Recommended by TR
Pioneer SC-LX87


Our Score:


Pioneer SC-LX87 – Performance

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.

Pioneer SC-LX87

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.

Pioneer SC-LX87

Should I buy the Pioneer SC-LX87?

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.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 10
  • Features 10
  • Performance 10
  • Sound Quality 10
  • Value 9

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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