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Review of Pioneer Elite SC-27


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3 replies to this topic

#1 of 4 apatel

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Posted February 21 2010 - 05:46 PM

I have had the Pioneer Elite SC-27 receiver for about 2 months now, and I have gotten to know it pretty well by now.  Let me start by saying that I am very happy with this unit, I have learned a lot about it and I'll try to give you as much detail as possible.  Before I bought this unit, I was looking for something that had a lot of power, clean sound, multi-room capability, internet radio, relatively easy to use once it was setup, and something that felt solid and not cheaply built.  I haven't owned anything Pioneer Elite before, and I compared this unit against the high end Onkyo and Denon units before I bought it.   My ears liked the sound of the Pioneer Elite significantly better than the Denon, and just slightly better than the Onkyo.  I'm not saying the others didn't sound good, but when compared side by side, the Pioneer Elite sounded cleaner and more detailed to me.  This was a blind listen with the same audio source and speakers, and I know there could have been other variables at play like calibration, settings, etc...  But I tried to neutralize this as much as possible.   The SC-27 is heavy, and it feels absolutely solid.  I've moved mine about a dozen times now since I've changed my wiring and speaker cables a number of times now.  The initial setup and speaker calibration was extremely easy to go through.  It also seemed to set my room up with a 5.1 setup very well.  Big difference from pre-calibration to post, and the MCACC setup takes about 5 minutes to complete.  Once I had it setup, I've had to read the manual several times to learn about advanced features like how to output an HDMI audio/video signal to a 2nd zone, or how to set the limit on the volume, and how to set the LFE (subwoofer) so that it is active for all audio, not just my HDMI inputs.  I have a Monster speaker selector that lets me push this receiver into 6 rooms in my house, and this took me a while to get setup correctly.  My only major complaint about this receiver is that you can only push certain inputs to your zone 2/3.  For video, I can play my Dish Network or Blue Ray DVD player in my main room, or on my patio TV via HDMI, but both TV's can not display different video.  So I have to watch the same thing, I knew this was how it worked and it's all that I needed, so not an issue to me.  For sound, you can only push inputs that are RCA to your other zones, can't push audio from your optical  or HDMI inputs.  I don't know if all receivers are like this or not, but this was pretty weak.  For me to get my Dish Network to play on my patio speakers, it has to be connected to my received via HDMI and RCA for audio.  This is not a huge deal, but it is a little quirky.  Last issue for me is that on a high end receiver they put plastic screws on the back for the speaker wire, they could have used metal and it would have felt much better.   On the flip side, so far I haven't found anything that I can not do with this receiver.  You can customize the names of your inputs, you can skip the inputs you don't use when you cycle via remote, The remote is very easy to use and my wife has even been able to work it.  You can dim the front panel, customize the speaker output levels one by one, play internet radio (although browsing stations could be better), hook up your ipod with the included cable and control it through your remote, and much more I am sure.  The front controls are very solid, smooth and have no weakness or play in the dials.  The buttons are all solidly constructed and the panel door is also very smooth and firm.  I like the HDMI input on the front panel, and the ease of controlling the multi-zone functionality.  After using this unit for 3-4 hours you don't notice any heat coming out of it at all.  

I've enjoyed about a dozen movies through this receiver now, and it sounds fantastic.  I'm glad I made this purchase, and have no regrets whatsoever (well I do wish they had Pandora like Onkyo does).  Good luck with your decision, and happy listening. 

#2 of 4 blambert007

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Posted February 23 2010 - 09:41 AM


Wow that is great information.  I'm in the market for this receiver as well.  I'm curious where did you purchase?


#3 of 4 Dennis Palla

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Posted February 24 2010 - 11:41 AM

I'll add some positives to this review as I too have had this unit for about two months now. I was a previous Denon owner (3803 receiver) and have always held that company in high regard. I was a little concerned with their latest models power supply (of the similar wattage output to the SC-27). Their unit weighs considerably less than the Pioneer and that usually means a less beefy power supply. I was not as favorably inclined towards their surround set up program also. Bottom line, the Pioneer just sounded better to me. As I become more accustomed to its sonic characteristics, I've ventured into the manual adjustment modes of the surround set up and have made some small but very significant changes, mainly to the EQ section with the graphic equalizer. I've had quite a lot of experience with EQs in various home and professional style sound production. so I'm not shy of making audible changes. This unit just needed small fine tuning adjustments (1 to 2.5db movements at a couple of frequency points) to really dial it in. I am extremely pleased with the sound reproduction from the SC-27 has it has definitely taken a fairly large step closer towards what I consider hi-end audio sound. One of the areas that it excells in is stage presentation (imaging and depth). I think this is also one of the advances the new BD codecs have inherently. But you won't experience it unless the rest of the equipment (mainly speakers and set up) is able to reproduce it. I have the identical speaker set up now with the Pioneer as I had with my previous Denon. The old unit on DVD codecs would place images well at the speaker points and fill the spaces in between when the signal would travel from one to another. It was very discreet. But the Pioneer on BD codecs will place images discreetly through out the room, almost three dimensionally, well within the spaces not only between the speakers but behind, in front, literally all around them. The new Denons (and I believe some other manufacturers as well) are adding heighth enhancing surround features to their decoding. The Pioneer does reproduce incredible heighth in staging without the added decoding gimmickry (imo). That was an area of decoding I wanted to stay away from as it reminds me of phase inverting to simulate a "surround sound-like effect" that was common before DD discreet formats. I think if the information is contained on the disc, the equipment should attempt to reproduce it in kind. If the image wasn't meant to be up at the ceiling, don't put it there artificially. Again just my opinion. The other area I do believe it excells in actually making the music in a movie sound tract sound like music, with very good timbre. I mean strings reproduced actually sound like an orchestra when it is, and not an electric keyboard simulation (unless of course it actually is one!). That really impressed me right off the bat of first listening. That is hard to reproduce well. Anyway that's where I'm at, more interested in the sound than the switching/accessory capability (though it's not a let down there either). So if that's your deal also, you could do a whole lot worse than the SC-27.

#4 of 4 apatel

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Posted March 08 2010 - 04:02 AM

I purchased from amazon.com right around Christmas time for $1400 for a brand new unit.  I've noticed they are all used now on amazon, and I can't figure out why that is.  

Personally, I wouldn't buy it if I knew it was used or a refurb.  Best Buy will match prices and they sell this, but you may need to work them over with another quote for a new unit.





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