Feeds
90%
Pioneer SC-LX85 AV receiver

Pioneer SC-LX85 9.2 AV receiver with AirPlay

An amp for all seasons

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Network streaming has fast become an integral component of the modern AVR. So naturally, the SC-LX85’s H.M.G (Home Media Gallery) can stream MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC, FLAC and Ogg from PC or LAN; it also displays album art when available. However, compatibility isn’t as comprehensive from USB. FLAC, Ogg and AAC files all fail to play from a stick.

Pioneer SC-LX85 AV receiver

No skimping on remote functionality



There are no caveats about the receiver’s audio performance though. The LC-LX85 is ripped like a Spartan. Beneath the lid you’ll find nine channels of audiophile grade ICEpower Energy HD digital amplification, each rated at 190W (into 6Ω).

Thankfully, pointing all this power in the right direction isn’t too difficult, due to Pioneer’s MCACC room calibration tool. This correctly placed all the speakers in my listening room in terms of size and distance, and exhibited no phase errors. You can even view the results on Pioneer's free iControlAV2 app for iOS and Android devices.

All the requisite sound decoding formats are on hand, plus height and width indulgences for DTS Neo X and Dolby Pro-Logic IIz. Recognizing that few can accommodate this beast in full nine channel mode, you can also elect to run it multi-room. A variety of channel assignment patterns are available, including 5.1 in one location with two sets of stereo feeds going elsewhere.

Pioneer SC-LX85 AV receiver

Tired of two-channels? Perhaps its time for a multichannel makeover

As a movie machine, the SC-LX85 delivers in spades. To ensure both sweetness and visceral cinematics, the AVR has been tuned by engineers from AIR Studios and certified Ultra 2 Plus by THX. Huge dynamics crack with whip-like precision, while action effects are panned with ease. The receiver delivers scale without distortion.

The SC-LX85 is not just about box-office thunder; it also sounds wonderful with multi-channel music. The skittish percussion and rhythmic chanting which opens Symphonic Suite Akira (Victor Entertainment, Japanese import), a 96kHz/24-bit 4.1 DVD-Audio recording of the iconic anime score, is made all the more extraordinary by the surgical precision of the SC-LX83’s delivery.

Verdict

RH Recommended Medal

Beautifully engineered and lavishly equipped, Pioneer’s SC-LX85 is a lust-worthy new member of the AV elite. I suspect niceties such as AirPlay and network streaming will have long time enthusiasts pondering an upgrade, while it’s audio performance might even tempt two-channel audiophiles. I’d rate the likelihood of a better sounding AV receiver being released this year as slim to none. ®

More AV Gear Reviews

Yamaha
RX-V471
AV receiver
Ten...
boomboxes
Marantz
NR1602
AV receiver
Ten...
mini hi-fi
systems
Onkyo
TX-NR609
AV receiver

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

90%
Pioneer SC-LX85 AV receiver

Pioneer SC-LX85 9.2 AV receiver with AirPlay

Lavishly appointed 9.2 channel AV receiver with Apple AirPlay.
Price: £2000 RRP

More from The Register

next story
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Intel's LAME DUCK mobile chips gobbled by CASH COW
Chipzilla won't have money-losing mobe unit to kick about anymore
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.