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

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.