Pioneer Elite SC-05 A/V Receiver Comparisons & Conclusion

Comparisons & Conclusion
Throughout this review, I've compared the SC-05 to the flagship SC-09TX, and for good reason. The two are more alike than different. The SC-09TX offers more amplifiers—ten versus seven—and more connection options, including HD video in multi-zone applications, a second HDMI 1.3a output, 10 additional watts per channel, and that slick LCD screen.

The SC-05 does offer Internet radio and weighs nearly 30 pounds less, so moving it around doesn't require a trip to the chiropractor. But the most significant factor for me is the value proposition, which is heavily weighted in the SC-05's favor. The flagship will set you back $7000 versus $1800 for the SC-05. If you need the additional 10Wpc, component output for Zone 2, and a second HDMI 1.3a output for your main room, consider the Pioneer Elite SC-07 at $2200, which shares many of the features of the SC-05, including the same user's manual.

The $1500-$2000 price range is full of AVRs vying for your hard-earned dollar with the likes of Sony, Denon, Onkyo, Sherwood Newcastle, and others offering many of the same features found in the Pioneer, although none use ICEpower technology. My only major criticism of the SC-05 is its video processing, which is somewhat lacking compared to what the competition provides. But with Blu-ray moving toward the mainstream and HD content seeing growth from both cable and satellite providers, is HD video processing that big an issue? Not to me, although some may see it as a necessity.

From an audio perspective, you can't go wrong with the SC-05. It plays loud and clear at insane levels and never breaks a sweat—which is what I look for first and foremost in an AVR. Its user interface is easy to navigate, and the Home Media Gallery is simply outstanding.

If your net worth is heading south and you're looking for flagship performance at a bargain price, the Pioneer Elite SC-05 brings a lot to the table. Sure, it falls short in its video processing but makes up for it with fantastic audio performance.

Home Media Gallery
4 HDMI inputs
Clean, dynamic amplifiers
Excellent two-channel performance
Decodes Dolby TrueHD & DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks
Internet radio

No HD radio
No video processing of HDMI inputs
No video processing of 1080i/720p component signals