Hot on the heals of a new flagship AV receiver from its sister brand Onkyo, home cinema specialist Pioneer has announced a pair of top-of-the-range multichannel models and a new SACD player.
The Pioneer SC-LX904 (£2499, above) and SC-LX704 (£1699) are aimed at serious home cinema enthusiasts, with spec lists to satisfy even the most demanding of customers. It would take a while to go through the full list, but both models are equipped with seven HDMI inputs, three HDMI outputs and support Ultra HD pass-through with HDCP 2.3, 4K/60Hz video, Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma), WCG (Wide Colour Gamut) and Ultra HD upscaling (1080p to 4K).
They support the latest movie sound formats including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, and include two new features to further enhance sound quality. Pioneer's "Audio Exclusive Mode", turns off the HDMI video signal when not required, and "AV Direct Mode" turns off the all network functionality which benefits both audio and video playback quality.
Power is provided by the company's "Direct Energy HD Amplifier" (Class D), which delivers a claimed 215W x 11 channels in the case of the SC-LX904 and 205W x 9 channels on the SC-LX704. Each uses ESS9026 384 kHz/32-bit high quality DACs, and both units are IMAX Enhanced certified.
Wireless connectivity includes Chromecast built-in, Apple AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, DTS Play-Fi and wi-fi as well as FlareConnect, Pioneer's wireless protocol that mirrors any audio source connected to the receiver on compatible speakers located in other rooms. Voice control comes in the guise of Google Assistant, while "Works with Alexa" functionality will be available with a future firmware update.
And if you have a NAS drive or other source with a stash of high-res audio files, the Pioneers will support 192 kHz/24-bit FLAC, WAV, AIFF and ALAC file formats, and DSD 2.8/5.6MHz/11.2MHz.
Alternatively, you could partner either of the AV receivers with Pioneer's new PD-50AE SACD player, which adopts "trickle-down" audio technologies from the company's flagship PD-70AE SACD player. Tech highlights include an ESS ES9026PRO DAC and fully discrete analogue/digital power supply stage, as well as support for MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) files when streaming from services such as Tidal.
The Pioneer PD-50AE will cost £1799 when it goes on sale in November. Like the two aforementioned AV receivers, which will also be available from November, it will be available in black or silver.