NEWS: Pioneer reveals 'extraordinary' 2008 AV receiver range

As we've already seen with the launches of its new Blu-ray and flatscreen ranges, modesty doesn't seem to be in Pioneer's current mindset.

The confidence extends to the company's four new home cinema receivers - the SC-LX81, SC-LX71, VSX-LX51 and VSX-1018AH - which it describes as "delivering a high-definition audiovisual experience that transcends the ordinary."

The quartet of receivers join the existing VSX-LX70 and previously announced Susano SC-LX90 flagship AV amp (pictured above) to form Pioneer's 2008 line-up - all of which support the full suite of HD audio formats.

“Our Susano A/V amplifier represents the pinnacle of high-end design and engineering in home theatre equipment. Building upon the Susano’s success, our new line of LX A/V receivers provides the full impact of new uncompressed, multi-channel audio soundtracks available on Blu-ray Discs,” says Jim Catcheside, Product Manager at Pioneer GB.

“Listeners can get the impression of being at the front row of their favourite concert", he adds, suggesting these are receivers designed with music as well as movies in mind.

SC range aims to offer all-round excellence

For example, Pioneer's SC-LX71 and SC-LX81 receivers (SC = stereo control) use the proprietary Precision Quartz Locking System (PQLS), which synchronizes data coming from similarly equipped Blu-ray players - such as the new BDP-LX71 - to the receiver, with the aim of providing accurate, faithful music reproduction.

Full tech-specs for the 'LX71 and 'LX81 have yet to be confirmed, but they look to be 7.1 designs offering 180- and 190W per channel respectively.

The 'LX71 offers 1080p, HDMI upscaling (4 in; 1 out), while the 'LX81 endears itself to multiroom/TV+projector set-ups with 4 in; 2 out HDMI upscaling.

Pioneer claims both will deliver "robust, realistic sound quality" due to the manufacturer's Direct Energy HD Amplifier with ICEpower technology. The 'LX81 also boasts HDMI jitter reduction and a Sampling Rate Converter for even greater sonic accuracy.

Both receivers feature Advanced MCACC tuning - which claims to ensure "accurate, studio-quality surround sound regardless of the room configuration" - plus Full Band Phase Control, designed to eliminate bass ‘phase lag’ often caused by low-frequency levels in 5.1 surround sound systems.

Like previous Pioneer products, the SC receivers are also DNLA (Digital Living Network Alliance) compliant, with support for Windows Vista, Windows Media Connect and Microsoft audio DRM technology. That offers the potential of streaming digital media files direct from networked computers and storage devices to your AV system.

Apple fans needn't feel left out, either: all the new receivers feature iPod connectivity, including full player control via the receivers' remotes.

Entry-level to start at £400 or below

Sitting below Pioneer's SC range are its VSX-1018AH and VSX-LX51 receivers (the latter shown above).

The VSX-1018AH (which replaces the @£400 VSX-1017V) is a 7.1, 150W/channel receiver with HDMI 1.3a switching (two in, one out) though not upscaling. As well as HD audio decoding, it adds full iPod support and additional EQ options its predecessor's feature-list.

Next-step up is the VSX-LX51 (which replaces the @£600 VSX-LX50). This offers all the same features as the VSX-1018AH, but with 1080p, HDMI 1.3a video upscaling (3 in; one out - see backshot below); HDMI jitter reduction and support for THX Select 2 Surround EX.

The new receiver range is designed to compliment Pioneer's flatscreen TVs and Blu-ray players, both physically and technically - with Kuro Link offering single-remote control of all components.

The VSX-1018AH and VSX-LX51 will be available in June, with the SC-LX71 and SC-LX81 following later this year. We'll bring you pricing details - and, of course, full reviews - as soon as possible.

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