Pioneer SC-LX90 review

An amp you've just got to listen to – it makes movies viscerally thrilling or intimate as needed. Tested at £5000.00

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Our Verdict

A remarkably good foray into this price class for Pioneer: well worth a proper investigation

For

  • Sensational speed, attack and drive
  • easy to live with
  • fine build

Against

  • Very little
  • it’s a shade more forward-sounding than some, but never enough to be a problem

Although Pioneer is no stranger to high-end home cinema, this price-level is uncharted territory.
The SC-LX90 certainly looks the part.

Pioneer's development codename for this project was ‘Susano', a Japanese God endowed with power over the seas and storms.

The finished amp looks every bit as heavenly. The glossy black finish is exceptional, matching Pioneer's similarly upmarket plasma TVs. It's more spare than most rival designs, its fascia dominated by a large, full-colour and clear display screen.

The Pioneer is also large, even by the standards of a class that boasts some particularly big units: the cutaway around its waist separates the box into distinct ‘pre' and ‘power' units, with the smaller lower section playing host to ten channels of power amplification.

Developed with ICEpower, founded by Bang & Olufsen, these compact Class D power amps are claimed to deliver low distortion, ultra-fast response and high power.

Many options for great sound
Each amp can be assigned tasks: you could set up your system to drive seven speakers with the front three biamplified, for example, or with specific speakers used to drive music in another room.

Power aside, the Pioneer also features everything it needs to compete at this evel: powerful video upconversion and scaling, ultra-precise automatic calibration and equalization, a horde of processing and decoding options (including, of course, the latest high-def audio modes), and full Network Media support for all manner of computer content, including digital music formats, digital pictures and even movies.

So far so comprehensive. Set-up is rapid and easy, and from the off, the Pioneer charges into the fray with zeal. We've seldom heard a faster, more exciting listen: the SC-LX90's sheer drive, its ability to capture fast effects shifts, is breathtaking.

It can charge from quiet to loud in the blink of an eye, as the ‘jump' moment at the start of I Am Legend ably illustrates.

That speed isn't at the expense of control.The SC-LX90 is undeniably more forward-sounding and direct a listen than, say, the Yamaha DSP-Z11 – which some may prefer – but it's by no means harsh or hard, even when playing at high volumes.

High frequencies are pin-sharp, to be sure, but also well-marshalled and accurately defined, with no undesirable steel to their edges.

The result is an amp you've just got to listen to. It makes movies viscerally thrilling or intimate and involving as needed, and is especially adept at relaying rhythms, making it a more musical listen than many of its ilk. It's a fine achievement for Pioneer.

Specifications

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General Information

Product SeriesLX
Product LineSUSANO
Product NamePioneer SC-LX90
Product ModelSC-LX90
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.eu.onkyo.com
Brand NamePioneer
Product TypeA/V Receiver
ManufacturerOnkyo & Pioneer Corporation
Manufacturer Part NumberSC-LX90

Interfaces-Ports

Number of Digital Optical Outputs2
HDMIYes
Number of HDMI Outputs2
Number of Analog Audio Inputs26
Number of Digital Coaxial Outputs1
Number of Digital Coaxial Inputs4
Number of HDMI Inputs6
Number of Digital Optical Inputs7
iPod SupportedYes
USBYes

Technical Information

Minimum Frequency Response20 Hz
Maximum Frequency Response20 kHz
Total Harmonic Distortion THD0.1%
MultizoneYes
Impedance8 Ohm

Network and Communication

EthernetYes

Audio

RMS Output Power1400 W
Sound SystemDolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, THX Ultra2 Plus, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS Neo:6, DTS 96/24, DTS Express, DTS-HD High Resolution, DTS Neural Surround, Virtual Surround, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Pro Logic IIx, DTS, DTS-ES, Dolby Pro Logic IIz
Audio Channels10

Video

Upscale Scan Format1080p

Power Description

Operating Power Consumption550 W

Miscellaneous

DLNA CertifiedYes
Environmentally FriendlyYes
Package Contents
  • SUSANO High Definition Amplifier
  • Remote Control
  • iPod Cable
Country of OriginMalaysia
Environmental CertificationWEEE

Physical Characteristics

Weight Approximate35.50 kg
Width440 mm
Depth479 mm
Height247 mm
Dimensions247 mm (H): 440 mm (W): 479 mm (D)

Warranty

Limited Warranty1 Year