Pioneer SC-57 9.1 A/V Receiver


Design of the Pioneer SC-57 Receiver

As the top receiver in the Pioneer Elite line, the SC-57 has as classy a design as you would expect. The front is clean with only a power button and two knobs to control input and volume. All of the controls are hidden away behind a door that drops down to reveal everything you need to control the SC-57. Additionally the front panel hides a USB and video input for an iPod or iPhone, a headphone jack, the MCACC microphone jack, and a front HDMI input. The Elite looks very nice in your AV rack, but I was still able to do all the setup and use of it from the front panel without the remote control. That sort of convenience is nice compared to when I want to start watching a Blu-ray disc but can't find the remote, yet the front panel of the player has no way to control the menus and begin.

The rear of the SC-57 shows the migration away from analog video and towards HDMI continues at a rapid pace. Everyone has abandoned S-Video at this point, and the SC-57 is no different. There is still a plethora of composite video inputs, and three component video inputs, which is useful as one can be assigned to a secondary zone on the receiver and even assign a pair of speaker terminals to that zone as well. The Class D3 (as Pioneer calls it) amplifier supports up to 9 channels at 140 watts per channel, but there are 11 sets of binding posts on the rear of the receiver. This allows you to configure up to two additional stereo zones to send music to, but still have enough terminals to drive up to a 9-channel system in the main room when desired. The SC-57 also has 7 HDMI inputs, 2 HDMI outputs (one with Audio Return Channel), a multichannel input and output, and plenty of stereo RCA jacks for any setup.

Unlike the SC-27, there are no longer exposed heat sinks on the bottom of the case, but instead there seems to be a small fan off to the side of the case to keep the amps cool. I never heard this fan while in use, and the receiver sits right behind my head, so I can't imagine this will be a problem for anyone. Otherwise, I think the SC-57 has all the connections that anyone could need.