Pioneer SC-79 9.1 A/V Receiver


Conclusions about the Pioneer SC-79 Receiver

The Pioneer SC-79 adds more features to what was already a feature packed receiver. The updated SABRE DACs sound very good when sent high-quality audio like a Blu-ray disc or HD Tracks download. Even with lower quality sources like Spotify over AirPlay it sounds fantastic and has plenty of power in reserve. With HDBaseT it now works well for those that want to use is in two rooms at once. With the extra amplifier channels available and HDBaseT you can easily use it for a main theater room, music in another room, and sending video and audio over HDBaseT to another.

On the bench it is a good performer as well. The analog performance in preamp mode is as good, or better, than similarly priced preamps on the market today. The DACs ability comes across on the -90db sine wave test, showing performance that bests other models out there today. The issues I have with the Pioneer SC-79 are ones that have lingered from year to year. The remote really needs a redo at this point. A $3,000 receiver deserves a much better remote than the one that Pioneer still includes.

A larger issue is MCACC. The speaker detection method is prone to errors and might identify your speakers incorrectly. It is possible to set sizes and crossover correctly before running MCACC, but it needs to probe deeper to determine if it is correct. It also needs an EQ for the subwoofer channel. Other room correction systems, and people like me, find that bass correction is the most important thing an EQ system can do. Room issues in the lower frequencies are what need the most correction applied to them. Skipping those is a large oversight to me.

Everything considered, including the high price, the Pioneer SC-79 still stacks up very impressively to me. The power amplifier section can deliver when required and runs much cooler than other models. It also has a very high performing preamp section that competes with models costing just as much but that don't include any amplification. The HDBaseT feature sets the Pioneer up for use with a custom control system and to serve as the hub for a whole-house AV solution.

I thought that receivers priced over $2,000 had gone away thanks to the recent economy. It turns out it was just on hiatus but now Pioneer is here to try to push the limits of what you can get inside a single box. The SC-79 shows that you can a box full of features without making them second-rate to do so.