- Written by Chris Heinonen
- Published on 16 November 2009
With its ICEpower-based Class D amp, the Pioneer SC-27 features 7 channels rated for 140 WPC at 8 ohm, yet weighs just a bit over 40 lbs. The receiver features that classic Pioneer Elite look with their Urushi finish on the front panel with an Amber LED display. While the Class D amplifier is the feature that most people will focus on when they look at the SC-27, it does have some other features that are fairly unique, or becoming more common in modern receivers. It features 5 HDMI inputs, including one on the front panel to allow for easy hookups to a laptop, camcorder, or a game system.
This is also very nice as a reviewer who has grown tired of reaching behind his gear to hook up a new piece of equipment for a short time. On the back of the receiver you will find an Ethernet jack that can be used for Pioneer's Home Media Gallery that allows you to stream music from a DNLA source on your home network, as well as for Internet Radio stations and Rhapsody. The front panel contains a USB and video port that can be used with the included cable to connect your iPod and send a digital bitstream of the audio to the receiver. Being able to send the digital bitstream, instead of an analog line out signal as most iPod connections do, is a huge benefit as you can use the Wolfson 8740 DAC's inside the SC-27 instead of the DAC that is in the iPod. Previously the only way to have done this was with a $400 dock from Wadia, so to have this included with the SC-27 is a very nice feature indeed.
The Pioneer also has all of the connections that you expect to see on a high end receiver: 7.1 analog input and output, S-Video and Composite inputs and outputs, Component video, a total of seven coaxial and digital audio inputs, and even a phono input. As most of us that purchase this receiver would prefer to run a single HDMI cable to our display (though the SC-27 features dual HDMI outputs, for those with a projector and another display), it will convert all of your analog sources to digital and scale them up to 1080p if you desire. Of course, the Pioneer features DTS-MA and Dolby TrueHD support, as well as all of the THX listening modes because of it's Ultra2 certification. It also uses Pioneer's MCACC room calibration software, which has quite a few differences from the most common Audyssey that I will go into more depth on later.
Pioneer also includes a remote that follows the same design at their Blu-ray players that I reviewed previously. While the design is much more logically laid out than it is when used as a Blu-ray remote, I do wish that Pioneer would design their remotes for specific products instead of keeping a unified design among different products. It also does not feature a direct input button for any of the HDMI inputs except for the designated Blu-ray input, which made it hard to program my Harmony remote to go to the correct input for the various Activities I have setup.