back to article Pioneer SC-LX85 9.2 AV receiver with AirPlay

The Pioneer SC-LX85 is AV receiver royalty. It lords it over the rest of the brand’s home cinema range, resplendent in the latest audio visual finery. Priced at £2K, this is red carpet home cinema. Pioneer SC-LX85 AV receiver AV aristocracy: Pioneer's SC-LX85 There’s little doubt that the SC-LX85 is exquisitely built. It …


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  1. mfraz

    Wonder if I can justify it as an upgrade from my 3 year old SC-LX80?

  2. Anna Logg

    fast is a relative term

    "Network streaming has fast become an integral component of the modern AVR"

    Well my fairly mundane 'DSGi special' internet radio/media streamer was introduced in 2006, and was harldy pioneering then, so 'fas't isn't the right term here.

    While I'm being grumpy, thiis a tech site, so some idea what "audiophile grade ICEpower Energy HD digital amplification" actually means (if anything) in electronics terms would be good.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: ICEpower

      "audiophile grade ICEpower Energy HD digital amplification"

      means Class-D amplification developed by Bang and Olufsen. Audiophiles being what they are, I'm sure they can debate what 'Audiophile' means. Some audiophiles are sniffy about Class-D because the massaging of the feedback loop doesn't strike them as 'pure'.

      Class-D amps are usually chosen for their power efficiency and thus low heat (sensible, given there are nine of them in this box). However, they do have the potential to sound very good.

      The 'D' in Class-D does not stand in for 'Digital'. However, in this case we can assume that this receiver has to circuitry to create a pulse wave modulated signal directly from the digital audio input (like SPDIF or HDMI).

      You can look at wikipedia's 'Class-D' page for diagrams etc.

      Search google for "tripath amp" for a £20 - £30 amplifier that has had enthusiastic reviews and compared to Class A amps ten times the price. Ideal for your computer desk : D

  3. MJI Silver badge

    Well equipped

    Phono section at last.

    But 9.1 - I could not fit that many speakers in my house!

    Nice though, I like Pioneer stuff

    1. Citizen Kaned

      Re: Well equipped

      9.1 is just 5.1 with additional front and rear speakers (or 2 sets of front - height and width). usually off the ground and up high. so they dont really take up any space.

      i would love 9.2 in my house but i just bought a new Onkyo 709 and no way i can justify £2k on an AVR.

  4. Scott Mckenzie


    Still a marmite product to me... with music the tone was far too harsh - even after extensive tweaking of MCACC or whatever acronym they use.... for films the sound was excellent but as always pick your speakers wisely!

  5. tommy060289
    Thumb Up

    A few opinions

    I have an lx55 the one down from this and they are very similar albeit 7.2 vs 9.2 and a slightly cheaper audio processor and a few other bits, there are a couple of niggling issues.

    1. HDMI pass through works with bugger all. In order to work a device must be hdmi-Cecil compatible.

    My Xbox isn't

    My ps3 isn't (although I hear the new ps3 slim is)

    My apple tv isn't.

    2. Annoyingly for such a connected device, the wireless transmitter is external which means another box. But it was pretty naff anyway since it is only g rated rather than n so after about 1.5 songs through AirPlay (iPhone-router-receiver all wireless) it would lag and cut out. Installed a LAN cable from router to receiver - problem solved

    3. The Internet radio is Terrible. It's virtually impossible to find what your looking for. Perhaps they should integrate the radio channel selection with the iControl AV app as that would make it much better! If I listen to the radio I usually resort to tuning in on my tv and playing the sound through the amp via the ARC

    Apart from these three relatively minor things, the amp is superb. Can't think of a better amp. It provides killer sound to my kef3005s and not only is It amazing with movies but it is also a fantastic musical performer. I thought I'd miss my old CA/Kef iQ 5 set up but I really don't. Even on AirPlay.

    And also brilliant is the mentioned iControl AV app. Superb control from both iPhone and iPad of the receiver. Now if only samsungs iPhone app wasn't terrible I could chuck out another remote:D

    1. Citizen Kaned

      Re: A few opinions

      isnt your AVR a bit over specced for some low end satellites? i would be interested to know.

      odd that hdmi-passthrough isnt good, it seems to work on every AVR i have had. (yammy, denon & onkyo)

      1. tommy060289

        Re: A few opinions

        Not grossly, I managed to get some amazing prices on both the speakers and amp when best buy was closing down:D too good to pass up for a more lowly amp

        as for pass through. I don't think its Pioneer but the ridiculous consortiums that control the HDMI standards and hence some companies not putting them in. the only devices Ive seen work with pass through is the new ps3 and higher end blu rays (tho as much as I wanted pioneers latest blu ray to match my amp - I've heard its a bit pants and does nothing the ps3 can't)

  6. Gary Wood

    I've got the '75

    And it's a beast. The speed of delivery over my old Yamaha amp is what really sets it apart though.

    I've had no problems with HDMI passthrough on my XBox (newish shiny black one) or for my HTPC.

    1. JetSetJim

      Re: I've got the '75

      "The speed of delivery over my old Yamaha amp is what really sets it apart though."

      Is that:

      a) time from placing order to time big box is deposited on your doormat

      b) time it takes to propagate the digital signal to the processors (light speed - a relatively invariant speed)

      c) time it takes the analogue signals to get to the speakers (again, light speed)

      d) time it takes the audio waves to get to your lug-holes (speed of sound @ ~1 bar of air pressure)

      e) or does it run through a CD at x2 (or more) speed

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: I've got the '75

        You left out a step between b) and c), namely the amplification stage of the 'Yamaha amp'.

      2. Gordon 10


        If you are going to troll at least get your facts right.

        Electrical current does not travel at the speed of light.

        1. JetSetJim

          Re: Re: Gordon 10 @JetSetJim

          Oh, sorry, the cable connecting my stopwatch wasn't seated correctly leading to a slight measurement drift that gave that result.

          Perhaps that bullet point should also have been filled with a treatise on cable thickness, charge magnitude, cable composition and an examination of various other things like skin effects. Might not have been as concise, methinks.

          This website ( quotes crap co-ax at 66%c and their specialist speaker cable at 92%c - assuming the cable run is around 2m to each speaker, is the end user *really* going to notice the 0.0000000017 second difference in signal propagation time to the speaker between these cables?

          (BTW - electrical current itself doesn't travel very fast at all, its the field that whizzes around at high speed)

  7. Anonymous Cowbard

    Only 1 ethernet

    With most living room kit needing it's own network connection it's surprising to see such a high end amp only sporting 1 RJ45 socket. How much would it add to build a wee switch into this (like similar Sony amps do) and reap the benefits?

  8. Tim Parker

    Marvellous. Yet another in-depth, deeply technical review of affordable audio equipment from El Reg - huzzah ! Many so-called 'reviews' on other online sites sound, to me, just like a regurgitation of the 'Specification' panel on the box - with the odd 'I think' or 'I did' added and a dash of words like 'sweetness', 'visceral' or 'audiophile' thrown in for good measure. Not this baby.

    I for one welcome our £ 9,000 / metre 99.999999999% oxygen-free overlords.

  9. Blake Davis

    "Network streaming has fast become an integral component of the modern AVR."

    So they figure 100mb ethernet is fast enough?

    1. Citizen Kaned

      they only do music - as do most AVRs with DLNA.

      100mb Ethernet is ample for that, even with uncompressed audio like WAV.

    2. TheRealRoland

      Network streaming has fast become...

      Only says something about how quickly it's becoming the standard.

      Nothing about if the implementation of said technology is fast / slow / etc.

      I'm sure there's a rationale behind them selecting 100mbps.

      Maybe one of which still is price. Or if it's even necessary to have higher speeds than that, since they don't expect things to stream through that network interface in the first place?

  10. Alex Walsh

    what we need

    is an article on plug socket loading. 7 HDMI inputs, so that's 7 devices that could be plugged in. On top of all the other stuff gathered round a telly.

    Round mine, I've got 13 things plugged in and beginning to worry we'll all die in a wiring fire :/

    1. TheRealRoland

      Re: what we need

      Don't underestimate the power of radiation poisoning either. Last time I did a check of my router (static assigned IPs), there 32 wireless devices known in my household :-/

  11. Robredz

    Audio Envy?

    Well price apart, I think i will stick with my old fashioned, amp with 4 x EL34 valves as the output. Still sounds good off CD and vinyl in good old fashioned stereo.

    Good as this monster is, where would I find the extra 10K toor so to buy speakers to suit it?

  12. Great Bu

    Looks great but......

    It does look like a very impressive bit of kit, although I am far from an expert in the field. On the other hand, for two grand I'd expect it to make the popcorn and suck me off during the trailers too......

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