Pioneer Elite SC-57 A/V Receiver HT Labs Measures

HT Labs Measures

Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 115.1 watts
1% distortion at 132.0 watts

Seven channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 109.6 watts
1% distortion at 123.7 watts

Analog frequency response in Pure Direct mode:
–0.25 dB at 10 Hz
–0.07 dB at 20 Hz
+1.00 dB at 20 kHz
–1.21 dB at 50 kHz

Analog frequency response with stereo signal processing:
–0.95 dB at 10 Hz
–0.29 dB at 20 Hz
–1.23 dB at 20 kHz
–68.57 dB at 50 kHz


This graph shows that the SC-57’s left channel, from CD input to speaker output with two channels driving 8-ohm loads, reaches 0.1 percent distortion at 138.1 watts and 1 percent distor- tion at 178.0 watts. Into 4 ohms, the amplifier reaches 0.1 percent distor- tion at 215.7 watts and 1 percent distortion at 254.2 watts.

Response from the multichannel input to the speaker output measures –0.25 decibels at 10 hertz, –0.07 dB at 20 Hz, +0.94 dB at 20 kilohertz, and –1.21 dB at 50 kHz. THD+N from the CD input to the speaker output was less than 0.006 percent at 1 kHz when driving 2.83 volts into an 8-ohm load. Crosstalk at 1 kHz driving 2.83 volts into an 8-ohm load was –82.52 dB left to right and –82.90 dB right to left. The signal-to-noise ratio with an 8-ohm load from 10 Hz to 24 kHz with “A” weighting was –104.71 dBrA.

From the Dolby Digital input to the loudspeaker output, the left channel measures –0.04 dB at 20 Hz and –0.51 dB at 20 kHz. The center channel measures –0.03 dB at 20 Hz and –1.36 dB at 20 kHz, and the left sur- round channel measures –0.01 dB at 20 Hz and –1.40 dB at 20 kHz. From the Dolby Digital input to the line-level output, the LFE channel is –0.00 dB at 20 Hz when referenced to the level at 40 Hz and reaches the upper 3-dB down point at 118 Hz and the upper 6-dB down point at 121 Hz.—MJP

Video Test Bench
The Pioneer sailed through all but a few of our video tests. It displayed minor artifacts in the 2:2 SD tests, both digital and analog. It also failed the analog Chroma Resolution test, exhibiting rolloff at the highest burst frequency.


FYI for new readers: All of the digital tests are done from an HDMI input to the AVR’s HDMI output. The clipping test (which includes checking for both above white and below black) and resolution tests (luma and chroma) are performed 1080p in to 1080p out. The 3:2 HD, 2:2 HD, and MA (Motion Adaptive) HD digital tests are 1080i in to 1080p out. The digital SD tests are 480i in to 1080p out apart from the Scaling test, which is 480p in to 1080p out.

The analog tests are similar, except that they are performed from a component input to an HDMI output—that is, they test for an AVR’s upconversion capability. In the analog tests, Video Clipping and Resolution are checked with a 1080i input. Consumer sources, including Blu-ray players, will not output component at 1080p. We do not test component in to component out.

In fact, newer disc players will not upconvert standard-definition material to 720p or 1080i/p at their component outputs. Next year’s disc players, and other sources as well, will eliminate component video outputs altogether.—TJN

(800) 421-1404

curtiswhite's picture

Could pioneer please bring back the black wood trim glossy piano black finish" just like on my vsx-53. That made there receivers stand apart from all of the other brands.

kidd1455's picture

Pioneer is among a small number of audio manufacturers releasing high powered AVRs or amplifiers featuring Class D circuit topology. Among its chief benefits, Class D features a cool-running and energy-saving efficiency that its Class A/B.modern warfare 3

zoetmb's picture

If you use Control and the ARC, then you can't use the analog TV/SAT input. And there's no analog input for Blu-ray so if you want to use HDMI for movies, but analog for CDs, you have to take up another analog input.

Stephen Trask's picture

This is such a great and interesting piece of writing on so many levels. First, I cannot forget your review of the Rotel RMB-1575 and how much your dislike for Class D amplification oozed all over it. So, reading your praise of the sound of this AVR and it's Class D amplification seems to mark a significant step forward for audiophile technology, the environment and and even home decor, as a cooler running amp obviously needs less ventilation. In recording and music distribution, so much of what started off wrong about digital had as much or more to do with the newness of the technology as it did any inherent limitations. Think about the advances in analogue recording from "Please Please Me" to "Abbey Road" and you get a picture of just how much tinkering it takes to make new audio technology sound good. So to read about a company working with outside audio professionals to move this technology forward to the point where a Class D hater actually turns a corner is a major feat and probably just the beginning. I also appreciate the direct link between the ratings and the review. It would seem that the narrow miss from reference quality in sound, if I am reading correctly, has to do with distortion at the low and high ends of the volume curve, thus limiting the sweet spot of perfect sound. Similarly, there are only a couple of fails in the video test bench that seem to cause the likewise reference quality near miss in video performance. This specificity is so great for consumers because it allows us to look at the failings and determine whether or not they apply to our own situation.
I would like to see and predict more cooperation between audio professionals on the recording side of the business and those on the sound reproduction end like this impressive pairing. So many of the breakthroughs in lower priced high end sound and video reproduction that have been entering the market of late are things that the recording field has been working on perfecting for many years. It seems like a very exciting time to be writing about this technology and consumer sector and this review does a great job demonstrating why.

goodfellas27's picture

Pioneer said that this AVR would have their D3 Amp, which they claim it's the most powerful AMP that they have; however, base on the HT test, I don't see that as being true. Their last year model (SC37) had better AMP base on power.

Anyway, the Sc-57 looks to be a better overall AVR, do to sound quality and features. I'm looking forward to their next year model.

Thnks for the good read HT!

Mittchell's picture

I am all for the brushed aluminum finish. It's not a fingerprint & scratch magnet like the gloss black plastic finish is. I don't want my equipment to look like junk by Emerson or DuraBrand from Walmart or something.

The gloss black aluminum finish from the higher end Elite SC-37,SC-35,SC-09tx,SC-27,and SC-25 receivers looks pretty nice but,the cheaper gloss black plastic finish from the regular Pioneer receivers is horrible. They even put the cheap gloss black plastic finish on some lower-end Elite receivers such as the VSX-31 etc.. The plastic is unacceptable to me. Even the cheap sub-$ 200 Pioneer receivers from nine or ten years ago had a better finish than the gloss black plastic.

I would like to see the wood side panels comeback but,I doubt that it's likely.

The biggest cosmetic problem with this year's Pioneer Elite receivers is the way that the clear front display face and the front flip-down cover stick out from the rest of the receiver. I like the flush appearance better.

Scottyb09's picture

Any idea as to how well MCACC performs relative to Audyssey (both in terms of set up and overall results)?

Lab3-007's picture

Just ordered one today having read the specs on just about every receiver on the planet. Needed to have a unit that would drive all my 9 Definitive Technology speakers & 2 subs in the Great Room. Plus, it had to be 3-D ready, be iPhone & iPad friendly, play SACD, have network connections, at least 5, 1.4a HDMI inputs & overall great audio & video performance. This one had it all including the fact that it's a Class D. Anyone out there have the SC-55 or the SC-57? If so, how do you like it & any tips or tricks I should know about?

grillmaster75's picture

Looking for a short education. I know one should listen to and match the receiver to the speaker. Room correction etc. Specs don't often tell the whole story. But comparing the Onkyo 1009 to the Pioneer there are some very similar #'s and some not that close. IE. the frequency response.
–0.05 dB at 10 Hz –0.25 dB at 10 Hz
–0.01 dB at 20 Hz -0.07 dB at 20 kHz
+0.07 dB at 20 KHz +1.00 dB at 20 kHz
–2.63 dB at 50 kHz –1.21 dB at 50 kHz

Onkyo left, Pioneer right. when listening to music would either of these measurements stick out say - this is way better? HT tested 5 channel driven power is close. but there is a $800 difference. can someone send me to a good research link and tell my why the Pioneer is worth the extra $800.
The Grillmaster

ShinezALot's picture


I noticed that on page two third paragraph you mentioned that the FLAC files you tried to playback were not recognized by the SC-57.

I was recently reading the manual for the SC-67 /SC-68 and it says that these recievers will not playback uncompressed FLAC files.

Perhaps this was the reason for the lack of recognition of your files.

Skillman's picture


I know I'm posting this way beyond the published date but just came across this while trolling around reviewing the SC-61. Thanks for a useful review. Re: MCACC, you say, "The MCACC’s subwoofer setup was the best I’ve heard from any automatic software..." But, elsewhere in a review on the SC-61, I read that MCACC doesn't do subs. Is it different for the SC-57?

A review of SC-61 and info on whether they have made improvements on the 57, particularly vis-a-vis Class D3 amplification, would help. Which of the two would YOU recommend? Thank you!