Pioneer Elite SC-61 A/V Receiver HT Labs Measures

HT Labs Measures

Two channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 127.2 watts
1% distortion at 150.3 watts

Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 109.0 watts
1% distortion at 127.7 watts

Seven channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 99.4 watts
1% distortion at 110.3 watts

Analog frequency response in Pure Direct mode:
–0.37 dB at 10 Hz
–0.12 dB at 20 Hz
+1.01 dB at 20 kHz
–1.01 dB at 50 kHz

Analog frequency response with signal processing:
–0.72 dB at 10 Hz
–0.25 dB at 20 Hz
+0.75 dB at 20 kHz
–58.66 dB at 50 kHz

This graph shows that the SC-61’s left channel, from CD input to speaker output with two channels driving 8-ohm loads, reaches 0.1 percent distortion at 127.2 watts and 1 percent distortion at 150.3 watts. Into 4 ohms, the amplifier reaches 0.1 percent distortion at 213.8 watts and 1 percent distortion at 247.5 watts.

There was no multichannel input to measure. THD+N from the CD input to the speaker output was less than 0.011 percent at 1 kilohertz when driving 2.83 volts into an 8-ohm load. Crosstalk at 1 kHz driving 2.83 volts into an 8-ohm load was –79.63 decibels left to right and –79.14 dB right to left. The signal-to-noise ratio with an 8-ohm load from 10 hertz to 24 kHz with “A” weighting was –98.83 dBrA.

From the Dolby Digital input to the loudspeaker output, the left channel measures –0.20 dB at 20 Hz and +0.86 dB at 20 kHz. The center channel measures –0.12 dB at 20 Hz and +0.82 dB at 20 kHz, and the left surround channel measures –0.20 dB at 20 Hz and +0.92 dB at 20 kHz. From the Dolby Digital input to the line-level output, the LFE channel is +0.03 dB at 20 Hz when referenced to the level at 40 Hz and reaches the upper 3-dB down point at 117 Hz and the upper 6-dB down point at 120 Hz.—MJP

Video Test Bench
The Pioneer failed the 3:2 SD and 2:2 SD tests with PCinema set to Auto. It can pass the 3:2 SD test with PCinema off and the 2:2 SD test with PCinema on. But our standard requires a passing score in the Auto position so users don’t have to fiddle with controls like PCinema for different sources.—TJN

Pioneer Electronics USA
(800) 421-1404

JustABrah's picture

Mark seeing how you reviewed all the Avrs I'm looking at can you tell me your favourite out of the bunch, I'm looking at the elite sc-61, cambridge 551R, Yamaha rx-a1020, Arcam 360 and an Anthem MRX, I don't listen loud my speakers are book shelves with a 86 sensitivity, with you hearing all of those would love your input.

FarmerBob's picture

I have the SC-61 twin, the SC-1222K, which replaced a VSX-D909S (which served me faithfully for 10 years) and having been a Pioneer man for decades, with 4 5.1 or better units installed in my home at this moment, the rack that the 1222 is in has a Pioneer 300 DVD player, Pioneer 100 CD player and one of the last LaserDisc player they made, but I now feel Pioneer just isn't what they use to be. I just installed a Yamaha RX-675 with a free Polk 5.1 speaker system for a friends Christmas gift and right out of the box it was amazing. It gave me great reason to seriously question my 1222. Matter of fact I am quite "bummed". I have had my SC-1222 for close to a year and hate it. The Yammi has far better/richer sound, input assignment capabilities and features than the Pioneer. From what I can find the only real differences are minor from the 61 and 1222 which is basically the Elite branding of Amber display with blue ringed power button and 12v triggers. Other than that, not much difference. I have been talking to Pioneer, when they chose to respond since problems started arising last Summer and it's not been pretty. At best they have been snotty and condescending. The last fix they had me try has left my 1222 with a popping sound every time it looses the HDMI connection on its own or you change inputs. Which is a lot. So for the price go Yamaha. I came from Yamaha, mostly production power amps and an occasional AVR to Pioneer, so going back is not that unnatural for me. I'm looking to replace the 1222/61 with an RX-775, or may wait and see what CES has to offer.

jwood314's picture

I am in the market for a new AVR, and I didn't have this one on the list. Amplifying the above comments, I would love to see the Denon AVR-3313CI and the Marantz SR 7/6007 comparison. Thanks for helping to illuminate these great products.

Pacman9270's picture

I just bought this AVR.a week ago. Have been loving it, upgrading from the Elite VSX40. Pushing DefTech ProCinema600 system. This review is the EXTRA cherry on top.

anakinskye's picture

I could be wrong but AIR Studios tuned Pioneer's second generation ICE Power amps too.

cwall99's picture

I just got the Pioneer Elite BDP-62 blu ray machine, and it seems like an ideal mate to this AVR (currently, I'm stuck in the stone ages with my VSX82-TXS, but I'm not feeling any compelling reason to get a new AVR). I downloaded that remote control app, and it's awesome, even for the limited use the bdp can take advantage of. It looks like an Elite AVR would be awesome to control with it.

Still, in the BDP's owner's manual, there may be a lot of slick, synergistic features that owners of both this AVR and my BDP could take advantage of. It would be interesting to read a review of this combo.

STSinNYC's picture

I have the Pioneer SC-1222, in nearly all respects the same as the SC-61, and I concur with Mark's review. Its a fine sounding AVR and seems to be well mated with our classic ADS 710 4 ohm speakers. The Sc-61/1222 handle 4 ohm speakers with no difficulty.

The iControl AV2012 app works very well on my Android phone FYI. The receiver also plays Ogg Vorbis files when the DirectShow codec has been installed in Windows and Windows Media Player "sees" and plays Ogg Vorbis files. No luck with Opus yet, haven't found a good codec for Opus for WMP.

Mark notes the MSRP of $1,100, same for both the SC-61 and 1222, but you can get the SC-1222 on Newegg for $550-600. I got ours for $550, no shipping charge, which for a receiver of this quality is a genuine great value.

alphonso's picture

Recently I purchased an OPPO BDP-103 unit, and with an initial run through of its features and performance, I can unquestionably say that this OPPO player is up to the Professional audio requirements and value for its money paid. It’s practical to have the added connection option of two HDMI outputs, one for my Projector and the other for my Plasma TV. The HDMI inputs are provided for connecting my Blu-ray, Set-Top Box and other HDMI equipped source components that can take advantage of the BDP-103's video processing and up-scaling abilities.

OPPO is the very few that definitely does not scrimp on connections, such as the inclusion of a set of 5.1/7.1 channel analog audio outputs for use with compatible older Home Theater receivers that may not have latest decoders. This 5.1/7.1 channel analog audio outputs connection option actually has been removed from almost all other Blu-Ray disc players in the market. This high quality audio playback features 2D/3D Blu-Ray disc, DVD, SACD, DVD Audio and CD playback. It also, has a built-in network connectivity which can access media content from both the internet and DLNA connected PCs and other devices.
Alphonso Soosay

alphonso's picture

A speaker system that is solid, smooth and polished as the sculpted marble that houses it. The NOrh Marble 9.0 Stereo Loudspeaker System is different from every other speaker system I have ever worked with, and you will notice that difference the
moment you see it, it’s housed in a single block of sculpted marble in the shape of a traditional Thai drum.
It is the quality of the marble (or rather, its resonance) combined with its shape, and the electronics, that has made the NOrh Marble 9.0 the amazing phenomenon that it is. Despite the pure marble (all 72kgs of it.), the high performance drivers, the unique acoustic design, and the sheer elegance it exudes in any living room, it compares with some of the best high-end systems I know and it costs a lot less. I must admit I was a little sceptical at first. The loudspeaker industry is full of smart systems that look better than they sound and for a moment I wondered whether marble was just another “look good” gimmick. As an audio recording engineer, I have always tended to believe that while speaker housings do matter, one has to consider other key factors such as the combination of audio speaker components and the crossover itself. Let’s face it, we all know that the finest recordings encoded on the most advanced home storage devices (Blu-ray, DVD, DAT or CD) that is played back through a top grade, high current amplifier can sound dreadful if the audio system is hooked up to a poor quality speaker system.
The speaker system produced a very balanced stereo image with negligible harmonic distortion. The dynamic range was overwhelming again; vocal performance
was remarkably natural with low coloration. I noticed that male voices had
extra definition, which made diction more precise; it gave the music a quality of
vitality and excitement, well balanced and fatigue-free.
The bright side was that the better the recording (Blu-ray concerts, SACD & DDD), the more realistic it sounded. Also, it was equally responsive while watch a movie on Blu-ray disc to quiet sounds like rustling leaves, dripping water, clinking jewellery and rustling paper. Effects you expect only in cinemas are now available in your own home when watching a Blu-ray and DVD movies.
The imaging on 9.0’s is spot on to an extent that I could point my finger to where the actor, musician and singers were standing. The sense of detail was accurate.
Alphonso Soosay