The Elite SC-57 receiver’s ($2,100) biggest claim to fame is power. Its proprietary D3 digital amplifier assumes the throne as the most powerful amp of any multichannel A/V receiver in the industry and is the only one of its kind to receive THX Ultra 2 Plus certification. From a capabilities standpoint, this unique power plant can pump out a head-splitting 140-watts of virtually loss-free power to up to nine distinct channels. It also features fewer moving parts than its predecessors, minimizing distortions as well as providing faster response times via a more direct signal path. Otherwise, the receiver packs what you’d expect from a new, top of the line Pioneer Elite, including support for three zones of audio, iPod certification, AirPlay, Bluetooth, USB and DLNA connectivity, as well as Marvell Qdeo video processing for top notch 1080p/24fps scaling of virtually any video source. In short, if money is no object in your hunt for the best consumer-grade receiver, call off the search now, and kindly buy your neighbors some good earplugs.
Editor’s Note: If you like this model but can’t stomach the price tag, keep in mind that Pioneer’s new mid-range VSX 1021 ($550) provides a similarly advanced feature set for a quarter of the cost.
Buy Now: $2,100