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Sometimes, if money isn’t an issue, what you want with your AV receiver is simple authority. And it would be hard to find a more authoritative member of the breed than the Pioneer SC-LX86.

This is a full nine-channel unit, fitted with Class D amplifiers. Pioneer specifies them — only for 1kHz rather than the more usual 20 to 20,000Hz — at 140W per channel, into eight ohms, at 0.08% THD. I assume that this apparent caution in the specification has something to do with the peculiarities of the Class D system. But I wouldn’t quibble with this anyway. No consumer amplifier is ever called upon to deliver anywhere near 20,000Hz, lest the tweeter end up a molten clump. Pioneer says that the maximum power capable of being delivered by a single amplifier channel, just one channel driven into a four ohm load and at 10% THD (suggesting the beginning of clipping), is a massive 360 watts.

Incidentally, but importantly, Pioneer specifies the ‘Guaranteed speaker impedance’ at 4 to 16 ohms. As do some other home theatre receivers, but typically you have to make a certain setting for sub 6-ohm speakers which reduces the rail voltage, and thus limits the power output. This receiver has no such thing. You can use four-ohm loudspeakers with complete confidence with this unit (for which it’s rated at 250W output, two channels driven, 1% THD).

But in the end, you can be assured of power output adequacy not by what I’ve written, nor what Pioneer claims, but by the THX Ultra 2 Surround EX certification which this receiver has secured.

Thank you for searching out Sound+Image Magazine’s equipment review of the Pioneer SC-LX86 originally published in Sound+Image September / October 2012.

This equipment review is available as a low-resolution pdf version of the original magazine pages - it looks nicer than us throwing a load of words up the screen here.

You can download it here: Pioneer SC-LX86 Review.pdf