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Discussion Starter · #1 ·



Not long ago, 7.1 channel AVRs were considered to be top-tier equipment, 9.1 models were rarefied air, and Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA ruled the Blu-ray audio codec universe. Then a little thing called Dolby Atmos happened. And while a modern seven-channel receiver can offer good entry level 5.1.2 immersive sound, the birth of Atmos raised the bar on channel requirements for a full “director’s intent” sound experience. It also significantly raised the buy-in price.

Cost has certainly been a hurdle for enthusiasts desiring the maximum in-home Atmos experience. During 2015 (the first year 7.1.4 AVRs with HDMI 2.0a hit the market), manufacturers relegated 7.1.4 functionality to flagship models. That meant options were limited and price tags hovered at or above $2,000. Of course, that has changed somewhat during the current model year – more models are available and the minimum buy-in price is dropping.

Pioneer Elite is one brand that has allowed 7.1.4 sound to trickle down into its model ranks. The company currently offers three 7.1.4 models that span a rather large price range: SC-95 ($1600), SC-97 ($2,000), and the flagship SC-99 ($2,500). And while that $1600 price point is looking rather sweet, today we’re focusing our attention squarely on Pioneer’s big gun, its bellwether, the SC-99. Yes, the SC-99 commands top dollar, but it also offers the most discerning of enthusiasts uncompromised top-flight performance and some serious power.


 

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Nice review Todd. Sounds like a nice piece of kit. One thing I noticed on your FR graphs is that the MCACC routine really gave your bottom end a boost below 30 Hz, and especially below 20 Hz. I'm assuming you didn't get any bottoming on your subs as a result since you didn't mention it in the review., but I'm surprised at how much boost this auto-calibration routine is allowed to apply. Just don't watch the opening of Live Die Repeat at reference! :hsd:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Bryan. If I were in the market, I wouldn't hesitate to buy the SC-99. Great gear.

As for the subs, MCACC did seem to boost the bottom some... with room gain, roll off happens below 10 Hz. The subs have dual 15-in drivers..and when paired together, there is an incredible amount of headroom. I don't think I've ever come close to a bottom-out scenario...very much in control and never sounds stressed.

The image below shows (Green Line) how I typically have my room set-up with a parametric EQ handling Bass duty. Has never been an issue and surprisingly does not present as bloated or boomy.
 

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Wow, that's mine to a T. 17.25 x 14 x 8. I'm partially open to a hallway too though

Sorry for derailing the thread. Back to the Pioneer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks Quenten! Certainly made me consider the possibility of purchasing one. I'm extremely happy with the RX-A3050 that I use (also, great gear)...but the MCACC resulting sound on the SC-99 was fantastic.
 

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Don't mind discussing at all! What kind of subs are you running?
I use the Phase Technology dARTS system. You've probably never heard of it, and you're not the only one. Fully active, with Audyssey Pro onboard. Anyway, I have two of the subs designed for that system (12" with two 10" passive radiators) and I also have the SVS PB2000 that I won here on HTS a couple years ago. Running all three together, and definitely not short on output! The SVS gave me a nice boost in the bottom octave, as the Phase Techs roll off pretty quickly in my room starting at about 30 Hz.
 

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Have you (or anyone else to your knowledge) found a way to review/compare room correction systems? I know a lot of other variables would be in play, but I'd love to see a comparison between Audyssey, YPAO, and MCACC (the best version of each system). Surely someone must have swapped out a few receivers to see how each sounded before/after room correction. Even if were mostly subjective, it would be nice to see a comparison by someone who regularly reviews equipment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I've never attempted anything like that. It would be tough to do by ear... You can do an A-B comparison for a receiver vs itself... But the only way to effectively do it across receivers would be to measure room response. I think the time lapse between switching receivers would be too great to hear smaller differences.

Interesting thought, tho. If I could arrange for manufacturers to send their top receivers at the same time, I'd gladly do the measurements.
 

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Gotta throw Anthem's ARC and also Dirac Live in if you're going to do a comparison. I know Wayne (AudiocRaver) has a ton of experience with Dirac and Audyssey MultEQ , having exhaustively experimented with and tested both systems, mainly for two-channel applications. He has posted a lot in this forum about both of them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
^^^ Agreed on everything you say.

Actually, Wayne would be be the guy to pull this off. At one point he did a direct comparison of Odyssey and Dirac (I believe).

Obviously, your best is to maximize sound through speaker placement and treating your room. BUT, the EQ system can have significant impact (as I found with the SC-99)!
 

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How would u compare this with denon 7200? And if this is perfectly compatible with Samsung UHD BLURAY PLAYER?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yes, fully compatible with the UHD Blu-ray player.

As for comprising, both the Denon and Elite are super solid. The Denon ships with Audyssey room correction software (which, I believe might give you slightly better sub EQ... Although the I thought the Elite's MCACC controlled sound was fantastic). The SC-99 with its Class D amps will probably run cooler, overall.

Denon does offer an Auro 3D upgrade for an additional fee... While Auro hasn't penetrated the movie market in the US, I've been extremely impressed with the demos I've heard.
 

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New to surround sound here:
I'm working on a 7.1.4 setup in my basement. I want to get a pair of vari-angled in-wall speakers from monoprice for the rear. They are rated for 100 watts max. The SC-99 states it gives 140 watts a channel, but I will have 9 speakers running of the amp (Front L & R off a pre amp), so I was wondering how the math works when it has 850 watts total. Thanks for the help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Robert had asked a question about speakers above... our conversation has been over PM... just wanted to include my last exchange with him:

Ok, let's look at the Caliber In Ceiling Speakers 8 Inch Fiber 2-Way with 15° Angled Drivers.

Under specifications, Monoprices says they have a sensitivity of 89dB, with 80 watts nominal, 160 watts maximum.

What this means, is that a test tone played with 1 Watt of power (and measured 1 meter away from the speaker) will produce 89 decibels (dB) of sound. In order to increase the sound by 3 more dB you need to double the wattage. So, 2 Watts would make a 92dB sound 1 meter away from the speaker. 4 Watts = 95dB, 8W = 98dB, 16W = 101 dB, 32W = 104, 64W =107... and so on.

64W is getting loud... double that(128W) and you are about 10dB short of a rock concert (in other words, loud)

These particular speakers have a rating of 80W nominal... that's the average power that the speakers can handle without getting damaged. The 160 max rating tells you what kind of dynamic input the speakers can handle (voltage spikes associated with sounds like an explosion of symbols clashing).

I highly doubt you're going to be driving these speakers above 100dB (reference volume levels in a home theater are typically set at 75 db)... so, as you can see, these speaker will likely operate at normal listening conditions under their nominal power ratings...and likely the same is true of the max power rating.

You can look at your other speakers' values, but I'm sure you'll find they all generally fall in line with this.

Are you running a subwoofer? If so, it's onboard amp takes care of quite a bit of the heavy lifting below the crossover point you select.

The forum here on HTS is super friendly...I encourage you to open a install thread...detail what you're doing...and then share your impressions! ;-)
 
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