There’s no denying the seductiveness of today’s home theater AV receivers and the dynamic multi-channel audio performances they conduct. Powerful, loaded with technology, and brandishing large price tags, the best surround sound AVRs deliver big on audio and video. But not everyone is looking for a sensory overload of surround sound; some are looking for a much simpler musically focused two-channel experience. That’s where a less expensive segment of network stereo receivers enters the picture.
Modern network stereo receivers deliver true two-channel performance with a focus on sound quality and source versatility. Most major AV manufacturers offer a handful of models in this category, typically ranging in price from $100 to $600 US. Pioneer Elite is rather unique in that it only offers one fully integrated network stereo receiver (model SX-N30) in addition to several pre/pro component models that can be mixed and matched. Today, we’ll take an in depth look at the SX-N30 with a performance evaluation that tests its overall usability and musical prowess.