Denon AVR-X540BT vs Pioneer SC-81 Detailed Comparison
SCORE:
26
SCORE:
47

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Overview

Here we are comparing Denon AVR-X540BT to Pioneer Elite SC-81 to reveal their common strengths and weaknesses as well as the differences between them which will help you in making a correct decision before the purchase. The Denon AVR-X540BT has 5 channel and the Pioneer Elite SC-81 has 7 channel amplifiers with Denon AVR-X540BT's being less powerful.

Let us have a look at some highlights of the models.

Denon AVR-X540BT Highlights

Pioneer Elite SC-81 Highlights

  • 5.2 channels
  • 70 W (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2 channel driven)
  • HDR10, 4K Passthrough
  • Bluetooth
  • USB input
  • 7.2 channels
  • 120 W (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven)
  • 4K Upscaling, 4K Passthrough
  • AirPlay
  • Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • USB input

We have evaluated both receivers. Pioneer Elite SC-81 gets higher overall score in our ranking system which is based on the amplifier specifications, audio and video features, connectivity, multizone capabilities, radio and many other details.

Denon AVR-X540BT

Pioneer Elite SC-81

AMPLIFIER
34
VIDEO FEATURES
35
AUDIO FEATURES
15
CONNECTIVITY
19
MULTIZONE
20
MISCELLANEOUS
19
RADIO
28
OVERALL
26
AMPLIFIER
69
VIDEO FEATURES
32
AUDIO FEATURES
31
CONNECTIVITY
39
MULTIZONE
70
MISCELLANEOUS
38
RADIO
57
OVERALL
47

Amplifier score is based on power ratings, minimum impedance load, power supply, transformer type, total harmonic distortion, damping factor, signal to noise ratio and other small details. Audio score depends on the number of channels, front wide channel support, maximum channel processing, support of audio formats, DAC specifications, room calibration algorithm... Video score is based on HDR, Dolby Vision and 4K passthrough, upscaling, analog to HDMI upconversion. Connectivity score is defined from all wired and wireless inputs and outputs, internet and bluetooth connections, HEOS, SONOS and others. Multizone score depends on the number of zones with their outputs. Radio score is evaluated form digital radio support and analog tuner with its frequency range, signal to noise ratio, harmonic distortion...

Advantage of Denon AVR-X540BT over Pioneer Elite SC-81

This section shows those features and specifications which are the reason to choose Denon AVR-X540BT over Pioneer Elite SC-81.

Denon AVR-X540BT has bigger power supply. In video department only Denon AVR-X540BT supports HDR10.

Denon AVR-X540BT Pioneer Elite SC-81
HDR10
BT.2020 color space
Bluetooth SBC, AAC via optional AS-BT100 or AS-BT200 adapters (sold separately)
Analog Tuner FM/AM with RDS FM/AM
Color-Coded Speaker Terminals
Bigger Power Supply 310 W 290 W
Longer Warranty 3 Years 2 Years Parts & Labor

Advantage of Pioneer Elite SC-81 over Denon AVR-X540BT

This section shows those features and specifications which are the reason to choose Pioneer Elite SC-81 over Denon AVR-X540BT.

Pioneer Elite SC-81 has more channels, more power per channel, more channel processing, more zones and higher signal to noise ratio. It supports DSD streaming via HDMI and USB, gapless playback, internet radio, Pandora and Spotify. It has bi-amp capability, DTS Dialog Control and analog pre-outs.

Denon AVR-X540BT Pioneer Elite SC-81
More Channels 5.2 7.2
Certified 4 Ω Performance
Bi-amp capability Front
More Channel Processing 5.1 7.1
Dolby Pro Logic PLII PLIIz
Dolby Digital EX
DTS Neo Neo:6 Neo:X
DTS-ES Discrete 6.1, Matrix 6.1
Music Playback via USB MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, FLAC MP3, WMA, AAC, Apple Lossless, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, DSD
Higher Resolution Music Playback via USB up to 96 kHz 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz/24 bit
High Resolution Audio Formats via USB FLAC Apple Lossless, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, DSD
Multi-Channel Music File Playback via USB up to 96 kHz/24 bit
Gapless Playback
DSD via HDMI 2-ch/Multi-ch Input
DSD via USB 2-ch Input
DSD to PCM Converter
Jitter Reduction plus PQLS (HDMI Bitstream/ Multi)
DTS Dialog Control N/A
Dialog Enhancement
Dialogue Lift via Dialog Enhancement
High-resolution Music Enhancer Hi-bit24 Audio Processing
Pure Direct Mode
Video Signal Upscaling up to 4K/60p (Marvell Qdeo)
Analog To HDMI Upconversion Component****, Composite
MHL Input 1 Rear (Version 2.0)
AirPlay AirPlay
Ethernet
Wi-Fi via optional AS-WL300 adapter (sold separately)
More HDMI Inputs 5 7 (1 front)
More HDMI Outputs 1 2 (1 for MAIN, 1 for MAIN/HDZONE)
USB DC Out Port 1 Rear for AS-WL300 (5 V, 0.6 A)
More Analog Audio Line Inputs 2 3
More Analog Audio Line Outputs 1
More Coaxial Inputs/Outputs 1 / No 2 / No
More Composite Video Outputs 1 2
More Component Video Inputs 2
More Component Video Outputs 1
More Analog Pre-Outs 0.2 2.2
Front A/V Inputs USB HDMI, USB
Speaker A/B
More Zones 1 3
RS-232 Interface
+12V Trigger Output 2 (Main, Zone2, HDZone)
Remote (IR) Input/Output 0 / 0 1 / 1
Internet Radio vTuner
Pandora
Spotify
More Speaker Terminals 5 9
More Large Speaker Terminals 9
Higher Power Output (6 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven, FTC) 90 W (0.7% THD) 150 W (1.0% THD)
Higher S/N Ratio (Line, IHF-A) 98 dB 100 dB

Common Strengths of Denon AVR-X540BT and Pioneer Elite SC-81

Denon AVR-X540BT and Pioneer Elite SC-81 share common strengths such as bluetooth.

STRENGTHS Denon AVR-X540BT Pioneer Elite SC-81
4K or 8K Video Passthrough up to 4K 50/60Hz 4:4:4 up to 4K/60p (4:4:4 24-bit)
4K/60p (4:2:2 36-bit)
4K/24p (4:4:4 36-bit)
Bluetooth SBC, AAC via optional AS-BT100 or AS-BT200 adapters (sold separately)
USB Input 1 (Front) for USB memory 1 Front
Composite Video Inputs 2 2
Zones 1 3
Analog Tuner FM/AM with RDS FM/AM

Common Weaknesses of Denon AVR-X540BT and Pioneer Elite SC-81

Denon AVR-X540BT and Pioneer Elite SC-81 share common weaknesses such as no Dolby Atmos support, no DTS:X support, no Auro3D support, no Dolby Vision, no ChromeCast, no DTS Play-Fi, no Amazon Alexa, no SONOS, no phono input, no analog multi-channel input, no Tidal, no Deezer, no Napster and no SiriusXM.

WEAKNESSES Denon AVR-X540BT Pioneer Elite SC-81
No Dolby Atmos
No Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization
No DTS:X
No DTS Neural:X
No DTS Virtual:X
No IMAX Enhanced
No Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixer
No Audyssey Dynamic EQ
No Audyssey Dynamic Volume
No Audyssey LFC
No Audyssey Sub EQ HT
No HDR10+
No Dynamic HDR
No Dolby Vision
No Auto Low Latency Mode Pass-through
No VRR
No QFT
No FireConnect
No FlareConnect
No Chromecast Built-In
No DTS Play-Fi
Does not Work with Amazon Alexa
Does Not Work with SONOS
No eARC
Few Analog Audio Line Inputs 2 3
No Phono Input
No Multi-Channel Input
No Tidal
No Deezer
No Napster
No SiriusXM Internet Radio

Selected Features

Amplifier

Denon AVR-X540BT has 5 channel and Pioneer Elite SC-81 has 7 channel amplifiers. Denon AVR-X540BT delivers 70 W (8 Ω, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 2 channel driven) and Pioneer Elite SC-81 delivers 120 W (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven) but only Pioneer Elite SC-81 has stable performance at 4 Ω load.


Video Features

Both receivers support 4K passthrough up to 60p. Pioneer Elite SC-81 can do 4K upscaling up to 60p. Denon AVR-X540BT supports HDR10.


HDR10

High-dynamic-range (HDR) video has greater dynamic range than standard-dynamic-range (SDR) video with brigter whites and deeper blacks. HDR10 was announced on August 27, 2015, by the Consumer Technology Association and uses the wide-gamut Rec. 2020 color space. It sends static metadata via video stream to the TV which calibrates its screen brightness and color according to that. HDR10 supports up to 1000 nits of brightness and 10-bit color which corresponds to 1024 shades of the primary RGB colors.


Class D3 Amplifier

Pioneer Elite SC-81 amplifier has Class D3 design. Such amplifiers contain advanced integrated circuitry technology creating unmatched power without sacrificing sound quality or performance. Class D3 amplifiers use a Direct Signal Path Design to provide the shortest audio signal path possible. By eliminating EMI filters, feedback loops, and current limiters of previous designs, Class D3 reduces ringing distortion and noise, especially in the high frequency audio band.

The power consumption of the Digital Class D3 Amplifier is significantly lower than traditional A/B amplifiers - letting you save energy and generate less heat without compromising performance. The Digital Class D3 Amplifier uses a simple structure employing a straight signal path, resulting in improved sound quality requiring less energy than competitive models yet producing more simultaneous power output. This direct signal path means no EMI filters, feedback loops or current limiting - a true engineering art. Unlike traditional designs, these amps deliver the strength to handle multiple low-impedance speakers without dramatic power loss. The efficiency of Class D3 means cooler operation while drawing just a fraction of the power consumed by conventional amplifiers, enhancing and extending component life and reliability.


Advanced Sound Retriever

Compressed music enhancement in Pioneer Elite SC-81 is done by Pioneer’s Advanced Sound Retriever. Hear the detail, warmth and clarity, the way the artist intended it, from all of your highly compressed MP3 and WMA files stored on USB, Smartphone and portable media players. By restoring data that tend to get lost in the digital compression process, Pioneers Advanced Sound Retriever Technology enhances audio reproduction all the way upto 20 Khz frequencies.


Connectivity


Denon AVR-X540BT

Denon AVR-X540BT can also connect to bluetooth devices via built-in bluetooth adapter. It has 5 HDMI inputs with HDCP 2.2 copy protection.

Front panel has USB input.

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Pioneer Elite SC-81

Pioneer Elite SC-81 can be connected to internet using ethernet cable or wirelessly via optional AS-WL300 adapter (sold separately). It can also connect to bluetooth devices via optional AS-BT100 or AS-BT200 adapters (sold separately). The Receiver supports AirPlay. It has 7 HDMI inputs. There are 2.2 channel analog pre-outs for external amplification.

Front panel has HDMI and USB inputs.

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Detailed Specifications

And in the end let us list the detailed specifications of the receivers side-by-side.

Note: The following table shows only those details which are applicable for both models and excludes the ones that are applicable for only one model. If you want to see a full list of specs for each model please visit their individual pages here - Denon AVR-X540BT and here - Pioneer Elite SC-81.

BASICS Denon AVR-X540BT Pioneer Elite SC-81
BrandDenonPioneer
ModelAVR-X540BTSC-81
TypeA/V ReceiverA/V Receiver
CountryUKUSA
Release Year20182014
AMPLIFIER Denon AVR-X540BT Pioneer Elite SC-81
Channels5.27.2
THX™ Certification
Continuous 6 Ω Rated
Certified 4 Ω Performance
Bi-amp Capability Front
AUDIO Denon AVR-X540BT Pioneer Elite SC-81
Maximum Channel Processing5.17.1
Air Studios Monitor Certification
Dolby Atmos
Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization
Dolby TrueHD
Dolby Digital Plus
Dolby Surround Upmixer
Dolby Pro Logic PLII PLIIz
Dolby Digital EX
Surround EX
DTS:X
DTS Neural:X
DTS Virtual:X
DTS Neo Neo:6 Neo:X
DTS-HD Master Audio
DTS-HD High Resolution Audio
DTS 96/24
DTS Express
DTS-ES Discrete 6.1, Matrix 6.1
IMAX Enhanced
Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixer
PCM 2-ch/Multi-ch Input 2-ch/Multi-ch Input
Music Playback via USBMP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, FLACMP3, WMA, AAC, Apple Lossless, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, DSD
High Resolution Music Playback via USB and/or Network up to 96 kHz 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz/24 bit
High Resolution Audio Formats via USBFLACApple Lossless, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, DSD
Multi-Channel Music File Playback via USB up to 96 kHz/24 bit
Gapless Playback
DSD via HDMI 2-ch/Multi-ch Input
DSD via USB 2-ch Input
DSD to PCM Converter
USB DAC
Jitter Reduction plus PQLS (HDMI Bitstream/ Multi)
Dialog Enhancement
Dialogue Lift via Dialog Enhancement
Compressed Music Enhancer Advanced Sound Retriever
High-resolution Music Enhancer Hi-bit24 Audio Processing
Audyssey Dynamic EQ
Audyssey Dynamic Volume
Audyssey LFC
Audyssey Sub EQ HT
Audyssey DSX
Direct Mode
Pure Direct Mode
Independent Dual Subwoofer Output
CALIBRATION Denon AVR-X540BT Pioneer Elite SC-81
Auto Speaker Calibration System with Mic. MCACC Advanced
VIDEO Denon AVR-X540BT Pioneer Elite SC-81
HDR10
HDR10+
Dynamic HDR
BT.2020 color space
Dolby Vision
Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG)
Quick Media Switching (QMS)
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)
Quick Frame Transport (QFT)
3-D Ready
Video Signal Passthroughup to 4K 50/60Hz 4:4:4up to 4K/60p (4:4:4 24-bit)
4K/60p (4:2:2 36-bit)
4K/24p (4:4:4 36-bit)
Video Signal Upscaling up to 4K/60p (Marvell Qdeo)
Analog To HDMI Upconversion Component****, Composite
Component Video Upscaling
Analog to Analog Video conversion
isf Certified Calibration Control
CONNECTIVITY Denon AVR-X540BT Pioneer Elite SC-81
MHL Input 1 Rear (Version 2.0)
FireConnect
FlareConnect
Chromecast Built-In
DTS Play-Fi
Works with Amazon Alexa
Works with SONOS
AirPlay AirPlay
Apple Product Connection iPod, iPhone and iPad iPod and iPhone via front USB
Remote App Denon 500 Series Bluetooth Remote App for iOS and Android devices and Amazon Kindle iControlAV5 (for iOS and Android)
InstaPrevue Input Source Prevue
Ethernet
Ethernet Switch
Wi-Fi via optional AS-WL300 adapter (sold separately)
Bluetooth SBC, AAC via optional AS-BT100 or AS-BT200 adapters (sold separately)
HDBaseT Compatible
Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC)
HDMI Inputs57 (1 front)
HDMI Outputs12 (1 for MAIN, 1 for MAIN/HDZONE)
USB Input1 (Front) for USB memory1 Front
USB DC Out Port1 Rear for AS-WL300 (5 V, 0.6 A)
Analog Audio Line Inputs23
Analog Audio Line Outputs1
Phono Input
Optical Inputs22
Optical Outputs
Coaxial Inputs/Outputs1 / No2 / No
Composite Video Inputs22
Composite Video Outputs12
S-Video Inputs
S-Video Outputs
Component Video Inputs2
Component Video Outputs1
PC In
Multi-Channel Input
Analog Pre-Outs0.22.2
XLR Inputs
XLR Pre-outs
Front A/V InputsUSBHDMI, USB
Speaker A/B
Headphone Out 6.3 mm 6.3 mm
ZONES Denon AVR-X540BT Pioneer Elite SC-81
Zones13
RS-232 Interface
+12V Trigger Output2 (Main, Zone2, HDZone)
Remote (IR) Input/Output0 / 01 / 1
MISC Denon AVR-X540BT Pioneer Elite SC-81
On-Screen DisplayGraphical User Interface (GUI) with Album Artwork (HDMI only)
Remote ControllerRC-1216Learning Remote Control (Luminous)
Detachable Power Cord
RADIO Denon AVR-X540BT Pioneer Elite SC-81
Analog Tuner FM/AM with RDS FM/AM
Digital Radio
Internet Radio vTuner
Pandora
Spotify
Tidal
Deezer
Napster
SiriusXM Internet Radio
CONSTRUCTION Denon AVR-X540BT Pioneer Elite SC-81
Front PanelNot MetalBrushed
Speaker Terminals59
Large Speaker Terminals9
Color-Coded Speaker Terminals
Gold plated RCA terminals
POWER Denon AVR-X540BT Pioneer Elite SC-81
Power SupplyAC 230 V, 50/60 HzAC 120 V, 60 Hz
Power Consumption310 W290 W
Standby Power0.1 W0.1 W
GENERAL Denon AVR-X540BT Pioneer Elite SC-81
ECO Mode / Hybrid Standby Function
Dimensions (W x H x D)434 mm x 151 mm x 319mm
17 1/8" x 6" x 12 5/8"
435 mm x 185 mm x 441 mm
17-1/8" x 7-5/16" x 17-3/8"
Weight7.5 kg14.3 kg (31.5 lbs)
Warranty3 Years2 Years Parts & Labor
SPECS Denon AVR-X540BT Pioneer Elite SC-81
Power Output (6 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven, FTC)90 W (0.7% THD)150 W (1.0% THD)
Input Sensitivity and Impedance (Line)200 mV/47 kΩ365 mV/47 kΩ (Line)
S/N Ratio (Line, IHF-A)98 dB100 dB
USB TerminalUSB2.0 5V, 1 AUSB2.0 (Type A) 5 V, 1 A
FM Frequency87.5 MHz - 108.0 MHz87.5 MHz - 108.0 MHz
AM Frequency522 kHz - 1611 kHz530 kHz - 1700 kHz

* - 480i/576i and 480p/576p only
** - 480i/576i only
*** - no 1080p/24 upconversion
**** - 1080p signal is not converted

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