Pioneer Elite SC-68

    83
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    Highlights

    • 9.2 Channels
    • 9.1 Channel Processing
    • 140 W (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven)
    • USB DAC
    • THX™Ultra2 Plus Certified
    • 4K/30Hz Passthrough
    • Bluetooth, Ethernet
    • Phono Input

    Disclosure: We earn money from the affiliate links to products associated with content in this article.

    1. Overview

    Pioneer Elite SC-68 was introduced in 2012 and represented a flagship model of a manufacturer. It is equipped with 9 channel amplifier with 140 W (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven) power per channel and is capable of 9.1 maximum channel processing. It passes 4K/30Hz and upscales up to 1080/24p (Marvell Qdeo) video signal.

    We evaluated the a/v receiver and gave 83 overall score out of 100. Our ranking system is based on the amplifier specifications, audio and video features, connectivity, multizone capabilities, radio and many other details.

    Amplifier
    96
    Audio Features
    78
    Video Features
    63
    Connectivity
    88
    Zones
    96
    Radio
    85
    OVERALL
    83

    For more details about the ranking please go to    Evaluation section.

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    2. Pros and Cons

    In this section we present pros and cons of Pioneer Elite SC-68.

    PROs

    •   High Power Output - 140 W
    •   Front Wide Channel Support
    •   THX™ Certification
    •   9.1 Channel Processing
    •   DSD via HDMI
    •   USB DAC
    •   Auto Speaker Calibration System with Mic.
    •   New HDCP Version
    •   Analog To HDMI Upconversion
    •   Bluetooth
    •   8 HDMI Inputs
    •   4 HDMI Outputs
    •   USB Input
    •   Phono Input
    •   Multi-Channel Input
    •   RCA Pre-Outs
    •   Composite Video Inputs
    •   Component Video Inputs
    •   Ethernet
    •   4 Zones
    •   Analog Tuner
    •   Pandora

    CONs

    •   No Dolby Atmos
    •   No Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization
    •   No DTS:X
    •   No IMAX Enhanced
    •   No Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixer
    •   No HDR10
    •   No HDR10+
    •   No Dolby Vision
    •   No eARC
    •   No 8K Passthrough
    •   Does not Work with Amazon Alexa
    •   0 8K Input
    •   No Digital Radio
    •   No Spotify
    •   No Tidal

    And here are some specifications which fall into average criteria and are neither in PROs nor in CONs category:

    AVERAGE

    •   9.2 Channels
    •   Wi-Fi
    •   RCA Line Inputs

    3. Pioneer 2012 Lineup

    In 2012 Pioneer released 13 new receivers. Here is the lineup:

    Pioneer 2012 Lineup
    ModelChannelsPowerMax. Ch. Proc.Pre OutsVideo Pass.Zones Price
    SC-68 Image cannot be found 9.2140 W9.111.24K4
    SC-67 Image cannot be found 9.2140 W9.111.24K4
    SC-65 Image cannot be found 9.2130 W9.111.24K3
    SC-63 Image cannot be found 7.2125 W7.19.21080p3
    SC-61 Image cannot be found 7.2125 W7.19.21080p3
    VSX-60 Image cannot be found 7.290 W7.11080p2
    VSX-42 Image cannot be found 7.180 W7.11080p2
    SC-1522-K Image cannot be found 9.2130 W9.111.21080p3
    SC-1222-K Image cannot be found 7.2120 W7.19.21080p3
    VSX-1122-K Image cannot be found 7.290 W7.11080p3
    VSX-1022-K Image cannot be found 7.180 W7.11080p1
    VSX-822-K Image cannot be found 5.180 W7.12.11080p1
    VSX-522-K Image cannot be found 5.180 W7.12.11080p1

    You can view their side-by-side comparison here: Pioneer SC-68 vs SC-67 vs SC-65 vs SC-63 vs SC-61 vs VSX-60.

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    4. Amplifier

    9 channel Class D3 Amplifier

    Pioneer Elite SC-68 features 9 channel power amplifier with Class D3 design. It is rated at 140 W (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven) and is able to drive 4 ohm speakers.

      THX Ultra2 Plus certified

      Pioneer Elite SC-68 is THX™ Ultra2 Plus certified. This means that it brings the cinematic experience to large home theaters, 3,000 cubic feet (85 cubic meters) in size, with a viewing distance of 12 feet (4 meters) or greater from the screen.

      AMPLIFIER
      Channels9.2
      Power Output140 W (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven)
      Front Wide Channel Support
      Amplifier DesignClass D3
      THX™ Certification Ultra2 Plus
      Continuous 6 Ω Rated
      Certified 4 Ω Performance
      Bi-amp CapabilityFront / Center / Surround / B-Speaker

      5. Speaker Configurations

      Pioneer Elite SC-68's 9 channel amplifier can be assigned for different speaker configurations.

      • Configurations: Available configurations are:
      • 5.2, 7.2, 9.2 with internal amplifier.
      • Front Wide Channel support: Pioneer Elite SC-68 supports front wide channels. With the presence of two front wide speakers you can enhance the front surround stage. The following speaker configurations are available for front wide channels - 9.2.
      • 4-ch Bi-Amp: Pioneer Elite SC-68 allows you to bi-amp up to 4 main channels simultaneously. During bi-amplification two amplifiers are used for one speaker. One amplifier powers the midrange and tweeter section of the speaker and another amplifier powers the low frequency woofers. Each amplifier is less loaded and performs better. In order to use this feature speakers must have 2 pairs of connectors.

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      6. HDMI

      Pioneer Elite SC-68 features 8 HDMI inputs. It has 3 outputs: 2 for MAIN and 1 for Sub/Zone4.

      • 4K/30Hz Passthrough: All inputs pass up to 4K/30p video signal.
      • 1080p Upscaling: Pioneer Elite SC-68 can upscale up to 1080/24p (Marvell Qdeo) from HDMI and analog sources.
      • Analog To HDMI Upconversion: The a/v receiver supports video upconversion, so you can connect your analog Component and Composite video sources and Pioneer Elite SC-68 will output them via HDMI. This means that you will need only one HDMI cable to connect to your TV.
      • HDCP 2.2 Copy Protection: All inputs and outputs are HDCP 2.2 compliant which is a requirement for 4K/HDR copy-protected content transmission.
      • 3D Ready: Pioneer Elite SC-68 is able to pass 3D video through HDMI.


      VIDEO FEATURES
      HDR10
      HDR10+
      Dynamic HDR
      BT.2020 color space
      Dolby Vision
      HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma)
      HDBaseT Compatible
      Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC)
      HDCP Version2.2
      QMS (Quick Media Switching)
      ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode)
      VRR (Variable Refresh Rate)
      QFT (Quick Frame transport)
      3-D Ready
      Video Signal Passthroughup to 4K/30p
      Video Signal Upscaling up to 1080/24p (Marvell Qdeo)

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      7. Room Calibration

      Pioneer Elite SC-68 comes with Advanced MCACC room correction system and includes the calibration microphone.

      • MCACC: Pioneer’s exclusive Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration System (MCACC) delivers an easy-to-use, automatic sound adjustment system to precision-tune your Pioneer and Pioneer Elite receivers with minimal effort. Every MCACC system comes with a microphone to measure and analyze reverb characteristics. The equalizer optimally adjusts sound parameters to fit the size and shape of your home environment while maintaining the integrity of high-resolution playback without any degradation to the quality of your music.

      8. Multi-zone Playback

      Pioneer Elite SC-68 offers multi-zone playback which allows you to play different input sources in 4 different rooms.


      Zone 2

      • Powered Zone 2: You can use the unit's 2 amplifier channels by connecting Zone 2 speakers directly to the speaker terminals. The remaining 7 channels will be left for main zone amplification.
      • Audio Pre/Line Output: If you have a dedicated amplifier for Zone 2 you can connect it to the a/v receiver via pre/line outs and use "pre out" option to control volume from the a/v receiver or use "line out" option - send fixed signal and then control volume on the Zone 2 amplifier.
      • Composite Video Output: Pioneer Elite SC-68 has analog Composite Video output for Zone 2. This means that it can send a different video signal to the TV.
      • Component Video Output: Pioneer Elite SC-68 has analog Component Video output for Zone 2, so you can send a different video signal to the TV. Component video connection provides the higher image quality than the composite and S-Video connections.

      Zone 3

      • Powered Zone 3: You can use the unit's 2 amplifier channels by connecting Zone 3 speakers directly to the speaker terminals. The remaining 7 channels will be left for main zone amplification.
      • Audio Pre/Line Output: If you have a dedicated amplifier for Zone 2 you can connect it to the a/v receiver via pre/line outs and use "pre out" option to control volume from the a/v receiver or use "line out" option - send fixed signal and then control volume on the Zone 3 amplifier.
      • Composite Video Output: Pioneer Elite SC-68 has analog Composite Video output for Zone 3. This means that it can send a different video signal to the TV.

      Zone 4

      • HDMI Output: Pioneer Elite SC-68 offers HDMI output for Zone 4. This means that it can send two different HDMI signals to two displays.
      ZONES
      Number of Zones4
      Powered Zones 2 and 3
      Zone 2 OutsComponent Video, Composite Video, RCA Pre/Line Out + Subwoofer
      Zone 3 OutsComposite Video, RCA Pre/Line Out + Sub
      Zone 4 OutsHDMI
      RS-232C Interface
      +12V Trigger Output2 (Main, Zone2, Zone 3, Zone 4)
      Remote (IR) Input/Output2 / 1

      9. Inputs and Outputs

      Audio

      • Phono Input: There is an MM phono input with built-in phono stage for connecting the moving magnet cartridge output of the turntable directly to the a/v receiver.
      • 7.1 Multichannel Input: In case you have a high quality Blu-Ray or a DVD player with multichannel analog outputs you may connect it to a 7.1 multichannel analog inputs of the a/v receiver and use high quality DACs of the player instead of the ones in the a/v receiver.
      • Analog Pre-Outs: Pioneer Elite SC-68 has 11.2 preamplifier outputs which allow you to connect the a/v receiver to the external power amplifier. You may want to use a high quality external amplifier for certain channels, usually for front L/R and center, and use the a/v receiver to power the rest.
      • Analog Line Inputs and Outputs: There are 5 line inputs and 1 line output for analog audio connection.
      • Digital Inputs and Outputs: 2 optical inputs, 1 optical output and 2 coaxial inputs are available for digital audio connection.
      • Headphone Output: There is a 6.3 mm (1/4") headphone output jack on the front panel.

      Video

      • HDMI:
      • Inputs: 8 (1 front)   Outputs: 3 (2 for MAIN, 1 for Sub/Zone4)
        8K Inputs: 0
      • Composite Video: Connect you VCR, Laserdisc player and other old video equipment with composite video cables.
      • Inputs: 5   Outputs: 2
      • Component Video: Component video connection gives you the higher quality video compared to the composite video connection. So in case your old DVD player and other equipment do not have an HDMI output but have Component video output use this connection over the composite one. Pioneer Elite SC-68 supports up to 1080p (1125p) resolution on Component video connectors.
      • Inputs: 3   Outputs: 1

      Front A/V Inputs

      • HDMI, USB, Composite Video
      Image cannot be found
      Image cannot be found
      TERMINALS
      HDMI Inputs8 (1 front)
      HDMI Outputs3 (2 for MAIN, 1 for Sub/Zone4)
      8K Inputs
      USB Input1 Front
      USB DC Out Port1 Rear for AS-WL300 (5 V, 0.6 A)
      Optical Inputs2
      Optical Outputs1
      Coaxial Inputs2
      RCA Line Inputs5
      RCA Line Outputs1
      XLR Line Inputs
      Phono Input
      Multi-Channel Input 7.1
      RCA Pre-Outs11.2
      XLR Pre-outs
      Composite Video Inputs5 (1 front)
      Composite Video Outputs2
      S-Video Inputs
      S-Video Outputs
      Component Video Inputs3
      Component Video Outputs1

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      10. Evaluation

      We evaluate Pioneer Elite SC-68 and give score of 83 out of 100. We also give separate scores for 6 different categories according to the available features and specifications some of which are listed below. These evaluations are relative and may change each time a new receiver is added to the database.


      OVERALL
      83

      Amplifier

      EXCELLENT
      96

      We give Pioneer Elite SC-68 a score of 96 for Amplifier features.

      •   9.2 Channels
      •   High Power Output - 140 W
      •   THX™ Certification

      Audio Features

      GOOD
      78

      We give Pioneer Elite SC-68 a score of 78 for Audio Features features.

      •   9.2 Channels
      •   Front Wide Channel Support
      •   9.1 Channel Processing
      •   No Dolby Atmos
      •   No Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization
      •   No DTS:X
      •   No IMAX Enhanced
      •   No Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixer
      •   DSD via HDMI
      •   USB DAC

      Video Features

      AVERAGE
      63

      We give Pioneer Elite SC-68 a score of 63 for Video Features features.

      •   No HDR10
      •   No HDR10+
      •   No Dolby Vision
      •   No 8K Passthrough
      •   Analog To HDMI Upconversion

      Connectivity

      EXCELLENT
      88

      We give Pioneer Elite SC-68 a score of 88 for Connectivity features.

      •   No eARC
      •   New HDCP Version
      •   Wi-Fi
      •   Bluetooth
      •   Does not Work with Amazon Alexa
      •   8 HDMI Inputs
      •   4 HDMI Outputs
      •   0 8K Input
      •   USB Input
      •   RCA Line Inputs
      •   Phono Input
      •   Multi-Channel Input
      •   RCA Pre-Outs
      •   Composite Video Inputs
      •   Component Video Inputs
      •   Ethernet

      Zones

      EXCELLENT
      96

      We give Pioneer Elite SC-68 a score of 96 for Zones features.

      •   4 Zones

      Radio

      EXCELLENT
      85

      We give Pioneer Elite SC-68 a score of 85 for Radio features.

      •   Analog Tuner
      •   Pandora
      •   No Spotify
      •   No Tidal

      11. Replaced by SC-79

      In 2013 Pioneer Elite SC-68 was replaced by Pioneer SC-79. Let us now have a look at some important differences between Pioneer Elite SC-68 and its successor.

      UPGRADES Pioneer SC-79 vs Pioneer Elite SC-68
      Higher Power Output 150 W (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven) vs 140 W (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven)
      Music Playback via USB AIFF/WAV/Apple Lossless/FLAC/MP3/WMA/AAC/DSD 5.6Mhz vs WAV, MP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC, DSD
      High Resolution Audio Formats via USB Apple Lossless, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, DSD vs WAV/FLAC/DSD
      Gapless Playback vs
      HDBaseT Compatible for MAIN/HDZONE (HDMI Extension via CAT5 Cable) vs
      Video Signal Upscaling up to 4K/30p vs up to 1080/24p (Marvell Qdeo)
      More HDMI Inputs 9 (1 front) vs 8 (1 front)
      More HDMI Outputs 3 (2 for MAIN, 1 for MAIN/HDZONE) vs 3 (2 for MAIN, 1 for Sub/Zone4)
      Spotify vs
      Low Leakage Flux Power Transformer vs
      Higher Power Output (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel Driven, FTC) 150 W (0.08% THD) vs 140 W (0.08% THD)
      Higher Power Output (6 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven, FTC) 200 W (1.0% THD) vs 190 W (1.0% THD)
      Higher Power Output (4 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel Driven) 255 W (1.0% THD) vs 250 W (1.0% THD)
      Higher Multi Channel Simultaneous Drive (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 1.0%) 850 W (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 1.0%) vs 810 W (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 1.0%)
      Higher DSD Sampling Rate via USB 2.8 MHz vs 2.8 MHz
      DOWNGRADES Pioneer SC-79 vs Pioneer Elite SC-68
      Multi-Channel Input vs 7.1
      Multi-Zone On-Screen Display vs (Z2 & Z3)
      SiriusXM vs

      For more detailed comparison between the models please visit Pioneer Elite SC-68 vs SC-79.

      For the complete list of specifications please go to the next page:

      Discussion

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