Pioneer Elite SC-91 Review and Specs

Pioneer Elite SC-91 (North American version)

SCORE:
52

Highlights

  • 130 W (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven)
  • Dolby Atmos capable
  • 4K Upscaling, 4K Passthrough
  • AirPlay, DLNA
  • Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • USB input

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Pioneer Elite SC-91 Overview

Pioneer Elite SC-91 was introduced in 2015. It is equipped with 7 channel amplifier and is capable of 7.1 maximum channel processing.

We evaluated the Receiver and gave 52 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
72
VIDEO FEATURES
32
AUDIO FEATURES
46
CONNECTIVITY
42
MULTIZONE
73
MISCELLANEOUS
39
RADIO
57
OVERALL
52

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 video signal passthrough and 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...

Pros and Cons

In this section we present pros and cons of Pioneer Elite SC-91.

PROS
Front Wide Channel Support πŸ‘
Dolby Atmos πŸ‘
DSD via HDMI πŸ‘
DSD via USB πŸ‘
4K or 8K Video Passthrough πŸ‘
4K or 8K Signal Upscaling πŸ‘
MHL Input πŸ‘
DLNA 1.5 πŸ‘
Ethernet πŸ‘
Wi-Fi πŸ‘
Bluetooth πŸ‘
New HDCP Version πŸ‘
Many HDMI Inputs πŸ‘
USB Input πŸ‘
Composite Video Inputs πŸ‘
Component Video Inputs πŸ‘
Zones πŸ‘
Analog Tuner πŸ‘
Internet Radio πŸ‘
Pandora πŸ‘
Spotify πŸ‘
CONS
No Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization πŸ‘Ž
No DTS:X πŸ‘Ž
No DTS Neural:X πŸ‘Ž
No DTS Virtual:X πŸ‘Ž
No IMAX Enhanced πŸ‘Ž
No Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixer πŸ‘Ž
No Audyssey Dynamic EQ πŸ‘Ž
No Audyssey Dynamic Volume πŸ‘Ž
No Audyssey LFC πŸ‘Ž
No Audyssey Sub EQ HT πŸ‘Ž
No HDR10 πŸ‘Ž
No HDR10+ πŸ‘Ž
No Dynamic HDR πŸ‘Ž
No Dolby Vision πŸ‘Ž
No Auto Low Latency Mode Pass-through πŸ‘Ž
No VRR πŸ‘Ž
No QFT πŸ‘Ž
No FireConnect πŸ‘Ž
No FlareConnect πŸ‘Ž
No Chromecast Built-In πŸ‘Ž
No DTS Play-Fi πŸ‘Ž
Does not Work with Amazon Alexa πŸ‘Ž
Does Not Work with SONOS πŸ‘Ž
No eARC πŸ‘Ž
Few Analog Audio Line Inputs πŸ‘Ž
No Phono Input πŸ‘Ž
No Multi-Channel Input πŸ‘Ž
No Analog Pre-Outs πŸ‘Ž
No Tidal πŸ‘Ž
No Deezer πŸ‘Ž
No Napster πŸ‘Ž
No SiriusXM Internet Radio πŸ‘Ž
Old Bluetooth Version πŸ‘Ž

Major Changes from its predecessor

Here we are comparing Pioneer Elite SC-91 to its predecessor SC-81 and displaying the major changes.

UPGRADES Pioneer Elite SC-91 Pioneer Elite SC-81
Dolby Atmos βœ” βœ–
Dolby Surround Upmixer βœ” βœ–
More Advanced Auto Speaker Calibration System βœ” MCACC Pro βœ” MCACC Advanced
Wi-Fi βœ” βœ” via optional AS-WL300 adapter (sold separately)
Bluetooth βœ” SBC, AAC βœ” via optional AS-BT100 or AS-BT200 adapters (sold separately)
Higher DSD Sampling Rate via USB 5.6 MHz, 2.8 MHz 2.8 MHz

DOWNGRADES Pioneer Elite SC-91 Pioneer Elite SC-81
Less Optical Inputs 1 2
Less Coaxial Inputs/Outputs 1 / No 2 / No
Less Component Video Inputs 1 2
Less Component Video Outputs βœ– 1
Less Analog Pre-Outs 0.2 2.2

For more detailed comparison between the models please visit Pioneer Elite SC-91 vs Pioneer Elite SC-81.

Selected Features

Amplifier

Pioneer Elite SC-91 has 7 channel Class D3 amplifier and delivers 130 W (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven) and also has a stable performance at 4 Ω load. This receiver even supports front wide channels which is found only in a very few high-end receivers these days.


Video Features

The Receiver has 4K passthrough up to 60p and 4K upscaling up to 60p.


Dolby Atmos and Dolby Surround upmixer

Pioneer Elite SC-91 supports Dolby Atmos with its Dolby Surround upmixer. It can be configured upto 5.1.2 channels using internal amplifiers.

Dolby Atmos is the first cinematic audio format in which sounds exist as individual entities, called audio objects. In Dolby Atmos, any sound - the helicopter, a car screeching around a corner, a melodic bird call - can exist as an independent audio object, free of channel restrictions. They can be precisely placed and moved anywhere in your room, including overhead, to flow above and around you in three-dimensional space. Through the use of audio objects, overhead sound, and all the richness, clarity, and power of Dolby sound, Dolby Atmos turns your room into an amazing place for entertainment. You'll feel like you're inside the action, in ways you've never experienced before.

Dolby Atmos for the home represents every sound in the original cinema mix as an audio object. Extensions to the Dolby Audioβ„’ codecs, along with an advanced scalable algorithm, allow Dolby Atmos to be delivered via Blu-ray Disc and streaming media. A spatially-coded substream is added to Dolby TrueHD or Dolby Digital Plus. A Dolby Atmos audio/video receiver (AVR) adapts the cinema experience to your home theater from seven speakers to as many as 34 in 24.1.10 configuration, recreating the original artistic concept. The format supports up to 128 simultaneous independent audio objects in a mix for rich, realistic, and breathtaking sound. It recreates the director's original concept through descriptive metadata to provide customized playback for home theater and delivers sounds above you through overhead speakers, special upward-firing Dolby Atmos speakers, or a Dolby Atmos enabled sound bar.

If the content is not mixed in Dolby Atmos then the Dolby surround upmixer will expand the audio to all channels including ceiling speakers. The upmixer has replaced the Dolby Pro Logic II family with improved upmixing algorithms.


Class D3 Amplifier

Pioneer Class D3 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-91 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.


Room Correction

Pioneer Elite SC-91 comes with MCACC Pro room correction system and includes the calibration microphone.


Connectivity

Pioneer Elite SC-91 can be connected to internet using ethernet cable or built-in wi-fi adapter. It can also connect to bluetooth devices via built-in bluetooth adapter. The Receiver supports AirPlay. It has 7 HDMI inputs and HDCP 2.2 copy protection.

Front panel has HDMI and USB inputs.

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Detailed Specifications

Here we list all the available features and specifications of Pioneer Elite SC-91.

BASICS
BrandPioneer
SeriesElite
ModelSC-91
TypeA/V Receiver
CountryNorth America
Release Year2015
AMPLIFIER
Channels7.2
Front Wide Channel Supportβœ”
Amplifier DesignClass D3 (Direct Energy HD)
THXβ„’ Certificationβœ–
Continuous 6 Ω Ratedβœ”
Certified 4 Ω Performanceβœ”
Bi-amp Capabilityβœ” Front
AUDIO
Digital Signal Processing (DSP) EngineTexas Instruments Aureus
DACESS SABRE Premier (ES9006S)
Maximum Channel Processing7.1
Air Studios Monitor Certificationβœ–
Dolby Atmosβœ”
Dolby Atmos Height Virtualizationβœ–
Dolby TrueHDβœ”
Dolby Digital Plusβœ”
Dolby Surround Upmixerβœ”
Dolby Pro Logicβœ–
Dolby Digital EXβœ”
Surround EXβœ–
DTS:Xβœ–
DTS Neural:Xβœ–
DTS Virtual:Xβœ–
DTS Neoβœ” Neo:6
DTS-HD Master Audioβœ”
DTS-HD High Resolution Audioβœ”
DTS 96/24βœ”
DTS Expressβœ”
DTS-ESβœ” Discrete 6.1, Matrix 6.1
IMAX Enhancedβœ–
Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixerβœ–
PCMβœ” 2-ch/Multi-ch Input
Music Playback via USBMP3, WMA, AAC, Apple Lossless, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, DSD
High Resolution Music Playback via USB and/or Networkβœ” 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz/24 bit
High Resolution Audio Formats via USBApple Lossless, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, DSD
Multi-Channel Music File Playback via USBβœ” up to 96 kHz/24 bit
Gapless Playbackβœ”
DSD via HDMIβœ” 2-ch/Multi-ch Input
DSD via USBβœ” 2-ch Input
DSD to PCM Converterβœ”
USB DACβœ–
Jitter Reductionβœ”
Auto Level ControlMulti-Channel
Dialog Enhancementβœ”
Dialogue Liftβœ” via Dialog Enhancement
Sound Retrieverβœ” Advanced (Multi-Channel / Auto with ARC)
Sound Retriever AIRβœ”
Digital Noise Reductionβœ”
Tone Controlβœ” All Channels
Compressed Music Enhancerβœ” Advanced Sound Retriever
High-resolution Music Enhancerβœ” Hi-bit24 Audio Processing
Audyssey Dynamic EQβœ–
Audyssey Dynamic Volumeβœ–
Audyssey LFCβœ–
Audyssey Sub EQ HTβœ–
Audyssey DSXβœ–
Direct Modeβœ”
Pure Direct Modeβœ”
Auto Surroundβœ”
Optimum Surroundβœ–
Advanced Surround10 + 1
Wide Surroundβœ–
Front Stage Surround Advanceβœ”
Headphone Surroundβœ”
Virtual Speakersβœ” (Surround Back/Height/Wide)
Virtual Depthβœ–
Independent Dual Subwoofer Outputβœ–
CALIBRATION
Auto Speaker Calibration System with Mic.βœ” MCACC Pro
Manual MCACCβœ”
MCACC Memory6
Reflex Optimizerβœ–
Phase Controlβœ”
Full Band Phase Controlβœ”
Standing Wave Controlβœ”
EQ Bands9-Band (Advanced)
Symmetric EQβœ”
X-Curveβœ–
Distance Adjustment1/2 Inch
Precision Distanceβœ–
Polarity Checkβœ”
Auto Subwoofer Crossoverβœ”
VIDEO
HDR10βœ–
HDR10+βœ–
Dynamic HDRβœ–
BT.2020 color spaceβœ–
Dolby Visionβœ–
Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG)βœ–
Quick Media Switching (QMS)βœ–
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)βœ–
Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)βœ–
Quick Frame Transport (QFT)βœ–
3-D Readyβœ”
Video Signal Passthroughup to 4K/60p (4:4:4)
Video Signal Upscalingβœ” up to 4K/60p (4:4:4)
Analog To HDMI Upconversionβœ” Component****, Composite
Component Video Upscalingβœ–
Analog to Analog Video conversionβœ–
Component Video Maximum Resolution1080i (1125i)
Stream Smootherβœ–
Pure Cinemaβœ–
Video Parameter Adjustmentsβœ–
Triple HD Noise Reductionβœ–
Super Resolutionβœ”
isf Certified Calibration Controlβœ–
CONNECTIVITY
MHL Inputβœ” 1 Rear (Version 2.0)
DLNA 1.5βœ”
FireConnectβœ–
FlareConnectβœ–
Chromecast Built-Inβœ–
DTS Play-Fiβœ–
Works with Amazon Alexaβœ–
Works with SONOSβœ–
AirPlayβœ” AirPlay
Apple Product Connectionβœ” iPod and iPhone via front USB
Remote Appβœ” iControlAV5 (for iOS and Android)
InstaPrevue Input Source Prevueβœ–
Ethernetβœ”
Ethernet Switchβœ–
Wi-Fiβœ”
Bluetoothβœ” SBC, AAC
HDBaseT Compatibleβœ–
Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC)βœ–
HDCP Version2.2
HDMI Inputs7 (1 front)
HDMI Outputs2 (1 for MAIN, 1 for MAIN/HDZONE)
USB Input1 Front
USB DC Out Portβœ–
Analog Audio Line Inputs3
Analog Audio Line Outputs1
Phono Inputβœ–
Optical Inputs1
Optical Outputsβœ–
Coaxial Inputs/Outputs1 / No
Composite Video Inputs2
Composite Video Outputs2
S-Video Inputsβœ–
S-Video Outputsβœ–
Component Video Inputs1
Component Video Outputsβœ–
PC Inβœ–
Multi-Channel Inputβœ–
Analog Pre-Outs0.2
XLR Inputsβœ–
XLR Pre-outsβœ–
Front A/V InputsHDMI, USB
Speaker A/Bβœ”
Headphone Outβœ” 6.3 mm
ZONES
Zones3
Powered Zones2 and HDZone
Zone 2 OutsRCA Pre/Line Out
Zone 4 OutsHDMI
RS-232 Interfaceβœ”
+12V Trigger Output2 (assignable)
Remote (IR) Input/Output1 / 1
MISC
On-Screen DisplayIcon-based Graphical User Interface (GUI)
HDMI Speaker B Linkβœ”
AVNavigatorβœ” Built-in
IP Controlβœ”
PreAmp Modeβœ–
Versatile Speaker Configuration5.2.2ch/7.2ch (Surround Back/Front Wide)/5.2ch (Front Bi-Amp)/5.2ch+HDZONE
FL Dimmerβœ”
Function Renameβœ”
Remote ControllerLearning Remote Control (Luminous)
Detachable Power Cordβœ”
adapterportβœ–
RADIO
Analog Tunerβœ” FM/AM
Presets63
Digital Radioβœ–
Internet Radioβœ” vTuner
Pandoraβœ”
Spotifyβœ”
Tidalβœ–
Deezerβœ–
Napsterβœ–
SiriusXM Internet Radioβœ–
CONSTRUCTION
Front PanelBrushed
Solid Aluminum Frontβœ–
ConstructionAdvanced Direct Construction
Speaker Terminals11
Large Speaker Terminals11
Color-Coded Speaker Terminalsβœ–
Ceramic Speaker Terminalsβœ–
3D Space Frame Constructionβœ–
Gold plated RCA terminalsβœ–
POWER
Power SupplyAC 120 V, 60 Hz
Low Leakage Flux Power Transformerβœ–
Transformer Stabilizerβœ”
Power Consumption290 W
Standby Power0.1 W
GENERAL
ECO Mode / Hybrid Standby Functionβœ”
Dimensions (W x H x D)435 mm x 185 mm x 441 mm
17-1/8" x 7-5/16" x 17-3/8"
Weight14.3 kg (31.5 lbs)
Warranty2 Years Parts & Labor
SPECS
Power Output (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel Driven, FTC)130 W (0.08% THD)
Power Output (6 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven, FTC)170 W (1.0% THD)
Power Output (4 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel Driven)210 W (1.0% THD)
Multi Channel Simultaneous Drive (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 1.0%)660 W
THD0.04% (1 kHz, 110 W + 110 W, 8 Ω)
Input Sensitivity and Impedance (Line)380 mV/47 kΩ (Line)
Rated Lineout Level and Impedance380 mV/2.2 kΩ (REC OUT)
S/N Ratio (Line, IHF-A)101 dB
DSD Sampling Rates via HDMI2.8 MHz
DSD Sampling Rates via USB5.6 MHz, 2.8 MHz
Video Input Sensitivity/Output Level and Impedance 1 Vp-p/75 Ω (Component Y)
0.7 Vp-p/75 Ω (Component PB/PR)
1 Vp-p/75 Ω (Composite)
Ethernet Standard10BASE-T/100BASE-TX
Wi-Fi StandardIEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n
Wi-Fi Terminal Frequency5 GHz, 2.4 GHz
Bluetooth Version2.1 + EDR
Bluetooth Frequency2.4 GHz
HDMI Terminal19-pin (Not DVI)
HDMI Output Type5 V, 55 mA
HDMI Input/MHL Terminal5 V, 900 mA
USB TerminalUSB2.0 High Speed (Type A) 5 V, 1 A
FM Frequency87.5 MHz - 108.0 MHz
AM Frequency530 kHz - 1700 kHz

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

Successor

In 2017 Pioneer Elite SC-91 was replaced by SC-LX501. Let us now have a look at some important changes that the successor brought.


UPGRADES Pioneer Elite SC-LX501 Pioneer Elite SC-91
DTS:X βœ” βœ–
DTS Neural:X βœ” βœ–
HDR10 βœ” βœ–
BT.2020 color space βœ” βœ–
Dolby Vision βœ” βœ–
FireConnect βœ” βœ–
FlareConnect βœ” βœ–
Chromecast Built-In βœ” βœ–
More Analog Audio Line Inputs 4 3
Phono Input βœ” βœ–
More Optical Inputs 2 1
Tidal βœ” βœ–
Deezer βœ” βœ–
Higher DSD Sampling Rate via USB 11.2 MHz, 5.6 MHz, 2.8 MHz 5.6 MHz, 2.8 MHz
Newer Bluetooth Version 4.1 + LE 2.1 + EDR

DOWNGRADES Pioneer Elite SC-LX501 Pioneer Elite SC-91
Front Wide Channel Support βœ– βœ”
Sound Retriever βœ” Advanced βœ” Advanced (Multi-Channel / Auto with ARC)
Sound Retriever AIR βœ– βœ”
High-resolution Music Enhancer βœ– βœ” Hi-bit24 Audio Processing
Less Advanced Auto Speaker Calibration System βœ” MCACC βœ” MCACC Pro
Analog To HDMI Upconversion βœ” Component**, Composite βœ” Component****, Composite
MHL Input βœ– βœ” 1 Rear (Version 2.0)
DLNA 1.5 βœ– βœ”
Less Analog Audio Line Outputs βœ– 1
Less Composite Video Outputs βœ– 2
Less Zones 2 3
Transformer Stabilizer βœ– βœ”
Smaller Power Supply 250 W 290 W

For more detailed comparison between the models please visit Pioneer Elite SC-LX501 vs Pioneer Elite SC-91.

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