Pioneer Elite SC-97 (North American version)
- 9.2 channels
- 11.2 channel processing
- 140 W (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven)
- Dolby Atmos, DTS:X capable
- HDR10, 4K Upscaling, 4K Passthrough
- AirPlay, DLNA
- Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
- USB and Phono inputs
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Pioneer Elite SC-97 was introduced in 2015. It is equipped with 9 channel amplifier with 140 W (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 2 channel driven) power per channel and is capable of 11.2 maximum channel processing. It supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, passes 4K/60Hz and upscales up to 4K/60p (4:4:4) video signal.
We evaluated the a/v receiver and gave 88 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.
Pros and Cons
In this section we present pros and cons of Pioneer Elite SC-97.
|Front Wide Channel Support|
|11.2 Channel Processing|
|DSD via HDMI|
|Auto Speaker Calibration System with Mic.|
|New HDCP Version|
|4K or 8K Video Passthrough|
|4K or 8K Signal Upscaling|
|Analog To HDMI Upconversion|
|Many HDMI Inputs|
|Many HDMI Outputs|
|Many Optical Inputs|
|Composite Video Inputs|
|Component Video Inputs|
|No Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization|
|No IMAX Enhanced|
|No Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixer|
|No Dolby Vision|
|No Chromecast Built-In|
|Does not Work with Amazon Alexa|
|Few 8K Inputs|
|Few RCA Line Inputs|
|Old Bluetooth Version|
Here we are comparing Pioneer Elite SC-97 to its predecessor SC-87 and displaying the major changes.
|UPGRADES||Pioneer Elite SC-97||vs||Pioneer Elite SC-87|
|More Channel Processing||11.2||vs||9.2|
|Dolby Surround Upmixer||vs|
|DTS:X||up to with firmware update||vs|
|DTS Neural:X||with firmware update||vs|
|Wi-Fi||vs||via optional AS-WL300 adapter (sold separately)|
|Bluetooth||SBC, AAC||vs||via optional AS-BT100 or AS-BT200 adapters (sold separately)|
|More RCA Pre-Outs||13.2||vs||11.2|
|DOWNGRADES||Pioneer Elite SC-97||vs||Pioneer Elite SC-87|
|Dolby Pro Logic||vs||PLIIz|
|DTS Neo||Neo:X (before firmware update)||vs||Neo:X|
|Component Video Maximum Resolution||1080i (1125i)||vs||1080p (1125p)|
|USB DC Out Port||vs||1 Rear for AS-WL300 (5 V, 0.6 A)|
|Less Component Video Outputs||vs||1|
|Zone 2 Outs||RCA Pre/Line Out||vs||RCA Pre/Line Out + Subwoofer|
For more detailed comparison between the models please visit Pioneer Elite SC-97 vs Pioneer Elite SC-87.
9 channel Class D3 Amplifier
Pioneer Elite SC-97 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.
Pioneer Elite SC-97's 9 channel amplifier can be assigned for different speaker configurations.
- Dolby Atmos Configurations: The following speaker configurations are supported for Dolby Atmos:
- 5.2.2, 5.2.4, 7.2.2 with internal amplifier.
- 7.2.4, 9.2.2 with addition of external 2 channel amplifier.
- DTS:X Configurations: The speaker configurations for DTS:X are the same as for Dolby Atmos:
- 5.2.2, 5.2.4, 7.2.2 with internal amplifier.
- 7.2.4, 9.2.2 with addition of external 2 channel amplifier.
- Configurations without height channels: There are also other speaker configurations available which do not include height channels:
- 5.2, 7.2, 9.2 with internal amplifier.
- Front Wide Channel support: Pioneer Elite SC-97 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, 9.2.2.
- 4-ch Bi-Amp: Pioneer Elite SC-97 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.
Pioneer Elite SC-97 supports Dolby Atmos. It is a cinematic audio format in which sounds exist as individual entities, called audio objects. In Dolby Atmos, any sound 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. 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.
- Dolby Surround Upmixer: 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.
Pioneer Elite SC-97 supports DTS:X. A technique used in DTS:X is similar to the one used in Dolby Atmos. Instead of a fixed number of channels, DTS:X defines object locations from the listener in polar coordinates. An a/v receiver then dynamically renders sound according to the current speaker configuration. The speaker layout employed by DTS:X is the sum of Dolby Atmos and Auro-3D. It has standard 7.1 channel base layer, a 5 channel height layer above the base layer on the front and side walls, and 3 rows of speakers on the ceiling.
- DTS Neural:X: DTS Neural:X is an advanced upmixer that can take non DTS:X content and upmix it to the DTS:X speaker layout. It has replaced the DTS Neo family with improved flexibility.
- Advanced Sound Retriever: Compressed music enhancement in Pioneer Elite SC-97 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.
Pioneer Elite SC-97 comes with MCACC Pro 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.
Pioneer Elite SC-97 features 8 HDMI inputs. It has 3 outputs: 2 for MAIN and 1 for MAIN/HDZONE.
- 4K/60Hz Passthrough: All inputs pass up to 4K/60p (4:4:4) video signal.
- 4K Upscaling: Pioneer Elite SC-97 can upscale up to 4K/60p (4:4:4) 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-97 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-97 is able to pass 3D video through HDMI.
Pioneer Elite SC-97 supports HDR (high dynamic range) video formats such as HDR10. High dynamic range video has greater dynamic range than standard dynamic range (SDR) video with brighter whites and deeper blacks. The result is greater contrast and more details in dark and bright areas, better color and depth.
- HDR10: HDR10 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 10-bit color which corresponds to 1024 shades of the primary RGB colors. It is technically limited to a maximum of 10,000 nits peak brightness, however common HDR10 contents are mastered with peak brightness from 1,000 to 4,000 nits.
Pioneer Elite SC-97 offers multi-zone playback which allows you to play different input sources in 4 different rooms.
- 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.
- 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.
- HDMI Output: Pioneer Elite SC-97 offers HDMI output for Zone 4. This means that it can send two different HDMI signals to two displays.
Inputs and Outputs
- Analog Pre-Outs: Pioneer Elite SC-97 has 13.2 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. Also, Pioneer Elite SC-97 has 11 channel processing but has only 9 channel amplifier, so it needs the external amplifier connected to the analog pre-outs in order to reach the maximum speaker configuration.
- XLR Inputs: There is one pair of XLR inputs on this a/v receiver. If your CD player, Blu-Ray player or other source have XLR outputs you can connect them to the Pioneer Elite SC-97's XLR Inputs for higher quality balanced connection.
- Analog Line Inputs and Outputs: There are 3 line inputs and 1 line output for analog audio connection.
- Digital Inputs and Outputs: 1 optical input, 2 optical outputs 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.
- Inputs: 8 (1 front) Outputs: 3 (2 for MAIN, 1 for MAIN/HDZONE)
8K Inputs: 0
- Composite Video: Connect you VCR, Laserdisc player and other old video equipment with composite video cables.
- Inputs: 2 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-97 supports up to 1080i (1125i) resolution on Component video connectors.
- Inputs: 2 Outputs: 0
Here we list all the available features and specifications of Pioneer Elite SC-97.
|Front Wide Channel Support|
|Amplifier||Class D3 (Direct Energy HD)|
|Continuous 6 Ω Rated|
|Certified 4 Ω Performance|
|Bi-amp Capability||Front, Center, Surround, SP-B|
|Digital Signal Processing (DSP) Engine||Texas Instruments Aureus|
|DAC||ESS SABRE32 Ultra (ES9016S)|
|DAC Specs||192 kHz/32 Bit|
|Maximum Channel Processing||11.2|
|Air Studios Monitor Certification|
|Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization|
|Dolby Atmos Music|
|Dolby Digital Plus|
|Dolby Surround Upmixer|
|Dolby Pro Logic|
|Dolby Digital EX|
|DTS:X||up to with firmware update|
|DTS Neural:X||with firmware update|
|DTS Neo||Neo:X (before firmware update)|
|DTS-HD Master Audio|
|DTS-HD High Resolution Audio|
|DTS-ES||Discrete 6.1, Matrix 6.1|
|Auro 3D with Auro-Matic Upmixer|
|Music Playback via USB||MP3, WMA, AAC, Apple Lossless, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, DSD|
|High Resolution Music Playback via USB and/or Network||88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz/24 bit|
|High Resolution Audio Formats via USB||Apple Lossless, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, DSD|
|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)|
|Auto Level Control||Multi-Channel|
|Dialogue Lift||via Dialog Enhancement|
|Sound Retriever||Advanced (Multi-Channel / Auto with ARC)|
|Sound Retriever AIR|
|Digital Noise Reduction|
|Tone Control||All Channels|
|Compressed Music Enhancer||Advanced Sound Retriever|
|High-resolution Music Enhancer||Hi-bit32 Audio Processing|
|Audyssey Dynamic EQ|
|Audyssey Dynamic Volume|
|Audyssey Sub EQ HT|
|Pure Direct Mode|
|Advanced Surround||11 + 1|
|Front Stage Surround Advance||(Focus/Wide)|
|Virtual Speakers||(Surround Back/Height/Wide)|
|Independent Subwoofer Outputs|
|Auto Speaker Calibration System with Mic.||MCACC Pro|
|Full Band Phase Control|
|Standing Wave Control|
|EQ Bands||9-Band (Advanced)|
|Distance Adjustment||1/2 Inch|
|Auto Subwoofer Crossover|
|HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma)|
|BT.2020 color space|
|QMS (Quick Media Switching)|
|ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode)|
|VRR (Variable Refresh Rate)|
|QFT (Quick Frame transport)|
|Video Signal Passthrough||up to 4K/60p (4:4:4)|
|Video Signal Upscaling||up to 4K/60p (4:4:4)|
|Analog To HDMI Upconversion||Component****, Composite|
|Component Video Upscaling|
|Analog to Analog Video conversion|
|Component Video Maximum Resolution||1080i (1125i)|
|Video Parameter Adjustments||YNR, CNR, BNR, MNR, Detail, Brightness, Contrast, Hue, Chroma, Black Level|
|Triple HD Noise Reduction|
|isf Certified Calibration Control|
|MHL Input||1 Rear (Version 2.0)|
|Works with Amazon Alexa|
|Works with SONOS|
|Apple Product Connection||iPod and iPhone via front USB|
|Remote App||iControlAV5 (for iOS and Android)|
|InstaPrevue Input Source Prevue|
|HDMI Inputs||8 (1 front)|
|HDMI Outputs||3 (2 for MAIN, 1 for MAIN/HDZONE)|
|USB Input||1 Front|
|USB DC Out Port|
|RCA Line Input||3|
|RCA Line Output||1|
|XLR Line Inputs|
|Composite Video Input||2|
|Composite Video Output||2|
|Component Video Input||2|
|Component Video Output|
|Front A/V Inputs||HDMI, USB|
|Headphone Out||6.3 mm (1/4")|
|Powered Zones||2, 3 and HDZone|
|Zone 2 Outs||RCA Pre/Line Out|
|Zone 3 Outs||RCA Pre/Line Out|
|Zone 4 Outs||HDMI|
|+12V Trigger Output||2 (assignable)|
|Remote (IR) Input/Output||2 / 1|
|On-Screen Display||Graphical User Interface (GUI) with Album Artwork (HDMI only)|
|HDMI Speaker B Link|
|IP Control for CI|
|Versatile Speaker Configuration||Surround Back/Front Height/Front Wide/Front Bi-Amp/Zone 2/B-Speaker/Powered HD Zone|
|Remote Controller||Learning Remote Control (Lumius)|
|Detachable Power Cord|
|SiriusXM Internet Radio|
|Solid Aluminum Front|
|Advanced Direct Construction||Advanced Direct Construction|
|Large Speaker Terminals||11|
|Color-Coded Speaker Terminals|
|Ceramic Speaker Terminals|
|3D Space Frame Construction|
|Gold plated RCA terminals|
|Power Supply||AC 120 V, 60 Hz|
|Low Leakage Flux Power Transformer|
|Power Consumption||370 W|
|Standby Power||0.1 W|
|ECO Mode / Hybrid Standby Function|
|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"
|Weight||17.5 kg (38.6 lbs)|
|Warranty||2 Years Parts & Labor|
|Power Output (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 2||140 W (0.08% THD)|
|Power Output (6 Ω, 1 kHz, 2||190 W (1.0% THD)|
|Power Output (4 Ω, 1 kHz, 2||240 W (1.0% THD)|
|Multi Channel Simultaneous Drive (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 1.0%)||810 W (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 1.0%)|
|THD||0.04% (1 kHz, 130 W + 130 W, 8 Ω)|
|Input Sensitivity and Impedance (Line)||400 mV/47 kΩ (Line)|
|Input Sensitivity and Impedance (Phono MM)||5 mV/47 kΩ|
|Rated Lineout Level and Impedance||400 mV/2.2 kΩ (REC OUT)|
|S/N Ratio (Line, IHF-A)||103 dB|
|DSD Sampling Rates via HDMI||2.8 MHz|
|DSD Sampling Rates via USB||5.6 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)
|Wi-Fi Standard||IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n|
|Wi-Fi Terminal Frequency||5 GHz, 2.4 GHz|
|Bluetooth Version||2․1 + EDR|
|Bluetooth Frequency||2.4 GHz|
|HDMI Terminal||19-pin (not DVI)|
|HDMI Output Type||5 V, 55 mA|
|HDMI Input/MHL Terminal||5 V, 900 mA|
|USB Terminal||USB2.0 High Speed (Type A) 5 V, 1 A|
|FM Frequency||87.5 MHz - 108.0 MHz|
|AM Frequency||530 kHz - 1700 kHz|
* - 480i/576i and 480p/576p only
** - 480i/576i only
*** - no 1080p/24 upconversion
**** - 1080p signal is not converted
In 2017 Pioneer Elite SC-97 was replaced by SC-LX801. Let us now have a look at some important changes that the successor brought.
|UPGRADES||Pioneer Elite SC-LX801||vs||Pioneer Elite SC-97|
|Music Playback via USB||MP3, WMA, AAC, Apple Lossless, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, DSD, Dolby TrueHD||vs||MP3, WMA, AAC, Apple Lossless, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, DSD|
|High Resolution Audio Formats via USB||Apple Lossless, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, AAC, DSD, Dolby TrueHD||vs||Apple Lossless, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, DSD|
|BT.2020 color space||vs|
|Analog To HDMI Upconversion||Component**, Composite||vs||Component****, Composite|
|Works with SONOS||vs|
|More RCA Line Inputs||6||vs||3|
|More Optical Outputs||vs||1|
|More Component Video Outputs||1||vs|
|Zone 2 Outs||HDMI, RCA Pre/Line Out||vs||RCA Pre/Line Out|
|Longer Warranty||3 Years Parts & Labor||vs||2 Years Parts & Labor|
|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||240 W (1.0% THD)|
|Higher S/N Ratio (Line, IHF-A)||108 dB||vs||103 dB|
|Higher DSD Sampling Rate via USB||11.2 MHz, 5.6 MHz, 2.8 MHz||vs||5.6 MHz, 2.8 MHz|
|Newer Bluetooth Version||4․1 + LE||vs||2․1 + EDR|
|Wider AM Frequency Range||530 kHz - 1710 kHz||vs||530 kHz - 1700 kHz|
|DOWNGRADES||Pioneer Elite SC-LX801||vs||Pioneer Elite SC-97|
|Front Wide Channel Support||vs|
|Bi-amp capability||vs||Front, Center, Surround, SP-B|
|Dolby Digital EX||vs|
|DTS Neo||vs||Neo:X (before firmware update)|
|DSD to PCM Converter||vs|
|Sound Retriever||Advanced||vs||Advanced (Multi-Channel / Auto with ARC)|
|Sound Retriever AIR||vs|
|Digital Noise Reduction||vs|
|High-resolution Music Enhancer||vs||Hi-bit32 Audio Processing|
|Virtual Speakers||vs||(Surround Back/Height/Wide)|
|Higher MCACC Memory||3||vs||6|
|Video Parameter Adjustments||vs||YNR, CNR, BNR, MNR, Detail, Brightness, Contrast, Hue, Chroma, Black Level|
|MHL Input||vs||1 Rear (Version 2.0)|
|Less HDMI Outputs||2 (1 MAIN, 1 SUB/ZONE 2)||vs||3 (2 for MAIN, 1 for MAIN/HDZONE)|
|Less RCA Line Outputs||vs||1|
|XLR Line Inputs||vs|
|Less Composite Video Outputs||vs||2|
|Less RCA Pre-Outs||11.2||vs||13.2|
|Less Powered Zones||2 and 3||vs||2, 3 and HDZone|
|On-Screen Display||Icon-based Graphical User Interface (GUI)||vs||Graphical User Interface (GUI) with Album Artwork (HDMI only)|
|Smaller Power Supply||320 W||vs||370 W|
|Lower Multi Channel Simultaneous Drive (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 1.0%)||770 W (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 1.0%)||vs||810 W (8 Ω, 1 kHz, 1.0%)|
For more detailed comparison between the models please visit Pioneer Elite SC-97 vs Pioneer Elite SC-LX801.