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Pioneer Elite SX-S30 Slim Stereo Network Receiver Preview

Pioneer SX-S30 Stereo Networking Receiver

Pioneer SX-S30 Stereo Networking Receiver


  • Product Name: SX-S30
  • Manufacturer: Pioneer
  • Review Date: February 07, 2017 00:00
  • MSRP: $500
  • First Impression: Mildly Interesting
  • Buy Now

Expanding its catalog of precision-engineered two-channel offerings, Pioneer Home Entertainment  announced its new SX-S30 Slim Stereo Network Receiver. Offering a wealth of connectivity options, the SX-S30 packs high-res sound and functionality into a slim, compact receiver that fits almost anywhere.

Ideal for those with limited space or who are unable to alter their interior spaces, the ELITE SX-S30 outputs 85W/ch (4 ohms, 1 kHz, THD 1.0 %, 1ch Driven) and features Class D amplification for its power section.  The unit supports a variety of formats including MP3, AAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless, FLAC, and WAV to a maximum 192 kHz/24-bit and 2.8 MHz/5.6 MHz DSD hi-res Audio files. This is great for anyone wanting to stream a  multitude of audio formats from their wireless or networked devices.

Pioneer Remote App facilitates streaming of any audio stored on smartphones, PCs, and media servers. With Spotify Connect and TuneIn built into the GUI, access to almost any music or internet radio programming is easy through the app, or navigate content through the TV display.

Editorial Note on Power Ratings:

There seems to be a recent trend these days in the AV receiver marketplace that is now rating power in a very scrupulous manner.  Instead of rating both channels driven full bandwidth into 8 ohms at low distortion (<.1%) per FTC method, they are now rating at 1kHz, 1CH driven into 4 ohms at 1% THD +N.  There is only ONE reason to do this.  POWER INFLATION!  In addition, some class D amps like the older ICE modules Pioneer used on the SC-07 were incapable of driving low impedance loads at full power above 2-3kHz.  The reality is, to the uninitiated consumer, a bogus 85 watts/ch rating looks far more attractive than an honest power rating of 40 watts/ch with both channels driven into 8 ohms at low distortion. 

While the SX-S30 may be light on amplifier power, it's heavy on connectivity features making it the centerpiece of a nice modern two-channel audio system.   This includes an integrated FM tuner (antenna included) with 40 memory pre-sets. The RDS function displays song and program information.

Pioneer SX-S30 Rear Panel

Pioneer SX-S30 Rear Panel View

Lots of connectivity options for a two-channel receiver but missing much needed preamp outputs for those wanting to add more power.

Connectivity Abounds

  • Bluetooth®, AirPlay® and dual-band 5 GHz/2.4 GHz Wi-Fi®, and the SX-S30 can be configured to wake and commence playback on Bluetooth® standby mode;
  • Whole home audio and casting made possible through several options, including Chromecast built-in™, DTS Play-Fi® technology3 and FireConnect™;
  • Supports all the popular internet subscription options including Spotify® Connect application which allows the use of other apps without interrupting music playback, as well as TIDAL, Deezer and Pandora®;
  • The ELITE SX-S30 also includes a host of legacy connections like analog RCA and coaxial/optical digital inputs, along with a phono input with MM equalizer to facilitate turntable connection, and a USB input that supports playback of a variety of music formats, including hi-res audio that are stored on USB memory devices.

Transformative TV Sound

  • There are four 4K/60p Ultra HD-ready HDMI® inputs capable of playing High Dynamic Range and BT.2020-encoded video, and routes signals to a compatible TV via a single HDMI cable.
  • The HDMI output features Audio Return Channel with CEC/CEC Multilink.  Your home entertainment system can be configured to switch on amplify any TV content with fewer button-presses.

Tailored Plug & Play Sound with MCACC
Pioneer’s proprietary MCACC technology measures the acoustic characteristics of the environment and how sound interacts with it. The system compensates for phase, reverb, speaker size and distance, and speaker output, and includes 4-Band EQ for subwoofer with Phase Control technology.  MCACC then ensures that sounds of all frequencies arrive simultaneously so the listener is presented with a clear and accurate audio image.

Closing Thoughts

The Pioneer ELITE SX-S30 Two-Channel Network Receiver is now available for an SRP of $500 (USD) and $729 (CAD).  It's too bad the SX-S30 doesn't include preamp outputs for those that may need more power and want to use it for preamp duties only.  Perhaps future iterations of this model will offer that feature. But, for now, the SX-S30 should serve well to power a modest system in a small office or den.

The question does remain however, will consumers be more drawn to the networking features of this model or would they rather get a basic stereo receiver like the HK 3490 and simply connect a streaming device to it?  Let us know what you think in the related forum thread below.

About Pioneer Home Entertainment U.S.A.
Headquartered in Long Beach, CA, Pioneer Home Entertainment U.S.A. is a leader in home entertainment products under the Pioneer and Elite brands.  With an established reputation for innovation and quality, the company’s products are embraced by high-end custom installers and general music lovers alike.  Pioneer & Onkyo U.S.A. Corporation, DBA: Pioneer Home Entertainment U.S.A. is a preeminent manufacturer of high-performance audio and visual equipment for the home.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

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Gene manages this organization, establishes relations with manufacturers and keeps Audioholics a well oiled machine. His goal is to educate about home theater and develop more standards in the industry to eliminate consumer confusion clouded by industry snake oil.

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