Pioneer VSX-LX55 demo and stereo comparison


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Sep 17, 2011
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Having previously demo'd Marantz, Rega and Arcam amp's and dac's against the Marantz MCRF603 with 685's, I felt there was nothing to choice between the Rega kit and the MCRF603.

Given all the negative publicity about AV amps in stereo, I was half expecting to end up with the MCRF603 and a seperate AV amp, so I arranged a demo to see what I thought.

Originally, the plan was to demo Onkyo, Denon and Pioneer AV amps around the £800 - £1000 retail price mark, but the store had already set up the LX55 and the MCR603.

They were pretty confident that the Pioneer would be in a different league to the Marantz.

There was some initial disappointment from the Pioneer as it could not read the Flac files on my memory stick, whilst the Marantz could despite the Pioneer supporting 192 24 Flac files ( apparently this is only supported when streaming, not via USB) This isn't a big deal to me as I will be streaming from a home server/Internet.

So, only 128kbps mp 3 fies could be tested using the 685's, as I'd decided I liked them so much I ordered and collected them today.

First track to listen to was Sheryl Crow's "Strong enough". Not much difference in the accoustics, but when the base came in the Pioneer clearly dug deeper and more powerfully.

Then Oribital's "Lush" and the Pioneer wasn't just competitive, but simply sounded amazing. (Excuse my descriptions if they sound like wiffle waffle) but it was crisper, with more verve and forward, but with none of the treble'y harshness I so dislike. It sounded much bigger, faster and exactly what I was looking for.

It also had much more left in the tank, where distortion came in on the Marantz, the Pioneer had at least 30% more. What also really impressed me, was just how good the 685's coped and sounded with this.

To be honest, I was sitting there with a huge grin, and new this was the amp for me, so didn't bother listening to the Onkyo or Denon! The Pioneer was awesome, and that was just mp3 audio.

To be honest I've never had a home theatre set up, so I'm sure whatever it can do in surround will be more than enough for me

Didn't buy on the spot as its £1000 in store, but hope to get one of these soon.

I'm no audiophile and pretty new to this, but for what its worth, dont believe everything you hear about AV amps being poor in stereo. Go and listen for yourself


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