Conclusion: Pioneer has made a genuine advancement with its D3 Class-D digital amplification. The new technology provides for extremely high power delivered over extended periods of time with very little distortion. The fact that D3 uses less energy and generates less heat is a bonus, but the real benefit here is that the digital amplification that brings all these benefits no longer sounds artificial.
Pros: Extremely powerful (THX Ultra 2 Plus), Great sound, Great iPhone/iPad integration, Excellent video processing, AirPlay
Cons: Cluttered remote, No zone 2 remote, GUI needs work, Complicated operation
Excerpt: The Elite SC-57 receiver’s ($2,100) biggest claim to fame is power. Its proprietary D3 digital amplifier assumes the throne as the most powerful amp of any multichannel A/V receiver in the industry and is the only one of its kind to receive THX Ultra 2 Plus certification. From a capabilities standpoint, this unique power plant can pump out a head-splitting 140-watts of virtually loss-free power to up to nine distinct channels.
Excerpt: I’m usually suspicious of celebrity endorsements of audio gear (think Dr. Dre’s association with the Beats headphones bearing his name). But the Air Studios logo on the front panel of this attractive-looking, innovative flagship Pioneer Elite A/V receiver represents more than a casual association.