Pioneer SC-57

Pioneer offers a powerful addition to your AirPlay arsenal with the top-of-the-line SC-57 and SC-55 Elite A/V receivers.

Sure to test the tolerance of your pets/neighbors/future ex-spouse, these 9×140 watt powerhouses represent Pioneer’s third generation of Class D digital receivers, and according to the company, boast “the most powerful amplifier of any multi-channel A/V receiver Pioneer has ever produced.” And of course, both are THX certified (SC-55 is certified THX Select 2 Plus, and the SC-57 is THX Ultra 2 Plus). So that’s your home theatre needs met, but what about wireless music?

Lots of options there; while both let you wirelessly push your AAC music files from your Apple iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or your iTunes-equipped Mac or PC using AirPlay, they can also pull music in other formats (like MP3 and WMA) from your Windows-based PC over your home network. If you’re listening in your TV room, you can scroll through your music with Pioneer’s onscreen display, or you can grab your iPhone and use Pioneer’s iControlAV2 app to control volume, bass, balance and more from any room in your house.

For multi-room listening, both offer a flexible range of speaker options. For example, choose full 9.2 in the main room, or scale back to 5.2 in the main room to accommodate two additional powered “zones” elsewhere. With this multi-zone setup, you can listen to your music in one room while your kids watch a blu-ray movie in another.

And if you’re still running pre-HDMI components (and reluctant to retire those fancy analog cables), you’ll appreciate the additional 5.1/7.1 analog inputs included with the SC-57. (No such luck with the SC-55 though.)

Of course, with great power comes great (fiscal) responsibility. At $2,100 and $1,700 respectively, the Pioneer SC-57 and SC-55 Elite A/V receivers are not cheap. For those on a budget, Pioneer’s more affordable, yet still impressive VSX-1021-K midrange model may offer a more cost-effective AirPlay alternative.

Spoil yourself and buy one at Amazon.

Check out Pioneers website for more details and specs.