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Pioneer’s latest 2-channel receiver features hi-res audio, Chromecast

Why it matters to you

The latest stereo offering from Pioneer adds features usually only seen in models with much higher channel counts.

If you’re looking for a solid receiver to play your favorite music and nothing more, a stereo receiver is often the best choice, but while you won’t be paying for channels you don’t need, you’ll often find that many of the features found on surround-sound-focused A/V receivers are missing. That isn’t the case with Pioneer’s latest two-channel network receiver, the Elite SX-S30.

Unlike the hulking monstrosities that you’ll sometimes encounter on the quest for a new receiver, the Elite SX-S30 packs its power into a slim, compact design that won’t dominate the other gear you place alongside it. This is handy if you’re trying to fit your components into an area with limited space, but even if you have plenty of room, the understated appearance is a plus.

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The Elite SX-S30 offers 85 watts per channel at 4 ohms of Class D amplification — not the most powerful receiver in the world, but certainly more than capable. This particular receiver has a strong focus on digital audio, and especially high-resolution audio. MP3, AAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless, FLAC, and WAV formats are supported at up to 192kHz/24-bit, while DSD hi-res audio files are supported at 2.8MHz/5.6MHz.

Despite not offering the surround sound usually associated with home-theater-focused receivers, the Elite SX-S30 features four 4K/60p Ultra HD-ready HDMI inputs, complete with support for high dynamic range (HDR) signals. The single HDMI output supports Audio Return Channel with CEC/CEC Multilink, so your entire system can be controlled with less trouble. Analog RCA inputs — including a dedicated phono input for turntables — as well as coaxial and optical digital audio inputs are also included.

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An Ethernet port on the back of the receiver brings support for wired connectivity, while dual-band 5 GHz/2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, Airplay, and Bluetooth offer wireless connectivity. Chromecast built-in allows for easy playback from multiple sources, while DTS Play-Fi and FireConnect are also included for wireless multiroom playback. Digital music can also be played from portable hard drives and thumb drives using the included USB port.

The Pioneer Elite SX-S30 network receiver is available now and sells for $500. For more information on the receiver or to find out where you can buy it, see the company’s website.