Pioneer debuts Atmos-friendly speakers and receivers, full system starts at $4,750

Pioneer's new Elite-branded speaker system was designed by Andrew Jones and features top-mounted drivers.

Pioneer SP-EBS73 bookshelf speakers with top-mounted drivers. Pioneer

Dolby announced that its Atmos surround-sound format is coming to home theaters earlier this week and now Pioneer is ready to detail its new Atmos-enabled speakers.

Pioneer announced several Atmos-enabled home audio components this morning, including three Elite AV receivers and an Andrew Jones-designed speaker system. The 9.2-channel AV receivers and Elite-branded speakers are the first full Atmos system to be introduced to the market, capable of playing back the Atmos-enabled Blu-ray and streaming content that Dolby promises is coming in the fall.


The speaker system has the same basic layout as a 5.1 surround-sound system, but the big difference is that the floor-standing speakers and bookshelf speakers feature a top-mounted 4-inch driver. This is designed to deliver the overhead sound effects that Dolby is promising with the new Atmos format.

The floor-standing, bookshelf, and center-channel speakers have a three-way design, with 5.25-inch woofers, 4-inch midrange driver, and a 1-inch tweeter, while the subwoofer features a 10-inch driver.

As you'd expect, the Elite AV receivers are packed with features, including HDMI 2.0 support, Roku-Ready certification, multiroom and multisource support, and a new MCACC Pro automatic speaker calibration. The back panel of even the entry-level SC-85 has extensive connectivity features, including eight HDMI inputs, three HDMI outputs, and a slew of legacy analog and digital audio inputs.

More detailed information for both the AV receivers and speakers can be found on Pioneer's newly launched Atmos-focused home theater website.

From these initial products, it appears that putting together an Atmos-capable home audio system isn't going to be cheap. If you combine the entry-level $1,600 SC-85 with two floor-standing speakers, a center channel, two rear bookshelf speakers and a subwoofer, the total US pricing comes to $4,750, which is far more expensive that what it would cost to put together a traditional surround-sound system.

Prices and availability are not yet available for the rest of the world, but we'll update when we hear more. $4,750 converts to around £2,800 or AU$5,100.

Pioneer SC-85 back panel Pioneer

The SC-85 ($1,600), SC-87 ($2,000) and SC-89 ($3,000) will be available in the US in the fall and require a firmware update coming before the end of the year to unlock its Atmos-capabilities.

The Elite speaker system will be available in the late summer and consists of the SP-EBS73-LR bookshelf speakers ($750 per pair), SP-EFS73 floorstanding speakers ($700 each), SP-EC73 center channel ($400), and SW-E10 subwoofer ($600). Again, when we hear specific prices and dates for other countries, we'll update this article.

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