Pioneer Elite amplifiers have been offered as both power amplifiers/control amplifiers and as integrated amplifiers.  The M series amplifiers were power amplifiers; the A series amplifiers were integrated amplifiers. Click on the links at the left to see the amplifier, description, and specifications (where available).



Power Amplifier to best utilized the power amp's 2 channel/4 channel capability.  Both the C-91 and C-72 remained in concurrent production for a number of years, but when Pioneer discontinued production of the C-91 Control Amplifier, the M-72 filled that need.  When introduced, the C-72 had an M.S.R.P. of $850.00.

The C-72 featured two power supplies.  There were five audio inputs and five video inputs.  It featured an Audio/Video selector, two-way video dubbing, and a motorized Volume control using the remote.  It was multi-room capable, again using the remote.  With the advent of powerhouse Home Theater surround sound receivers in the ELITE line, Pioneer chose to discontinue production of the C-72 in 2002.


  • Clean Ground System
  • Direct Connection II
  • 2-Power Supply Design for Audio and Video
  • High-Gain Phono Equalizer for MC Cartridge
  • Local Power-Switching Function
  • S-Video and Composite Monitor Outputs
  • Full-Mode A/V Recording
  • Multi-Room Compatible
  • Programmable A/V SMART Remote Control
  • Motor Driven Volume Control
  • 5 Audio Inputs
  • 5 Video Inputs
  • Urushi Finish with Wood Side Panels
  • Two-Year Warranty

Source: Pioneer Electronic Corp.


Photo: courtesy Spring Air GmbH


The C-90 Reference Control Amplifier was introduced by Pioneer in 1987 and manufactured through 1988.  Like the M-90 Reference Power Amplifier, the C-90 was a twin-mono design with separate power supplies and circuitry for both left and right channels.  It was designed to handle state of the art video as well as audio inputs. 

Front panel layout included Video input switching for TV Tuner, VCR1, VCR2, VCR3 and VDP on the left, and Audio input switching for Tape 1, Tape 2, Tuner, Phono and CD on the right.   The Main Power switch was located in the upper lefthand corner with Standby switch next to it.  The motorized Volume knob was on the upper right of the panel.  Beneath these groups of controls was a narrow silver band having the infrared sensor for the remote control and small leds with nomenclature indicating the control amp's current functions.

The back panel featured RCA jacks that was spaced wide enough apart to permit the use of audiophile grade interconnect cables.  There were two unswitched AC jacks and one switched AC jack for powering other components.

A particularly nice touch was the visible copper plating for all nomenclature which duplicated the copper plated chassis appearance inside the unit.

The C-90 was favorably reviewed by Stereo Review in the April 1987 issue (see below).  The C-90 had a list price of $800.00.   It was superceded by the C-91 in 1989.

C-90 Interior

C-90 Specifications:

C-90 Test Report in Stereo Review (April 1987)


The C-91 control amplifier was introduced by Pioneer in 1989. It featured a subtle change to the front panel controls.  The nomenclature of the first button on the left under the Video Input bank of controls was changed from  TV Tuner to TV/AUX.  All other controls were unchanged. Of course, the ELITE name now appeared on the front panel.

Perhaps the most significant change between the C-90 and C-91 was the price. The C-91 was a whopping $500 more expensive than the C90, with a MSRP of $1300.00 when it was introduced.  It was manufactured through 1994; the C-91 was not listed in the 1995 Stereo Review Buyers Guide. The only control amplifier in the Elite for the rest of the decade was the C-72.

C-91 with front panel in open position


The M-72 Power Amplifier holds the unique distinction of being the longest running production amplifier in Pioneer's history.  It was introduced to the ELITE line in 1992 and remained in continuous production for more than a decade. 

The M-72 was conceived as a two channel/four channel amplifier to be used in the home or other venues.  It is capable of producing 100 with two channels driven or 50 watts per channel in four channel mode.  Its dynamic power capability is 140 watts into 8 ohms and 190 watts into 4 ohms.












The amp features dual mono construction and Pioneer's Direct Connection circuitry with individual left and right channel volume controls that permitted operation of a CD player without the need of a pre-amplifier, a convenient feature taken from the M-90 Power Amplifier.  Viewing the amplifier from the top, one can see the signature ELITE power supplies and extruded aluminum chimney heatsinks to keep this amp running cool.

The other significant fact about the M-72 is the price.  When it was introduced in 1992, it had a M.S.R.P. of $1000.00.  Over the following decade, Pioneer did not raise the price of this superb and under-rated amplifier.  It is no longer in production.


  • Urushi Finish with Wood Side Panels
  • 100 Watts Per Channel (Stereo): 8 ohms from 20-20,000 Hz with no more than .009% Total Harmonic Distortion
  • 50 Watts Per Channel (4-Channel): 8 ohms from 20-20,000 Hz with no more than .02% Total Harmonic Distortion (AMP 1 & 2)
  • Dynamic Power: (Stereo)
    140 Watts at 8 ohms
    170 Watts at 6 ohms
    190 Watts at 4 ohms
    210 Watts at 2 ohms
  • Super Linear Circuit
  • Direct Connection II
  • Clean Ground System
  • Low-Impedance Driving Capability
  • 2 Pairs of Speaker Systems for Stereo
  • 2 Pairs of Speaker Systems plus 1 Speaker System for 4-Channel
  • Two-Year Warranty


  • Width: 18-1/16 ins
  • Height: 6-7/16 ins
  • Depth: 16-9/16 ins


Pioneer introduced the M-90 Reference Power Amplifier in 1987, to be used in conjunction with the C-90 Reference Control Amplifier.  In the January 1987 issue of Stereo Review that ran the  "Not Evolutionary-Revolutionary" advertisement, here is what Pioneer said about the M-90:

"The M-90 is a superb high-power stereo amplifier, utilizing dual-mono construction.  It is conservatively rated at 200 W/CH into 8 ohms and delivers 800 W/CH of dynamic power at 2 ohms.  The wide dynamic range of the digital sources can now be reproduced effortlessly, with any loudspeakers.  The M-90's high current capacity of 47 amps can handle the challenge of the most complex speaker loads.  To further enhance S/N ratio and channel separation, relay-operated electronic switches and a long shaft volume control keep the length of signal paths down to a minimum.  Why include a high quality volume control on a power amp?  To pursue the straight wire-with-gain philosophy when using a CD player connected directly.  Pure sound, redefined."

The M-90 was virtually distortion-free, having only 0.003% THD from 20-20K Hz @ 8 ohms, and had a S/N ratio of 125 dB!  (See the complete specifications at bottom of page.)   The M.S.R.P. for the M-90 was $950.00.  It was superceded by the M-91 in 1989.

M-90 Specifications


The M-91 stereo power amplifier was introduced in 1991 to supercede the M-90. Visually, it was practically identical to the M-90, except for the obvious inclusion of the word ELITE on the front panel above the power meter panel. (The example shown here is missing the center, flip down panel. However, Pioneer did change the power transformers for the M-91, with a subsequent increase in weight to 60 lbs.

The specifications for the M-91 were virtually identical to those of the M-90, with 200 watts per channel into 8 ohms, from 20 Hz to 20kHz with only .003% Total Harmonic Distortion.  Its signal-to-noise ratio was an impressive 125 dB.

According to the Stereo Review Buyer's Guide which was published in February of each year, the M-91 was offered through 1998. It's list price was $1400.00 and remained there until it ceased production.


2-Channel Power Amplifier

200 Watts Per Channel (Stereo): 8 ohms from 20-20,000 Hz with no more than .003% Total Harmonic Distortion

Dynamic Power:

  • 300 Watts at 8 ohms
  • 550 Watts at 4 ohms
  • 800 Watts at 2 ohms

Low-Impedance Driving Capability
Non-Switching Circuit Type II
Two-Mono-Amps-In-One Design
Separate Power Supplies (Left & Right)
Direct Connection
CD Direct with Volume Control
Line-Level Inputs with Volume Control
CD, Line Output Loop for Preamplifier
Headphone Output
Speaker A/B, A + B, Off
Large Fluorescent Power Level Indicator
Elaborate Anti-Resonance and Anti-Vibration Designs:

  • Twin Power Transformers Encased in
  • Cast-Iron Housings
  • Honeycomb Heat Sink
  • Large Honeycomb Insulators
  • Copper Plated Chassis and Screws
    Urushi Finish with Wood Side Panels
    Two-Year Warranty


The A-77X was a slightly lower power version of the A-88X integrated amplifier and had fewer controls than those on the A-88X.  However, its construction and internal component quality was identical.  The A-77X was introduced about a year after the A-88X and a lower power and lower cost version of the top-of-the-line Elite amplifer. 

Note the large speaker cable binding posts on the back of the A-77X, the same used on the A-88X.  It had inputs for phono, CD player, tuner, tape deck and one auxiliary input. 

This is a closeup detail of the front panel of the A-77X showing the features of this superb amplifier.




The A-88X was the top-of-the-line Elite amplifier for 1985. It had more power--120 watts per channel--than the A-77x and more control features.  I have included the ad copy and specifications from the Elite advertisement that appeared in the October 1985 issue  of Audio magazine.


Photo: courtesy\


Photo: courtesy Spring Air GmbH

Pioneer introduced the A-91D Integrated Stereo Amplifier to the American market in the latter part of 1987.  (The A-90 Integrated Stereo Amplifier with different voltage requirements was introduced in England, Europe and Asian countries; see the separate listing for the A-90). 

Pioneer offered the A-91D in the Elite line because integrated amplifiers were still a significant portion of the consumer electronics market and audiophiles appreciated the A-91D's convenience, as well as sonic performance.  Buyers could choose to add the F-91 Tuner to their system if so desired.  (It would be several years before Pioneer would offer an ELITE receiver.)  The A-91D was rated at 120 watts per channel into 8 ohms.  THD was a mere 0.003%.  Complete specs are given below, but among the most impressive was this amplifier's weight: nearly 66 pounds, making it one of the heaviest integrated amps on the market. 

M.S.R.P. for the A-91D was $1500.00 in 1987, but rose to $1600.00 in 1989.  It continued to be offered through 1990.   In the February 1988 Equipment Buying Issue of Stereo Review, Pioneer rolled out an expensive 16-page ad campaign for the Elite line of components with each component covered.  The ad copy and specifications from that ad are shown below.  Click on the thumbnail image to enlarge. High Fidelity magazine reviewed the A-91D in the March 1988 issue.

In the March 1988 issue, Pioneer continued the lavish ad campaign.  For the A-91D, the tag line read: "Turbocharge Your CD Player."  The full-color ad displayed the A-91D looming large, spread across both pages.  This site will run that ad copy in the near future.  In the meantime, enjoy reading the hyperlinks below.
A-91D Ad Copy            

A-91D Specs


Available worldwide under the PD-73 name and in Japan as a PD-2000LTD ; the ELITE tag and the shiny Urushi finish were for the US only.

From the same series as the lavish PD-93, the PD-73 is still high-end but not competing in the heavyweight league.
An added almuninium damping top plate, but only one power trafo ; 18-bit converters (two) and 20-bit/8x digital filter but "only" 11 regulations - etc.

Still present : 4mm aluminium front panel, honeycomb copper-plated chassis, gold-plated motor with ceramic shaft, low gravity center, FET buffered output stages... Plus efforts on LSI integration and simplification of the circuits.
Some plastic and a simplified pickup mechanism assembly - still more serious than current DVD players which all weigh two feathers and a half :)

Pioneer in Japan made a 2kg lighter PD-2000 (PD-71 elsewhere - thank you Konstantin !) version in champagne finish.


Producer: Pioneer, Japan
Frequency response: 2Hz - 20kHz
S/N: 113dB or more
Dynamic range: 99dB or more
Channel separation: 110dB or more
Total harmonic distortion: 0.0018% or less
Output voltage: 2.0V
Wow and flutter: Limit of measurement
Output terminals:
- Audio line output terminals
- Optical digital output terminal
- Coaxial digital output terminal
Number of channels: 2 channels (stereo)
Power requirements: AC 220V, 50/60Hz
Power consumption: 22W
Weight: 9.5 kg
Dimensions: 459 x 324 x 127 mm



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Copyright © 2002 Øyvind Haugland
Sist endret:  13 januar 2019

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