1978 Original RRP ($USD): $1,295.00
Inflation Adjusted RRP ($USD): $4,574.00
This is it! The Big Kahuna! The most powerful Receiver of its time! What else do I need to say?
……well if you insist 🙂
In the 1970’s Pioneer was not just a meaningless brand name. The company had truly led the industry not just in cutting edge research and development but also in terms of design and aesthetics producing industry firsts in many areas.
As their brand suggested they were in fact Pioneering the brave new worlds of stereo. They were the first company to introduce a 100 Watt RMS Receiver, a 160 Watt RMS Receiver and a 270 Watt RMS Receiver. They say that imitation is highest form of flattery, and Pioneers aesthetics heavily influenced their competitors with even Marantz imitating aspects of their design.
The Pioneer SX-1980 was their flagship top-of-the-line Receiver from 1978-1980 and was the most powerful Receiver on the market upon it’s release. It is no overstatement to say it is one of the most desired and sort after vintage amplifiers on the planet today. Sure there’s the Sansui G33000, the Kenwood KR-9050, Marantz 2600 and the Technics SA-1000, however these were created after the SX-1980, and mostly because of the SX-1980 in the first place. All of them are excellent receivers with their dedicated followers, but none of them have inspired the wide popularity and almost cult following that this receiver has. This was Pioneer’s last receiver built for the Receiver Wars.
Released in 1978 the SX/80 Series followed on from the extremely successful SX/50 Series and saw subtle but stylish aesthetic improvements and increased wattage throughout the range. It also saw the introduction of a new top model – the SX-1980. Pioneer had again raised the bar in the final years of the Receiver Wars.
Building on much of the technology of the SX-1250, the SX-1980 included some subtle technical additions. Other than the increased wattage the other metric that saw a massive improvement over their previous model was THD – which saw a reduction from 0.1% to a tiny 0.03% across it’s entire power spectrum.
The amplifier consisted of a cascade connected, current mirror loaded, differential amplifier with a three-stage Darlington triple parallel-push-pull direct coupled OCL circuit. Just try saying that three times! With a dual power supply arrangement incorporating a massive toroidal-core transformer with two independent windings and four ‘Coke Can Sized’ 22,000uf filter capacitors provides the amplifier with an enormous reservoir of power to draw from.
Vinyl fans will love the the phono section on these units with 3 cartridge impedance and capacitance settings for the phono input and a 500ma phono pickup that cannot be overloaded by any magnetic cartridge.
This model also featured Pioneer’s unique dual tone controls for Bass and Treble which they boasted would give you tens-of-thousands of tone combinations.
Physically this unit is impressive measuring 56cm (22″) Wide X 21.1cm (8 5/16″) High X 49.7cm (19 9/16″) Deep and weighs an incredible 35.4Kg (78 lbs). Its brushed aluminium fascia is one of the most attractive ever produced during the 1970s and would stand out as a feature in any lounge-room.
This is the model of receiver that recently went head to head with modern amplifiers in a blind listening test in which it was overwhelmingly voted as having the best sound. – http://www.audioreview.com/cat/amplification/receivers/pioneer/sx-1980/prd_118735_1593crx.aspx
Specifications (the short version)
- Power output: 270 watts per channel into 8 ohms
- Total harmonic distortion: 0.03%
- Frequency response: 5Hz to 80kHz (line)
- Signal to noise ratio: 87dB (phono), 100dB (line)
- FM tuning section: 87.5 to 108 MHz
- AM tuning section: 525 to 1605 kHz
- Dimensions: 560 x 211 x 497mm
- Weight: 35.4kg
“I can’t say enough about this gorgeous piece of Japanese quality.To me,it is the Rolls Royce of all receivers.” – http://www.audioreview.com/cat/amplification/receivers/pioneer/sx-1980/prd_118735_1593crx.aspx
“It is the most awesome receiver my ears have ever heard.And I’ve heard a lot of them in my 50+ years of listening to audio equipment.”– http://www.audioreview.com/cat/amplification/receivers/pioneer/sx-1980/prd_118735_1593crx.aspx
“This may be the best receiver ever made…[t]hey are extremely rare, and unbelievably impressive.” – http://www.audioreview.com/cat/amplification/receivers/pioneer/sx-1980/prd_118735_1593crx.aspx
“This monster is not for the faint of heart” – http://www.audioreview.com/cat/amplification/receivers/pioneer/sx-1980/prd_118735_1593crx.aspx
“The SX 1980 is a receiver for a fortunate few. I’ve owned it for a while and say what you will about the Marantz, Kenwood, and Sansui of the same period (1978-1981) and it matches up with them and exceeds it most areas.” – http://www.audioreview.com/cat/amplification/receivers/pioneer/sx-1980/prd_118735_1593crx.aspx
“I believe the SX-1980 is one of the best receivers Pioneer ever built, and I’ve never regretted the purchase.” – http://www.audioreview.com/cat/amplification/receivers/pioneer/sx-1980/prd_118735_1593crx.aspx
“This unit is possibly the best piece of mass market audio gear ever built.” – http://www.audioreview.com/cat/amplification/receivers/pioneer/sx-1980/prd_118735_1593crx.aspx
“They can keep their all black components with plastic knobs and face plates. This is a real component, 18 years old and I’ll put it up against anything made today. You young boys need to learn what the real Hi- Fi days were all about!!” – http://www.audioreview.com/cat/amplification/receivers/pioneer/sx-1980/prd_118735_1593crx.aspx
“It is the most awesome receiver my ears have ever heard.” – http://www.audioreview.com/cat/amplification/receivers/pioneer/sx-1980/prd_118735_1593crx.aspx
Specifications (The long version)
Posted In: Coming Soon, Featured, Receivers
My Dads reciever,he had 4 Bose 901s used to turn it up could dry my hair after a shower,just stand behind one of the speakers,now my girlfriend wonders why there are certain sounds I can’t hear,my father’s bankruptcy pretty much did us in and had to sell, after 30 plus yrs and since my father’s passing 13yrs ago I’ve made it one of my life’s goals to repurchase this stereo in his honor 5 k is a lot for me god bless
Got an SX 1250 I never use….oh whell….
I owned this receiver in 1985 purchased it in mint condition for $500 Australian dollars. 1 owner in Mint condition. Sold it a year later for $1000 in 1986 to a guy that just had to have it. I have regreted the sale ever since. I still remember the effortless power of a drum beat thru a huge pair of yamaha speakers similar to ns1000s the meters ficking into the 200 watt zone. Never to this day have i heard anything equal to power and tone of this thing. I do remember when i switched the power on, all the lights would dim in the house for a few 2nds similar to a welder just turned on. Now a mint one is Thousands.
One for sale in Australia at $7500.00!!!!
Wish I had bought one in the eighties.
Paul Anderson Ed.D.
Pioneer SX 1980
In 1971 I had purchased my first Pioneer Receiver, JBLLancer 99’s, and a Sony PS 1800 Turntable. Over the years my collection has varied as many tend to do. My first choice has become the standard ,by which I have compared all other audio purchases. At a JBL dealer in Springfield, Mass., I was a bit confused at the massive selection of HiFi audio equipment. Looking stupid, I asked the store owner for some help: His words of wisdom were, choose your speakers by how they sound, and not by the price. Then choose a receiver that is best matched to your speakers a 45w Pioneer for me. The engineers in my group were purchasing high power receivers, and blowing the speakers. Unless you are planning on destroying the plaster in the man cave 65w is plenty. In 1978 I did look at the Pioneer SX 1980, thinking to myself, I could power the house with this thing. I ended up with a Marantz and am currently shopping for a nice 1900 Macintosh.
The above best applies to me, and is not necessarily meant for the neighbor next door…
When the Pioneer SX 1980 arrived in 1978
I bought the sx 1050 in the early 80s , Always wanted the 1980 receiver. Well I finally got my hands on one, So I disconnected the sx1050 after 37
years and wired up the sx1980. Now the work began! I cranked it up a bit and it blew a chair across the room and hit me in the knee, than my table lamps hit the dust, and i had to screw the pictures to the studs in the wall, Had to buy ear plugs for the neighbors dog. Just had a foundation co. here to reinforce the basement walls, Other than that I love this thing,
Don Wentworth Don Wentworth
This is my second one I have owned in my life of 58 years and i will never sell this one. Hands down the best of all of the monster receivers in my opinion, matched with some amazing VMPS Super Tower/R Special Edition speakers I can literally made my walls breath and the neighbors as well. Love this receiver.
I purchased an sx-1980 and used it to run a Disk Jockey service. Back in 88: used it for about 4 years. Wish I’d never had sold it.
As I posted previously, the SX-1980 did not output 270W/ch but rather 145W/ch the SX-1980 failed the FTC test and Pioneer was issued a Cease & Desist order for fraudulent advertising. Shortly after that Pioneer discontinued the product. For some reason, probably cost Pioneer did not provide adequate heat sinking area.. It had a robust power supply but the amplifier would overheat and thermally shutdown… The only monster receivers that actually met their published power output specs were the Marantz 2385, 2500, 2600..
Pioneer SX-1980 – The Holy Grail of Vintage Receivers
This is my second one I have owned in my life of 58 years and I will never sell this one. Hands down the best of all of the monster receivers in my opinion, matched with some amazing VMPS Super Tower/R Special Edition speakers I can literally make my walls breath and the neighbors walls as well. I love this receiver