The First Year of the Receiver War.
The SX-1010 was Pioneer’s flagship Receiver for 1974 and retailed for a hefty $699.99 USD which would translate to around $3,269.00 USD today.
Pioneer’s revolutionary 1010 was driven by a Direct Coupled Parallel Push-Pull OCL Power Amplifier powered by Dual Power Supplies incorporating two massive 18,000uf filter capacitors. This amplifier effortlessly produced it’s advertised 100 Watts RMS minimum output with only 0.1% THD and matched it with an impressive amount of head-room. Physically it was an impressive unit measuring over half a meter across and weighing a hefty 22.2 kg and was finished in genuine Walnut veneer and featured a stunning cool-blue backlit tuner dial and shining aluminum fascia filled with an array of toggle switches and dials.
This unit also came with a plethora of tone control options including Pioneer’s unique dual, two-stage Bass and Treble controls along with a bunch of dubbing options and twin turntable inputs.
None of the other manufacturers had anything that came close to touching the performance of the Pioneer SX-1010 upon its launch in 1974.
Sansui’s Top-Of-The-Line Receivers the 881 and the 9010 were measuring only 63 Watts per channel in an IHF rating (which means it would have been much less than 40 Watts RMS). Kenwood’s KA-7002 was rated at 70 Watts per channel RMS, the Marantz 2270 was delivering 70 Watts per channel RMS and Yamaha’s CR-1000 was rated at 70 Watts IHF per channel (which would translate to somewhere less than 40 Watts RMS as well).
Pioneer had thrown down the gauntlet to the other manufacturers who had to scramble to respond.
Marantz was the first to topple Pioneer’s claim to having the most powerful Receiver on the market, and in August of 1974 they released the superb and absolutely exquisite Marantz 2325 Receiver.
How had Marantz responded so quickly? Marantz already had a dedicated power amplifier component, the Marantz 250, that was producing 125 Watts RMS per channel. Marantz essentially took this amplifier and built a receiver around it.
To achieve 125 Watts minimum RMS per channel at 8 Ohms both channels driven the Marantz 2325 utilised a dual power setup (dual secondary windings sharing a primary) and two 15,000uf filter capacitors to drive a Direct Coupled Full Complimentary Symmetrical Output Power Amplifier.
The other important performance metric is of course Harmonic Distortion at the rated output, which the Model 2325 scored 0.15%, note that this is 50% more distortion than the Pioneer SX-1010. A difference of 0.05% might not seem like much but very shortly fierce competition was about to erupt on this metric as well.
Aside from performance the Model 2325 incorporated many top-of-the-line features including a Dolby processor that could be applied to various inputs, triple tone controls with adjustable frequency ranges, and that unique ‘gyro’ tuner dial that was to remain on all Marantz receivers into the next decade.
IMHO this generation of Marantz Receiver’s are amongst the most beautiful ever made and featured a cool blue back-lit tuner dial with push-button controls. A walnut cabinet was available at an additional cost.
Retailing at $799.00 USD (~$3,855.00 USD in 2015) this system cost a full $100.00 more than the Pioneer SX-1010, but then, that’s what you had to pay to own the most powerful Receiver of 1974.