Choosing my first vintage Pioneer receiver

Discussion in 'Pioneer Audio' started by ex brickie, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. ex brickie

    ex brickie Member

    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    West Wales
    Hi guys

    I’ve not visited AK for several years but I’ve ventured back to seek the expertise of you Pioneer collectors. I’m currently living in west Wales, UK

    Over the last few years I’ve owned two Pioneer systems. One was a SPEC1/2 based system including a TX-8500 and RT-707. That’s all sold. Second system is a blue fluoroscan affair with a TX-D1000 , SA-7800, dynamic processor, reverb amplifier , equaliser, CT-F1250 cassette and HPM-150 speakers, That will shortly be going to make way for a nice receiver to plug my RT-909 into

    Clearly I’m downsizing but want to keep a retro Pioneer system that is just the simplicity of reel to reel and receiver (I listen to radio a lot). This is a second system - not my main, more modern rig

    That’s the background. Having read lots on here and looked at all the specs on Hifi Engine pages I can’t decide what to buy. My preference is for something with blue LED or background lighting. I know that sounds like a silly place to start but it narrows down the options! I’d rather have something that was originally blue than messing with the lamps

    I liked the look of the SX-D5000/7000 but hearing excerpts on YouTube they sounded a bit clinical (maybe that’s unfair based on laptop listening but I find my current Tuner a bit similar). I’d like a warmer sound that is sooooo... well Pioneer. I don’t need huge power as the speakers will be relative efficient to drive. Nothing too puny either. But I can afford to buy top of the line if I want to, but happy with mid-range if the sound quality is especially good.

    The SX-1xxx range (1010, 1280 etc) seem very expensive in the UK. Even the SX-8xx range is pricey. Any of those really would have to be a big step up sound quality wise to justify me spending that sort of money. So I’m dithering between something around Sx-3900/3800 range or something like an Sx-737. I must say I like the 737 for its robust toggle switches rather than buttons. I’m wary of some of the receivers with flimsy small buttons that seem to break easily and hard to replace.

    I hadn’t realised there were so many options around! Decent sound, a bit of power, reliability (I can get a tech to recap if necessary) and something that is a good cosmetic match for my RT-909 would be ideal.

    If anyone wants to put right my perception of the SX-D5000/7000 that is all good too.

    I look forward to your top tips - although I expect they might be varied! Especially as I can afford high end but only if it is a significantly better sound. I don’t need fancy features. I’m assuming they all have a phono stage.

    Many thanks
     

     

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  2. Bill S

    Bill S Thread Killer Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,021
    Location:
    Mukwonago, WI
    SX737 and 838 won't be as pricey as the larger receivers. Both have nice tuners and decent phono stage. Push buttons on the 838 can present problems but can be cleaned. You don't need more than 35wpc in most cases.
     
  3. larryderouin

    larryderouin Turn it UP, POP? PLLUUEEEZZZZZEE Subscriber

    Messages:
    22,226
    Location:
    Glen Burnie Md.
    Plus both the 737 and 838 have a "RECORDING SOURCE SELECTOR" that works quite well, in that you can listen to one source and record off another. Of the 2 I'd go with the 737. 35Watts, good looks, Blue lit dial, and it's about as bullet-proof as you can get (after it's been rebuilt). Mine runs 14-16 hours a day, 7 days a week.
     
  4. ex brickie

    ex brickie Member

    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    West Wales
    Useful functionality there.

    How do say 737s compare against a 750 on the tuner sound quality front? Which range has the better tuner given that I used to own and liked my TX 8500II tuner and have owned a classic Sansui TU - 9900 super tuner?
     
  5. Harvestor

    Harvestor Super Member

    SX1050, SX1250 would be my choices.... because of their Power output and said to be the ones better to work on vs SX1080 or SX1280

    But I don't know about these being able to do what you want.
     
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  6. gbroot

    gbroot Super Member

    Messages:
    2,132
    Location:
    NW Arkansas
    The SX-850 would also be a great choice. Pretty much the same features and cab as the 950 and 1050, but generally a few bucks less. I'd definitely say start at the 850 and go up from there. The 750 is a great sounding unit but has that pesky power, speaker selector switch which is quite prone to failure. What ever unit you decide on including the x3x series all have some known transistors and caps that are problematic with their age. Look at buying a restored unit or make sure you've got a technician lined up who can do the restoration. All of these units have excellent FM sections when working properly.
     

     

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  7. Stevescivic

    Stevescivic Active Member

    Messages:
    386
    If you do go for a fluoroscan receiver that be warned that if you need to repair them that they’re not an easy unit to work on. The SX-3800/3900 are fine choices but if I could choose between those two models it would be the SX-3900 because of more power. Depends on what you can get either model for.

    I would also agree with what others have said about the SX-850/950/1050/1250. The 850 isn’t too pricey and is a VERY well made unit but the lack of blue lighting may be a deal breaker.

    That being said I own a SX-3800 and love look of them and it does have sufficient gusto to really drive a set of efficient speakers to deafening levels. It CAN run out of steam when driven really hard hence why my recommendation on the SX-3900. It sounds extremely clean if not almost too accurate to a fault.

    I also have a SX-1050 and I love this one the most. It is extremely powerful, overbuilt and easy to refurbish if you need to. Replacement electrical parts are all off the shelf components with no unobtanium parts that I known of.

    I have no experience with the SX-1010, 939, 838, 737 but my understanding is that they too are fairly easy to refurbish and perhaps sound the warmest of Pioneer receivers. They have that beautiful blue background and may be just the right unit that fits the bill.
     
  8. tuberadios69

    tuberadios69 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Virginia
    I'd go for the QX-949A quad unit. Very cool cosmetics, decent sound, good power (40 watts RMS X 4, 20 - 20K) and fun to play around with. The quad decoder/synthesizer can provide some fun sound effects, too, with four speakers. Also great for TV sound (movies, sports, etc.) in a secondary system.
     
  9. ex brickie

    ex brickie Member

    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    West Wales
    Thanks for all the tips. I don’t need much power - it will be used in a 13x10 foot room, efficient speakers and not at very loud volumes.

    I could add blue LEDs if needed

    I don’t need loads of fancy features. The record selector on a 737 is a bonus but nowhere near a deal-breaker.

    Having listened to your advice so far I will want one that is fixable and where parts can be found. In the UK the units are often Ed described as ‘serviced’ but on probing is normally only a clean of switches and pots. Not a recap. So I will need a fixable model.

    There seems to be quite a jump in price in the x3x range here from a 636 to 737 and above

    A 750 is quite cheap here but a jump for 850 and above

    3900 expensive here - how good is the tuner section in the lower models in this range and can they be fixed OK?

    Which models should I avoid due to impossible to find parts or very hard to get at? That would help narrow things down

    Finally I prefer a slightly warmer sound so something around a 737 is getting increasingly attractive (or higher in the range)

    Keep the advice coming. Less to choose from here than in the US!
     
  10. peerson

    peerson Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    997
    Location:
    Kansas City area
    If you can find one, you will love an SX1010! 100wpc. Nice, warm vintage sound. Lots of headroom. And, it has the "look". Definitely my favorite of all of the Pioneers that I have had. I will never sell mine.
     
  11. ex brickie

    ex brickie Member

    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    West Wales
    The difference in price can be huge though....

    I’ve seen a cleaned inside (but not re-capped) 737 for £300, a standard 750 for around £160 but a re-capped 1010 would be nearer £1000. Big price difference.

    Are the 1010s fixable too - ie are the parts still available? I understood some high end receivers had unobtainable parts

    Is the 1010 tuner section up with the best of Pioneers tuners of the late 70s?
     

     

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  12. peerson

    peerson Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    997
    Location:
    Kansas City area
    I bought mine for $300 USD and put @ $200 in the servicing. Apparently more readily available, here then there. I cannot speak to "Unobtanium" parts, but I have been told by techs that it one of the easier units to refurb.
     
  13. ex brickie

    ex brickie Member

    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    West Wales
    @peerson - is your price relating to the 1010 model? I doubt I could find one of those anywhere close to that price in the UK - even allowing for $1 = £1
     
  14. peerson

    peerson Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    997
    Location:
    Kansas City area
    Yes, that is my SX1010
     
  15. ex brickie

    ex brickie Member

    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    West Wales
    How do QX receivers shape up in the sound quality stakes? I don’t need the four channels but if they have good tuner sections and decent sound quality they give me a bit more option here in the UK.
     
  16. 55Redneck

    55Redneck Canadian Redneck

    Messages:
    1,233
    Location:
    Hedley BC Canada
    I vote for the SX D7000. I bought one a couple of years ago in mint original condition (covered in nicotine mind you) and I love everything about it. Plenty of power (120 watts) and it'll run almost any speaker you want to hook up to it with ease. I can't say I know much about the tuner because where I live we are surrounded by mountains and there is no radio signals here at all, am or fm. I'm running a pair of PSB designed Luxman speakers and they are a good match for the 7000. The Luxes like power and the 7000 has it. ;) I also run a pair of Paradigm 7SE's series one and they sound pretty good too.
     

     

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  17. ex brickie

    ex brickie Member

    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    West Wales
    If I was going on a visual match with my reel to reel the SX-D7000 (or 5000) would win every time. However, my experience with the digital range of Pioneer tuners (I currently have a TX-D1000) is that they are less warm sounding than the older ranges. They sound a little harsh to my ears - and I intend using the receiver quite a lot for radio.

    I know I shouldn’t say this on Pioneer pages but the older Marantz ranges have a nice blue lighting to them and they sound warm too. I used to own a lower range tuner of theirs. No idea how their mid to high range receivers match alongside the equivalent Pioneers.....
     
  18. rkgren1

    rkgren1 Super Member

    Messages:
    1,030
    Location:
    Yorktown, VA
    You could probably be happy with many of the 1970s models.
    I would tend to look for the mid-range models, both for the numbers available and the fact that they have plenty of power for most uses.
    I am running a 636 right now in my living room.
    It's plenty for my uses.

    I have a 950 as well. I like the extra high frequency detail that it has, but a bit of tweaking of the tone controls on the 636 makes the differences between the two small.
     
  19. ex brickie

    ex brickie Member

    Messages:
    56
    Location:
    West Wales
    That's helpful because there is a huge difference in price in the UK between a clean 737 and the higher end models (3900, 1010). I haven't heard a bad word about the 737 and I'm sure it would meet my needs power wise - so long as the tuner section is pretty decent
     
  20. KorkTheWolf

    KorkTheWolf New Member

    Messages:
    1
    It sounds like you just need an overhauled mid range Pioneer - they are all good in fairness.
    On our side of the water though this gear is much more expensive that in the states, especially gear that has been brought back to factory spec with full recap of electrolytic etc.
     

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