Pioneer SX-V90/SX-V900: WOW!!!!

Discussion in 'Pioneer Audio' started by vintagestereo, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. vintagestereo

    vintagestereo Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,179
    Just recieved my SX-V900 (black SX-V90) today. I was expecting something just slightly better than the SX-3900 I disposed of a few months back. But, WOW!!! This thing is actually GREAT!!!

    Stuffed inside is a big 'old Toroidal Transformer. And, you know how I love those! Then there are those two seperate banks of heatsinks with 4 discrete output transitors on each one. Better yet! The two 71V 15,000 uF ELNA filter caps are a bit less than I could hope for, but, I've got to admit that this thing sounds REALLY GOOD! Out back, there's a Pre-Out/Main-In, which is an abolute requirement for any Receiver I buy now.

    Why does it sound so good? Probably, because it has the same basic technology as Pioneer's A-90 Amplifier and F-90 Tuner. Specifially, it has a non-switching DC amplifier rated at 125 wpc @ 0.005% THD. The A-90 featured a 200 wpc non-switching amp and the A-80 had a 125 wpc version, so this is basically the A-80's amplifier section. The FM Section features the F-90's Digital Direct Decoder circuitry with a S/N Ratio of 82 dB in Stereo, which is almost unheard of in a Receiver. Seperation is 50 dB. The broadcasts sound exceptionally clean and clear.

    Also, the SX-V900 also has one of the brightest, most attractive Fluroscan displays I've ever seen. The a huge "water-fountain"-style power meter and the station display is also about as large as I've ever seen. For 1985, Pioneer was definately ahead of the pack in display technology.

    Best of all, even after 20 years, thing thing functions flawlessly. No noise in the switches and the power delivery feels immense. This thing actually tested out at almost 150 wpc in a Stereo Reveiw Test Report.

    I'm still hoping to get an A-90 to go with my F-90, but those are few and far between. However, this taste of Pioneer's non-switching amp. technology has got me going! The SX-3900 was the first Pioneer Recevier with the non-switching amp., however, this is two generations farther alonge and it's clear that Pioneer was on the right pathy. It's a technology that really produces audible results. The SX-V90 will do just fine for now.

    So, I'm most assuredly not going to be shedding any tears over the sale of my SX-3900, handsome as it is/was. The SX-V90/V900 is simply superior in almost every meaningful respect.

    When time permits, I'm going to pit it in a comparison test against the Yamaha R-2000, The Carver Receiver, the Kyocera R-851 and R-861, Luxman RX-103, Kenwood KR-1000 Galaxy Commander and a few other mid-80's TOTL units I have lying around here and see how it does. Frankly, I expect it to come out on top. I'm THAT impressed with it. :D

    For a TOTL Pioneer, this one goes right under the radar. If you have a chance to get one, by all means do so. You'll be thanking me for this information.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2006
  2. Randy Quad

    Randy Quad Quadraphonic Survivor

    Messages:
    277
    Location:
    San Francisco, Ca
    i'll have to see it to believe it. pictures please.
     
  3. tentoze

    tentoze Twangophile

    Messages:
    25,709
    Location:
    Somewhere Else
    Got one going to market, eh.
     
  4. vintagestereo

    vintagestereo Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,179
    Nope. This one's a "keeper" for me, although I'm referring to it as "stink bomb" for the moment cuz it reeks of the odor of 20 years of sitting in a smoker's home. I actually got in trouble with my wife when she came home last night and wanted to know where I'd been! :nono:

    What's cool about this one is it looks like BPC, but actuallly has some guts to it.....Receiver-wise. Certainly the comparable seperates most likely have better contruction, but as a nice little time capsule of Tech from the period....it's sweet. Wonder if anyone else here has one and feels the same way.
     
  5. Retro Stereo

    Retro Stereo Moderator Moderator

    Messages:
    6,801
    Location:
    Owatonna, Minnesota
    You should take it up a step further and find yourself an M-91 amplifier. The M-91 is the perfected version of the A-90 in an amplifier only form. The "A" series Pioneer integrateds always seemed to have problems. I bought two A-80's off eBay that were said "to be in working condition", but they weren't. After asking a few questions about the "A" series here and there, I've found that just about everywhere I turned, owners were not happy. I think Pioneer had the right idea with them, but there were a few bugs they needed to iron out. I think they did that with the M-91 amp and C-91 preamp.



    Retro
     
  6. alwayslooking

    alwayslooking Recorded Live

    Messages:
    738
    A-90

    I have only had mine a few months but no problems so maybe I got lucky.
     
  7. Unican_Eric

    Unican_Eric Pioneerious Collecticus

    Messages:
    3,070
    Location:
    Cornwall,Ontario, Canada
    Ok, I'll do it.

    :worthless
     
  8. vintagestereo

    vintagestereo Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,179
    How about a review of it? I think the non-switching Amp. design sounds pretty amazing! If you want to unload yours now that you know how unrealiable they are, please PM. :D
     
  9. vintagestereo

    vintagestereo Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,179
    Randy -- I've added photos to the intial post.
     
  10. vintagestereo

    vintagestereo Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,179
    Thanks for the advice, but I'm a "died in the wool" Receiver guy. Don't really care for seperates. I try to get the most sophisticated, great-sounding Receiver I can. I do have some seperates (mostly Denon and Pioneer) but I enjoy listenting to Receivers more...I like the way they look all it up. (I know, how childish!)
     
  11. PioneerGuy85

    PioneerGuy85 needs more Fluroscan

    Messages:
    1,057
    Location:
    61265 IL US
    I'm thinking your SX-3900 was not quite up to snuff, VS. That reciever is scantly more than a differently laid out SX-3900 with microproccessor controls and a few extra features. I can take mine up to the point that the meters are almost constantly maxed, with absolutely no audible distortion. By that point, my windowpanes are moving about as much as the Mach Twos' woofers :) I absolutely LOVE mine.
     
  12. vintagestereo

    vintagestereo Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,179
    Hi PioineerGuy85. Interesting point. However, I had my SX-3900 tested by my Tech, like I do every receiver I get (to make sure the house doesn't burn down) and it had no issues. So, I can only conclude that Pioneer progressively improved the sound of these non-switching amp. units over the years with the SX-8, the SX-V90 and then the SX-V900. I believe that the SX-3900 was the first one to have this advanced design (I'm pretty sure the DX-7000 was a conventional design).

    When I had the SX-3900, I A/B'd is against an SX-1250 and SX-1280 and it didn't sound as good so I decided it was not worth keeping. I know that the power supply was not as robust as that of the SX-1250 and the SX-1280 and maybe the absence of the Dual Power design had something to do with it. Of course, it's not as powerful as those brutes either, so perhaps the comparison was unfair. However, when I lifted the top off, I wasn't very impressed with what I saw inside, since I'm a big build-quality fanatic. I also had an SX-8, and that was even worse. (IMHO, it's the ungliest of the TOTL Pioneers). So, I'd pretty much given up on Pioneer's 1980's gear, up to the Elite VSX-95, which is one GORGEOUS HUNK, until I read a review of the SX-V90 in Stereo Review a few months ago. The review was glowing. So, I put "SX-V90" in my E-Bay Favorite Searches and, instead, the SX-V900 showed up with a BIN of $140.00. That was a quick sale.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=5850889703&rd=1&sspagename=STRK:MEWN:IT&rd=1

    The Toroidal Transformer in the SX-V900 looks much bigger than the one in the SX-3900, which was side-mounted, as I remember it. However, it would be great if you could post some nudies of the SX-3900 so we could see how Pioneer's design evolved over time. I didn't take any of mine. :no:

    Having now had a chance to listen to the SX-V900 I must say it sounds MUCH BETTER than the vast majority of TOTL Receivers I own. I can't say that the SX-3900 had the same effect. So, that's why it's no longer here. I have finite space for my collection (wife's orders) and if something better shows up, something I have says "bye-bye".

    I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this Receiver. I know you love your SX-3900, but be open minded! You should give this one a try and see if it makes as much of an impression on you as it did on me. As far as I can tell, it's the best of Pioneer non-switching amp. Receivers.

    And, please, would love to see some nudies of the SX-3900!!!!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2006
  13. PioneerGuy85

    PioneerGuy85 needs more Fluroscan

    Messages:
    1,057
    Location:
    61265 IL US
    hey, I'm not closed to much. If I find an SX-V90 or V900 for not too much money I'll buy it. I'm like that with stereo equipment :) (and it's hampering my car hobby!) It sounds promising based on your description. Out of curiosity what kind of speakers were/are you using?

    BTW, the SX-D7000 -was- a differently laid out SX-3900 with a couple extra features. Its controls were predominantly pushbuttons with the exception of the volume/balance control and tone sliders, but all were physical switches as opposed to being microproccessor controls. I'll tell you, I LOVE the "illuminated icecube" function buttons! Internally it's nearly identical, it even has the same side-mounted toroidal and caps. It had 3 sets of speaker connections as opposed to the 3900's 2. It also had a direct MC cartridge input. I want one of them to compliment my 3900.

    My 3900 is dirty inside but I'll try to find some time to clean it up and get some nudies sometime in the near future.
     
  14. vintagestereo

    vintagestereo Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,179
    Interesting. So, the SX-D7000 is basically a SX-3900 with a different face, is that correct? I've always though it looked rather interesting. Do you have one as well?

    I try to have a set of speakers for each of my Receivers, so, as you can imagine, it's pretty tight. I have a few of the really big ones hooked up to big speakers. But, for the time being, the SX-V900 is hooked up to some Polk R-15s (el cheapo. crapo HT speakers). However, I did listen to it through my DCM Time Frame 700s and that's was cause my initial excitement. On the R-15s all the great bottom end disappears, but, I'm still really impressed with how clean the FM reception is with the IF setting on "Wide". I've been A/Bing is with the Sansui G-9000, which has an excellent analog 5-gang Tuner, and it's really close call. However the SX-V900, as played through the R-15, has a significantly more "alive" high end. That's what's put it near the top of my collection sound-wise. Only the Concept 16.5, Marantz 2285B, Yamaha CR-2020 and the Rotel RX-1603 sound better to my ears.

    So far, from what I can tell, the 1980's TOTL Pioneer Receivers are SX-D7000, SX-3900 (overlap), SX-8, SX-V90, SX-V900, ?, ?, VSX-9300 and VSX-9500. I'll check my Buyer's Guides to fill in the missing pieces. My Pioneer Elite is just a gussied up version of the VSX-9500. Looks great, but for a 125 wpc amp., just doesn't impress me that much. I only keep it for the looks. If something really nice comes along, it's "gonner".

    Thanks for the info....not get to work and give that SX-3900 a bath!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2006
  15. PioneerGuy85

    PioneerGuy85 needs more Fluroscan

    Messages:
    1,057
    Location:
    61265 IL US
    Don't have one, but would like one. I have watched probably hundreds of auctions for both over the last 4 years and there have been enough nudie shots of each I've been able to study to come to that rough conclusion. I'm sure there are other small differences, but the units are basically the same with different faceplates.
     
  16. vintagestereo

    vintagestereo Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,179
    It would be fun to see some nudies of both. It was a strange marketing move by Pioneer for sure.
     
  17. 240 Volts

    240 Volts Strange, yet oddly normal

    Messages:
    522
    Location:
    West Yorkshire, UK
    Wow!! :yikes:
    That sure is one ugly looking receiver you've got there - I think it's even worse than your Kenwood KR-1000 Galaxy Commander, and I never thought I'd be able to say that about anything. :D

    - Richard B.
     
  18. crooner

    crooner Tube Marantzed

    Messages:
    4,052
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    LOL!!! :lmao:
    Just think about it, 15 such receivers at 100 bucks average makes $1500 which buys you a SX-1980 these days...
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2006
  19. vintagestereo

    vintagestereo Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,179
    Crooner -- Let's see, how many watts would that add up to? 125x15 =

    I all honesty, I used to listen to SX-1980s all day long when I sold 'em and just never really cared for their sound. And, I thought the SX-1280 was a nicer looking unit. Of course your SX-5590 is simpley AWESOME LOOKING!! However, the asymmetrical styling of the SX-1980, with the oddly sized power meters, just looks weird to me and the well-known reliability problems make it just TOO risky as an investment at this moment, when I have to be a bit tighter with money than I would prefer. Sure it would make an interesting addition to my collection, but it's just not something I have any great desire for at the moment. However, I admire your courage in taking one on.

    As for me, I'll take 15 SX-V900s any day. :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2006
  20. vintagestereo

    vintagestereo Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,179
    Richard - Believe me, I had nothing to do with the styling. (Although I don't think it looks half bad.....) You should write to Pioneer about that. :D

    I also agree that a Galaxy Commander is rather ugly at first blush but it's certainly an acquired taste.....it grows on you. I just with they hadn't used PLASTIC on the faceplate. Now, that's tacky!! That's probably why Kenwood has just never ranked up there on my desireability list, even though I have several of their TOTL Receivers. The cosemtics on their Receivers just isnt' that great. Probably their best effort was the 200 wpc KR-9050, the predecessor to the Galaxy Commander. That's an AWESOME looking piece, although the sound quality isn't all that great.

    As for the SX-V900, I got this primarily as a curiousity piece to see if Pioneer had continued its downhill slide, starting with the SX-3900 and the SX-8. And, from what I can tell, things were actually IMPROVING a bit by the time the SX-V90 came out.

    I'm really happy with the sound quality and would recommend it HIGHLY to ayone who is into BANG FOR THE BUCK. It's right up there with my best sounding receivers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2006

Share This Page