I was blessed enough to purchase my first Pioneer SX-1980 in 2008.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.I sold my first one in May 2009 and I've regretted it ever since.Fortunately,I bought another one Feb. 2010.I lost power on it shortly after I got it and it stayed stored for over a year.Finally when the funds were saved up,I had it electronically restored by Circle Stereo in Dripping Springs,Tx.Now it's singing like a new one with new caps all over the place and a rebuilt power supply board.And 6 output transistors in the right channel.And it is in very good shape for a 31 year old receiver.Back in the day,there was no way I could afford $1,295.00 for this MONSTER.Now the SX-1980 is valued at over 5 grand.Back in 1978,I didn't even know about the SX-1980.Only after Ebay did I find out about it's pure beauty and muscle.IMHO,it is the KING of all receivers,none can match it's build quality.I'd take the SX-1980 over the Tecnics SA1000 or Sansui G-33000 and day.Not saying the Technics or Sansui is not a fantastic receiver,they surely are.But it's the looks and great sound of this MONSTER SX-1980 that draws me to it.I can't say enough about this gorgeous piece of Japanese quality.To me,it is the Rolls Royce of all receivers.I've hooked the MONSTER up to my JBL-4410A's,Pioneer CS88A's,Kenwood KLA-700's,and Fisher STV-690's.Beautiful sound quality from each brand of speakers.For sound quality,the Pioneer SX-1280 ranks right up there with the SX-1980,just not quite as much power.But 185 WPC is plenty of power for anyone.I also owned a couple SX-1280's, sold them and should have kept them.I hope to keep this SX-1980 'til I go to my grave.I surely wish I had my first SX-1980 back.That one was as awesome as this second one.If any one ever gets a chance to grab one that's been well cared for,you'll never regret it.Of course,I may try and beat you to it.
I bought one of these monsters new in 1980 and hooked it up to a pair of Bose 901 IV's, a pair of Kenwood LS-408B's, a Technics SL1200-Mark II turntable, a Pioneer CT-F950 cassette deck, and a Pioneer 9500 equalizer. That system, anchored by the mind-blowing SX-1980, ended up chasing my Mom and Dad into a new house 4 houses down--yes, they bought another house 4 houses down from their original house that I was raised in and still lived in as a 21 year old in 1980. My Dad came into my room as he moved the last of his and Mom's things out of what became my new house. He glared at my gleaming, glowing Pioneer SX-1980 as it's jewelry-like silver face reflected massive amounts of the mid-day sunshine filtering through my window and sheers, and said in a newscaster type drone, "What is that thing? The Archangel Gabriel's trumpet blaster to signal the end of time on Earth? You keep that thing away from your Mom and I's new house." "Aww Dad!" I shot back with a bit of wounded pride in my voice. "You listen to one of your jazz records on this thing and you will run out and buy yourself one. It's not just for blasting rock records at sound levels the human ear wasn't meant to withstand you know."
I ended up selling the entire system, included my beloved SX-1980, in 1981 to a friend to go to college. No, it was way, way too large a system to put into a small college dorm room. I also thought Pioneer would keep making the SX-1980 at least until I graduated from college in 1985, or, I envisioned being able to buy my old unit back from my trusty childhood friend. No dice. Alas, Pioneer stopped making the SX-1980 in 1981 and my "friend" lost my unit in a divorce. Yes, his ex put my SX-1980 at the top of her list of things she demanded in the divorce. My friend got to keep a car, a cat, a dog, and half a house. My precious SX-1980 was lost. Imagine that. I haven’t forgiven this friend to this day for losing my baby to his smart ex. She has it to this day and won’t sell it. She even told me she wants to be buried with it when she kicks the bucket. Funny, that’s what I wanted to do with it! Give it back please!
Anyway, to make a long story short, I ended up buying a cherry SX-1980 from my little brother in 2009, who happened to own 3 of them! He also knows good sound when he experiences it, and, today’s multi-channel marketing gimmick junk just doesn’t do it for him. To him, today’s audio equipment is made as cheaply as possible to save on costs and increase profits. In 1979, Pioneer wanted to knock it’s competition to the moon and completely mesmerize its customers with a matchless wall of sound. In 2010, Pioneer and the rest of the manufacturers give a crap about the quality of sound coming from their products. To them, there are no true “audiophiles” left in the world. I beg to differ.
Unbelievably I am whole again. I now unwind in the eves listening to my jazz, old rock, pop, folk, space music, classical, and uncategorizable eclectic vinyl LPs on this thing. The crystal clarity. The breadth of the sonics . The cleanness at all frequencies and volumes. The purity and tightness of bass notes. The bell-like highs. The total absence of listening fatigue while bathing in the sound field of this piece of home audio history is as amazing today as it was then. If you dig into the specs of this thing, one thing will jump out at you and drop your jaw just as fast as the other more well known specs—the frequency response of this models amp is 5 Hz all the to 100,000 Hz!! Pioneer, or anyone for that matter, will never make anything that will sound as good as one of these ever again.
Nothing will be as reliable either. The people on here who have blown one of these up probably cross-phased the speaker wires, or miss-hooked up some other component (inserted a red composite into a "L" channel and a white one into a "R" channel, etc. Or they left their unit on, or plugged into the wall socket, during an electrical storm outside--a BIG no-no for any piece of electronic equipment, most of all the greatest single audio component of all time. My unit I have now has never been serviced and runs, RIGHT NOW, like it did when it was new in 1981. One reason for its continued life putting out matchless walls of pure sound is I keep it on a top-of-the-line surge suppressor/line conditioner, just as my Brother did before me in the 28 years he owned and used it. Read this and weep you negative people who want to bash this model. When well cared for and kept from surges, liquids, smoke, and miss-hookups, it will run beautifully for decades. When my unit finally needs new caps and a refreshing for $500 or more, it will be worth it because nothing made today at ANY price sounds as good as a Pioneer SX-1980!
This may be the best receiver ever made, in terms of sound quality. This beast was manufactured in the late 70s, early 80s - so no surround sound. What it does have is limitless, high-current, power. Take a look at the innards of this brute. The power section looks just like a Mark Levinson No 33. The capacitors are gigantic. I've never found another receiver that can even approach the dynamic headroom of this monster. Hook this baby up to a great set of speakers (I've listed to this receiver connected to RBH T-2s and a pair Status Acoustics Titus speakers), and you'll have a listening experience that can be matched by only the finest in separates. If you get a chance to buy one of these at a good price, don't hesitate. They are extremely rare, and unbelievably impressive.
I bought this reciever for 600 bucks after seeing it a friends house, prior to that, I was sworn to seperate components. The vintage stereo shop had two of them, I should have bought them both. This Godzilla is virtually a power amp mascarading as a reciever, with heat sinks, weighing 80+ pounds, and cranking out 270 RMS. I play drums and when I crank em up (on my Speaker factories with dual 12" drivers) I can barely hear myself. This monster is not for the faint of heart, for those who want light and cheap, go to the neighborhood garage sale, and pick up one of those five in one component sets that you can buy for 10 bucks. I listen to jazz, r&b and rock. The Pioneer brings it alive with multiple bass and treble settings, we even used her as a PA system. It has a wonderful Quartz tuner, and along with the brushed aluminum finish, it lights up beautifully. I am totally pleased. Did I mention it weighs 80+ pounds?
I bought this reciever after seeing it at a friends house, I used to be a seperate component guy until feasting my eyes on this notable exception. It's Godzilla mascarading as a reciever, (it weighs in excess of 80lbs)! There were two units at the vintage audio place where I bought it, I should have have bought em both. You'll hardly ever see anything like it. With 270 watts RMS, I power my speaker factory towers (two twelve inch drivers each cabinet) with it. Whatever kind of music you like, r&b, jazz, rock, it redifines the listening experience. It not only sounds good but has a beautiful brushed aluminum face, knobs and switches. If you see one, get it for the value alone, (unless you are one of those people who like a nice tidy five in one, two pound "mega sound" boom boxes), that are avaliable at your nearest garage sale. This is a rare bird, and increases in price over the years (still fetches at least the 1978-80 price of 1200.00). Did I mention it weighs over 80lbs?