Pioneer SX-850 Receivers

4.94/5 (16 Reviews) MSRP : $550.00


Product Description

Vintage 1978 Receiver, 2 Ch. 85 W rms/ch.


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Reviews 1 - 5 (16 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Gerry M a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: September 21, 2012

Bottom Line:   
I got the vintage "bug" years ago and I have since collected a great number of vintage receivers and speakers. The Pioneer SX850 is one of my favorites. I am using it with a pair of B&W DM 220 monitors (mid 80s) in my office and the sound is simply great. I was lucky to find the received locally and the old couple that was selling it had put very little use on it. A burned bulb easily replaceable (with some patience), some cleaning with De-Oxit and this was it. I seem to enjoy the sound of vinage gear a lot, especailyl when I get in one of my nostalgic moods. They seem to make 70's music sound...at home!
The feel of this uint is really exquisite. It glows "quality". The sound is relatively smooth, the bass strong and the highs clean. It competes well with my other favorite mid/low powered receiver the marant 2252B although the Marantz beats the Pioneer in the "musicality" department.

As I said' these are great units to enjoy on a regular basis and w/o a critical ear. They sound great BUT can never compete with well made modern gear. I have the Sansui 9090DB, the Pioneer 1280, the Marantz 2325 (my favorite by far from all the vintage gear at home) and I enjoy them all in my 4 vintage systems around the house.

However, and just to put the record straight: NONE of these receivers can hold a candle to my audiophile system in the living room. NONE! (Musical Fidelity KW 500 amp, Sota Cosmos TT, Engleston Andras II sepakers etc).

Despite silly claims that "they do not make them as they used to" ...THEY ACTUALLY do...and MUCH much better! Advances in semiconductors, circuit topologies, manufacturing techniques, material science etc. makes well made modern gear WAY better than vintage stuff. The problem with some people is that they;

1. Have NEVER listened to a serious modern system (even a mid priced one)
2. Compare a 20 year old Mercedes (ie great vintage gear) with a modern Yugo (ie Best Buy plasticky crap). The comparison is not fair. My marantz 2325 was costing close to 1000 back in its days. It would cost close to 3000 or more today.
3. Cannot afford anything serious and they just dimsiss what they cannot afford as hogwash. (Yeah, I cannot afford a Porche Cayene so I believe it is not any better than my Honda Pilot).

Again, the Pioneer SX 850 is a superb receiver that if purchased in good condition will give great pelasure to its owner. pair it with good speakers and it will sing for you. There are better alternatives at similar prices (Marantz 2252B) but it does hold its own...

Enjoy the music

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dueldo a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: April 30, 2011

Bottom Line:   
My SX-850 is in mint condition, perfectly clean inside and out, not a single scratch and 100% original. I paid $150 for it from an estate sale and they were the original owners and I swear they kept it covered and never used it because I don't know how something this old could still be so pristine. I always keep mine covered with a microfiber towel when I am not using it because I WILL pass this on to my children when i die and I want it to remain as beautiful as it is today.

I think that receivers/amps/tuners/etc from the 70's are easily the best looking pieces of home audio equipment ever made. I personally like the pioneer silver series the best with the marantz a very close second. It blows me away how much detail and quality went into their entire construction and not just the outside but even the insides are a work of art. If you ever look inside one you will know what real quality is and whats crazy is the inside was really never meant to be seen.

As for the sound, they are simply amazing. I have listened to a lot of different receivers and amplifiers of varying price points and build quality and none have come close to the sound quality of my SX-850. Whats always funny to me is most "black box" gear claims 100-120 watts/ch, but this 85 watts destroys them in clarity, musicality, sound stage, and DB levels to boot. I will admit I have never listened to the crazy audiophile gear that costs many thousands of dollars, but I can't imagine how they could sound that much better than this. As many have said music if very neutral, but still very lively and engaging. I have used both pardigm 3semkIII, and home built Ero's by Wayne J. at speakerbuilder.net and I will sit and listen for hours and just want more no matter what I play.

The integrated tuner is another beast that lends to the quality of these machines. Not only do they pick up even the weakest stations, but you will be amazed at how good FM stereo sound quality can actually be. I think this is easily what has impressed me the most. This makes me really enjoy listening to all types of FM stations, but I have really come to enjoy listening to classical stations because it really does sound better on my SX-850.

Finally I must suggest that everyone get a power filter. I recently picked up a Panamax 1500 and after plugging my SX-850 into it and listening for 15 minute I was sold. The background is more quiet and the sound seems to be more dynamic and clear. Not to mention it is a lot healthier and more safe for all you home audio/theater equipment so it is worth the investment.

The only negatives I can say are the obvious....no remote control, it has push terminals for the speakers, you don't get the conveniences of digital tuners like presets (but how can you not love the feel of turning that dial?...so smooth!!), and I wish it had midrange tone control.

Just buy one if you have ever thought about it. You will never regret it. Like everyone has said...THEY WILL NEVER MAKE THEM LIKE THIS AGAIN. You are buying an investment in quality, craftsmanship, engineering and pure enjoyment

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by DonEagle a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: September 24, 2009

Bottom Line:   
Feel bad driving my SX-850 with my I pod I do have a Manual for the sx_850 and a pioneer LT_1011 reel to reel I can fax it to you
Bought new in 78 for $429
Using Bose Acustmic 7 speakers
I found out years ago to turn the knobs fron full left to full right to keep the pots clean Other then that I have no problems My twenty four year old calls it a hoopti But he is still eats meals out of a paper bag..

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Doug G a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: October 1, 2006

Bottom Line:   

I don't understand why they refuse to build like this anymore. Sure it would have to reflect in today's $$$. Instead they cram techno junk at us that is built to sound like the junk it is. Manufactures it seems, are driving the enthusiast to either settle being a casual listener with sound we really don't appreciate, or drive us broke becoming an audiophile who's willing to spend $1000's or 10's of $1000's. Equipment like the SX-850 fits a need for the middle guy who loves great, room filling sound with musical clarity and depth, without a re-mortgage.

Because of that there is a generation who don't understand how you can get so much great sound out of 65 watts per channel. They have been taught loud without musical. I like to see their reaction when our gen brings them into it. My son, in his twenties, has learned. Because of the craftsmenship and detail to reproducing music, he now listens with appreciation to music he would never have paid attention to, as I have for years.

You can tell when you look at the beauty of design, minimal use of plastic, this is serious mass and weight. There's more inside than a few chip amps connected to what amounts to an am-fm pocket radio. Just lift one these boxes of crafted components.

My receiver is showing it's age and soon it will need re-capped. For now, I am using it as a preamp to feed a Carver A-500X 250wpc amp and it sounds absolutely WOW! Agreeing with another reviewer here, I can't get much done when I flip the switch on.... I'll sit and listen all day long. By the end of the day, and the volume knob has now found it's way to 2/3 of it's travel, I found my ZEN and life is good again. I'll get my work done tomorrow.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Purchased At:   Inherited from the o



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by danfalk a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: July 15, 2006

Bottom Line:   
Wow. This has got to be the best sounding 65 watt receiver I have ever heard. The sonic purity is awesome. I have a SX-750 as well but the SX-850 sounds even better. Pioneer leaves Kenwood and Marantz in the dust with this one. I can't believe it is only 65 watts. It blows away my SX-1010 100 watt(which may have just been too old and tired) Sounds better than my SX-939 (75 watt) which sounds pretty darn good. I thought my Kenwood KR-6600 (60 watt) sounded good until I got this SX-850. I am running my sx-850 on pioneer hpm-100 speakers that I bought new in 1977. The tuner works perfect, the crossovers are a nice feature, the controls are quality. I did have to clean one switch and the volume control. All the lights still work. I can't imagine needing more power, but the avid enthusiast that I am I just bought a Kenwood KR-9600 (160 watt) on ebay. Haven't got it yet. I will let you all know how it sounds later. I am using this receiver for right and left channels with a dvd home theater player. Sounds better than the IMAX. Buy a sx-850,sx-950,sx-1050,or sx-1250. You will love em.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Purchased At:   friend




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