Pioneer SX-1250 Receivers

Pioneer SX-1250 Receivers 

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 42  
[Aug 18, 2019]
pauleyh


Strength:

This is the all time greatest receiver pioneer ever made!! It’s robust class of engineering and performance edges it over its big brothers the 1280 and 1980. The sound is way better and warmer. Pioneers legacy will be remembered through this piece it was like a work of art!!

Weakness:

There’s none really I can detail but it’s very akward and heavy due to the massive and amazing build but you will get over that.

Price Paid:
1000
Purchased:
Used  
Model Year:
1976
OVERALL
RATING
5
[Oct 16, 2010]
sescds
AudioPhile

Last week I picked up an SX-1250. My brother had a mint condition one and I have generally been a Sansui man, but I still had a yearning for a bix SX. Well thanks to Craigslist, I found one nearby. It didn't work and it was filthy and crappy looking. I ended up paying $160 for it, but I wanted the challenge. Soon I discovered it needed 3 main filter caps, so I decided to recap the entire unit. I changed out the main filter caps with 4 new 80V 35,000UF Cornell Dublers and got the rest of the caps from Digi-key. I completely disassembled the unit, painted the heat sinks, top cover, bottom cover, refinished the wood case and did the recap job. cleaned all knobs, switches and controls (pots), and adjusted the center of tuning meter. After a box of q-tips and using a toothbrush and rags and just about anything I could find small to clean out all the nook and cranny's , it became a clean respectable unit. Best of all, after powering it up, and with no bench equiptment to adjust it with, it came back to life after what I suspect was many years of sitting as a door stop. I'm preforming the "burn-in" of the unit now, and I couldn't be happier with it, even though I have slightly over $300 total investment in it now. I hope it lasts for another 30 years!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Dec 19, 2009]
Allen
AudioPhile

My score is the average as of this date, 4.84. Close enough to it. The unit is very heavy. It is large and solidly built. The amplifier is sweet, smooth, crisp and powerful. The switches have a distinctly good feel of quality. The flywheel tuning does just that, with one turn, the slide rule covers the entire tuning dial. The amp sounds like a powerful tube amp. The FM tuner is excellent. I suspect that many of these units have a slight tuning calibration problem. I have never used the AM section. I own two of these and use them daily. The two units have differences, for example only one of the units has a flying flywheel! The other one has a regular, slightly less enthusiastic response. I believe that many of these units have been rebuilt over the years which accounts for the variations between the two I own. My overall feeling about the SX-1250 is that it is about as good as I am willing to spend and still enjoy what I consider to be perfect quality musical sound. The purity and clarity of the amplifier makes all of my components sound so much better than the many other systems I own and use every day. I own and use enough other stuff that I can make somewhat of a comparison. To summarize, I like this product because it is rock solidly built, heavy-duty, powerful, sweet-sounding and actually, it is a good looking product. This is my favorite overall audio component. That is quite a compliment!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 07, 2009]
steve
Audio Enthusiast

I just hooked up my old SX 1250 to some ESS AMT1a speakers and I had forgotten how god they sound together. Juggling the tone controls with loudness switch this combo is really sweet. I had considered buying new stuff, that is now an after thought. I'll stick with what I have, both amp and speakers are solid.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Dec 09, 2008]
5Hero
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

The high watermark of Japanese audio engineering, lashings of brushed aluminium, real glass and real walnut veneer. Imposing but understated looks, soft lit white tuning meters and amber indicator lamps look great against the aluminium and walnut case. All controls and switches feel quality, spin the tuning knob and the dial silently glides right accross the scale...try doing this on a mid 80's one.

True 150-200w RMS power output, hook it to a good pair of large speakers and you can hear the power output in the quality of solid bass it can put out at high volumes. Able to drive 4 ohm speakers with aplomb unmatched by many other amps.

Three speaker outputs, ideal to use the first two for a pair of bi-wired main speakers and the third for a small pair of monitors.

Nice set of tone controls, both bass and treble have main and sub controls, the 50hz sub on ther bass adds great low end presence without mudding the sound.

Very good tuner, just a shame that FM is being phased out here in the UK..

Weakness:

Seriously heavy (35kg, 75lb), seriously large (if you judge that a weakness).

Puny speaker connections, the single largest drawback with vintage Pioneers...what were the designers thinking?

Inevitably complex, well designed so have proved reliable on the whole but they are over 30 years old after all. Could prove expensive to get repaired unless you can do it yourself.

Runs quite warm compared to most Pioneer amps of the era, keep it well ventilated so that everything stays happy.

No MC phono stage, these didn't come until the final '80' generation amps and receivers. Usual MM phono stage is really quiet and open sounding though.


Bought about 5 years ago on eBay for £400, since then it's grown to be one of my most treasured audio possesions. I have a thing for vintage Pioneers, the build quality of the best is about as close to true high end you'll find unless you're willing to spend a lot of money on modern high end gear. Sure, I'm not under any illusions and they're far from perfect, they have far too much complexity to ever earn the respect to be classed as true audiophile but they're still pretty good and deserve a place in a hall of fame somewhere - modern consumer grade Pioneer is a joke compared to this, it hurts me to say that but it's true. If you really want to experience a high end Pioneer, the years 1975-78 were the pinnacle...after this the quality gradually decreases into the early 80's where it's virtually worthless.

This came in near mint condition with the manuals and some sales literature, it was stock except that somebody had replaced the volume control and ripped out the speaker terminals and put a plate with binding posts on set A - the other two sets were cut off and the wiring taped up inside. Found an original volume control in the US, I'd fitted an Alps which worked well but didn't have the tap for the loudness circuit, I never use the loudness but wanted everything working so spent ages until I found an original part.

One thing with these receivers is that you need decent speakers. When I first had this I was running a pair of Wharfedale Valdus 500's, these were woefully out of their depth on most decent audio systems, let alone this one...they sounded really pushed in the low end with no dynamics and a false, glassy treble. A while later I came accross the chance of a pair of Celestion A3's from a studio - these are large speakers which can sink large amounts of power and are able to reach very high sound levels on a good amplifier. The best word for the resulting sound between these two is impressive - these are a high end pair of speakers which would need quite an amp and large room to really shine, however the SX-1250 makes a good stab at driving them with apparent ease and the deep soundfield and tight, dynamic bass coupled with the sheer amount of clean sound and the warm tonal quality of the receiver really sounds something special. The sound is so clean that you don't realise how loud it is until you walk into the room and try to speak over it, at those levels the imaging has ample depth and on a good recording it sounds like a very believeable surround sound. I'm gradually getting into high end audio gear but the sound of this is really something to sit down to and enjoy even if lacks the outright transparency of good purist audio.

There are a lot of connections, more than you'll find on most amps, including two sets of tape connections, two phono inputs and a pre in/out which can be split to run another preamp with the SX-1250's amp or vice-versa. Also there's three sets of speaker outputs, ideal to use the first two for a pair of bi-wired main speakers and the third for a small pair of monitors. You can't use all three at the same time but then you shouldn't need to. The tone controls here are good, rather than having 'turnover' switches for the bass and treble, you get two sets of controls for both - main and sub. The main controls are roughly in the places where they are on most pre-amps, 100hz and 10khz, the subs set at 50hz and 20khz, right on the edges of the frequency range. The sub controls work well, the bass will add to the weight and definite punch at the extreme low end without mudding the sound while the treble will add some sparkle right at the highest frequencies without altering the midrange at all. Aside from this you get the usual high and low cut filters (for FM/tape noise and turntable rumble), also mono/stereo and loudness switches and a -10dB muting switch which gives more control of the volume at low levels.

One of the few minuses lay with the stock speaker connections; these are a joke, I can't understand why Pioneer didn't spend an extra few $$ on better connectors so that people could hook better cables up. Somebody had attempted to put binding posts on mine and had hacked the original wiring short, I made a set of binding posts on aluminium plates and replaced the speaker wiring with audio grade stuff and everything is very happy running thick gauge speaker cables now. One of the few parts of the design I've never been happy with was with the speaker wiring snaking all the way around inside the receiver to the push switches on the front, I'd never have thought those tiny push switches could take the current of the receiver on full bore...apparently they can. I once toyed with fitting some relays somewhere to shorten the wiring run but if it ain't broken, just enjoy it for what it is.

If you're after pure, naked, high end audio then this isn't for you. However, if, like me you enjoy music with a solid, room filling sound, depth and clean dynamics, something with soul and character to enjoy like a classic car for what it is rather than crave absolute perfection then this is probably one of the finest pieces of equipment you'll find for the money, even after 30 years.

Similar Products Used:

Pioneer SA-9500

Pioneer SA-9800

Pioneer SX-424

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Oct 27, 2006]
Tim Alanthwaite
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Magnificent build and sound quality. Gorgeous anachronistic looks.

Weakness:

Cannot match the best of modern equipment in some areas, but I'm comparing it to the audiophile greats, which isn't fair.

I have to smile at the price most of you guys have paid for the Pioneer. The price I mention was in 1976 pounds sterling, when my hourly wage £0.30! Now as then I'm serious about my kit, and have it hooked up to Mission Pilastros, which it drives very well. My speaker cable cost me ten times as much as the receiver in money terms, therefore you can see I rate this beautifully built receiver very highly.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 11, 2006]
nolaguy
Casual Listener

Strength:

Great sound, loads of features

Weakness:

Weighs a ton, what do you set this on?

I just purchased this receiver at a garage sale this past weekend for $30. The guy who sold it to me used it as a PA when he worked as a DJ. I lost my old stereo in Hurricane Katrina last year and I have just recently got settled in my new city. I don't speakers yet, but I have decnt headphones. It plays great at low volume ( I am not comfortable cranking it up as I live in an apartment now). The FM comews in clear even without antennae. Judging from the other posts, it seems I got a pretty good bargain. I would like to have it cleaned, as it was very used. Any ideas where I could send it?

Similar Products Used:

Nothing I ever had compares.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jul 21, 2006]
Petelite
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Umm... 200 watts per channel at four ohms? Beautiful.

Weakness:

None.

This is the best amplifier I have ever owned. Everything about it is fantastic, from its superior sound quality to its aluminum face and walnut case to its giant cooling fins that help heat my room in the winter. I don't know who decided to throw it away, but I'm glad they did because I never would have gotten it. It isn't in $300 dollar condition, but it works fine. I would never part with it. Well... I would probably sell it for $500...

Customer Service

It's 30 years old, I doubt I could get any customer service on such a thing...

Similar Products Used:

Marantz, Pioneer, NAD

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 28, 2006]
cmoor
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Sound, appearance

Weakness:

None

Was finishing up a cabinet job at a customer's house as they were moving in. Noticed this 1250 sitting on the floor and asked them what they were gonna do with it. She said, "Oh, we don't use that, it's too big to put anywhere. We'll just stick it in a cabinet somewhere. So when I asked if she wanted to sell it, she told me no, that I could just take it. God bless her. She must've really liked her cabinets; best bonus I've ever received.

I spent a couple years in Germany in the late 70's. All the guys were buying monster receivers from down @ Mainz (spelling?), so I've listened to a lot of different models and nothing tops this 1250. It's got a "warmth" of sound difficult to describe and aesthetics beyond compare. All my wife's friends pity her for having to put up with this yugo sitting in her house. If you come across one you can afford, don't let it pass you by.

Similar Products Used:

Sansui G9000, Kenwood

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jun 13, 2004]
jackz4000
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

None. Excellent for all music. Powerful and clean. Sound is definitely in the McIntosh style.

Weakness:

Well, 65 lbs, but not a weakness to me. Better speaker terminals, but I have no problem using 14 gauge speaker cable. Being 27 years old, I logically expect some problem to arise at some point, which is why I bought 2....1 is a spare. Can't think of another weakness.

A work of art. Pioneer's Top of the Line back in 76 to 78 with a high quality build both outside and inside. There was no scrimping on quality here. Attention paid to every little detail. Start with its 22" long brushed aluminium face with precision made controls and a well designed layout. User friendly. It has a real walnut case on the front half and the rear top half has a metal ventilation grille on top. That same rear half has massive wraparound heatsinks (2) which are each almost 12 inches in length and help dissapate the heat. This unit sucks a minimium of 650 to 1200 watts from your AC plug. High current performance. The interior is precision and power plus. Produced as their TOTL during the "receiver wars" it's performance was a source of company pride and Japanese engineering. It sports 5 FET's, 6 IC's, 60 Diodes and 82 transistors. It's massive toroidal power transformer is round and 6" in diameter and nearly 8" high and is flanked by 4 22,000uF capacitors...each the size of a can of Coke. The sound produced is deep rich and enveloping. Price? These are one of the best kept secrets in audio and I believe the best bang for the buck in its category. I got 2 for $500 in perfect condition. I prefer to listen to music in stereo, so for me this was an excellent choice. The 160 RMS per channel is more than enough power for me. However, if you need more power the 1250 has pre ins/outs and you can hook up another amp. One can get better sound. But definitely not for the $250 I paid for each of my 2. Try $3000 or $5000 and Krell, Levinson, Bryston, Marantz or McIntosh. So great audio performance for a budget price. They don't make them like this anymore and they only did for a few years. You can't go wrong. Note: Unless you are a tech or have a good one handy---Don't buy a beat-up one for cheap...it will only cost you more. Parts are rare and pricey. And labor. Typically, on Ebay an excellent one goes for about $450...sometimes $350. Myself, I had a lucky week on Ebay. Expect to pay at least $350 each, although I have seen "mint" ones sell for $1000. There will be a moment of regret. That will be when you lift all 65 lbs of it. It's worth the workout. Your impression of its performance will vary according to the quality of the equipment you have had and/or heard. Someone who has not heard power like this will be amazed, while one with more sonic experience will be merely very happy with the price/performance ratio. From those "receiver wars" there are about 5 other receivers which are also in the same league. My preferance was the SX 1250.

Similar Products Used:

Marantz, McIntosh, Levinson, Adcom, Pioneer.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 42  

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