Pioneer SX-1980




This of course is one of the icons of vintage audio.  The Pioneer SX-1980. This receiver is highly sought after today and prices can reach into the thousands for a well maintained unit. Some will argue that the SX-1280 is actually a better functioning receiver but the fact still remains that the monster SX-1980 was the king of the audio mountain in it's day.

The Pioneer SX-1980 was introduced in 1978 and was the most powerful receiver made at the time with a hefty 270 watts per channel and that was a conservative rating!  It isn't called a monster receiver for nothing as it weighs in at 78 pounds. It's suggested retail price in 1978 was $1295.00 - a fairly large sum back in those days.





Total harmonic distortion is rated at 0.03% which is extremely low for a power output that high. It has a massive toroidal transformer that is flanked by huge capacitors. It also has large heatsinks to dissipate the heat generated by the unit.

If you find one of these at a good price - grab it. One in good condition with a few minor issues recently sold for $1599.00. I've seen better condition ones sell for far more than that. Before the downturn in the economy I saw one sell for nearly $4000.00. But, it was in mint condition and functioned perfectly.



 

5-27-2011 - An SX-1980 sold for $3,250. It had just been serviced and worked perfectly. It was also in very good cosmetic condition and had the original box which always adds some value.

6-5-2011 - SX-1980 sold for $1,760. It was in pretty good cosmetic shape but did have a couple bulbs burned out. Still, a pretty good price for the buyer.

 

Vintage Pioneer SX 1980 Receiver Video Test Drive
Vintage Pioneer SX 1980 Receiver Video Test Drive $2,350.00
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Pioneer sx 1980 receiver heat sink part ANH 365
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Pioneer SX980 Output Power Board SX1980 SX1280 2SB 746 2SD 706 LUX 580
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This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 at 3:51 pm and is filed under Pioneer, SX-1980. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

13 comments

 No.1 
Joe Dante:

My Dad bought a really nice Pioneer tuner in 1977-78. The face looked just like the 1980 but the top and back looked like the SX780. He gave it away about 10 years ago. Sadly he passed away a few years ago and my Mom wants to know who he gave it to. Anyway, can you tell me was there a unit that one the front looked like the SX 1980 with all the little push buttons? I know for a fact that the top and back did NOT look like the 1980 but the 780. Thanks very much.

September 5th, 2011 at 11:51 am
 No.2 
raiko:

The closest I can think of would be the sx-1080, sx-980, sx-950 or sx-1050. The sx-1980, sx-1250, sx-1280 etc have the black metal heat sinks on the side of the case which gave them a different look. The sx-1050 and down did not have that and had full wood panels along the sides with a metal grill on top. The SX-1080 would probably match your description the closest.

September 5th, 2011 at 12:10 pm
 No.3 
Al:

I purchased my 2nd SX-1980 in Feb. 2010.A few days after receiving it,it wouldn’t power up.So I finally shipped it to a very good repairman in Tx.It is due to arrive back the first or second week in Nov. 2011 fully restored.It’s gonna be so great to get my MONSTER back kicking butts.I sold my first one in 2009 and have regretted it since.This one will be a keeper for good.Mine was manufactured in 1980 with the serial # starting with a “Z”.They sure don’t make ‘em like the SX-1980 any more.The pix of the SX-1980 on this page with the blue table cloth was taken on my kitchen table by me when I listed it on eBay in 2009.Others can criticize the SX-1980 all they want.But this MONSTER just can’t be beat.I wouldn’t want nothing else.Why settle for hamburger when I already have steak.

October 26th, 2011 at 9:26 pm
 No.4 
raiko:

Wow, nice! The SX-1980 is definitely one of the holy grails of vintage receivers. I do hear some criticism about the SX-1980 mainly because of the transformer but when they are functioning properly there isn’t much, if anything, out there that is better. I’ve never owned one but hope to sometime in the future. Every collector should own an SX-1980 at least once in their lifetime.

October 26th, 2011 at 10:24 pm
 No.5 
Al:

Well,after about a month delay,my SX-1980 is finally on it’s way home.Fully restored and repaired.It’s due back Friday Dec.9th 11.I’ve waited 5 1/2 months for this restore job to be completed.But I’ll never put myself through this long of a wait again.The power supply board,amp boards and every electronic devise in this monster has been replaced or was brought up to specs.A complete restoration from beginning to end.I also had the 3 big caps replaced on the power supply board with new ones.The MONSTER is ready to rock.But no way I’ll blow my JBL 4410A’s when I get it back by decreasing bass when increasing volume.I also have a very nice SX-950 with under 200 hours on it,along with the SX-650 and 750.

December 6th, 2011 at 7:23 pm
 No.6 
Al:

While my SX-1980 (produced in 1980)was being restored,Circle Stereo also recapped the Power Supply board along with other P.C.boards.In all,48 caps were replaced and other parts as well.This BEAUTY is definitly hummin’ now.Parts I have left over are the 109 and 110 amp boards,4 output transistors,one heat sink,and a complete SX-1980 tuner assembly still mounted on the frame.The MONSTER should last me the rest of my life and still be banging away when that day comes.I’ll probably leave it to my Son and my SX-950 to my Daughter.
The sound of the SX1980 is even better when you switch the de-emphasis switch on the back plate to the 25 or 50 uS position.And mash the 25 uS button in on the front.Switching to the 25 or 50 on the back plate does not hurt the receiver at all.I asked two experienced repairmen about this and they said it’s ok to switch it and won’t damage the receiver.You SX-1980′s owner’s out there,try it and see what you think.Wish I could get in touch with the buyer of my first SX-1980 in Moline,Il.Sure would love to have that 1st one back.These bad boys are getting more rare with each day that goes by and more valuable.Get your hands on one if you ever get the chance.

December 31st, 2011 at 7:18 pm
 No.7 
Al:

Well,it’s about time for a change.I sold my 2nd Pioneer SX-1980 Feb.1st 2012 restored by Circle Stereo on Ebay for $2,700.00.I turned around and bought an immaculate SX-1980 on Craigs list today(2-23-12) for a great price.It is in like new condition and I can hardly wait for it’s arrival.It has hardly been used after all these years.What a lucky find this was.It had been on Craigs list for a long time.I bought it from a very good friend of mine who bought my first SX-1980 back in ’09.He also bought an SX-1280 from me in ’09.I know this one will be a keeper for me and will last me a long time I hope.There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it from what my good friend told me.It should arrive sometime next week.The Good Lord just keeps smiling down on me.I’m hoping it’s a ’79 model with the sensor gain switch on the back plate.I’ll know when it gets here.

February 23rd, 2012 at 7:12 pm
 No.8 
Al:

My 3rd Pioneer SX-1980 arrived Wed. Feb.29th 2012 and it’s just like it was described by my Buddy up north.It is immaculate with very little use on it,probably about 50 to 75 hours,just about like new and operates perfect.I ran it for several hours straight and it doesn’t even break a sweat.Stays cool constantly.What a find this was and I appreciate my buddy saving this baby for me.It’s a ’79 model with the sensor gain switch on the back plate.It was packed very very good with no damage to it when it arrived.The double boxed packing materials alone was over $200.00.I did a little cleaning on it since it had been packed for a long time and it cleaned up nicely and sprayed the switches with Deoxit.I also ran the dial up and down 20 to 30 times and it tunes in stations great with no problems.Of the 3 I’ve had,this is by far the very best one.I still want to hold on to my mint SX-950 with an original SX-850 box.This SX-1980 is in a little better condition than the 950 so both are very mint.Both with very low hours on them.If you’re looking for an SX-1980 at a great price,good luck.This SX-1980 has found a great home and caring owner.As far as the other three monsters from Marantz,Sansui,and Technics,no thanks.This one is heavy enough.

March 7th, 2012 at 4:15 pm
 No.9 
Ric:

Hello everyone. I’m fairly new to high end HiFi equipment. But just recently I I’ve been able to spend a little more on my equipment. My question is, Does the SX-1980 have an option to use a Moving Coil cartridge?

April 23rd, 2012 at 10:46 pm
 No.10 
raiko:

No, I don’t believe it does. You could use a step up transformer but they aren’t cheap. Check out this thread at AudioKarma.org

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/archive/index.php/t-388634.html

April 24th, 2012 at 10:04 am
 No.11 

I own a one of these MONSTER RECEIVERS that my dad bought new. It is in ‘mint condition’ and was passed on to me. Through the years it has had updates put on it, and everything works great; it’s also always been kept in a closed cabinet. I am now thinking of selling it. What do you people suggest as the best means to sell it?
Thanks! Mike

January 13th, 2013 at 12:25 pm
 No.12 
raiko:

Hi Mike,
Obviously eBay is the main venue where vintage receivers are sold but it’s not the only option. Also, shipping a big receiver like that is no easy task. Packaging it to survive the USPS or UPS has to be done very carefully. There is also some risk of wacky buyers as well as the roughly 15% that eBay and Paypal will take from the sale price. Remember also that eBay changed the fees awhile back and they now collect their “commission” on the shipping amount as well as the final sale price. On a big heavy receiver such as the SX-1980 that can be a decent chunk of money.

You could try Craigslist as well. That would eliminate the shipping issue. Another idea would be to post it on AudioKarma.org in their for sale section of the forum. Maybe a member in your area would be interested in it. I assume that wi.rr.com is an extension for Wisconsin. There are quite a few audio collectors up there that would be interested in that receiver. Here’s the link to the forum http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?

Good Luck!

January 13th, 2013 at 5:09 pm

HEY GUYS WORKING ON A SX 1980 WITH WIERD CRACKLING NOISES I N LEFT SIDE TRYING TO FIND GOOD USED GWR 109 LEFT AMP MODULE IF YOU DO IM INTERESTED SINCERLY ED DILLEY- ED at just-audio dot com

September 26th, 2013 at 2:54 pm

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