Pioneer SX-3900

Pioneer SX-3900


This is the Pioneer SX-3900 which was Pioneer's top of the line Fluoroscan receiver. It's the big brother to the SX-3800 and was introduced in 1980 at a retail price of about $800.00. It represents Pioneer's transition from analog receivers to the more contemporary digital receivers. In fact, the SX3900 basically has both analog and digital features. As you can see it has an old school analog tuning dial, the mechanism is mechanical, as well as a five digit digital tuning display. The displays use fluorescent bulbs hence the nick name fluoroscan.


Pioneer SX-3900


The blue fluorescent display is beautiful and one of the more iconic displays in vintage audio. Still, the FM Quartz Locked SX-3900 was not all looks. It pumps out 120 watts per channel with less than 0.005% total harmonic distortion and is built with quality engineering.  It also incorporates a non-switching amplifier.


Pioneer SX-3900 Left


You can see from the pictures that the SX-3900 has illuminated push buttons for certain functions as well. Some other features are:

  • 2 high pass filters
  • Tone turn-over controls for bass and treble
  • Adapter loop switch
  • FM de-emphasis
  • Tape duplicate
  • 2 phono inputs


Pioneer SX-3900 Right


Measuring in at 20.7 x 6.9 x 17.8 inches the SX-3900 is pretty big and weighs roughly 46 pounds. It is similar inside to the Pioneer SX-D7000 which, oddly, was on the market at the same time. The SX-D7000 moved even more toward the digital side and had all push button and slider controls and no analog dial.


Pioneer SX-3900 Back


It's a little hard to see in the picture but the SX-3900 has a large toroidal transformer that is tucked in on the left side and sits sideways like a tire as opposed to flat like most transformers. I suppose they had to economize on space given the number of features the unit has. You can also see the large heat sink in the middle. These units generate a lot of heat so it's not a good idea to stack anything on top of them.


Pioneer SX-3900 Inside


The Pioneer SX-3900 represents the end of the analog era and the beginning of the digital era. And, being from one of the pre eminent audio companies of the time in Pioneer, they are popular. However, I would say that, given the features, performance, and iconic nature of this receiver, they tend to be under valued. A good working unit will sell for $300.00 to $400.00 which is quite a bit under what other comparable receivers sell for. Of course, I did see one SX-3900 that was nearly mint and had been completely restored that sold for $1400.00. But, it had been fully recapped and had a LED lamp conversion as well. It was a VERY nice receiver.

Pioneer SX 1010 1050 SX 1250 SX 1280 SX 3800 SX 3900 Restoration Service
Pioneer SX 1010 1050 SX 1250 SX 1280 SX 3800 SX 3900 Restoration Service $455.00
Time Remaining: 15d 7h 21m
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Pioneer SX 838 SX 737 SX 3900 SX 880 SX 850 SG 9500 Power Switch ASK 097
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Pioneer SX 850 SX 880 SX 838 SX 737 SX 3900 Power Switch ASK 066
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This entry was posted on Saturday, February 9th, 2013 at 6:03 pm and is filed under Pioneer, SX-3900. 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.



I saw that $1400 on ebay. I gave up bidding at $1200 myself. I ended up with another sx-3900 later from ebay, but what a mess it was. It’s going to be an expensive project to rebuild, but I’m hearing that it’s going to be the ‘bomb’ when it’s done. Hey, you only go around once, and these guys aren’t going down in value anytime soon.

February 27th, 2013 at 11:48 am

I think these are some great looking/sounding receivers, I have a 3700 and waiting to get my hands on a 3900, who knows, I might as well get the 3800 too 🙂

April 7th, 2013 at 8:43 am

I have a Pioneer SX-3900. Would you be interested?

April 26th, 2013 at 12:48 pm

I am interested in a 3900. Please contact me Debbie

February 7th, 2014 at 7:29 pm

I have the SX-3800 for sale if anyone is interested. Great condition as well. Thanks.

February 12th, 2014 at 3:21 pm

original owner of a 3900 here….in great condition & has been restored less than 10 yrs ago….think I can dig that receipt up if need be. Hard to part with it bein it was my 1st “big” purchase back in the day (prior to buying my 1st car) but I really need a new unit that I can run my big screen & speakers thru…on that note….willing to consider a trade if possible (Nor Cal/SF East Bay region). Any offers out there? Willing to let it go for $500 or staight trade + cash if need be…anyone interested?

February 17th, 2014 at 1:59 pm

Hey Rob! Do you still have the SX3900? If so I would like to get your contact info for a possible trade!

May 7th, 2014 at 10:34 pm
cary kleist:

I’m keepin my 3900,I restored it and it kicks ass on a pair of optimus mach twos with a 20 band eq,I love the 80’s.

September 24th, 2014 at 9:31 am

Just picked one up yesterday of Craig’s List. Unbelievable power. Now I have to go through the unit before my new audio rack gets here. (Wouldn’t fit in old cabinet). Monster appearance and output.
Everything works but one light. So very pleased. Love to say this: “They don’t make ’em like they used to!”

December 15th, 2014 at 11:53 am

i have a sx 3900 great conditions original owner more info email me at songo5190 at

January 25th, 2015 at 7:57 pm

anyone have a sx 3900 for sale?

April 16th, 2015 at 11:54 am

or a high end technics sa 1000

April 16th, 2015 at 11:56 am
gene mcevoy:

I have a mint condition sx 3800 pristine condition. Not a scratch, blemish, blur, nothing. I purchased it from an audio enthusiast when he went out and bought some Krell equipment. That was in 2004. I have not used it since then. Immaculate condition. Pictures available. You’ll not see one like this again. The price will be handsome too. 312 912 4141

July 20th, 2015 at 9:37 pm

I’ve got a SX3900, I bought it new in Corpus Christi, Texas. I live in UK. Just pulled it out of mothballs, had it serviced (by Pioneer). They said it did not need to be basterdized (requiring replacement parts of which many are not available!). And didn’t show any signs of being ‘overplayed’ (high volume for extended periods causing heating problems), and performed perfectly, as good as the day it was produced. It is for sale, one owner, not stupid money but talk to me…
Comes in its original box, heavy (24KG boxed), so shipping…

November 8th, 2015 at 2:51 am

I have a 3900 real good shap and works good I also have a PL-600 turntableand a tape deck all togther would love for some one who was into to vintage pioneer. Some who would be interested let me know plz

November 22nd, 2015 at 6:57 pm


November 23rd, 2015 at 9:16 pm

I have a SX3900 my light don’t work what can be the problem

December 19th, 2015 at 11:22 am
Greg S Waldron:


March 11th, 2016 at 2:20 pm

Hi, Greg here. 3800 was my teenage dream. Would love to reminisce with a 3900. I see the last post for a 3900 for sale, reasonably. My email is: SOSinBC at if still for sale, or anyone else. If trades are interested…have a newer Rega TT, Macintosh Speakers, Sonab Speakers etc..thx. Look forward to hear.

June 1st, 2016 at 12:21 pm

Email correction regarding the sx-3900:
Thanks, Greg

June 1st, 2016 at 4:44 pm

looking for a pioneer sx-3900–is there a “decent” one available?

July 16th, 2016 at 7:44 am

I do have a Pioneer SX-3900 receiver in good condition and a pioneer reverb for sale

July 20th, 2016 at 7:18 am

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