Pioneer SM-B201

This Pioneer SM-B201 Stereophonic Amplifier was built in the early 1960’s. It has FM and AM tuners and produces 14 watts per channel.

In the pre-MPX days of AM-FM simulcast stereo one channel was on AM and the other on FM. Two broadcast towers were required for stereo. In other words, FM was broadcast on one tower and AM on another. The user of the SM-B201 would have to tune both dials to the correct frequencies to get stereo. Of course, not many stations wanted to build two towers to broadcast in stereo so the design was short lived. The Fisher 800 was another example of simulcast stereo.

The Pioneer SM-B201 has a strange symmetric front because of its dual tuning dials and “magic eye” tubes.

The controls include separate Bass and Treble as well as a Whistle and Loudness switch.

On the back panel there are outputs for 4, 8 and 16 Ohm speakers. There are phono inputs for both ceramic and magnetic cartridges of 3mV or more. There’s also a Tape In and Out, Aux in and FM/MPX out.

The SM-B201 has 19 tubes including the two 6E5 eye tubes. 12AX7’s are in each channel driving a pair of 6BM8 (ECL82) output tubes. There is also a 5AR4 rectifier tube.

The early Pioneers were built like tanks but age takes a toll on them. The magic eye tubes in the SM-B201 are usually dead and the gray capacitors are usually leaking. With a little servicing you can have a nice amp and a great conversation piece.

These early receivers are somewhat rare but not impossible to find. They are not as popular as the later 1970’s Pioneers. A nice SM-B201 will run anywhere from $200 to $400 depending upon condition.

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