Pioneer SX-1010

Pioneer SX-1010

There is really nothing special about the Pioneer SX-1010. Well, of course, it was THE receiver that started the Monster Receiver wars of the late 1970’s. And, it’s probably one of the best built receivers of all time. Oh, and it is usually at the top of the list of performance amongst the heavyweight receivers of the time as well. Just looking at it doesn’t inspire any special feelings in the observer but take off the case and have a look at the insides or power it up for a listen and you’ll become a believer.

Pioneer SX-1010 Faceplate

In late 1974 Pioneer threw down the gauntlet at other audio manufacturers and brought the SX-1010 to market. Rated at a conservative 110 watts per channel the SX-1010 was top of the line and the last of the black dial face receivers for Pioneer. Marantz, Sansui and Kenwood all upped the ante soon afterward which led Pioneer to design and release the SX-1250 with an all new look. Some prefer the all silver face look of the later generation Pioneer’s over the earlier black dial versions but there is no arguing the SX-1010’s place in audio history.

Pioneer SX-1010 Meter

The SX-1010 is a big receiver. It measures 20 1/2″ x 17″ x 7″ and weighs in at around 50 pounds. The SX-1010 retailed for around $700 when new which is over $3000 in 2015 dollars. So, it was not considered a budget minded receiver by any means.

Pioneer SX-1010 Knobs

Some of it’s other features are:

  • FM front end with dual-gate FETs
  • Ceramic filters and ics in IF stages for sharp selectivity
  • Quadrature detection
  • Phase lock loop (PLL) stereo demodulator
  • All IC equipped AM section with linear dial
  • Balanced positive and negative power supply with heavy duty components
  • Phono equalizer with wide dynamic range and extremely close tolerances
  • Twin tone controls
Pioneer SX-1010 Dial

You can throw in these features as well:

  • Speakers A,B,C
  • Phones 1, Phones 2
  • FM, AM, Phono 1, Phono 2, Mix, Tape 1, Tape 2, Aux
  • Loudness, Mono, High filter, Low filter, -20dB
  • Tape monitors + Tape Duplicate
  • 4ch & Dolby NR adapters
  • Preamp / Power amp jacks
  • Dimmer
Pioneer SX-1010 Back Panel

This receiver is no slouch. If you don’t want to drop $2500 to $4000 on an SX-1980 or $1000 or more on a Marantz 2325 but still want equal, or perhaps even better performance, then you have to consider the SX-1010.

Pioneer SX-1010 Inside

Some have said that they will only give up their Pioneer SX-1010 when someone pries it from their cold dead hands. So, you can imagine that this receiver is in demand amongst collectors and hi-fi aficionados.  That being said, it doesn’t seem to carry the same coolness factor as an SX-1980 or Marantz 2325 so prices are probably low given it’s quality and performance levels. In fact you can pick up a fully restored mint unit for around $600 and a really good working unit for around $400 which is a steal really.

Available on Ebay

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31 thoughts on “Pioneer SX-1010

    1. Right, right, right! Sorry, but you’re are wrong my friend. Officially the Yamaha CR-1000 was rated at 70 watts per channel into 8 ohms. The Pioneer SX-1010 is officially the first of the 100 watt per channel receiver. With that said, the Yamaha is a fine sounding receiver, as I’ve owned 2. Not quite as sweet sounding as the SX-1010, but definitely holds its own. Here’s a link for the official specs on the Yamaha.

      CR-1000 Specs

  1. THE PIONEER SX 1010 IS POWERFUL SMOOTH AND WARM.. TUBE LIKE… BUT BETTER LESS MAINTENANCE TROUBLE FREE THE BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK.LOOKS ARE NOT THE BEST BUT THE SOUND IS INCREDIBLE . MAX

  2. I KNOW THE PIONEER SX 1010 WAS A BIG SELLER IN THE MID SEVENTIES BUT DOES ANYONE KNOW PRODUCTION NUMBERS FOR THIS RECIEVER WORLDWIDE MARKET .

  3. All very nice receivers, esp the pioneers. I actually own a Sanyo DX3250K 4-channel (since 1975), looks very similr to a Pioneer receiver. No one gives the Sanyo the credit it deserves. It’s an awesome receiver and has been functioning nearly flawlessly for over 40 years. 250 Watts RMS

    1. Sanyo DX3250K? You must be referring to the Sanyo DCX 3250K, which is a quad receiver from 1974. You got your wattage wrong, as its not even close to being 250 watts per channel. In fact, the first receiver to break into the 250 per channel territory was Pioneer SX-1980, released first in 1978, and discontinued in 1980, and it came in at 270 watts per channel. Your Sanyo Receiver, the DCX 3250K, is rated at 25 watts per channel into 4 ohms, and only 10 watts per channel into 8 ohms for 4 speakers (quadrophonic).

  4. HI AS I SAID I LOVE THE PIONEER 3 SERIES BUT SOMEONE I KNOW CAME ACROSS A RARE JVC YES A JVC LIKE NO OTHER MADE IN 1975 PRE AMP 4 METERS LIGHT UP RED THE AMP HAS 2 LARGE METERS WITH BOTH NEEDLE AND BUILT IN RED MULTI LIGHTS FOR POWER IT MAKES THE SPEC SERIES LOOKS SOO PLAIN AND THE SOUND WAS INCREDIBLE HOPE TO SEE IF WE COULD GET THIS ON YOUTUBE SOON.HE PURCHASED THIS IN GERMANY IN 1975.WHAT A FIND BEAUTIFUL CONGRATS TO THE OWNER.

  5. Very nice reciever . I own a Nikko NR-1415 in very good shape . And I wonder , how well does these two recievers compare to each others . . ?

  6. Yep got an SX 1010 in Okinawa for $199 on close out. It was all the receiver one could hope for. Paired up with Sony TC-558, Technics DD turntable, Pioneer SG-9500 EQ, Pioneer RG-1 dynamic expander and a pair of Pioneer HPM-100’s. Cubic Sound

  7. My dad had a SX-1010 that he bought when he was in Vietnam, so I grew up listening to it and absolutely loved the sound but he got rid of it in the 90s. Still bummed I didn’t get it from him. I’ve been wanting to get one for a long time now but can never find one at a price I can afford. Ended up getting a SX-737 for $120 to hold me over and it sounds pretty damn close from what I can tell. One day I’ll get a SX-1010!

  8. We bought a SX-1010, PL-55 turntable, Akai Reel-to-reel, Pioneer duel cassette deck, Pioneer SEA unit, 2 Pioneer 901 speakers and 2 701 speakers and finally a
    Pioneer reverb unit while stationed at Misawa AB Japan in 1975. I believe we about $1200 for everything. In 1979 when I got out of the Air Force we had all our property stored at Tinker AFB while our was being and all of was stolen except for 2 of the 901 speakers and the PL55X turntable which I still have. I used to blow the neighbors out with that system and Boston playing at half volume. Oh yeah I still have the Pioneer headphones too.

  9. I own many great stereos from the 70s from top of the line , the best of the best and I have to say the 1010 is one of the best I have heard . its sound is clear crisp unlike you ever heard. almost tube like. that’s how clear and true I have to say this stereo is. and it has found a home here. and they would only get it from me when I am dead and gone that’s how good it is

  10. I have Owed and restored many 1970’s hifi equipment including the SX-1010, which I still own as a show piece. I do hifi restorations for a living. For the period 1974, this was THE receiver to own. The separates certainly sounded better, but for an all-in-one package, the SX-1010 couldn’t be beat. The competition eventually caught up, but nor for a couple of years. The entire Pioneer SX line was a sweet spot in the price/performance ratio. At one point I owned almost every flavor of that blue dial line. They were (and are) to most reliable pieces of that era. Aside from blatant abuse, when I get the old Pioneers in for service, it’s for a re-cap, dashboard lamps, missing/broken knobs or damaged cabinets. From a resale prospect, they hold their value better than most.

  11. I have an SX 1010 barn find…. I knew and still no next to nothing about it apart from it’s weight… and of course what I have read on different sites and different peoples opinions. Being a child of the 70’s and 80’s there was something right about putting a turntable on this beauty.. At first I was a little set back but after waiting a while I have to say, in my limited but heartfelt opinion, what a wonderful, deep and honest sound it gave me…. I have no idea about this. that and what is best, but I know I loved the sound. It sent me back 30yrs. And as for the solid controls and knobs… I gotta love a bit of old school engineering… Sorry If I sound like an idiot but is this not what this was made for… Pure enjoyment. It cost me nothing, it needs some TLC but it is in my lounge pride of place….

  12. the pioneer sx-1010 is one of the greatest stereo I have ever had my chance to come across . I am not impress by my stereos . but I have to say I have only one other stereo that has impressed me and that was the pioneer sx -850 . yea they maybe more powerful out there, maybe even better tech . but this stereo. has my vote as one of the best ever built , and maybe the best true sounding one I have ever heard. it almost has a live sound. cant wait to recap this thing and see what it can dish out. it might be scary. made in 1974 and never has been redone. so if you get the chance buy one.” its a keeper”. you wont be disappointed.

  13. Amigos yo tengo pioneer sx1010. Y les digo para mi es el mejor amplificador que han construido…es mi tesoro

  14. I bought my SX-1010 in 1974 brand new for $325 from Crutchfield in Brooklyn right before Crazy Eddie opened and eventually I had to get rid of it when I couldn’t get someone to service it. It kept blowing up speakers. I miss it every day and it is the reason I am still into high end audio and a speaker designer. It’s a shame the receiver wars came to an end or I would still be upgrading!

  15. Bought a sx 1010 in germany .1974. Before coming home , I purchased a spec 1 pioneer amp and spec 2 preamp and receiver. Also brought home an empire troubadour turntable. Akai reel to reel.teach a450 cassette .and a pair of bose 901 continental speakers . and a phase 1 Dolby dbx noise reduction unit.best stereo me and everyone else that hears it agrees.it may be vintage , but the sound is unbelievable..Oh , and I still have the sx 1010. In its original packaging.It ain’t going anywhere.I can’t tell you how many offers I’ve had for it and my other equipment over the years

  16. I have a pioneer 1010 for sale. I bought it brand new and have kept it all this time. tmeyer.copart at gmail.com.

  17. I’ve got a Pioneer SX-1010 in need of repair.

    Does anyone know where to have it repaired, in the SE Wisconsin area?

    Thanks!

  18. Christian, I just had my SX-1010 repaired by alexav.com, drove it over to MN and dropped off. Did not want to ship. LED retrofit too! I’m also in SE Wisc.

  19. My first receiver which I still have is a Marantz 2235 I bought in 1978. I love that receiver and recently had it professionally gone through and it still sounds great. I also owned a Marantz 2270 which I sold and purchased a MAC 1900. It is a piece of art and a great match for my 4 large stacked advents wired in series for a 4 ohm load. The 1900 has a special switch for pushing a 4 ohm load and it sounds beautiful. I have always wanted a SX1010 which I purchased on Ebay and arrived yesterday 11/13/19. My gosh this is the best sounding receiver I’ve ever heard and also has a special speaker hook up for 4 ohm loads. I haven’t even turned it up over half way yet and it is just loud as #$&@!!! If I had this in my 20’s I would have been getting a lot of calls from the police for noice violations in my apartment complex. This is what I’ve been looking for. WOW!!

  20. My sx1010 blew away my modern Roksan Mandy k2 amp supposedly 150wpc in every department. More powerful, better build, better sound , better facilities, better looks and it’s over 40years old. Most modern stuff is rubbish unless you pay too money and I think I’d have to pay £1000 plus to better it . The only modern Amps I see that are reasonable priced and match for build and style are Yamaha as1100/2100/3000 . I may well get an as1100 as a future classic and keep my pioneer forever

  21. I have owned my SX-1010 that I bought in lightly used condition ($300 which was a lot of money then) since 1976 while I was in the US Army. I had a couple smaller Pioneer units before the upgrade. I also bought a PL-55X turntable and a pair of Altec 891A speakers to go with it. Still have them all! Several years ago I came across a good deal for an SX-1280 and bought it, but it just didn’t “wow” me like the 1010. I beg to differ on the visual appeal. I personally think the pre-silver faced receivers are cooler looking! I sold the 1280 a couple years ago and have decided to have my trusty 1010 serviced and brought up to specs (it’s been showing its age for a couple years). I consider it money well spent for something that has served me so well for this long. Oh yeah, I also acquired a PL-71 and a NOS Shure V15 Type II cartridge in the last few years. New stuff sucks!

  22. bought a 1010 in the mid 70’s. I had my sister that was stationed in Germany with her husband order it for me with a Technics SL1300 turntable, and a Teac 3340S reel to reel. Later that summer I added a Phase Linear 700 that I picked up for $200 from a discount furniture store. I bought Norman Lab speakers as they were good rock speakers and I liked the sound of them. I still have everything except the turntable as I let my son talk me into giving it to him. Absolutely love my system. Got in trouble in the service with it as the Base Commander at our base meeting stated that he would like to hear the National Anthem when lowering the flag and not Smoke on the Water. The sx1010 is the best. Couldn’t have made a better choice.

  23. I purchased a SX-1010 in 1976 as a college graduation gift to myself. IIRC, it was around $700 all in, a real luxury but if you considered all that was included, it was a bargain for that level of quality and power. One of my best friends at the time, was in the business, and loved this receiver, even bought one for his own home. One of the things he loved to do was wrap a finger around the tuner dial and give it a sharp flip just to watch the tuning indicator smoothly glide from one end to the other which he said was a sign of build quality. Finally sold it in the early ’90s when I could no longer crank it up (married to non-audiophile) and settled in for remote control convenience, in keeping with primary purpose, playing background music.

    Only issues mine had was volume cutting out at very low volume (again, not good for “background music”) but that was it. Had an EE look at it once who worked same place. He was in awe of the quality and felt honored to work on it.

    All that being said, after 20+ years, still regret selling it.

  24. I bought the Pioneer SX-1010 about 15 years ago at a flea market because I remembered that it was THE receiver in 1974 and at the time I could only afford the SX-727 which I still have! I traded my twin brother my motorcycle for his Pioneer CS 99a’s which I still have and just matched them up now to the SX-1010 that sounds absolutely amazing ! I would consider selling this system for $1,995 just because I need the money but I’d need the cash in person…. anyone interested please call or text Dale @ 224-814-2096 .

  25. Can’t find the sx-939 in the list.
    I recently boucht one, and i love ithis warm sound.
    But is the sx-939 the same receiver as te 1010?
    I know the 1010 has 110w and the 939 has 75w per channel, are there more differences between them?

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