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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.