Pioneer SX-1080

Pioneer SX-1080 receiver

You’ll recognize this receiver by its styling as a late 70’s Pioneer. In fact, it’s the Pioneer SX-1080, a direct descendant of the SX-1050.  The SX-1050 was produced in 1976-1977 while the SX-1080 showed up in 1978-79. Despite the fact that the SX-1080 is supposedly an improved version of the SX-1050 you’ll find opinions on the matter split amongst collectors and audio enthusiasts. Some swear that the SX-1050 sounds better or is built better while others claim the opposite.

Pioneer SX-1080 Back

The SX-1080, like the 1050 puts out 120 watts into 8 ohms.  The 1080 also has two VU power meters, one for each channel, that the 1050 does not have. Interestingly, the 1050 has outputs for 3 pair of speakers while the later 1080 only has outputs for two pair. The 1080 also featured turnover tone controls and 6dB/octave high and low filters. Total harmonic distortion was reduced from 0.100 % in the SX-1050 to 0.05 % in the SX-1080.

Pioneer SX-1080 Left

The styling is classic Pioneer with the brushed aluminum faceplate and walnut cabinet.  The meters did have dark faces and white lettering though which is a little different then some other Pioneer receivers such as the SX-1050, that had white faces and dark lettering. Obviously the Pioneer engineers felt that the lighter lettering on a darker face was easier to see.

Pioneer SX-1080 Right

When the SX-1080 hit the market it was priced at around $700.00.  The price increased slightly to $750.00 a year later. Technically speaking the Sx-1080 is a well built receiver.  As you can see in the picture below it has a large toroidal transformer, huge heat sinks and very well organized circuit boards. One drawback of the Pioneer SX-1080 is that the output transistors are no longer available and are very difficult to find. Weighing in at about 48 pounds it was also one heavy receiver.

Pioneer SX-1080 Inside

Obviously Pioneer vintage receivers are very collectible and always in high demand. The SX-1080 is no exception. In really good cosmetic and working condition they will sell for a fairly high price.

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25 thoughts on “Pioneer SX-1080

  1. Funny but all sx-180’s on ebay & craigslist are going for $2500 to $3500
    and claim to have 270 watts per channel.
    Any explanation for that ? Im baffled.

    1. No need for bafflement, you’re referring to the SX-1980 while this post is on the SX-1080. The 1980 is 270 wpc and sells for $2000 to $4000 fairly consistently.

  2. I have ran out of room and decided to sell my Pioneer SX -1080 and a set of Pioneer HMP-100. This is a great Combination. Where can I post such a thing? Thanks

    1. Craigslist might be your best bet if you’re in a larger city. An SX-1080 and HPM-100 speakers would be very desirable.

  3. I have an sx980 with hpm 100 speakers. It has been in storage in my closet for almost 20 years. I put it together this weekend and fired it up. It worked like a charm. My question is: is there anything I need to worry about maintenance wise? I don’t want to damage it.

    1. The only thing I can think of is cleaning the potentiometers or “pots”. I’m surprised that after 20 years the volume pot isn’t scratchy sounding. But, if they aren’t dirty then it’s probably not worth hassling with them. I’ve got an SX-950 that I bought at a yard sale and had to spend an hour cleaning the pots and switches since they were so dirty. In fact, there was no sound at all until I cleaned the tape monitor switch. It all works like a charm now though. It’s amazing what a little De-Oxit will do.

  4. I’ve just acquired the Pioneer sx-1080, which sounds very good except that the 3 light bulb were out. I’ve replaced them, but when I turned on the receiver, still no lights. Any ideas?


  5. Try tracing the problem down with an electrical tester. It worked for me. My selector switch was intermittent but just needed some deoxit spray. Remember it’s a 40 year old machine

  6. I recently was given an sx 1080/1250 from my neighbor the 1080 is great where can i find lamps or what volts do the bulbs run at. ps some of my neighbors are the best neighbors ever. also how would i fix the case on the 1250 and can caps be cheapo or should i use high end nichion aka the caps from the same company the originals were made

    1. I’m still using the sx 1080 to this day, the 1080 is my daily driver for all of my PC audio needs, it will just smash whatever you need it to most people will never need more power than this thing can supply.

  7. I have a Pioneer 1080 receiver with intermittent problems I judge to be the volume control. The right channel occasionally is very faint. Is there a part number or replacement part information available for the volume control?

    1. If you haven’t already you might try cleaning the volume potentiometer (and all the other pots) with DeOxit or electrical contact cleaner (that is safe for plastic). A dirty potentiometer will cause intermittent volume problems.

    2. My SX-1080 does this to and it’s the AUX button is dirty. If I keep playing with the button it levels the outputs out

  8. Stephen Wilson,
    being an intermittent issue I would think that it is a dirty pot or switch. Particularly the volume or balance pot, one of the the tone board section pots or switches for freq turnover or one of the function selector switches. All of those pots and switches are doubled, stacked or humbucked together so to speak. Do a good thorough cleaning of them and while it’s open vacuum and blow it out then use deox to clean and lube those pots n switches.

    Yes that is about the going price for a well kept and well functioning reciever. Less if not in primo/immaculate condition.

    I own one in immaculate condition and another that is due for a recap and thorough cleaning and alignment. The one needing service has been in my possession since it was only 4 or 5 years old. It is the multi voltage version and came back from Germany with a buddy when he came back home from the service upon his finishing his contract or whatever ya want to call it. Lolz.
    Great recievers IMPO!!!!!


  9. Yesterday I picked up one these receivers Pioneer SX-1080 in pristine condition for 800 dollars, sounds great, I hope I made a good investment here.

  10. Are the output transistors for the SX 1080 available yet?
    Trying to rebuild a 1080 that the previous owner started to part out.

  11. I am looking to buy a Pioneer 1050 / 1080 in very good condition. Could someone please call me at 401-783-0487 ? I’m in RI and would like to talk to somebody about this. Been looking for awhile, please help me if you can. Friday the 13th in the am would be great. Thank you, Duane.

    1. Hello Duane.
      I’m a Rhode islander as well,
      I had & sold a SX 1050,
      Awesome dependable rig.
      I also had & sold a sx1080,
      problematic rig.
      Being a Rhode islander I’m sure you’re familiar with SDC in East Providence,
      I currently have a pioneer SX 1280 on consignment there & it’s a beast!
      Awesome dependable rig.
      Check it out.
      Happy New year!

  12. For my museum I am still looking forward to buy a neat and well preserved SX 1080. It may be an unrestored unit, but it must be in full working order. She will play once a year to keep her in good state, and I will use a Variac to wake her up slowly. It’s neccessary that the future museum-unit is designed for 240 Volts.

  13. I finally step out into my Garage to turn on my Pioneer SX-1080 Receiver that I bought in the Navy back in 81. Haven’t turned it 9n like 5 years. When I did, lights came on, 2hen I went to tune in a Radio station the Needle didn’t move, no sound, what do I do next without having to take it to shop. I will if that’s the last resort. Oh and I had a pair of Pioneer 922 Speakers at one time. Those are what you want to use. Memory’s

  14. I bought a sx 1080 for a week ago and i cant make any sound at all from it…the vu meters not move and no radio signal..the fuses look to be good..also tried a cd player but no sound at all..the receiver starts but no “click” only a click when i shut it off
    Any suggestions what it can be?

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