People tend to focus on the big, powerful receivers when looking at vintage stereos, but, there are some little guys out there that are very appealing as well. Not everyone has the space or desire for a 50+ pound monster in their house. Some just want a well performing, small, affordable stereo. Well, the Pioneer SX-424 is just that. Pioneer introduced it in the early 1970's - probably sometime around late 1971. It retailed at that time for about $200 which was very affordable. By 1974 the price had dropped to about $130.
The SX-424 does not pump out a boatload of power. But, the 12 watts it does put out are solid and will drive most speakers. It has a pretty decent tuner as well as phono section.
The SX-424's close relative the SX-434 (1974) was only slightly different in that it had a Balance control knob, silver capped push buttons, slightly different knob design, FM muting and screw down speaker inputs. Actually, the next receiver up the Pioneer line from the Sx-424 was the SX-525. The SX-434 came out later. The SX-4x4 models were essentially the bottom of the performance line for Pioneer. Still, these little receivers did a good job and fulfilled their purpose admirably. In fact, calling them bottom of the line is overly harsh. Pioneer made stereos that were marketed under both the Centrex and Craig names. Those receivers were definitely inferior to the entry level Pioneer models.
One of the bigger drawbacks of the SX424 is that the speaker plugs are non-standard. As you can see below the speaker inputs look like a wall plug. The one on the left has an 'adapter' that plugs into the inputs and has the more common screw down speaker wire holders. The one on the right is the 'stock' input without the adapter.
These plugs pop up on eBay occasionally but aren't that cheap. They usually sell for around $20-$40 a pair.
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Parts are also easy to come by so if you need a repair it can be done relatively inexpensively. Knobs are also available fairly often for reasonable prices...
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The inside of the SX-424 is nice and simple. The styling of the SX-424 is also notable in that it has that iconic Pioneer silver face, blue tuning dial and wood case. All blend together to create that vintage look that so many collectors / enthusiast want.
If you're looking for a smaller low power stereo for a room or office the Pioneer SX-424 is definitely one to consider. Just be sure to pick up some speaker plugs if the unit doesn't have them. The SX-424 sells for $40 to $120 depending upon condition. So, you don't have to break the bank to get a nice little workhorse of a stereo.
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