Wow, there’s something about the black faced receivers that makes them stand out. A few of the receiver manufacturers produced dark faced models during the mid to late 70’s. Most were produced for the European market or for U.S. military base exchanges in Europe and Japan. Pioneer was one of the companies that did this. The “black” faced models were essentially the same as their silver faced brothers but had different model numbers. This Pioneer SX-5580 is the dark faced clone of the SX-1050 and was manufactured around 1976. Other matching models from Pioneer were:
- SX-5530 – SX-535
- SX-5560 – SX-750
- SX-5570 – SX-950
- SX-5580 – SX-1050
- SX-5590 – SX-1250
- SX-7730 – SX-737
- SX-9930 – SX-939
This model also has a black cabinet though I’ve seen some with the standard wood cabinets as well. The SX-5580 puts out 120 watts per channel into 8 ohms with no more than 0.1% harmonic distortion. It weighs in at just over 51 pounds and is big (20 3/4″ x 6 13/16″ x 17 7/8″). As you can see here it also has two controls for bass and two controls for treble. There is also a switch to bypass the tone controls when desired. Quite a step up from some receivers that only have one “tone” control knob.
Even the volume control on this receiver is impressive. It is a 32 step decibel calibrated attenuator and you can use the Muting switch to the right of the knob to reduce the volume quickly when changing tape or LP’s. The SX-5580 can handle three sets of speakers and also has two phono inputs.
As you can see the SX-5580 looks exactly the same as the SX-1050 on the inside. Same big round transformers. It’s a well engineered piece of equipment and was almost top of the line in its time. Of course, it just preceded the the receiver wars of the late 70’s when audio manufacturers were all trying to outdo each other with massive amounts of power output.
Most black face receivers are hard to find. The SX-5580 is no exception. It was most likely made only for the U.S. military post exchanges in Europe, especially West Germany, so not many were sold to the general public. Many collectors really like the look of these receivers as well which adds to the demand. Prices are all over the place. I recently saw one sell for $860.00 in mint working condition and with a black cabinet (Nov 2012). Another sold for $495.00 in good working condition but with some wear to the cabinet and faceplate. Compare these prices with those of the SX-1050, the silver faced version, which sells for anywhere from $300.00 to $600.00.