This Pioneer SX-626 is a great looking receiver and was the mid-range offering from Pioneer around 1971. It was out of production by 1973. While it is considered mid level it really is built with the same quality as Pioneer’s upper end stereos. It just has fewer features and less power output. It retailed for around $339 and produced 27 watts per channel into 8 ohms.
The SX-626 has the usually look of early 70’s Pioneer’s just before they moved to the white dial face and amber lighting. As you can see it has the basic features you’d want in a receiver and nothing fancy. One interesting note is that the tuning meter light stays off until you switch to FM then the light comes on.
It’s fairly small at 18″ x 14″ x 6″ and weighs in at 22 pounds. You’ll hear many people who’ve heard it say it has a very warm and rich sound. It is most often compared to the Marantz 2230 and Pioneer owners even prefer it over that unit. Of course, when you own a stereo it tends to be the best sounding stereo around right? Nonetheless, the SX-626 is a great little stereo and can hold its own with all the other top end brand names of the time. It is capacitive coupled, which gives that rich sound. Later Pioneers receivers were direct coupled.
Uh oh! As you can see it has the dreaded Pioneer speaker input plugs. These require adapters that, many times, are missing. They can be found fairly regularly of eBay for around $20 or so. You can usually find knobs as well.
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As you can see the inside is well laid out and the power section even has a mesh grill cover. If you find an SX-626 that sounds less than stellar, you might consider replacing the capacitors and possibly some of the transistors. This will clean up the sound quite a bit.
Of course, Pioneer receivers are always in demand as they are one of the most popular brands for collectors. The SX-626 is also in demand from those who just want a great sounding vintage receiver for home use. You can pick up a fully restored unit for about $250 and good working units for $150 or so. You can’t beat that with any of today’s poorly built receivers that cost about the same!
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If you’re interested in the restoration of the Pioneer SX-626 then check out this video…