Pioneer SX-850

 

Pioneer SX-850 Front

 

This classic receiver the Pioneer SX-850 was made from 1976 to 1977 and, while not the top of the line, it was one of their higher end offerings. It has the tradition mid to late 70's styling that is easily recognized as Pioneer. The silver face, wood case and amber lights are all characteristic of Pioneer receivers of that time.

 

Pioneer SX-850 Knobs

 

You'll be hard pressed to find someone that doesn't like the SX-850. It really epitomizes what vintage audio is all about. The great look, quality build and above average performance make it a fantastic receiver for someone wanting to build a good quality vintage system. It's rated at 65 watts per channel but most agree that is probably low.

 

Pioneer SX-850 Meter

 

It phono stage and bass response are also known for being top quality. Hook a turntable up to this receiver and you won't be disappointed. The SX-850 isn't rare. Pioneer made and sold tons of them. That's a good thing if you're looking for one. Still, demand is so high for these receivers that price have been steadily rising in the auction market over the last few years..

 

Pioneer SX-850 Inside

 

The circuitry inside the unit is nice, clean and organized.  Here's part of the Pioneer advertising information from the 70's:

How do you know when to trust a stereo receiver to fill your musical needs? Power output by itself is not much help, because unless your listening room is the size of a concert hall, a receiver with far less than concert-hall-sized output will do nicely. The answer, obviously, is to put your trust in the circuitry the kind that you'll enjoy in the pioneer SX-850.

 

Pioneer SX-850 Inside

 

Here are some of it's other features:

  • No more than 0.1% total harmonic distortion.
  • Super-quiet 3-stage direct-coupled phono equalizer
  • FET in the Tone Control section
  • 2-step frequency turnover switch for Bass and another for Treble
  • 2-deck monitor/dubbing
  • 2-system speaker drive
  • Separable pre/main
  • Superb FM/ AM section with dual-gate MOS FET and 4-gang variable capacitor
  • PLL IC in the multiplex to improve stereo separation
  • Special Integrated Circuit in the AM for better reception and less noise.
  • AUX input

 

Pioneer SX-850 Back

 

When the SX-850 was introduced Pioneer's top of the line receiver was the SX-1250. Just a couple years later it introduced the legendary SX-1980, one of the most powerful receivers ever made. Of course, if you want a true monster receiver, the SX-1980 is occasionally available on the market for a few thousand dollars or more. For those of us with more modest budgets the SX-850, SX-750 or SX-950 are great choices.

 

Pioneer SX-850 Ad

 

As I mentioned above these receivers are extremely popular so demand is high. Prices reflect that high demand. I recently saw a completely restored SX-850 sell for $750.00. That's the very high end of the price range though. In general you can get a really nice Sx-850 for around $400.00. If you're not too concerned about aesthetics then you can get a functioning 850 for even less. Parts are plentiful so if something goes wrong you can always get it fixed. If you fond a good deal on one don't pass it up.

 

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There's a great video of a resto on a Pioneer SX-850 below. It's long but worth a watch if you're interested.

21 thoughts on “Pioneer SX-850

  1. Hi, what speakers do you used for this receiver? I’d like to get a same pair. I have the chance to get a Pioneer SX-780. Would like to know what speaker to go with it.

    Thanks!
    Ben

  2. Hay I just brought one of these from a thrift store I plug it up before I brought it everything seems to work won’t know until I hook turntable and speakers up to it

  3. Want to know if I did the right thing buy Bing it seems like it’s in good shape only paid 20.00 bucks for it

  4. I bought one of these for $825 and another for $550 and would buy any that you have for $500 all day long. The European market will buy these for $1000 US and I am happy to sell em for that!

  5. you really seem to know your stuff, and ive really been looking for someone to steer me in the right direction, i have a sx 950 that needs a good tune up. Kinda of like what your doing, Can u help me? It was my first baby.. Thanx Steve

  6. Any chance I can get you to some maintenance om my sx-850? I bought it new in 1977 but it’s not been on for quite a few years. I would like to get back into my vinyl collection. You don’t happen to work on Dual turn tables do you. A reply would be nice – Thanks

    Mike

  7. Where are you located? Maybe there is a good technician near you. They are expensive, and risky, to ship so finding someone local is the best bet.

  8. Classic system for sale. Pioneer SX-850 Receiver,harmon/kardon hk200 xm casette deck, Sanyo direct drive TP 1012 turntable, 2 Kenwood KL-777 4way floor speakers. Receiver,cassette deck,turntable all in original boxes/packaging along with diagrams and schematics.

  9. Hi My name is gary I would like to talk to you I have some older receivers new in box never played. can you send me a number so we can talk Thanks.

  10. Hey Gary. My name is Jim and I live just outside Chicago. What kind of receivers? I’m looking for 70’s s/s. . .Pioneer, Marantz, etc. E-mail is jimmyjames1954 at yahoo.com

  11. YOU are truly blessed,
    i just bought sx-850 and wish i knew you….just in case i have a problem with it….
    you deserve at least $1000 for your work on that 850 job !!

  12. I have one sx 850, if someone need more info and want to buy it send mail: kominlija at gmail.com

  13. Wow – I have had a SX-850 for 25 years and just used it in my garage with my old vintage 16″ woofer speakers I bought while in high school. A couple years ago the receiver started randomly click out the protection relay and had static on one channel and got to the point I could no longer use it. I am retired electronics tech (age 62 and graduated HS in 73) and now had the time to try to fix it. With all the info in the internet I was able to get a schematic and other info from audiokarma.org and after firing up the oscilloscope I was able to repair mine after finding 1 bad 2SA726 transistor in the preamp section of the power amp. I replaced 1 .25 cent transistor blew out all the dust and now it works perfectly. Going to reinstall in the garage and connect a turntable so we can listen to my vintage albums – even though I have most of that music on my tablet. Even my wife was impressed I was able to repair it. I remember when I first heard “Frampton Comes Alive – Do you feel like I do” played thru a SX-850 back in 1976. Thanks for a great web site and all the info – I did not realize these old receivers still have that much value and people are still interested in them. Bald1 in Minnesota.

  14. i have recently obtained a sx 850 that is mint condition asking 450 contact me at318 659 3221 ask for mike

  15. I have just bought one of these for £60 needing refurbishment as it goes off at random times.

    Your website is very helpful, thank you for sharing your experience.

    UK

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