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

Parts are plentiful for the SX-850 so if something goes wrong you can always get it fixed. If you find a good deal on one don’t pass it up. As I mentioned above, these receivers are extremely popular so demand is high and prices reflect that high demand.

Right Now on eBay 
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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.

50 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.


    1. I have an SX-850, which I bought in Japan in 1977. I have it hooked up to Boze 501 II’s. When I turn it up, it beats my heart for me with all that base. :-)

  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


    1. To anyone reading this, do not send your gear to Brent Huskins at Crossroad Vintage located in TX. He is a con artist. His gig is this: Lists repair work on EBay. $425 0r $450 to repair your 1970s stereo recievers. You pay full in advance, pay for shipping, and then hope for the best!

      It took 1 full year to get my receiver back. I had to get a sheriff involved. Thank God for that sheriff!

      When Brent finally sent my unit back, it was packed very well but he never did a thing to it. Oddly, he scribbled a note saying he tested it and it is working great. Therefore, I think he may have a mental issue. Perhaps many years ago he was legit. But not now. Fast forward, I did have the Pioneer SX850 restored at a Philadelphia area audio place in Levittown PA. Works beautifully! End of story.

    2. Bill at “fix my dual” dot com does a complete restoration on the 1229. Contact him…. He rebuilt 2 for me, perfectly. He likes 1229, he won’t do cheap duels, and he’ll tell you that. Wonderful man…,polite and an expert on his beloved profession! Look up his interview on Skylab audio on YouTube. He’s older gentleman, soooo buy a beater and have him restore it… he’s not that expensive… look for a broken one that looks good physically…. Good luck.

  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

  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. 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 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.

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

  14. 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.


  15. I have a sx-850 everything works well some minor scratches overall great shape sound is awesome . switches and knobs all there.has been stored in house I fired it up today first time in 5 years or more it has a little bit of scratch in volume control wiggle knob a bit it clears right up.very earthy sounding and loud on my infinity rs125s . I’m in the Philadelphia area and would like to sell it. It’s a shame it just sits here I would love to see somebody enjoy it. Email me for pics and offers. Email: Moreguns at

  16. i have a chance to buy a sx-850 for 300.00 going to look at it today this guy also has a mcs-3275 same price dont know i think i might buy both. still have my technics 100 watter that i fell in love with years ago . feel free to email me at rod699732 at

  17. I have a mint condition Pioneer SX-850 Beautiful. I mean MINT… I am selling it
    Willing to take offers.

  18. I have a Pioneer SC-850 receiver in pretty clean condition however the on and off switch is jammed and not sure if anything else is wrong with the unit. How much do you think it’s valued at in this condition? Thanks!

      1. I have a sx-850 for sale. Great condition. Every thing works. $600 + shipping. Firm price. Can send pictures. Thanks

  19. I just bought an sx-838. does anyone know how the bass turnover switch works. Does one set the tone for each of the two settings, one after the other? Or does the switch mean you are setting the tone for only one of the two frequencies and the other goes back to neutral? Don’t really understand it!

  20. Hello,
    I have a Pioneer SX-850 I bought new in 1976. It’s been in my garage for years. It worked the last time I used it. I plugged it in, but does not power up. The power switch is very sticky, difficult to manipulate. The volume control knob broke off.

    Would you have any interest in it?


  21. I just bought an SX-850 for $600. It does not power up at all. It was so clean cosmetically I couldn’t resist taking the plunge. I have a reputable guy that is going to diagnose and hopefully get it going again. My question is this..Do I simply have him get it up and running again with whatever it needs minimally or do I spend the extra and have him do a full restore? I would be leaning toward a full recap and restoration but already being in for $600 plus whatever the repairs would be, I’m afraid I may end up upside down with the investment.

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