Here is another late 1970’s classic receiver. It’s the Pioneer SX-980 and was produced from 1978 to 1979 and was the last of the 900 series receivers from Pioneer. The SX-980 is basically a slightly restyled SX-950. You’ll notice that the meter faces are black instead of white to improve the legibility of the analog meters. The SX-980 is rated at 80 watts per channel into 8 ohms. As a comparison the SX-950 was rated at 85 WPC. While the sound difference between the 980 and 950 may not be very noticeable to most listeners the build quality of the two units is different. The consensus is that Pioneer’s 50 series receivers are built better than the 80 series.
Aesthetically these receivers are extremely nice to look at. They embody the vintage receiver look of the late 70’s. I personally own an SX-950 and love the look as well as the sound. With a nice restored wood cabinet they are hard to beat and will catch the eye of even non-audio enthusiasts. Here is the spec sheet for the SX-980:
The SX-980 features separate bass and treble controls with turnover switches from 200hz and 400hz bass, 5k and 25k treble, tone on/off, filter switches for 15hz and 8khz, FM muting, two tape in/outputs, duplicate switch, two phono inputs and one aux input, phono two selector is also the mic selector, mode stereo and mono, loudness on/off, mic input and muting switch, both signal and tuning meters, as well as both right and left channel output meters which display wattage.
The SX-980 retailed for about $600 – $650. It weighs about 41 pounds and measures 21 11/16 X 6 5/16 X 17 5/16 inches. These receivers, including the SX-950, are great values and can be purchased for a reasonable amount.
Obviously most any vintage Pioneer receiver is going to be in high demand and the SX-980 is no exception. A working unit in decent condition sells for about $200-$300 while a fully functional unit is really nice condition will sell for over $500 pretty consistently. In fact, the unit shown here sold for $590. Another fully restored SX-980 sold for $560.00. Still, that’s not a bad price for a great receiver that looks good and performs exceptionally well.