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In Reply to: RE: Pioneer SX-1980 - is it really worth this much? posted by DRam on June 25, 2017 at 20:45:56
This receiver was the flagship of mainstream audio at its pinnacle during the late 1970s. This was prior to the digital age, and it was common for students in high school and college to acquire great sounding audio systems. Using integrated receivers from Pioneer, Marantz, Sansui, Yamaha, Onkyo, Kenwood, Harman/Kardon etc.. (JBL and Infinity loudspeakers were big during that time too. As were rock stations like KMET and WMMS. Not to mention "Orchestra Wars" between the Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, and New York Philharmonic.) Mainstream music in those days had quality sound (Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, Boston, Led Zeppelin), there wasn't a sizeable gap between mainstream and high-end audio.
I don't think there is a lot of high-end solid state marketed today that to me sounds significantly better. (Tubes are a different story.) If I were to construct another system (as if I don't have enough), it would have late 1970s vintage in mind.
Adjusted for inflation, the SX-1980, which was $1,250 new, would cost over $8,000 today. It was an expensive proposition when it came out, and it remains one now.
I have one and absolutely LOVE it. I bought a nice one about 5-6 years ago for $2,000, and had it completely recapped/restored for another $900. It sounds fantastic - definitely better than some similarly priced current "audiophile" gear I have heard. It's also for sure awesome to look at, and that adds to its allure, and also of course it's price.
The 1980 will likely always cost a lot. It always has. Only an individual can saw whether it's "worth" it. But mine will be with me until I'm dead and gone.
"Let there be songs, to fill the air"
Love how your vintage rig looks! Is that a Pioneer 5-way??
Your "over $8,000 today" statement got my attention, so I did some checking - ratio, 2017/1978, for CPI-U is about 3.8 - which inflates $1250 to $4750 - still not chump change and still much more than your cost.
Referring to my earlier, not complementary post on Pioneer and the "power wars" - it would be interesting to compare my mother's 65W Harmon Kardon receiver to comparable contemporary Pioneer goods. I think my brother has it and it still works - hmmmmmm.
I used to own one, which drove my then Infinity Qa speakers using the Dual 721 turntable and Pioneer CTF 1000 cassette deck as the source in the 70's. They sounded quite good, especially in the direct mode, but not as smooth and highly resolving to sound as the Sansui AU-9900 at half of its power output, which I also own. However, they are very heavy and impressive to look at with all the chrome plated control, but highly unreliable as they're always something wrong with it. Sometimes the tuner would quit working for no apparent reason other than no sound coming out from it whatsoever and or the phono stage would be too noisy. In some instances, there would be no output signal even though the output fuses tested good.
Are they worth what they're asking for it now? all I can say is no. If they're asking half of its current asking price perhaps, but you better be sure that you are electronically inclined because you're going to need all that expertise to keep it running. Also for that asking price, there are a lot of used equipment out there that is more reliable and better it sound wise.
If a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing well
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