Do vintage receivers sound better than new ones?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by 12" 45rpm, Mar 12, 2018.

  1. 12" 45rpm

    12" 45rpm Forum Resident Thread Starter

    New York City
    Here's my current receiver:


    And I picked up this Pioneer SX-650 recently:


    Is the pioneer better than the Onkyo? Or in this price range is amp just amp?
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  2. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Compare the sound and specs. Decide what is better to you. Bear in mind the old receiver may be out of spec due to old capacitors.
  3. allied333

    allied333 TUBE AMPLIFIER REBUILDER - inquire

    That is a difficult question. Any newer D class amp in a receiver would more than likely outperform any vintage gear. However, I consider the discussion on SS equipment inferior to good tube equipment anyways.
    BrentB likes this.
  4. 12" 45rpm

    12" 45rpm Forum Resident Thread Starter

    New York City
    Interesting. It's going to be a big hassle to swap out my receiver. If it seems like it would sound worse, I don't see the point of doing it. However, I love the aesthetics of the Pioneer!
    The FRiNgE likes this.
  5. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Meet me at the Green Dragon for an ale

    San Diego, CA, USA
    Too vague a question, imo.

    It will always depend on specific comparisons, and your preferences.

    Mine may be different than yours, or the unit in question may have a must have feature the other doesn't.

    Since you have both - what do you think?
    Sneaky Pete likes this.
  6. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    You could always use it to set up a second system, or pass it along to someone else.
    12" 45rpm likes this.
  7. What's the Model# of the Pioneer? I can view a larger image of your Onkyo, but not the Pioneer.

    Anyway...I'm a big fan of the 70's Pioneer stuff, which was all made in Japan. Specs aside, the sound of those early amps (receivers, integrateds) are rich & full-bodied. The newer stuff sounds more cold and sterile. JMO.
  8. seed_drill

    seed_drill Forum Resident

    Tryon, NC, USA
    I know it's anathema to say it on this site, but my opinion is that the Pioneer is more likely to color the sound, while the Onkyo does not. Some people like that. In fact, I think that's the same model Pioneer I have in one of my basement systems.
    sunspot42 likes this.
  9. 62caddy

    62caddy Forum Resident

    Being the Pioneer is considerably older, it is likely it will need some level of service to perform its best. The Onkyo also likely to have better performance specs than the Pioneer, however it is also probably much more difficult to service than the older unit.
    12" 45rpm likes this.
  10. 12" 45rpm

    12" 45rpm Forum Resident Thread Starter

    New York City
    It is a SX-650.. Missing some knobs, but otherwise works fine! As others suggested I will probably keep it as a second system and/or give it to a relative.
    Johnny Vinyl likes this.
  11. crispi

    crispi Vinyl Archaeologist

    Short answer: no.
  12. The FRiNgE

    The FRiNgE Forum Resident

    The Pioneer as found will not out-perform the Onkyo. I have refurb'd many receivers, including ones similar to your Onkyo. They are good sounding IMO. The only Achilles heel would be the phono section, which the Pioneer would kill it.

    The Pioneer SX-650 is a very good sounding receiver. It most certainly needs the typical cleaning of switches and pots with electronics cleaner (no deoxit which is acidic.. as these are seldom oxidized but just need cleaning) Most of the "out of spec" issue will be with the dirty contacts... even if they do not make static noise. The small electrolytic caps may be out of spec. The Main filter caps are high quality, and seldom need replacement. (some techs will talk you into replacing these, but Pioneer used very high quality filter caps which really do last a lifetime) When properly serviced (not by a tech who "fire hoses" the pots or uses deox on everything and dooms the pots to a shortend life) ... when properly serviced, Pioneer has never failed to impress me. It happens every time as it's easy to forget just how good these sounded!

    Pioneer receivers from the golden era are well built, very high quality pots and switches made to last two or three lifetimes... only the small electrolytics need to be inspected/ tested for physical leakage/electrical leakage. If in doubt, it's easier to just replace all of them (about 12 to 16 total) with Nichicon caps.
  13. 12" 45rpm

    12" 45rpm Forum Resident Thread Starter

    New York City
    Interesting! I listen to vinyl 90% of the time. So I guess I should try this receiver for a few weeks and see if my LP's sound better.
    The FRiNgE likes this.
  14. 12" 45rpm

    12" 45rpm Forum Resident Thread Starter

    New York City
    Seems this Onkyo is not class D, see:

    "I also like that the TX-8020 isn't a Class D or integrated circuit chip-based design, no, it's a bona-fide analog amp, just like some of my favorite audiophile amps."

    Is a stereo receiver right for you?
    The FRiNgE likes this.
  15. Wally Swift

    Wally Swift Forum Resident

    Brooklyn New York
    Try it. I picked up a one-owner Pioneer SX-880 that was lovingly cared for it's entire life. $10 at a garage sale! All I did was the basic pot/switch cleaning and it's a freekin' beast. Love it, love it, love it!
  16. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    Vintage gear is usually smoother,
    Better made and possibly in a different class.

    Pioneer made some of the very best
    Gear in the 1970,s
    The A9 being top of the tree.
    Behind an elegant flap were dip switches for cartridge loading!
    Nice touches.
    The Troughline is arguably the best sounding tuner ever!
    Let your ears be the judge "
  17. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    Another thing to consider is if it is a good match for your speakers?
    SteevG and Helom like this.
  18. misterdecibel

    misterdecibel Bulbous Also Tapered

    Vintage receivers are the reason why people moved up from them to high end separates in the '70s.
    Mike from NYC likes this.
  19. PhxJohn

    PhxJohn Forum Resident

    Phoenix, AZ
    I absolutely agree. I have a 70's vintage Marantz and a new Marantz. They sound exactly as you describe.
    SandAndGlass and Guy Gadbois like this.
  20. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Which is a good thing.
    Sneaky Pete, SandAndGlass and Manimal like this.
  21. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Southern US
    My SX 750 sounds great as does my SX 1250. Your old pioneer cleaned won’t disappoint and it looks amazing.
    SandAndGlass and SirMarc like this.
  22. Billion$Baby

    Billion$Baby RIAA AWARD COLLECTORS on Facebook

    SX-650 is about the bottom of the barrel for a Pioneer from that Era. If you want the best Pioneer Receivers from the 70's go for 838,939,1010, 1050,1250. You can also try the Integrated's......I use the Pioneer SA-9100. Other stellar receivers from that era are: Marantz 2325, 2330, 2285, Sherwood 9910, Nikko NR 1415, Sansui Eight Deluxe, 881, G-9000, Kenwood 9600, Technics Sa-700 (Or 800,1000), Luxman R-1070,R-1120

    I own about 50-60 of these vintage receivers and these are my faves.
  23. matteos

    matteos Stereotype

    Los Angeles
    Since you are the guy with both receivers... Why don't you tell us?
  24. PumaJr

    PumaJr New Member

    Austin, TX
    I have an SX-950 that has been recapped and the pots have been replaced. The only thing I would replace it with is a tube setup.
  25. Thesmellofvinyl

    Thesmellofvinyl Forum Resident

    Cohoes, NY USA
    Found a Nakamichi R-1 tonight, cheap. Problem is the volume increase control doesn't work (only goes to a certain - very low- volume). I've read that these sound good. I'm wondering how expensive the repair might be.

Share This Page