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Pioneer SX-1250 and HK-730 shootout....


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You wouldn't think this could be much of a "shootout", but, think again....


A recapped Pioneer SX-1250 (that are currently going for anywhere from $2-2.5K on fleabay) and a stock HK-730, that I cleaned, adjusted and Deoxit'd (bought this one for $250 about 6 months ago).


4 different music choices - Steely Dan "I Got The News" (something of a reference track for me), Anita Baker "Rhythm of Love", Leo Kotke, and Tower of Power.


A friend brought over an OPPO BDP-105D, cause I told him I was going to do this, and all tracks were played from CD.


Flat output, no tone controls to begin.


Stock Chorus II's, no crossover changes, totally stock.


KnuKonceptz 12AWG speaker wire, KnuKonceptz RCA interconnects.


Both played right around 90-94db on my SPL meter.


The Pioneer is terrific, but the HK-730 is incredible.  The bass thump on every tune beat out the Pioneer easily, the mid range virtually the same, and the Pioneer's highs just slightly crisper and more distinct.  The Steely Dan tune shows off all the tonal qualities of the amps and speakers.


Now, the Pioneer has some serious tone controls, and they mean business.  Highly controllable and add depth and precision without distortion.  The HK's tone controls are very basic, but work well and are quite sensitive.  Due to the individual power supplies for each channel on the HK, the separation is dramatic and highly enjoyable.  What a great unit.


I have another unit that I'm going to have completely recapped and restored, and I'll be anxious to hear how that sounds....


If anyone has a chance to pick up one of the 730's or any of it's brethren (preferably the 430), do it.  Clean it up, maybe a minor adjustment here and there, and you'll be good to go.  You won't be disappointed.





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Did you do the recap on the Pioneer? I have a list of the caps to change on the H/K 730 and 430 that Dennis (DJK) posted some time ago if you are up for it.



I would to like to have the caps list for the 430's. Would appreciate it if you could post these lists on the forum (or PM if it is more appropriate) . I have been looking for this for a long time...


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Reading this about sent coffee spewing out my nose!  Very surprised to read this to say the least!

I'm not sure what to think... either there is something very wrong with that SX-1250 or something very "right" with that 730 OR (less likely) we have vastly different hearing.   I have a SX-1250,  HK 930 and a 330b but I don't have the 730.  The 930 was gone through by Dewick (he referred to it as "getting the usual suspects") and the SX-1250 built by Paul of Many Moons Audio.  I like the bass of the HK but can't imagine it comparing to the 1250.  Maybe it is an unfair comparison as Paul upgraded my SX to the Nth degree.


Now I'm either going to have to get a 730 or send the 930 to Paul.   Seems like I can turn just about any thread into an excuse to spend money.

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My write up was not intended to denigrate the 1250 at all, as I really love that unit, but was I think more intended to highlight the performance of the HK.  (and I know you didn't say that, but wanted to point that out)


I don't think there's anything wrong with my 1250, and I would venture to say that your 1250 restored by Paul is probably head and shoulders above mine, as mine was just a basic recap, nothing special....I know that Paul does fabulous work, and specializes in the 1250's, so it doesn't surprise me.  If I could afford it, and wait 8-12 months, I would love to send it to him as well.


I have honestly never heard a 930, but from what I've read, actually the 730 seems to have more favorable opinions.


Yes, and I'm sure that our hearing is not vastly different, but really, I think there's something very "right" with the 730.  As I said, it is completely original, just cleaned up and minor adjustments according to the service manual, that's it.  Everything else was exactly the same between the two units.  Didn't exactly spew any beverages....but was certainly pleasantly surprised.  I think the overall simplicity of the circuitry and the separate channel power supplies are significant positive influences on the sonic qualities of this unit.

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I've owned the SX-1980, SX-1080, SX-1050, SX-980, SX-890, SX-780, SX-750, SX-680, and SX-650 but never an H/K.  And it's not for lack of wanting one just to have.  The SX-1980 was nice and impressive for a receiver at 270wpc and 86lbs for sure.  Never played it on any of the "horn speakers" I've had.  I bought the SX-1980 at a yard sale for $10 that had ended and everyone passed over (missed the HPM-150's that were picked up by Goodwill an hour earlier.  Sold it one year later for a little north of $2,000 which I was happy with (this was back in 2008 I think).  I had other amps that sounded much better anyway.  But it was nice.  I don't have any of the Pioneer receivers anymore except for the black dial SX-890 and maybe an SX-780 but they are tucked away somewhere and haven't been touched in years.  


I'd like to come across one of those H/K's, though....either one.  Have heard them but not owned.

Edited by avguytx
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The HK 30 series has been well regarded here on the forums for years for use with horns. so the 930 was one of my first experiments &  Iv never been disappointed at the price point, great receivers. They really smooth out any harshness you might be dealing with.

Good review Jim.

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The 45W HK730 compares favoribly with much larger amplifiers, it can pound a Carver M400 into the dust.


My brother just made off with the 730 I gave my father about 40 years ago (he took the whole rig, including the four-way EV6's with 18's, horn mids and tweets) .

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"You let him do that?"


Locusts decended on the house in Ames, stripped it bare, and sold it (for cheap) in a week.


John, Ruby, and Mary (age 56) all died in a three month period this last spring. 


" Is he still in Wisconsin?"




"I've not talked with him for about ten years."


That might help bring him back to reality.

Edited by djk
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