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Vintage Receivers and the Forte III’s

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Very new to this forum, but I’d like to solicit  some feedback. I recently purchased a new pair of Forte III’s. They’re amazing. I went though a number of newer integrated amps and receivers and what I’ve landed on is I just love the sound of the old pioneer receivers. I had an SX980 and it sounded great, but went into protect mode at about 10 o’clock on the volume dial. I think this is because it’s only rated at 80 WPC and the forte’s ask for 100. That said I sold the 980 and am looking at a pioneer sx1250 or sx1050. The 1250 is rated at 165 WPC while the 1050 is rated at 120 WPC. The 50 series has a warmer sound which is what I’m into. I listen to a lot of vinyl. 
so my question is, has anyone experienced either of these receivers with the fortes?  More power can be good, but do I really need it?  The 1050 is also about a grand cheaper too, which let’s face it, that’s helpful as I’m on a budget. 
appreciate the help. Cheers. 

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Welcome to the forum.  You will get many responses on this.

 

Travis

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Hi, and welcome to the forum.  

 

First of all, your beautiful new Forte IIIs do not ask for 100 watts.  They ask for a lot less.  Because they are "rated" for 100 watts, does not mean that they require 100 watts.  They are very high efficiency speakers.  If you were to feed them even 50 watts, they would drive you out of the room.  Your SX 980 apparently had some issues if it went into protect mode at 10pm, and it had nothing to do with the speakers.    And you are correct, the big Pioneers in the 50 series are terrific, and in their price points, the 850 and 950 are excellent.  I would also look for HK 430, 730, and 930.  Excellent value to be had in those.

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The Pioneer SX1250 is one of the best sounding receivers there is... there you are... search over.

 

Worrying about how many watts you need or don't need is not necessary. 

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If your 40 year old SX-980 was/is bone stock, meaning it hadn't/hasn't been gone through by a qualified tech to check and replace ALL caps, resistors, etc., and presented with a clean bill of health, then you're just asking for trouble.  Same thing goes with any other "larger" Pioneer receiver or any other brand for that matter,.  Electrolytic caps don't last forever.  But, that's a personal choice thing for everyone, I guess. 

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Yes, don't ask for trouble!

Have your vintage SS equipment rebuilt by @paul79 of Many Moons Audio

He will do it right and stand behind his work.  It will also likely sound better than new as well.  

 

Other favorite vintage receivers would be Marantz 2330, Yamaha CR-2040 or CR2020.   I really like the 2040 but the sx-1250 wins.

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Thank you everyone for the advice! I think I might go with the sx1050. eBay prices are just insane right now and getting a 1250 under 2k that has been serviced by a legitimate tech is rough. There’s a few 1050’s that are serviced and clean for around 1k. I may get the 1050 and in a year sell it and get a 1250. This is a journey. 
thanks again everyone for the feedback and yes, the Forte III’s are probably (not probably) the best speakers I’ve ever owned! 
cheers! 

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I remember all of the Pioneer SX- series receivers I bought off of CL, at yard sales, etc., when I was living in Denton, TX from 2003 to 2009.  Amazing how cheap I bought some of them.  My best was an SX-1980 for $10 and I missed the HPM-1100's that went with them that Goodwill picked up.  They said the receiver was "too heavy".  I think I've had 12 to 14 Pioneer SX receivers ranging from the 680 to the 1980, some X50 models, a quad or two, and maybe more.  Not to mention all the other silver face stuff I bought...and ultimately sold.  It was fun for awhile.

 

Find a good power amp of some kind for the time being and use your 980 as the preamp.  Maybe some sort of newer amp.

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Wow!  There’s a 1980 serviced and in pristine condition on eBay right now for 4K. A Sansui g33000 for 10k. It’s insane. I had some older x80 series stuff along time ago and sold them for basically nothing. Lesson learned. Never owned a x50 series, but I do t think I’ll be disappointed. 

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I can get a 1050 close to a 1250 sonically if 125wpc is good enough for you and your speakers. The obvious improvements in the 1250 are dual mono, more power, better tuner. The 1050 sounds great though, after a proper restoration. However, if you know you are going to end up with a 1250 and sell the 1050, might be best to wait and restore a 1250.

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I would vote for HK 430 or 630.....then a Dynaco ST 70......I use to have a Yammy the HK 430 blew it away with only 24 watts...

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A 50W - 70W amp should provide all of the power you need.

I would also consider things like the numbers and kinds of inputs

MM MC phono inputs

Tape in and out if you want to add an EQ later, usually better than the basic tone controls

If you are not a receiver collector

I would consider one of the many excellent integrated amps

Some great ones can be had ridiculously cheap on e-bay

Pioneer made lots of them in the same era as the receivers

I would also look at the Yamaha integrates from the 1980s

the ones with the MM MC phono inputs

I picked up a Yamaha A-1000 for $50 in excellent condition

had to drive 3 hours to get it, but worth the trip, runs Class A for the first 10 watts.

also doubles as a space heater in the winter. A-1000, A-1020, A-700, A-720

https://www.hifiengine.com/manual_library/pioneer.shtml?category=integrated-amplifier

https://www.hifiengine.com/manual_library/yamaha/a-1000.shtml

You can add an outboard Sangeon tuner for $160 that is excellent and new

https://www.amazon.com/Sangean-HDT-20-Radio-FM-Stereo-Component/dp/B01BY02C5K/ref=sr_1_1?crid=P20JX4WDEJG7&keywords=sangean+hd+tuner&qid=1572301503&sprefix=sangeon+hd+tuner%2Caps%2C410&sr=8-1

And if you amp is more than 20 years old it should be recapped

The only thing standing between your amp and blown speakers is two capacitors.

 

 

Most of your listening will be well below .5 watts

2 watts is screaming

On my LaScalas I typically listen at 1/200th of a watt to 1/50th

 

Damping should exceed 20

SN 90 or greater, some of mine are rated greater than 120db

Class B McIntosh, Class AB is most of the receivers, Can't think of a Class A receiver

THD should be less than 1%, some of mine are rated at .003

Slew rate on the older gear, can't think of the number

Freq rating, number like 20-50khz or better, although many only provide 20-20 even though they go much higher

If you listen to radio, I would look at the stats on the tuner vs how far away your stations are etc....FMTuners

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2 hours ago, Bubo said:

A 50W - 70W amp should provide all of the power you need.

I would also consider things like the numbers and kinds of inputs

MM MC phono inputs

Tape in and out if you want to add an EQ later, usually better than the basic tone controls

If you are not a receiver collector

I would consider one of the many excellent integrated amps

Some great ones can be had ridiculously cheap on e-bay

Pioneer made lots of them in the same era as the receivers

I would also look at the Yamaha integrates from the 1980s

the ones with the MM MC phono inputs

I picked up a Yamaha A-1000 for $50 in excellent condition

had to drive 3 hours to get it, but worth the trip, runs Class A for the first 10 watts.

also doubles as a space heater in the winter. A-1000, A-1020, A-700, A-720

https://www.hifiengine.com/manual_library/pioneer.shtml?category=integrated-amplifier

https://www.hifiengine.com/manual_library/yamaha/a-1000.shtml

You can add an outboard Sangeon tuner for $160 that is excellent and new

https://www.amazon.com/Sangean-HDT-20-Radio-FM-Stereo-Component/dp/B01BY02C5K/ref=sr_1_1?crid=P20JX4WDEJG7&keywords=sangean+hd+tuner&qid=1572301503&sprefix=sangeon+hd+tuner%2Caps%2C410&sr=8-1

And if you amp is more than 20 years old it should be recapped

The only thing standing between your amp and blown speakers is two capacitors.

 

 

Most of your listening will be well below .5 watts

2 watts is screaming

On my LaScalas I typically listen at 1/200th of a watt to 1/50th

 

Damping should exceed 20

SN 90 or greater, some of mine are rated greater than 120db

Class B McIntosh, Class AB is most of the receivers, Can't think of a Class A receiver

THD should be less than 1%, some of mine are rated at .003

Slew rate on the older gear, can't think of the number

Freq rating, number like 20-50khz or better, although many only provide 20-20 even though they go much higher

If you listen to radio, I would look at the stats on the tuner vs how far away your stations are etc....FMTuners


so much to consider here and again, thank you for the excellent and detailed information. I lucked out and found a 1250 in my area for an awesome price. Going to audition it this weekend. I’ll keep everyone posted and again, thank you! So glad I joined the community! 

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SX-1250 AM/FM receiver provides a resounding yes to each of these questions - and then some.

No other Pioneer receiver provides such incomparable FM performance and sensitivity and then combines it with mammoth continuous power output of 160W per channel, min RMS at 8 Ohms, from 20 Hertz to 20,000 Hertz, with no more than 0.1% total harmonic distortion.

Specifications

Tuning range: FM, MW

Power output: 160 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo)

Frequency response: 10Hz to 50kHz

Total harmonic distortion: 0.1%

Damping factor: 30

Input sensitivity: 6.5mV (mic), 2.5mV (MM), 150mV (DIN), 150mV (line)

Signal to noise ratio: 75dB (MM), 90dB (line)

Output: 150mV (line), 30mV (DIN), 1V (Pre out)

Speaker load impedance: 4Ω (minimum)

Dimensions: 556 x 186.5 x 464.5mm

Weight: 29.2kg

Year: 1976

https://www.hifiengine.com/manual_library/pioneer/sx-1250.shtml

 

 

4146109-1407-9__68613.1510795850.jpg?c=2

 

4146109-1407-2__57612.1510795850.jpg?c=2

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I had the pleasure of meeting and spending some time with @DBMike today when he came to audition my SX-1250.  We had a great time and found some terrific common ground as veterans, former defense contractors and IT nerds.....Hope to keep in touch and see more of him in the future.  He is a great addition to our Klipsch family.

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You guys that are familiar with Pioneer....how would you describe their sound compared to other brands?

My uncle (RIP) had several Pioneer units when I was young. He liked them but we had very similar tastes in audio and always seemed to drift towards Marantz seperates.

I never seem to read about Pioneer's sound quality and/or what it's like.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

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I'll reinforce what Bubo said; don't purchase any old piece of gear without it having been recapped (or w/intention of DIY). That means at least every electrolytic. A friend just finished a recap/refurb of a Kenwood KA-7300, and let me run it for a few days (nice dual-mono design). I could be happy with this piece (I'm not giving up my Don Allens, though). I checked some reviews of this integrated, and one of the complaints was noise floor. Bullshit. This thing was dead quiet with my La Scalas. The problem is people are commenting on stock units. My friend said the sound quality was night and day after servicing. Refurb is a must.

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