1976 Pioneer SA5300 amp

AJM1981

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Mar 26, 2021
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So, a nicely consistant dedicated topic (not) given my modern compact amps versus vintage topic here. :) But yeah. I like audio. I don't collect anything but wanted to make one exception as I read about the old Pioneer amps from the 70s a while ago and they caught my attention.

Last week I stumbled upon this fairly compact (for the 70s) and fully working Pioneer SA5300 and got it for an "can't absolutely go wrong" price having done a little research on forehand. It might not be the most popular in the range but I like the outsiders.

It is almost in near mint condition. For an amp this old, probably stored for a while after use. Everything essential is working flawlessly. I think the most used knobs like the volume dial and balance and tone dials are among the most important to begin with in a check and all is perfect.

Minor Improvement points: The status light doesn't work (I don't bother) and the speaker 1-2 changing knob sometimes delivers a litte crackling noise while trying but no need to use that every day.

It needed a little external and internal cleaning and contact spray and looks and smells as new now. I think about reapplying the black paint job of the top cover with a couple of layers. But having seen some examples of heavy dented top cover online and people state that it is in fine condition, I am glad mine is still in factory shape.

From a first glance it seems the amp can only drive at 4 ohm per speaker channel, which is fine for my Diamond 11.2 speakers (4.x ohm), but not for my large Evo 4.2 standmounts that do better with the required 8 ohm. A strange thing to me (that might not be not that weird at all in the past) is that speaker port 1 and 2 seperately deliver 4 ohm and combined deliver 8 ohm. So when stringing cable wire through both binding post and putting the switch not to speaker 1 or 2, but to 1+2 combined the sound audibly improves as the soundstage widens too on a larger speaker.

Overall a fine amp, a little different signature to my Yamaha wxa-50 (Now temporary the pre-amp as a streamer and handling the sub) when driving the Evo 4.2 but really enjoyable and more "snappy" when paired with the smaller Diamond 11.2.

Little score list
+ Enjoyable sound
+ Drives one 8 ohm pair of speakers
+ 70s knobs and switches
+Antique, probably keeps its value for collectors and enthusiasts
+ An excuse to test my Grado headphones on something else than my phone (I am not that much into headphones. )
+ looks
- Binding posts are like small wire grinders. Prefer the modern ones.

Specifications
Power output: 10 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo)
Frequency response: 20Hz to 30kHz
Total harmonic distortion: 0.08%
Input sensitivity: 2.5mV (MM), 150mV (line)
Signal to noise ratio: 70dB (MM), 85dB (line)
Dimensions: 350 x 125 x 282mm
Weight: 6.4kg

Anyone experience with this model or Vintage Pioneer models in General?
 
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Tinman1952

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Nice 'classic' amp well regarded I believe in its day for its sound quality 🙂

From a first glance it seems the amp can only drive at 4 ohm per speaker channel, which is fine for my Diamond 11.2 speakers (4.x ohm), but not for my large Evo 4.2 standmounts that do better with the required 8 ohm. A strange thing to me (that might not be not that weird at all in the past) is that speaker port 1 and 2 seperately deliver 4 ohm and combined deliver 8 ohm.
I think you may have got things backwards with respect to the ohm ratings. 8 ohm is 'easier' to drive than 4 ohm as it draws less current from the amp. The ohm ratings on the speaker posts are 'minimum' ratings of speakers to be attached.
So for one set of speaker posts the minimum rating is 4 ohm but if you connect to both sets of speaker terminals you are in fact halving the impedance load the amp sees....that is why it states a 'minimum' of 8 ohm speaker for that kind of connection to avoid drawing too much current.
As its only 10 watts per channel into 8 ohms you ideally need sensitive speakers.
 
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AJM1981

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Nice 'classic' amp well regarded I believe in its day for its sound quality 🙂



I think you may have got things backwards with respect to the ohm ratings. 8 ohm is 'easier' to drive than 4 ohm as it draws less current from the amp. The ohm ratings on the speaker posts are 'minimum' ratings of speakers to be attached.
So for one set of speaker posts the minimum rating is 4 ohm but if you connect to both sets of speaker terminals you are in fact halving the impedance load the amp sees....that is why it states a 'minimum' of 8 ohm speaker for that kind of connection to avoid drawing too much current.
As its only 10 watts per channel into 8 ohms you ideally need sensitive speakers.
Thanks for putting this straight, learnt something. In that case I wonder where it came from that the quality improved on the largest of the two sets. Maybe a connection issue or anything between the 2 sets of binding posts.
 
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Tinman1952

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Thanks for putting this straight, learnt something. In that case I wonder where it came from that the quality improved on the largest of the two sets. Maybe a connection issue or anything between the 2 sets of binding posts.
Yes you are able to draw more current by connecting to both speaker sets (A+B), depending how they are wired internally, so it controls those Evos better. 🙂
 
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AJM1981

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Yes you are able to draw more current by connecting to both speaker sets (A+B) so it controls those Evos better. 🙂
Ah, ok. So, the larger 3 way standmount system is easier to drive than the smaller one and could do with 4 ohm produced by the single speaker port but not give its best sound output, and matching the 8 ohms will result in not capping the larger speaker and a better sound quality. (?)

I should get a little more into this.
 

Tinman1952

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Actually I thought the 11.2 speakers were 8 ohm nominal too...but I guess each speaker has a different impedance curve which varies with frequency. Synergy is a strange thing!
 

AJM1981

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Mar 26, 2021
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Actually I thought the 11.2 speakers were 8 ohm nominal too...but I guess each speaker has a different impedance curve which varies with frequency. Synergy is a strange thing!
You are right, the minimum is 4.2 for the Diamond 11.2. I didnt have the idea that anything was off with the 11.2s soundwise, quite the opposite.

Nominal Impedance8 Ω compatible
Minimum Impedance4.2Ω
 
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Gray

Well-known member
The status light doesn't work (I don't bother)
You should bother 😉
You can't have a nice looking amp like that with no working power indicator.
(As you were up to contact cleaning you must be up to sorting that out too).

According to the service manual, it's an 8volt, 50 milliamp filament bulb.
If you're bothered (make sure you are 👍) AND TRUST YOURSELF TO AVOID LIVE MAINS get a multimeter and look for a low AC voltage on the bulb holder.
If it's there, you just need a new bulb - if you can't find an 8v bulb, go higher rather than lower.
(An LED replacement would be better - but you'd need a type with built-in rectification to cater for the AC).
 
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AJM1981

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Mar 26, 2021
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You should bother 😉
You can't have a nice looking amp like that with no working power indicator.
(As you were up to contact cleaning you must be up to sorting that out too).

According to the service manual, it's an 8volt, 50 milliamp filament bulb.
If you're bothered (make sure you are 👍) AND TRUST YOURSELF TO AVOID LIVE MAINS get a multimeter and look for a low AC voltage on the bulb holder.
If it's there, you just need a new bulb - if you can't find an 8v bulb, go higher rather than lower.
(An LED replacement would be better - but you'd need a type with built-in rectification to cater for the AC).
haha, I instantly changed my opinion on this one. ;)

Thanks for the information by the way :) Got a copy of the service manual too.

I wonder if better binding posts are an option. These are the worst Ive come across. Altough changing them won't be a good idea for the purists. .
 
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Edbostan

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Aug 5, 2021
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View attachment 3559

So, a nicely consistant dedicated topic (not) given my modern compact amps versus vintage topic here. :) But yeah. I like audio. I don't collect anything but wanted to make one exception as I read about the old Pioneer amps from the 70s a while ago and they caught my attention.

Last week I stumbled upon this fairly compact (for the 70s) and fully working Pioneer SA5300 and got it for an "can't absolutely go wrong" price having done a little research on forehand. It might not be the most popular in the range but I like the outsiders.

It is almost in near mint condition. For an amp this old, probably stored for a while after use. Everything essential is working flawlessly. I think the most used knobs like the volume dial and balance and tone dials are among the most important to begin with in a check and all is perfect.

Minor Improvement points: The status light doesn't work (I don't bother) and the speaker 1-2 changing knob sometimes delivers a litte crackling noise while trying but no need to use that every day.

It needed a little external and internal cleaning and contact spray and looks and smells as new now. I think about reapplying the black paint job of the top cover with a couple of layers. But having seen some examples of heavy dented top cover online and people state that it is in fine condition, I am glad mine is still in factory shape.

From a first glance it seems the amp can only drive at 4 ohm per speaker channel, which is fine for my Diamond 11.2 speakers (4.x ohm), but not for my large Evo 4.2 standmounts that do better with the required 8 ohm. A strange thing to me (that might not be not that weird at all in the past) is that speaker port 1 and 2 seperately deliver 4 ohm and combined deliver 8 ohm. So when stringing cable wire through both binding post and putting the switch not to speaker 1 or 2, but to 1+2 combined the sound audibly improves as the soundstage widens too on a larger speaker.

Overall a fine amp, a little different signature to my Yamaha wxa-50 (Now temporary the pre-amp as a streamer and handling the sub) when driving the Evo 4.2 but really enjoyable and more "snappy" when paired with the smaller Diamond 11.2.

Little score list
+ Enjoyable sound
+ Drives one 8 ohm pair of speakers
+ 70s knobs and switches
+Antique, probably keeps its value for collectors and enthusiasts
+ An excuse to test my Grado headphones on something else than my phone (I am not that much into headphones. )
+ looks
- Binding posts are like small wire grinders. Prefer the modern ones.

Specifications
Power output: 10 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo)
Frequency response: 20Hz to 30kHz
Total harmonic distortion: 0.08%
Input sensitivity: 2.5mV (MM), 150mV (line)
Signal to noise ratio: 70dB (MM), 85dB (line)
Dimensions: 350 x 125 x 282mm
Weight: 6.4kg

Anyone experience with this model or Vintage Pioneer models in General?
My pal was bequeathed a Pioneer Reference amp and it still looks a pricey bit of kit. When I visited him to hear it he does not let it stretch its legs. If only he would loan it to me but it weighs a ton and needs to be carried down three flights of steps.
 
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Gray

Well-known member
I wonder if better binding posts are an option. These are the worst Ive come across. Altough changing them won't be a good idea for the purists. .
No doubt you can change them if you want to.
There may well be a way of making the change reversible (with no change to the original appearance) if ever you wanted to sell it unmodified.
Nice little project 👍
 
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nopiano

Well-known member
I may have mentioned elsewhere recently that the back panels usually let down vintage amps. The poxy speaker terminals and other crummy fittings we now expect to look decent. But that was then, and this is now!

Definitely don’t change them, though. Just bare some wire and wrap it around, like we used to.

This Pioneer was indeed very modest even in its day. And that was probably late 1970s, as an earlier range appears in the 1974 Hifi Yearbook.
 

AJM1981

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Mar 26, 2021
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And put some flares on and a sleeveless jumper for the full 'authentic' vintage experience.....😁👍
I never really understood the need for use of spades over bare wire compared to banana plugs (easy plug and play) but it seems they are absolutely invented for these types of binding posts.
 

Gray

Well-known member
I never really understood the need for use of spades over bare wire compared to banana plugs
Compared to bare wire, spades better allow for repeated removal and reconnection (where necessary).
Gold ones don't oxidise like bare copper wire does.
Also less chance of short circuits due to scraggy wiring.
But, as, you suggest, most people choose bananas over spades (when bare wire is ruled out).
 
Compared to bare wire, spades better allow for repeated removal and reconnection (where necessary).
Gold ones don't oxidise like bare copper wire does.
Also less chance of short circuits due to scraggy wiring.
But, as, you suggest, most people choose bananas over spades (when bare wire is ruled out).
Spades are sometimes necessary when people decide to remove the links between HF and LF terminals, where fitted, and replace them with wires that are terminated with banana plugs..... :)
 
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AJM1981

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Mar 26, 2021
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970
Screenshot_20220605_145731.jpg
In use for a while. Hooked up to a pair of Diamond 11.2.

I made a little bridge between the speaker 1 and 2 connectors at the back in order to leave the speaker cable as it is.

Maybe I will go for a preamp that can match my small arylic A50+ amp in terms of functionality (sub out, streamer etc).
 

Gray

Well-known member
View attachment 3612
In use for a while. Hooked up to a pair of Diamond 11.2.

I made a little bridge between the speaker 1 and 2 connectors at the back in order to leave the speaker cable as it is.

Maybe I will go for a preamp that can match my small arylic A50+ amp in terms of functionality (sub out, streamer etc).
You need to tell the female that plants don't go on speakers and most certainly not on amps 😉
 

AJM1981

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Mar 26, 2021
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970
You need to tell the female that plants don't go on speakers and most certainly not on amps 😉
haha, point

It is ok to me here, as long as there is no watering on top of the equipment.

I like a bit of green and noticed that this bedroom has noticable more reverb without the plants. So it is a plus in some way :)
 
haha, point

It is ok to me here, as long as there is no watering on top of the equipment.

I like a bit of green and noticed that this bedroom has noticable more reverb without the plants. So it is a plus in some way :)
Are we now going to have a thread about which plants offer most in the way of room treatment? :)
Personally I think it could be improved by getting those speakers on identical stands and further out in the room......
 
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