1976 Pioneer SA5300 amp

Page 2 - Seeking answers? Join the What HiFi community: the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products.

plastic penguin

Well-known member
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?
Used to own for 17 years Pioneer SA 706. It was very good in the day. It was around Arcam Alpha 7R quality. Would I realistically buy another vintage amp? No.
 

Attachments

  • Like
Reactions: AJM1981

AJM1981

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
416
110
1,070
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......
True, it could make a small difference but these speakers are bottom ported, unlike the 12 series. More comes down to the stands rather than wall distance.

This room also doesn't have the same priority like my mains downstairs. The right stand mentioned is the smallest out of a series of Nortstone, standing on a sub. Can't place them further forward because we need space to walk in front of the bed and the sub has no other place to go. :)

I like that April fools video by Darko about plants. I guess pots, soil and plants in quantities do something similar to what furniture and books do. They also reduce the reverberation, which should not turn a 180 into a dead sounding room but it is almost in a good balance. I have heard much worse.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Al ears

AJM1981

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
416
110
1,070
Used to own for 17 years Pioneer SA 706. It was very good in the day. It was around Arcam Alpha 7R quality. Would I realistically buy another vintage amp? No.
Got it. I think the backside is the biggest obstacle nowadays. Inputs ready for a tape recorder and a tuner with only Aux as a useful one. Cable grinding binding posts as mentioned in the opening.

I am not really into vintage either generally spoken. Had a Quad amp from the 70s in the 90s, that was as close to vintage as it went and only went forward from there.

I came across this one in an almost perfect condition between some amps that were not worth a penny and probably end their livecycle over there. It was undervalued according to the prices going around. So it could not go that wrong.

I am not planning to spend my lifetime with this one. Here in this bedroom I used and still planning to continue using the Arylic A50+, and now this one for a little while.

I consider slightly improving the optical conditon (paint layer of the cover) and perhaps a little revision and sell it again later on. It is a highly likeable piece of antique sound- and design wise with its brushed metal. Quite a no nonsense amp for its day.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Got it. I think the backside is the biggest obstacle nowadays. Inputs ready for a tape recorder and a tuner with only Aux as a useful one. Cable grinding binding posts as mentioned in the opening.

I am not really into vintage either generally spoken. Had a Quad amp from the 70s in the 90s, that was as close to vintage as it went and only went forward from there.

I came across this one in an almost perfect condition between some amps that were not worth a penny and probably end their livecycle over there. It was undervalued according to the prices going around. So it could not go that wrong.

I am not planning to spend my lifetime with this one. Here in this bedroom I used and still planning to continue using the Arylic A50+, and now this one for a little while.

I consider slightly improving the optical conditon (paint layer of the cover) and perhaps a little revision and sell it again later on. It is a highly likeable piece of antique sound- and design wise with its brushed metal. Quite a no nonsense amp for its day.
I have toyed with notion of buying another vintage amp. The main thing that puts me off is the age: A 40-odd year old, how will I source replacement parts, reliability blah blah blah...
 

Gray

Well-known member
I think the backside is the biggest obstacle nowadays. Inputs ready for a tape recorder and a tuner with only Aux as a useful one.
...but that's only the labelling 👍
There's no electrical difference.
The input selector switch routes tape, tuner and aux to the same place within the amp - so anything you would put into aux, works equally well into tape or tuner inputs.
You can re-label them if necessary.

(My amp has 7 line inputs - and every one of them has been re-labelled from what they originally were).
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: AJM1981

AJM1981

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
416
110
1,070
...but that's only the labelling 👍
There's no electrical difference.
The input selector switch routes tape, tuner and aux to the same place within the amp - so anything you would put into aux, works equally well into tape or tuner inputs.
(You can re-label them if necessary).
Useful. Haven't thought about that. Maybe I will hook it up the TV to as well.

Still thinking about what to do with the Arylic A50+ as a streamer. It is a tweakable little device and I use its optical input for my only 2 devices. If I can find a technician who can turn its aux input into an aux out I can use that as a pre-amp to the sub and a hub for this Pioneer :) (the sub connected to the Pioneer with speaker wire is a no go, as its cut off option won't work)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gray

plastic penguin

Well-known member
That would go well with my Pioneer CTF-850 cassette deck - same colour fluorescent display.
£1000 is just ridiculous though.
Yeah, the price good ones is bonkers. I would like a full-blown retro set-up, no point in half baked: I would add a graphic equalizer and a reel to reel. But size and cost doesn't make it practical.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Al ears

AJM1981

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
416
110
1,070
That would go well with my Pioneer CTF-850 cassette deck - same colour fluorescent display.
£1000 is just ridiculous though.
For that price I would only get new gear.

A trap in going up the ladder of complexity (mainly in extra switches, lights, displays, integrated tuner etc.) is that revision costs also tend to end up much higher

Buying for 1k could in those situations end with 1.x in costs total and having it sold for the old market price is often the reality. Audio gear is not an investment. So it comes with a huge disclaimer. It is the reason I would only search for the absolute bottom in arbitrary market prices.

Yeah, the price good ones is bonkers. I would like a full-blown retro set-up, no point in half baked: I would add a graphic equalizer and a reel to reel. But size and cost doesn't make it practical.
Hifi should be a bit of fun. When buying something second hand I would only buy for true giveaway prices mentioned and improve from there. And when I sell something I only sell to people who care and love to use it for the reasonable market value. I would not gain that much but also not lose anything and having it used for a while and passing it to another hifi lover is what makes it ok. I could perhaps go the road of overvalueing gear and find those exceptions who overpay , but that is not my kind of sports.
 
Last edited:

AJM1981

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
416
110
1,070
I was searching for something to modify the aux in of my current amp / streamer to an aux out. That would be decent.

I came across something else that perhaps would do the trick, but it is far from a solid solution and to my best guess it would most likely color the output.

 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
For that price I would only get new gear.

A trap in going up the ladder of complexity (mainly in extra switches, lights, displays, integrated tuner etc.) is that revision costs also tend to end up much higher

Buying for 1k could in those situations end with 1.x in costs total and having it sold for the old market price is often the reality. Audio gear is not an investment. So it comes with a huge disclaimer. It is the reason I would only search for the absolute bottom in arbitrary market prices.



Hifi should be a bit of fun. When buying something second hand I would only buy for true giveaway prices mentioned and improve from there. And when I sell something I only sell to people who care and love to use it for the reasonable market value. I would not gain that much but also not lose anything and having it used for a while and passing it to another hifi lover is what makes it ok. I could perhaps go the road of overvalueing gear and find those exceptions who overpay , but that is not my kind of sports.
Agreed. Hi-fi should be fun or boys toys as I call it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AJM1981

Gray

Well-known member
I was searching for something to modify the aux in of my current amp / streamer to an aux out. That would be decent.

I came across something else that perhaps would do the trick, but it is far from a solid solution and to my best guess it would most likely color the output.

You'd do well to avoid that thing.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AJM1981

AJM1981

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
416
110
1,070
I might replace the terminals

Pictured below are the original "grinders".


In my opinion the old skool "clip terminals" (not pictured here) were more practical in plug and play.

But when it comes to stringing a single wire over both A&B terminals for 8 ohm delivery, clip terminals are not an option at all.

Someone elsewhere has chosen these modern ones.


Great looking on their own and on most modern gear, but feels a bit off given the 70s appearance of the amp and the block of gold that it adds between the plain metalic inputs.

I might go for these banana plug / bare wire terminals. They seem like the right upgrade here.


This set would provide extra functionality while at the same time it would be a logical choice to stay close to the original.
 
Last edited:

Gray

Well-known member
Yes, very nice.

I once replaced sringclip terminals with flush 4mm nickel sockets on some Spendor speakers.
After a while, I decided to change the nickel to gold inserts - just because, as always, my plugs were gold.

I really expected no difference - because, with that sort of thing, I never do.
However, I swear the sound was different (and better)*

That's why I'd have gone for gold....but there's no doubt you've achieved the better visual match.

*As I type this, I realise how ridiculous it seems, so I'll shut up now 😬
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
1,453
867
2,070
Yes, very nice.

I once replaced sringclip terminals with flush 4mm nickel sockets on some Spendor speakers.
After a while, I decided to change the nickel to gold inserts - just because, as always, my plugs were gold.

I really expected no difference - because, with that sort of thing, I never do.
However, I swear the sound was different (and better)*

That's why I'd have gone for gold....but there's no doubt you've achieved the better visual match.

*As I type this, I realise how ridiculous it seems, so I'll shut up now 😬
😂👍 your ears don't lie.......
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gray and AJM1981

AJM1981

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
416
110
1,070
Yes, very nice.

I once replaced sringclip terminals with flush 4mm nickel sockets on some Spendor speakers.
After a while, I decided to change the nickel to gold inserts - just because, as always, my plugs were gold.

I really expected no difference - because, with that sort of thing, I never do.
However, I swear the sound was different (and better)*

That's why I'd have gone for gold....but there's no doubt you've achieved the better visual match.

*As I type this, I realise how ridiculous it seems, so I'll shut up now 😬
Might have been a minor factor, maybe something was better connected compared to the old situation. :)

I like the aestatics of gold and silver, but on old gear it is like adding a Porsche element to an old Beetle. It doesn't fuse well optically.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Gray

AJM1981

Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
416
110
1,070
How about the important issue of the power indicator light?
Done yet...or yet to be done?
still on my mind :p

if I would replace it, I would go for LED, the standard one would be probably be at the end of its life cycle within a couple of years. But finding a good led replacement is a little challenge.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gray

Gray

Well-known member
still on my mind :p

if I would replace it, I would go for LED
So would I (y)
A standard red LED should be OK behind (or instead of) the red lens - soldered into the original bulbholder.

Measure what you've got across the holder, if it's DC voltage, then then you just need the appropriate series resistor to limit the LED current to 20 milliamps.
If it's AC, find some available DC.

Divide the voltage by 0.02 (the 20mA) to calculate the series resistor (e.g. for 8 volts you would need 400 ohms).
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: AJM1981

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts