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Pioneer SA-500

Solid State Stereo Integrated Amplifier (1970)

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Pioneer SA-500


The SA-500 features superior frequency response. By the use of all silicon transistors, a flat frequency response with low distortion factor is obtained from bass to treble.

The unit is compact and versatile. In addition to the terminals for connection of a record player, tuner and tape recorder, two sets of terminals are provided for connection of auxiliary inputs to permit reproduction of all kinds of program sources.

The amplifier is a product of Pioneer's new model series, designed for both luxurious appearance and operational convenience.


Power output: 13 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo)

Frequency response: 20Hz to 50kHz

Total harmonic distortion: 0.5%

Damping factor: 40

Input sensitivity: 2.4mV (MM), 193mV (line)

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

Speaker load impedance: 4Ω to 16Ω

Dimensions: 330 x 118 x 313mm

Weight: 6kg


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Reviewed Dec 27th, 2017 by

This amplifier oozes character visually, and is also very surprising to listen to, you have probably heard it before but this little amp really does punch above its weight, on all levels, with a warm, rich, non fatiguing sound, don't be fooled by the power rating of this amp.
If it's something out of the norm your looking for without spending too much, and you want a centerpiece system that doesn't dominate the room, look no further..



re: SA-500

hello admins of the SA500, I am about to do an electrolytic change and overhaul in my, and I have the following doubt, we have the VR1 and VR3 on one side and the VR2 and VR4 on the other side
vr1 and 2 would be for current adjustment of rest? and transforming current into voltage would be what voltage indicated at the output of the speakers? and vr 3 and 4 would be the adjustment of the pairs of transistors?

thank you

re: SA-500

Hi guys
yesterday finished recap on my SA500A but sound wasn't I suppose and decide for a simple tweak: signal now don't pass trough bass/treble control pcb, too many caps, now from volume pot signal go into main amp pcb, and finally this lovely amp sound at his better.
Again I have adjust current on final stage at 60 mA with a minimun increase of temperature on heatsink.
Hope this help

re: SA-500

Bought my firstone when I was 16 years old. Oh, what a sound....Later on I was caught by all the 'new features' on all the newones.... Yesterday I returned.... I bought my old 'new' one on marktplaats. Right now I cannot stop enjoying listening to that great machine.... So beautiful. In my younger years I had no money to buy the TX 500A next to it. Now they are both right in front of me. Yesterday comes back again. It sounds better than all the new stuff. It looks great... I am happy! :-)

re: SA-500

Hi everybody,

Recently I bought a SA-500 and a TX-500, both in great shape and functions. At least when I bid both on ebay.
But, when seller sent both, he prepared the packing like a child ... Conclusion, Amplifier had the turn on button damaged.
And seller, unfortunately, said " I can do nothing for you, check on USPS" ....

So, I am really interested in close this subject but its to hard to find this button for replacement. Does anyone know any other version that has the same part ? Beause find this specific for SA-500 its almost impossible ....

Any tip would be great !

Regards from Brazil!

Sa500a and tx500a

Hi there,
Recently compleet my pioneer set with a tx500. Both in great condition.
Sa500a sounds very well , afther warming up.
And the tx500 only the lamps need to be replaced.
The only thing i need is caps for the knops some are missing and the speaker plugs.
And i'm looking for a pair of speaker, i use now some small jvc 3way speakers.
Who can help?
Thankx in advance .

Back on memory lane

What great to see my first amplifyer again. Bought it in about '76, from my first earned money. A friend traveled to the other side of the country (Netherlands) to get it for me.
I still regret that i sold it...

rowrbazzle's picture


Just acquired a SA-500 for trade credit at a used CD store. Since I didn't want the CDs and had paid nothing for them (they were promotional copies), the amp was basically free. I paid $40 for a good cleaning and the replacement of a power resistor that was causing some distortion in one channel. The volume control was also on its last legs and had to be replaced. Unfortunately, the four-gang dual position volume rheostat, which doubled as a balance control, is no longer manufactured (or so I was told -- and I have no reason to doubt the technician). So I had to settle for a replacement which effectively eliminates the possibility of separate volume adjustments for each channel. No matter -- I hardly ever use balance controls anyway.

In spite of its diminutive size, the amp has lots of power. And it has a nice clean sound with quite a bit of warmth. I remember reading somewhere (and I think it makes sense) that with tube amps just recently being replaced in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was more of an attempt in the early solid state amplifiers to "engineer in" a tube-type sound.
Whether than's true or not, I'm very pleased with my new little critter.

re: SA-500

That is true, the amplifier is a very powerful amplifier, seems that more than 13 watts per channel as specified.

The sound quality is very warm, hearing as a tube amplifier.

I am using it for my Roger LS 3/5 a speakers, the result is better than I expected ( I used to employ a tube amplifier
for the Roger speakers, nearly the same result ).

C Y Chan
Sydney, Australia.

re: SA-500

I have just bought a set, amplifier + tuner on ebay, after some period looking for this amazing set.

Unfortunatelly, seller did not prepare pack accordingly, amplifier had power on knob completely damaged. And worst, it doesn't turns on, I believe because this problem on power on button.

I was wondering if someone here would have a power on button to sell and help me restoring this unit. Desconsidering this damage, looks great !


Great AMP

I am using this amp for many many years and it's still working perfect, maybe some "Cracking" sounds in the volume controll when it is cold but when warmed up its working great! nice

crackling noises

I had an SA 5300 from about 1975 to 2009.
It started crackling yonks ago on the volume.
switch off power and unplug - remove the lid/ cover - examine the volume and other controls, checking for dust and fluff - either vacume and brush with a very light brush or vacume and use can of air duster.

All electronics love picking up dust....or is it the other way!

SA-500A Overhaul

G'day all. Was just poking around on the web to see the history of my little audio amp, and found this site - awesome!

As you may have guessed I have one of these, and I love it!!! I bought it from a second hand shop 15 years ago for $50 or something, and use it with a pair of Advent speakers given to me by a friend around the same time. It sounds great - i really agree with the comments here. I will never change it.

I listen to heavy rock music generally, and it has the clarity & punch to really do the music proud. I have never wound its fully up. Maybe I should!

I recently gave it an overhaul, as the right channel was intermittently cutting in and out. I found that a lot of the internal board to board wiring was wire-wrapped, and not soldered. So i spent an hour or so soldering all such connections. No more issues, and sounding better than ever.

Pots and switches could use a clean, and maybe the electros might need changing one day... but no bother, when the time comes, the little bewdy will allow this without too much bother.


Thanks a lot and have a nice

Thanks a lot and have a nice weekend!


Picture/photo of Pioneer SA-500(A)

The description and the manual describe the SA-500, but the photo shows the SA-500A. There are some small differences between these models:

- number of loudspeakerpairs (SA-500 : 1 ; SA-500A : 2)
- number of tapedecks (SA-500: 1 ; SA500A : 2)
- the stereo / mono selector (absent in the SA-500A)

GABRIELE's picture

SA 500 and SA500a differences

I'm a Pioneer SA 500a very happy possesor, from a very long time.
The amp has an incredible warm sound, just like a tube amp.
My 500a is headphone dedicated.
The differences between SA500 AND SA 500a are basically located in the rear panel.
The 500a has two phono (MM) connectors, one aux only and A/B speakers connectors. The stereo mono selector is present in the SA 500a front panel. Other differences are located in the front panel, look to the volume-balance control and input selector control position. Also the SA 500A tape input control switch is in the front panel under a lever control.
Last but not least, the 500a is more powerfull than SA500.

What a deal...

I bought one of these at a flea market in 1985 for $5. I had to replace the speaker on/off switch. I have used it ever since. It sounds great - the perfect size for a small room. Well worth the $5!

Technical differences 500 vs.500A

The main differences technically are :
Different power devices (plastic case in the 500A ) and a different bias circuit.
Then the main capacitor in the P.S is greater in 500A model (three times greater)
The nominal voltage of P.S. is 42V in the 500 and 43V in the 500A, quite close.
Different transistors in the phono stage too and tone control.
The input transistor of power stage of 500 is a 2SC458 and must be replaced with equivalent.
These transistors are prone to fail or to give noise.

The sound of 500A is really warm, it's true!

regards all


GABRIELE's picture

Technical differences 500 vs.500A

Hi dave57 nice to meet you and thanks a lot for your technical specification around this beautiful amp.
I can compare the sound of my 500a to the sound coming out from my Pioneer SA1000. belive me, i'm still not be able to decide if warm up the 500A or the SA1000.

Best regards


SA500A operating and service manuals

Ciao Gabriele! and Hi all!

I agree with you all: this is a great amp and I will not ever change it... I am looking for its manuals, need to eliminate a strong hiss that has developed and replace some knobs, could someone help me, please?



GABRIELE's picture

SA500A operating and service manuals

Hi Rinaldo, unfortunately I do not have the SA 500A service or owner manual.
Hiss and noise comes probably from oxid inside the pcb. You can try to eliminate hiss and noise applying pure trichlorethylene on the pcb foil side, using a soft brush. Repeat the treatment more time if necessary.
Maybe hiss is also coming from the original electrolytic capacitors, you can try to replace the original with new one ELNA or NiICHICON capacitor.
No chance to find original knobs with aluminium caps. Maybe the only way is to buy an SA 500A with knobs and caps on Ebay.

Best regards!!!

re: SA500A operating and service manuals

I uploaded the Operator's/Service Manual.

This website is not affiliated with or sponsored by Pioneer. To purchase SA-500 spares or accessories, please contact the company via their website or visit an authorised retailer.