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Pioneer SA-7800

Stereo Integrated Amplifier (1979-81)

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Pioneer SA-7800

Description

The remarkable non-switching amplifier configuration in the power amp of the Pioneer SA-7800 has made it possible to live up to each of the 12 key points covered in the Magni Wide policy.

They add up to the elimination of all that stands in the way of truly excellent fidelity in actual musical reproduction.

Specifications

Power output: 65 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo)

Frequency response: 5Hz to 100kHz

Total harmonic distortion: 0.009%

Damping factor: 55

Input sensitivity: 2.5mV (MM), 150mV (line)

Signal to noise ratio: 87dB (MM), 110dB (line)

Output: 150mV (line)

Semiconductors: 3 x IC, 6 x FET, 73 x transistors, 49 x diodes

Dimensions: 453 x 155 x 376mm

Weight: 12.7kg

Year: 1980

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Reviews

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rating
Reviewed Nov 02nd, 2017 by tomez2

My main system for the last 25 years has been a Carver Preamp / Amp combo with JBL L100t3 speakers. This is a far different sounding animal than my Carver gear. Either is wonderful, neither is better - just different. Very unique sound characteristics in both.
First off, the SA 7800 is a thing of visual beauty. My wife even commented on its pretty appearance, unsolicited! Jewel-like aluminum metal work. It is very heavy as well. Built like a tank. Look up the specs on this unit; distortion and S/N ratio is stunning even for today - especially the phono section. Rated at 65wpc - REAL watts - rated from 10 - 20khz both channels driven with super low distortion 4 - 16 ohms. This amp is absolutely dead quiet on all inputs, including the phono. no hiss, no hum, nothing. My example also runs cool, despite what you may read regarding this unit running hot. Initially, I left it on for a week and played it loud for at least a few hours daily, and it only became slightly warm. I suspect those that have had a heat problem with their 7800 may need to have it serviced.
Although there are others in the blue fluorescent display line, only the 7800 and above are true non switching designs. Pioneer calls the design Cool Class A. Being a non switching amp it has a distinct sound quality that is addictive. Hard to describe exactly, but here goes. Extremely detailed.... hyper detailed to be exact, but not in a harsh Hi-Fi kind ofway. This is not a typical sounding unit from the period. I would describe it as see through transparent. It sounds light and airy on the highs and mids with a natural touch on voices. Male voices in particular are very natural with no sibilance, chestiness, or congestion - just natural sounding with a sense of air and space around them. Again, Very transparent. Treble at first, can seem a little hyper compared to my Carver gear, but, after listening awhile, this detail is strangely not fatiguing, harsh, or spitty. It sparkles in a way that sounds good even on digital sources. All of this air and detail does not mean this is a lightweight bass shy amp. To the contrary; when called for, bass slam, dynamics, depth, heft, definition, and weight can be startling. Powerful and extended, with absolutely no tubbiness, congestion, or roll off. As far as imaging and soundstage? There is plenty of depth, with distinct layers and a sense of space and air around the images. Instruments and voices eerily float between the speakers, although width seems to extend to the speaker edges, and not much beyond. Of course this is source dependent and may be a product of the speakers as well.
When I removed the 7800 from my system after testing it, I missed it. Enough said. Although my intention was to sell it (they are fetching big $$ on eBay) I will assign it to a second system and think it will work well with my Andrew Jones designed Pioneer speakers. I cant let this beauty get away.
Features of note include:

Non switching direct coupled amp circuitry

Killer Phono section with direct coupled circuitry (one of the best MM phono sections I have ever heard)

Subsonic Filter

Tone Control Defeat

Stereo / mono / reverse switch for all sources

nice mute switch for vinyl needle drops, stylus cleaning, etc.

2 tape loops which can be used as two extra inputs or processor loops

Nice headphone amp

2 sets of speaker outputs.

Switched and unswitched AC power connections on back.

Cons?

No preamp in/out jacks

Although not the cheap push spring type speaker wire connection found on cheap gear today, the speaker connectors are heavy duty and well spaced - they are still not ideal and wont accept banana plugs. Just bare wire or pin type plugs.

Of course, and due to age - no remote

rating
Reviewed Aug 13th, 2017 by arti1155

Old school Japan sound quality with Vandersteen 1

 

Comments

re: SA-7800

can a modern CD/dvd player be sued with a Pioneer SA-7800? Would a tape play input work for the CD/DVD player or use Aux?

Thanks

re: SA-7800

Either one would work fine.

re: SA-7800 Pioneer Amp - Volume Knob Removal?

Does anyone know how to get the Main Volume knob off the SA-7800 Pioneer Amplifier? It's got 2 small holes at 90 degree angles, but I've tried small hex keys, small flat heads and small phillips heads, and I cannot find ANYTHING that appears to bite to loosen the two fasteners that (I am assuming) holds the knob on the shaft.

I'm trying to do this because the nut behind the knob came a little loose and I need to tighten it. I'm sure other Pioneers are similar. Anyone know what the trick is?

Thanks in advance!
MM78

re: SA-7800 Pioneer Amp - Volume Knob Removal?

Yes I know it's more than 1 year since the question was posted.
But I encountered the same "problem" and finally find the solution.
So, I'll post it here so others can benefit without headaches or waist of time:
Use a 1.5mm hex key. Make sure it is not worn, you don't want to booger the set screws! :) BTW: if there is dirt in those holes, DON'T jump with the hex key! First drip some alcohol inside the holes and wait about half an hour. Then try to remove the soaked dirt with a slim cleaning tool (a wadded stick or similar available tool)."

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