Pioneer SA-500/TX-500 Project

What do you do with some old gear you forgot you had? Restore and upgrade it, of course.

Neither the SA-500 or TX-500 had been used in a very long time and after powering up I could hear they were in need of work. Checking a few caps I found them way out of tolerance, so I replaced all the caps in both using a selection of Elna Silmic and Cerafine. One of the emitter resistors in the SA-500 was cracking, so all 4 were replaced. Some of the semi-conductors needed replacing in both as well. Of course, most of the pots were dirty, so they all got a good cleaning. Things were sounding better now. Intrigued, I decided to make a few upgrades, which I'll just list.

* Replaced the very odd stock binding posts with new 5 ways using black FR4 as a mounting plate.
* Replaced the stock power cords with shielded 16 gauge as there was no room to mount an IEC on either piece.
* Applied Dynamat Extreme to the top and bottom covers.
* Removed the SA-500 speaker On/Off switch from the circuit, making a direct connection from the amp board to the outputs with upgraded wire.
* Upgraded the wire between the pre amp board and the amp board.
* Removed the connections to the switched/unswitched outlets.
* Replaced all the RCA jacks with gold plated copper versions and spaced them further apart to allow the use of modern day interconnects. Again, I used black FR4 as the mounting plates.
* Replaced the SA-500 power light with a diffused blue LED.
* Replaced the TX-500 dial lights with diffused white LED's and the FM Stereo light with a diffused blue LED. Since the tuning meter is an off white plastic, clear blue LED's were used to back light it resulting in a diffused appearance, which matches well with the other blue diffused LED's.

I'm still toying with the idea of replacing the volume control with a motorized version allowing remote control, but since these have ended up in a guest bedroom, we'll see about that.

I have to say for a little 10wpc integrated amp it sounds a lot better than I ever thought it could, has a kind of tube amp sound....nice! The tuner isn't bad either

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Pic 1 - the original RCA's and power cord, I already upgraded the binding posts.

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Pic 2 - view of the upgraded RCA's and power cords.

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Pic 3 - close up of the new RCA's and mounting board.

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Pic 4 - the original lights.

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Pic 5 - with the new lights....ah, much better.
Political Correctness'.........defined

"A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


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Comments

  • headrottheadrott Posts: 5,026
    Wow Jesse those look wayyyyyyy better than I even imagined them after you described them on the phone. Excellent job sir. Enjoy.

    Love the Sony 707ES player as well........ B)
    Relayer-Big-O-Poster.jpg
    Taken from a recent Audioholics reply regarding "Club Polk" and Polk speakers:

    "I'm yet to hear a Polk speaker that merits more than a sentence and 60 seconds discussion." :\

    "Green leaves reveal the heart spoken Khatru"- Jon Anderson

    "Have A Little Faith! And Everything You'll Face, Will Jump From Out Right On Into Place! Yeah! Take A Little Time! And Everything You'll Find, Will Move From Gloom Right On Into Shine!"- Arthur Lee
  • westmassguywestmassguy Posts: 5,768
    Very nice Jesse. Gotta love Elna Silmic IIs, very smooth and musical. Nice work on the LEDs too.
    Home Theater/2 Channel:
    Front: SDA-2ATL forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/143984/my-2as-finally-finished-almost/p1
    Center: Custom Built forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/150760/my-center-channel-project/p1
    Surrounds & Rears: Custom Built forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/151647/my-surround-project/p1
    Sonicaps, Mills, RDO-194s-198s, Dynamat, Hurricane Nuts, Blackhole5
    Pioneer Elite VSX-72TXV, Carver PM-350, SVS PB2-Plus Subwoofer
    Cables: Speaker: Furez 10/2 with GLS Locking Banana Plugs
    Interconnect: Furez 10/2 with SpeakONs
    ICs: Custom Furez by Douglas Connections
    Den:
    Bose 901 Series II Continentals Restored, Re-Built Equalizer with Elna Silmic IIs, Sonicaps, and Silver Mica Caps
    Carver CT-3 Pre, Carver PM-600

    dhsspeakerservice.com/
    Now Carrying Gimpod's Custom SDA Circuit Boards

    "And keep her under 70, would you, huh? Betty likes a slow ride"
  • voltzvoltz Posts: 4,675
    Kudos! You just put some much life back into those.
    2 ch- Polk CRS+ * Vincent SA-31MK Preamp * Vincent Sp-331 Amp * Marantz SA8005 SACD * Project Xperience Classic TT * Sumiko Blue Point #2 MC cartridge

    HT - Polk 703's * NAD T-758 * Adcom 5503 * Oppo 103 * Samsung 60" series 8 LCD
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 38,136
    Thanks guys, it was a fun project and I learned a lot about semi-conductors and LED's.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


  • tonybtonyb Posts: 27,604
    Looks good Jess, as usual you don't do anything half-assed. Now all you need is a "guest" for the bedroom.
    legacy Focus 20/20
    Butler tdb 2250
    Cary Xciter dac
    Joule LA-100
    Pioneer BDP 320
    Sony 4k 55 850c
    FX 500 surround
    Acoustic zen Satori SC's
    Pioneer elite vsx21
    Sonos-Cullen mod.
    Audio Metallurgy GA-0 digital
    PS Audio Quintet
    Analysis Plus crystal ovals
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2's IC
  • Those look sweet, nicely done! I refurbed an old Pioneer SX-650 for a Christmas present a few years ago and almost kept it for myself. Most of that older silver faced pioneer gear has a nice warm sound to it.
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 38,136
    Ever since I completed the mods done in 2014 I've been toying with the idea of having remote controlled volume capability. The main issue with this idea is the volume pot doubles as the balance control and even though I doubt I'd ever use that feature I wanted to keep it like that. So, that meant I wouldn't be able to use a drop in motorized pot. The solution I came up with involved drilling out and tapping the back of the shaft in the original pot to take a threaded stud, which in turn was threaded into an aluminum extension shaft connected by a flexible connector to the motorized pot mounted at the rear of the chassis. Needless to say, drilling these holes dead center was tricky and critical. I had to relocate the phono board in order for this whole idea to work, but it wasn't a big deal. The steel "L" bracket for supporting the motorized pot, which came in a kit along with the extension shaft was a joke as it was way too thin and would flex and bend. I ordered a better, thicker aluminum "L" bracket, but it was too tall, so I had one custom made. However, I asked that it be made even thicker, which turned out to be a mistake as it was too thick. I then reworked the aluminum one, which came out rather well if I do say so myself.

    Since I was only using the motor, the only connection I needed was power. My plan called for tapping off the 30VDC B+ using a DC-DC converter to step it down to 9VDC, but as space was at a premium I ordered a pair compact ones off eBay from a seller in China. I got a second one as a back up not having much confidence in the quality coming out of China. Unfortunately, both did not work properly. Having no other real choice I got an external dedicated 9VDC power supply, which was probably the best idea anyway as it is totally out of the signal path. As I now had holes drilled in the black FR4 board and chassis for the mounting of the converter I needed to cover them up. I bought a vintage Pioneer speaker badge, mounted it on two bevel edged tiers and attached it where the holes were.

    The Alps motorized pot was purchased from Bent Audio and comes complete with the IR receiver and remote. It's a top notch product used by many high end OEM and the customer support is excellent. I decided to mount the eye in the front panel where the "Speakers On/Off" switch was located as I had previously disconnected it anyway.

    Even though I replaced the original captive power cords on the integrated and tuner with better ones back in 2014 I decided to replace them with Furutech IEC's in order to use aftermarket cords of my choice. Along with the IEC's I also upgraded the binding posts again, changed the filter cap again to a Mundorf and replaced the stock plastic feet with solid aluminum ones. I even polished the copper banding on the transformer. I mean, why not.

    Of course, there are numerous smaller details, which I won't bore you with. Suffice to say, it was a rather involved project, but the end result was well worth the effort as I now have what some said couldn't be done, remote controlled volume.

    I would be remiss if I didn't mention the folks that helped me in one way or another on this project.

    My father
    John Chapman/Bent Audio
    Scott/MillerLiteScott
    Larry/Toolfan66
    Ken Swauger
    Ray/Darqueknight

    Thank you one and all.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 38,136
    edited May 2016
    Some pics. This is what the stock version looks like inside.

    n6piia5sz53r.jpg

    This is what mine looks like now.

    33iu7boccl1o.jpg

    8v4nxjn4kc1r.jpg






    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 38,136
    More....

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    w970yp66uqq5.jpg

    ybqgbwm7rrx7.jpg

    wqtl4tzh6a7b.jpg

    548gd5hz087r.jpg




    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 38,136
    edited May 2016
    What the rear of the stock versions look like.

    m111c4ljl345.jpg

    What mine look like now.

    xfcogcyad6dj.jpg

    yidavjttnbjt.jpg

    Ready to rock....

    iaoghmn5yt6w.jpg




    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 8,330
    I feel honored to be the first to say "That looks Kicka$$"

    A ton of work and rattling nerves
    2-channel: Modwright KWI-200 Integrated, Dynaudio C1-II Signatures, Simaudio 780D DAC
    Desktop rig: LSi7, Polk 110sub, Dayens Ampino amp, W4S DAC/pre, Sonos, JRiver
    Gear on standby: Melody 101 tube pre, Modwright LS100, Unison Research Simply Italy Integrated
    Gone to new homes: (Matt Polk's)Threshold Stasis SA12e monoblocks, Pass XA30.5 amp, Usher MD2 speakers, Dynaudio C4 platinum speakers
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 6,948
    edited May 2016
    Wow. Very nice work Jesse.
    | Front - Dynaudio Emit M20 | Center - N/A | Rear - Polk Monitor 4 | Sub - N/A |
    | AVR - Yamaha Aventage RX-A1020 | Preamp - Dared MC-7P | Amp - B&K Reference 4420 |
    | Turntable - Yamaha PX-3 | Cartridge - Dynavector DV-20X2H | Digital Source - AURALiC Aries Mini |
    | TV - LG 60" 4K | Gaming - Xbox One - PS3 - New 3DS XL - Nvidia Shield TV |

    This body holding me reminds me of my own mortality
    Embrace this moment, remember, we are eternal
    All this pain is an illusion
  • westmassguywestmassguy Posts: 5,768
    Sweet :)
    Home Theater/2 Channel:
    Front: SDA-2ATL forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/143984/my-2as-finally-finished-almost/p1
    Center: Custom Built forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/150760/my-center-channel-project/p1
    Surrounds & Rears: Custom Built forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/151647/my-surround-project/p1
    Sonicaps, Mills, RDO-194s-198s, Dynamat, Hurricane Nuts, Blackhole5
    Pioneer Elite VSX-72TXV, Carver PM-350, SVS PB2-Plus Subwoofer
    Cables: Speaker: Furez 10/2 with GLS Locking Banana Plugs
    Interconnect: Furez 10/2 with SpeakONs
    ICs: Custom Furez by Douglas Connections
    Den:
    Bose 901 Series II Continentals Restored, Re-Built Equalizer with Elna Silmic IIs, Sonicaps, and Silver Mica Caps
    Carver CT-3 Pre, Carver PM-600

    dhsspeakerservice.com/
    Now Carrying Gimpod's Custom SDA Circuit Boards

    "And keep her under 70, would you, huh? Betty likes a slow ride"
  • oldrockeroldrocker Posts: 1,610
    That is impressive.

    How I wish I had those skills to do the same thing on some of my vintage stuff.

  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 14,812
    edited May 2016
    So @F1nut

    All thats left is redo ALL the internal wiring, well just because at this point lol...

    May as well hot rod it till all thats "original" is the boards, display and chassis lol...

    So get to it :wink:

    Its a work of art, just like your RTi modded crossovers on those standoff boards you built.

    I wish I had the time lol...
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 7,806
    interested in the Black FX4 I need a small piece. Where do you buy it? the guy that put new RCA's in my Pioneer PD9 SACD player at the moment I just have them tightened to the back panel but they need more. 1.5" x 2" I think would be enough but I'd have to check to be certain

    any pointers Jesse.

  • MrBuhlMrBuhl Posts: 1,895
    I wish I had the stones to do that kind of work - very nice indeed sir!
    VA HT HK AVR20II, Sony S9000ES CD/DVD/SACD, Polk Audio RC80i / Polk Audio CSi3, 60" Panasonic Plasma, Nordost / Signal Cable A2 / Wireworld / Pangea / Magic Power
    VA 2 Channel , McCormack DNA 0.5 (SMc Gold) Amp, MFA based Cocci Tube Preamp, Polk SDA2BTL (fully modded), A/L 1000VA Dreadnought, Canare 4s11 SDA cable, Sony S9000ES CD/DVD/SACD, Music Hall mmf 5.1 Turntable, Vincent Pho-700 Phono Pre, MIT S3 IC's / MIT Shotgun S3 Speaker Cables / Pangea & Signal Cable MP power
    Noggin Schiit Valhalla, Pangea, Phillips Fidelio X1, Polk UF8000
    LA Toobs Dodd Audio 50wpc Dual Mono Amp, Eastern Electric MiniMax Preamp, Polk LSIM705, Marantz DV8300 SACD, VPI Nomad Turntable w/Ortofon 2M Bronze, MIT AVt3 Speaker & RCA Cables, Pangea & Signal Cable MP power

    Dodd Mid Level Preamp ("on the bench" w/Charlie)
    Polk SDA1c modded
    Soundcraftsmen PCR800
    Yamaha YP-D6
    Bottlehead Foreplay (modded)
    Signal Cable Silver Resolution IC's
    Audible Illusions L1 Preamp
    McCormack DNA-1 Power Drive Amp
    Eastern Electric Minimax CDP
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 38,136
    Thanks guys!

    Ivan, I'll send you a PM.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


  • Incredible work Jesse. I want to take my CA-1000 to that level at some point. You sure set the bar high brother.
  • codycatalistcodycatalist Posts: 1,194
    Looks jaw dropping!
    Living room

    Mains: SDA 2B Studio
    Lows: Velodyne CHT12
    Power: Marantz SR7000 Preouts to Yamaha AV34
    Tv: Samsung UHD 55' Curved

    2 Channel/Bedroom

    *under construction*
    Polk TSI 200
    Power: Marantz PM235
    CDP: Technics SL-PD688
    TT: Pioneer PL510

    Noggin Rockin'

    Grado SR80e
    Harman Kardon CL
    Little dot 1+/GE JAN 5654w

    Closet of Dreams:

    Harman Kardon AVR130
    Yamaha HTR5590
    Paradigm Monitor 90
    Polk RTA11TL
    New Large Advents 25th Anniversary Edition
    Bravo V2/RCA Clear top Conn branded 12AU7

    "Temptation is the manifestation of desire which equals necessity." - Mikey081057
    " I have always had a champange taste with a beer budget" - Rick88
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 6,948
    Incredible work Jesse. I want to take my CA-1000 to that level at some point. You sure set the bar high brother.

    Yamaha?
    | Front - Dynaudio Emit M20 | Center - N/A | Rear - Polk Monitor 4 | Sub - N/A |
    | AVR - Yamaha Aventage RX-A1020 | Preamp - Dared MC-7P | Amp - B&K Reference 4420 |
    | Turntable - Yamaha PX-3 | Cartridge - Dynavector DV-20X2H | Digital Source - AURALiC Aries Mini |
    | TV - LG 60" 4K | Gaming - Xbox One - PS3 - New 3DS XL - Nvidia Shield TV |

    This body holding me reminds me of my own mortality
    Embrace this moment, remember, we are eternal
    All this pain is an illusion
  • msgmsg Posts: 3,394
    Jesse, wow. Complete agreement with the reactions above - *truly* beautiful work here. Enviable in an inspiring way. Very impressed.
  • Nightfall wrote: »
    Incredible work Jesse. I want to take my CA-1000 to that level at some point. You sure set the bar high brother.

    Yamaha?

    Yes it is.
  • hochpt21hochpt21 Posts: 4,851
    I love the blue lights. Very impressive. They just look so classic, but better.
    2 Channel
    Turntable - Pro-Ject 2.9 Wood/Grado Gold Cartridge
    Phono Stage - PS Audio GCPH
    Preamplifier - Dared SL-2000A
    Amplifier - Parasound HCA-1500a
    Speakers - GoldenEar Triton 2
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 38,136
    So @F1nut

    All thats left is redo ALL the internal wiring, well just because at this point lol..

    Not going to happen. I did what I considered critical, the rest would be a PITA.

    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


  • Toolfan66Toolfan66 Posts: 13,308
    Looks great, now I see what you needed that little bracket for...
    Death Grip...
  • HzTweakerHzTweaker Posts: 379
    Fantastic work!
    2ch rig:
    Speakers: Polk Signature S20
    Integrated Pre: Parasound P5
    Power Amp: Parasound A23
    CDP: Pioneer DV-563A; the Denon is riding shotgun.
    Cables: Wireworld Equinox 7 ICs, Wireworld Ultraviolet 7
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 38,136
    Thanks again guys. I do so enjoy pushing the buttons. B)
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 17,856
    edited May 2016
    Too cool Jess; Love the ol silver series Pioneer stuff. My 1977'ish SX-780 is still rocking my shop. She's MINT BTW.
    Source: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD | Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2L | Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A | Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 | Cables: Kimber Hero/8TC; DH Labs D-75 | AC Power: Panamax M5300-PM
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 13,519
    As a rule I try not to commend you for anything Jesse, but great job. >:)

    I'm glad you got it all sorted out and posted it up. I was waiting for the pics.
    audiothesis.com/

    Speakers: Usher: CP-6311, Be-10, T-515; Rosso Fiorentino: Elba, Fiesole, Volterra; Polk: T50, Signature S60, S55, S35, S30, S20, S15, RTA 15tl, Sonner Audio Allegro Unum, iFi LS3.5
    Preamps: Shuguang S200MK, Dayens Ampino, Parasound P5
    Amps: Shuguang S845MK, Dayens Ampino Monoblocks, Parasound A23
    Integrateds: Dayens Ampino, Triode Corporation TRV-88SER, MastersounD: Dueventi, Compact 845, Evolution 845; North Star Design Blue Diamond
    Sources: AURALiC Aries, AURALiC Altair, Denon HEOS Link, North Star Design: Magnifico, Supremo, Incanto, Intenso, Venti
    Cabling: Wireworld
    TV: Sony XBR-75X940C
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