The time has finally come to write a review on the most reliable pieces of audio gear I have yet to own. Introducing, Ol’ Reliable, my Pioneer SA 1270 integrated stereo amplifier. This amplifier is an integrated amplifier built by Pioneer right at the beginning of the 80s digital era. It is a very simple, yet powerful beast. Also, very underrated.
The Design: Very Simple. Very 80s.
Upon first look at the faceplate of the Pioneer SA 1270, the design is unmistakably 80s. From the text font, the equalizer, the spectrum analyzer, and the buttons, it screams 80s. The faceplate is made of aluminum with a nice plastic piece over the front covering the 80s art underneath.
The 5 band equalizer is easy to use with the lines clearly visible. The bands slide relatively easily making it easy to make slow changes to the sound. Unfortunately on my amplifier, the spectrum analyzer no longer works. It was like this when I bought it back in 2016. But it does look like a good one as occasionally, some of it will work. Latency looks low which I’ve seen ones that are high latency and don’t dance quite like they should.
The SA 1270s design has aged very well. Honestly, it is a very good design in terms of durability and looks. It is also unmistakably Pioneer.
So, How Much Power Are We Talking?
Despite its small size, the Pioneer SA 1270 packs a hefty punch. Rated at 105 watts per channel RMS with no more than .05% THD, the amp section is very strong. I really have yet to even need to use all of this power. I have actually filled large spaces with very warm, clean sound.
Forget The Numbers, How Does It Sound?
Numbers are one thing. The sound an amplifier puts out is the most important thing. So, let’s dig in.
When I bought this amplifier, it was a no brainer to pair them with my Pioneer GS C203s. As, one thing I have observed over the years, is that Pioneer gear for one reason or another sounds best paired together. Pioneer sound after all is unique and not everyone will like it.
So, upon first listening, I was immediately surprised that despite the fact that the Pioneer SA 1270 is an 80s integrated amp, the sound is actually very warm. I immediately switched the speakers back to my Kenwood KR V126r and found my ears did not lie. Another thing I’ll point out, the Pioneer GS C203s actually sounded way better on the Pioneer SA 1270… While the Kenwood had a cleaner sound, it was very lacking in warmth in comparison. The Pioneer GS C203s loved this extra warmth.
Playing with the 5 band equalizer was interesting. One thing to note is this: This equalizer is a great one to learn with. It teaches you to make changes slowly as the actuation of the sound is very quick. Using any equalizer takes time to adjust the sound to your speakers, listening environment, and personal preferences.
Next, I wired up my Yamaha NS-A637s which are relatively flat and clean sounding. Again, I was smiling. The warm sound came through on them as well. With the Yamahas hooked up, I can now describe the sound signature. It is warm, laid back, with a very wide soundstage. The top end is laid back a bit but warm with just the right amount of color. While the sound is not as accurate as the Kenwood I usually run with these speakers, it is colored just right. I enjoyed the sound.
Going back to the Pioneer GS C203s, I had taken them to DJ for a couple events with the Pioneer SA 1270. Many were in awe of the soundstage and the sound. These two were a match made in heaven. Also, I never once felt like I needed more power.
The Pioneer SA 1270 integrated stereo amplifier might not be the most accurate sounding. It is however a very well-built amplifier with a very nice Pioneer colored sound. Don’t let the 80s looks fool you, this is a warm amplifier. The 5 band equalizer is icing on the cake. If you have a set of Pioneer speakers and are looking for an amplifier to drive them, I highly recommend the Pioneer SA 1270. As always, thank you for reading and enjoy the video!