Pioneer TX-9800 AM/FM Stereo Tuner

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Wavebands FM, AM (Medium Wave only)
Number of FM gangs 5
Number of AM gangs 3
Center Tune Indication Illuminated analogue meter
Signal Strength Meter Analogue (illuminated)
Switchable MPX filter Yes
FM IF Band Switch Yes, 2-way (wide/narrow)
Illuminated analogue tuning dial Yes
Flywheel assisted tuning knob Yes
FM stereo 50dB quietening sensitivity 36.1 dBf (claimed)
Ultimate S/N Ratio 83dB (mono), 80dB (stereo)
FM capture ratio 0.8 (wide), 2.0 (narrow)
Alternate Channel Selectivity 30.0dB (wide), 85dB (narrow)
Width x Height x Depth (cm) 45.3 x 15.5 x 39.0 (wooden sleeve model)
Weight (Kg) 8.7
When manufactured 1979 to 1981
UK new price 275 GBP (in 1979)
eBay price guide (full working order and in good condition) 150 - 245 GBP Rating

The TX-9800 was at the very top of Pioneer's range of tuners in 1979 was was the last of their great analogue AM/FM tuners. As was the norm for high-end Japanese in the 1970's, the build quality is excellent with a very thick aluminium front panel, milled aluminium controls, super smooth flywheel assisted knob and a very solid build generally. However, a number of people are of the opinion that it shows evidence of cost-cutting compared to the models that preceeded it (i.e. the TX-9500 and TX-9500 II). The TX-9800 was beautiful to look at and a delight to use with sound quality that would knock spots off any modern FM or DAB tuner.
It was the first Pioneer tuner to feature the use of a quartz oscillator to elimiate drift on FM. The large tuning knob had a touch sensitive system that switiched out the quartz lock when being tuned - very clever! After tuning to the center of the desired station by getting the tuning meter to be in the center and the Center Tune LED to illuminate, the quartz lock would activate when you let go of the tuning knob. The green "Quartz Locked" LED would then light up and the station would be "locked".

There are quite a lot of ventillation holes on the top of the hood which are not necessary and allow dust to get inside the casing. This dust contamination can cause tuning problems when it gets in the tuning capacitor (can be solved with a blast from an air duster).

How does it sound in comparison to other top tuners? Well based on my experience I would say it's FM sound quality is roughly comparable to the excellent Trio/Kenwood KT-7500 but not quite as good as the Sansui TU-517 or TU-717. The Sansui just sounds that bit more natural but the Pioneer is still very good. Some people rate the TX-9800's audio performance slightly behind Pioneer's preceeding TX-9500 and TX-9500II models It has a very sensitive front-end (essentially the same as the TX-9500 and TX-9500II) providing it has been properly serviced.

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The Pioneer TX-9800 boasts a 5-gang FM/3-gang MW tuning capacitor
Note that unlike the Pioneer SA-9500, it is not shielded - evidence of late '70s cust-cutting
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They don't make 'em like this anymore!
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