I had one of these until a few years ago. I never really liked it, but thought that what I heard was just a common drawback of two-speaker systems, until I replaced it with a better (but inexpensive) amp and heard a vastly better sound through the same speakers positioned in exactly the same positions. The Pioneer A400 never projected a credible sound stage. It always felt wrong, with a ‘hole’ between the speakers, irrespective of their placement. Visitors noted the same bizarrely unsatisfying effect. (It was not a polarity problem - I checked.) The sound it produced was harsh and ultimately tiring, with many recordings sounding gritty and unreal, with the positions of individual instruments impossible to identify. Not recommended at any price.
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By: Carl Hebb24th Feb 2012
"pioneer A 400 Review"
Released about 1991 this was the amp "to beat" in its price range, gaining a five star rating and the quote of the day in What Hi Fi was "an amazing box of fireworks". Unlike a lot of amps of the day phono stages were not included, not so in this one but also a respectable moving coil switchable input which at least made this type of cartridge usable. Comprehensive inputs for tape dubbing etc and the novel no tone controls provided gave it the audiophile feel. You can't hoard everything so mine went to a friend recently and is still going strong, a great testimony to Pioneers reliability being potentially twenty years old.