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Old 07-09-2014, 11:59 PM
stereorob2.0's Avatar
stereorob2.0 stereorob2.0 is offline
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Location: Orlando, FL
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New main rig, going simply sansui.

Known for my ridiculously huge stereo systems I've built some real monsters, including my now infamous "shock-and-awe!" Series rigs, but in all my really large systems I've always used a serious marantz and pioneer foundation for them, and using other random receivers as outer-tone and filler sound on them, but marantz has dominated my big rigs almost since day one, due to the fact that they don't blow up, and they sound darn good for what I use them for. I'm a marantz guy but seriously reconsidering that now..

I have more marantz receivers than any other brand, and my primary lead receiver has either been my 18, 2270, or 2285 cause those have the most power, with 2235s, 2230s, and 2220s as back sound reinforcement. My main rig in my garage, consisting of about 50 different components sounded good. Damn good but I had the itch to change it up a bit, and over the last year my sansui collection has almost doubled in size, to the point that it's eclipsed my marantz stable. Now, don't get me wrong, I love old sansui stuff. Those pretty green lights, blackout dials and real metal knobs and they sound good but I haven't had too many really big monster sansui pieces (that actually worked and didn't blow up in my face the first time I powered them up) so that kind of nixed sansui as ever being a main competitor for the big rig foundation, and since all things late 60s-early 70s sansui are unreliable smokeboxes that like to blow up if you look at them the wrong way it was out of the question... Or was it?

I love sansui stuff but after having so many problems with them over the years via torching 5000As, sizzlin' 4000s, and roasting a rare tube 1000 receiver which was such a tragedy that even after 10 years I still don't like talking about it, sansui's name was mud as far as I was concerned. I did always continue to pick them up when I found them, and moving back to orlando which is VERY MUCH a sansui town, I'm finding them like crazy again including some heavy firepower like the Au-9500 and Au-20000 int.amps I started considering building a sansui super rig, also sansuis reputation has gotten a little better in my eyes after pulling that torched in a house fire Au6500 out of the woods half buried in the ground where it sat 20 years, putting it on my bench and getting it running after nothing more than a serious cleaning, as well as using a notorious firebox 3000a that's known for blowing up and setting whatever speakers that are connected to it on fire in the process, for 15 years off and on, as well as using it as a subwoofer amp in my car for almost 6 months at full tilt and it continuing to work, that refuses to die and keeps hanging on, totally original and unrestored. Then I found a TERRIBLE 4000 receiver under a woodpile behind a barn last winter that was rusted really bad, but also still works somehow, so sansuis awful reputation has been restored in my eyes. Now don't get me wrong, I still don't trust a early 5000 receiver or a Tr707 as far as I could throw it, but this stuff seems to be okay, so i laid the groundwork for a major sansui based system, no sooner then I decided to go through with it, another 5000 series fell in my lap so I figured the hell with it so i tore down my beautiful marantz foundation rig a few nights ago and started testing the sansui waters..

Still not fully trusting this stuff, I tried to pick the best speakers for each receiver and amp. I don't think I've planned out a system so intensely in years, down to wire length, line conditioning, room acoustics etc, anything to keep this stuff from self destructing.

I really spent some serious time with each piece, getting to know it again and figuring out what would sound the best with it. Unlike marantz, which gets along with anything and I can throw whatever shitbox speaker I have on one and it still sounds good, sansui stuff is very picky about what it likes. Marantz is very forgiving.. - Sansui is not.

Here's the equipment roster for the system

Tr-707 receiver
3000a receiver
3500 receiver
Qrx-3500 receiver
4000 receiver
5000 receiver
5000a receiver
5000x receiver
Au-6500 int. amp
Au-9500 int. amp
Au-20000 int. amp

With plenty of power to play with I sat down and listened to all of them on several pairs of speakers. First was the Au9500



A big sexy beast it is, tipping the scales at over 50lbs it's built like a Sherman tank. Being the TOTL at the time it's got everything you can shake a stick at, and plenty of power to back it up. After trying it on 5 different pairs of speakers, as ironic as it is, it sounds the sweetest with marantz imperial IIX's I have. The imperial IIX is a rather dark sounding speaker thats kind of hard to drive, and the au9500 is a dark sounding amp that has great bass response but lacks a bit on the treble side so it was basically a match made in hell, but a good one.

Next up is the regular 5000 receiver. This is the early version that's even more susceptible to meltdown than the 5000a, from 1969



Having just freshly restored this one and not really spending much time with it, due to the fact I've been simply too busy to mess with it and quite frankly, scared of the damn thing cause it actually works. I tried it with the same 5 pairs as the au9500. The 5000 is a very very bright sounding receiver with a lot of mids as well (perfect for its era too! Imagine what led zeppelins "how many more times" sounds on this receiver with a pair of sp-2500s on it!) I discovered the best speakers that really sounded right with this one were none of the ones I even considered. -a set of pioneer CS-99s. This gives the nice warm and raspy mid I needed as backing for the Au-9500. They blended absolutely perfect.

Next, the 5000a, notorious smokebox known by all..



Another working example thank god, also in pretty decent shape too! Seems like pioneer hpm-40s sound the best with this one. The 5000a has the same characteristics as the 5000 in the super sharp highs but mids are not as strong but it's got deep punchy bass which helps solidify the bottom end of the system with the au9500. This example is a very clean receiver and has never been touched. It's got the bad boards in it known for burning up so I'm not gunna push it too hard since that seems to be what takes them out.

I decided to use the 3000a as the main control receiver that everything is hooked into



It's got plenty of ins and outs and is all around a solid performer, not to mention it's absolutely breathtaking to look at. With it's VERY MUCH 1960s styling, glass backlit dial and chrome numbers, it's a crowd favorite. It's not super powerful but can absolutley hold it's own. Very crisp highs and decent mids but the bass isn't super impressive, and if it's pushed the red protector light comes on and the fun is over after a few minutes. I picked the Polk Monitor 10s for this one as they are easy to drive, and really sing on a bright amp

Next up I decided to use the 4000 as the back for the 3000a

It's not pretty but it still works perfect and sounds great. I picked paradigm sv-7mkIIs for this one due to the decent bass response and good highs with this one.


The rest of the system is still up in the air. It's gunna take me a few days to figure out the rest of them but I have a good foundation atleast. The rig so far sounds really decent, maybe even better than the marantz rig. I'm using a bealls dmm preamp as master volume control and keeping the volume level on all receivers right around the 9 o'clock position, therefor I won't be overdriving anything and hopefully avoiding a meltdown. This is very much a big system, but it's not shock-and-awe! Style cause it isn't about loud. It's about sounding good. REALLY good. And so far.. I may be changing my mind about my preference of gear because of it. Sure, sansui is like the jaguar of old stereos, unreliable, fussy, easy to piss off, but man it sounds so sweet.
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Old 03-07-2015, 12:55 PM
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Twodogs Twodogs is offline
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Nutting worng with that stack, I ran a AU919, TU717, and TOTL cassette deck (though only through headphones on the cassettes) for years in my shop, and I was happy, Got all Hafler down there now, and about the same amount of happiness.
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