The Best of SANSUI - Vintage Stereo, Classic Audio Products and Company History -
Quick Jump to International v.s. Japanese Domestic Models, Production Date, Did Quality Go down?, Company History by Sansui (Translation), Product History by Sansui (Translation), What does Sansui mean?, About this Site
Once upon a time, Sansui was a mere transformer manufacturer. It was natural progress that Sansui started manufacturing amplifiers and tuners in its early history. In the late 1950’s to the early 1960’s, Sansui had developed a sense of mission to be a world class audiophile manufacture. That was the reason that Sansui introduced the first pre-main (integrated) tube amplifier SM-88 in Japan. Sansui introduced only two more tube integrated amplifiers, AU-70 and AU-111, before they moved forward to the solid state silicon transistor amplifier, AU-777 in 1967.
From 1967 to 1970, Sansui introduced the array of the single number three digits integrated amplifiers. They were AU-222, AU-333, AU-555, AU-666, AU-777, AU-888, and AU-999 followed by improved versions; AU-555A and AU-777D. The sound of this series was very close to that of tube amps. Even mixing with tube amplifiers with frequency divided multi-power amps system, it sounded natural.
Besides the integrated amplifiers, in 1968, Sansui introduced the first solid state power amp, BA-60 followed by BA-90, BA-100, and BA-150. BA-60 was the beginning of long tradition of BA and B power amplifier series. In 1971, Sansui introduced QS-10 solid state four channel rear amplifier. QS-10 was the bridge from the tube rear amplifier, , to wider rage of four channel related product lines.
In 1972, Sansui introduced the integrated amplifier AU-9500 along with less expensive models AU-6500, AU-7500, and AU-8500. These amplifiers were well built, and very heavy with massive power transformers and heat syncs. With the distinguished look of the front panel, it was simply called, “the Black Face.” Sound-wise, it was the extension of the single number three digits series, and had rich tube like low frequency with the natural mid to high sound. It seems being reached to the maturity of the first generation of solid state amplifiers.
From 1973 to 1975, Sansui introduced slew of high end amplifiers, such as the Definition Series; CA-2000, CA-3000, BA-1000, BA-2000, BA-3000, and BA-5000 as well as the famous Professional Series AU-9900, AU-11000, and AU-20000. By maintaining the image of those high end amplifiers, Sansui introduced the more affordable amplifiers in this period also. They are AU-2200, AU-3300, AU-4400, AU-5500, AU-6600, and AU-7700 as well as AU-3900, AU-4900, AU-5900, AU-6900, and AU-7900. Those two series look and perform very similar. AU-7700 series has silver bottom line knobs on the front panels versus black knobs of AU-7900 series. Both of silver and black knobs were used on the Professional Series amplifiers.
Besides the separates and integrated, Sansui introduced “AU-9500 Look-A-Like” four-channel amplifiers, QA-5000, QA-6000, and QA-7000 in this period followed by QA-6600 and QA-7700.
Up to this point, all amplifiers introduced internationally were identical to the Japanese domestic models. Beginning of 1976, or introduction of the 07 Series in Japan, this was all changed.
In 1978, the second generation of the 07 Series AU-D607, AU-D707, and AU-D907 were introduced in Japan. In the international market, AU-D907 was called as AU-919. At this point, AU-117, AU-217, AU-317, AU-417, AU-517, AU-519, AU-710, AU-717, AU-719, AU-819, and AU-919 were available in the international market.
In 1980, the third generation of the 07 Series AU-D607F, AU-D707F, and AU-D907F were introduced in Japan. The international version equivalent to AU-D907F was AU-D11. Specification-wise, AU-D9 was more likely AU-D707F. The sound of those amplifiers was notably different from the previous Sansui amplifiers. Instead of very strong high frequency in the professional to AU-919 series, this generation of the 07 Series had very soft and natural high with the powerful low.
In 1984, the six generation of the 07 Series AU-D607X, AU-D707X, and AU-D907X were introduced in Japan. This series adapted the Sansui’s new technology X Balanced Circuit, that accomplished the incredible low distortion level in wide frequency range. The international versions of this series were AU-G90X and AU-D11II that were very similar to AU-D707X in performance. In addition to those two units, AU-G99X was introduced internationally. This amplifier has .
In 1986, Sansui introduced the seventh generation of the 07 Series, AU-Alpha907, that added a Greek character “Alfa” just before the three numeric digits for the model numbers. The reason being is that Sansui adopted the balanced input circuitry, and they called this, “Alfa-X Balanced Circuit.” Starting with this generation, front panels were dressed up with “piano black” finish. There was no international version for this generation.
In 1987, Sansui changed the company logo. The first generation of the 07 Series carrying this new logo is AU-Alpha907i which was the eighth generation of the 07 Series. The international version of this series was AU-X701, and AU-X901. They were equivalent to AU-Alpha607i and AU-Alpha707i respectably.
In 1988, Sansui introduced AU-X1111 MOS Vintage which is the last version of X1 Series started from AU-X1 in 1979, and continued through AU-X11 in 1981, and AU-X111 MOS Vintage in 1984. X1 Series were one step up from 07 Series, and they were more likely power amplifiers with some control functions. All of X1 Series of amplifiers were marketed internationally.
In 1989, Sansui introduced AU-Alpha907 Extra and AU-Alpha907L Extra Series. Then, AU-Alpha907DR Series was introduced in 1990. One of the international versions of this series was AU-701DR. After the limited edition of AU-Alpha607 MOS Premium in 1991, the twelfth generation of the 07 Series, AU-Alpha907KX was introduced in 1992. One the international version of this series was AU-X701DR. In 1994, after the thirteenth generation of the 07 Series, AU-Alpha907XR in 1993, AU-Alpha907 Limited was introduced.
The last international version of the 07 Series AU-607MRX was introduced in 1995 along with the fourteenth generation of the 07 Series, AU-Alpha907MR. In 1996, limited edition of AU-07 Anniversary was introduced. Then, in 1997, the fifteenth and the last generation of 07 Series, AU-Alpha907NRA was introduced. In 1999, Sansui used up all MOS-FET chips to produce the last limited edition of AU-Alpha607MOS Limited.
In 1999, Sansui reproduced the tube pre-power amplifier AU-111 as AU-111 Vintage. In 2000, Sansui started to take orders for another limited edition, AU-111G Vintage.
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