Jump to content


Sansui Alpha Series Amplifier Reviews

Recommended Posts

I probably should be holding off on creating this thread but I've been so slack lately that I haven't had anything to post about and the lack of anything to write has me breaking out in hives so I thought, what the heck.  Maybe there is no time like the present.  Deep breaths,  deep breaths and here we go.


OK so... this was bound to happen eventually.   I’ve found I like a certain manufacturer so much I just couldn’t help myself and went and bought up several of their amps to see which one sounds the best to me.  I would like to start at the beginning of this story but that would just be confusing since I didn’t buy them in order and they certainly didn’t arrive in order and I started buying them long before I made the decision to buy the rest of them and turn the whole ordeal into a massive comparison.  So I’m going to start where I feel the beginning should have been and then I’ll try to move on towards where I think the middle should be, and then on to the logical conclusion.  Things will be much less disjointed that way.


A little history behind the decision, I bought the Sansui Alpha 907NRA back in December 2016 and liked it so much I hatched a plan.  I would buy another Sansui Alpha, have a bit of a listen to that and then use this second amp as a trade/gift/incentive to get either Pete_mac or Skippy124 to give the NRA a full service.  It seemed like a good idea at the time so I went for it.  Unfortunately the second amp (an Alpha 907DR) had performance issues on arrival and has spent most of its time in Oz sitting with my nominated tech/repairer, so that plan didn’t really turn out as conceived. 


While I was waiting for the DR to arrive I found this thread on AudioKarma:



And that started me down the track I would take that ends in this thread being created.  I just wanted to know, and I wanted to know badly enough to decide to do something about it.  I really shouldn’t have, it hasn’t been kind to my financial situation, but I decided to and I did and there’s no point in worrying about things that are now in the past (unless you regret the decision, and I most certainly do not, so it’s all good).  The thread above is a long one but the thing which stood out to me was that the NRA was not a clear front runner.  Of the Alpha series the general consensus, and it was fairly general, was that the MR was probably the best.  Many people didn’t like the Alpha series at all and claimed that the 70’s gear was their favourite (likers of warmer sound I guess).  Anyway, to my mind this thread didn’t  answer the question it just served to make me even more curious to find out for myself.


I decided to limit this thread to the Alpha series of Sansui Amps, because even my large amplifier appetite was not up to the task of taking on the entirety of Sansui’s back catalogue.  I did toy with the idea of including the model prior to the Alphas, the 907X and/or the X Decade but these were a different design to the models that directly preceded them and those models (the G and G Extra) were different again to their predecessors.  The 80’s was a decade of great change in the Sansui line up so it didn’t really matter where I started the question of “How does it sound compared to the model before it?” was always going to come up.  So I decided to stick to the Alpha series, because lines have to be drawn somewhere.


I have been taught a few things by conducting this importing exercise.  The first is that freight from Japan is expensive.   The second is that freight varies wildly depending on the company doing the sending even if the freight company is the same.  Hifido for instance obviously has a sweet deal with Fedex as freight from them came to about 45% of freight from other senders in Japan.  The third is that packing is extremely important and most people don’t do it well.  Again kudos to Hifido as their packing is second to none.  Other senders in Japan have varying levels of packing volume and quality, however if you ask for more serious packing they are usually quite helpful and the extra fees are quite small in the overall scheme of things.  

The fourth thing is that freight from Japan is expensive, this emphasis is important, in several cases the freight came to more than the auction price of the amp, should you even intend to import from Japan ensure you do not forget the fourth thing!


My initial findings, long before I get into the nitty gritty of details are as follows.  In most cases these are gleaned from just a few hours of listening so they should be treated as very preliminary.  I plan to follow all of the reviews later in this thread with an update of this list of differences so that those who are curious will have a “Sansui Character Reference Chart” they can use.


Sansui AU-α 907               The last to arrive and not yet listened to, sorry, you’ll just have to tune in later.


Sansui AU-α 907i and AU-α 907L Extra   I’ve only given these a brief listen to confirm they were operational, however from what I’ve heard they have a thicker sound texture to the later models with plenty of bass weight (probably a bit too much for my liking).  They have a strange way of taking digital music and making it sound more like vinyl-ish. 


Sansui AU-α 907DR         This amp needed attention but I can confirm that this is where Sansui really started getting serious with the top end capabilities of their amps.  A decidedly better top end than the previous two models but still with a powerful bottom end and the beginnings of the spectacular mid-range that would come later.


Sansui AU-α 907 KX         A large improvement in both the top end and the mid range over the DR however it does this by sounding less smooth and more resolving so digital advocates are likely to like it over the DR but vinyl advocates may well prefer the DR.  Less bass on display but far more articulate with it.


Sansui AU-α 907 XR         More bass punch than the KX and a bigger presence but very similar in other aspects.


Sansui AU-α 907 MR       Very much an XR with much more subtlety on display, more resolution, cleaner background and slightly clearer vocals.  Unless you get them side by side it is pretty much impossible to tell the XR and MR apart, they are very, very similar.


Sansui AU-α 907 NRA     More polish present than the other Alphas, so clean in the mid-range it sparkles, so clean in the top end it shines.  Has a mild bass boost effect that is not present on the other Alphas.


There is also a ring in Sansui that I have yet to get to serious grips with, it also needs a little care and “technical attention” so I can’t really say much about it yet but I’m sure I will be able to later.   


In an effort to make this comparison more interesting I’m going to be using a Sansui cd player as the source.  I have managed to obtain a Sansui AU-α917XR cd player in addition to all the amps.  I haven’t listened to this cd player yet as it arrived needing new belts.   I’m picking it up tomorrow and needless to say I have high hopes.


Pictures will follow, and yes, there will be many.

Edited by Cafad

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a feeling you will get more amps very soon. I am psychic.

Sent from my C6903 using Tapatalk

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
30 minutes ago, niss_man said:

I have a feeling you will get more amps very soon. I am psychic.

You are, of course, correct.  Although I don't think you need to be psychic to make a prediction like that.

Edited by Cafad
sentence structure

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

First up the very first Alpha.  The 907 that is devoid of suffix or prefix.


Damn that glossy black front.  An awesome colour for an amp it is true, but so very hard to photograph.



Much simpler.


Almost forgot, with amps as old as Sansuis are there is often a little more to the story of each amp.  The 907 came with a receipt that would seem to indicate it was recapped in 2013.  If any Japanese literate SNA'ers could tell me if the brand names of the caps are mentioned I'd be grateful. 


Edited by Cafad
added picture

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Then the 907i.


This fine amp was actually already in the country, it has spent the last few years living in Adelaide.




Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The 907L EXTRA.  There was no 907L model so I decided to skip that model series as I wouldn't be comparing like with like.


A little less reflection there, I'm learning as I go.




That will have to do for now.  More pics to follow later.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mate, you've got it real bad.


Is there any truth in the rumour that you're starting up Audiophile Ampifiers Anonymous??



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Really enjoyed reading and eagerly looking forward to more reviews. Especially some comparison between regular Alpha's and MOS models e.g. 607 MOS Premium.


The timing is just perfect too. I have been smitten by the Sansui alpha range lately and have just got myself a 607MR which I am enjoying a lot. So really a big thanks for putting the effort and sharing your experience with us :thumb:


Cheers mate.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

@ cafad...You are in need of the @Luc Sansui's Anonymous Society...

For a small fee he will arrive...relieve you of your Sansui's then bury them for safe keeping...

He has a swimming pool...it once had water in it...

He very cleverly drained all the water...carefully wrapped all his Sansui's...

Wrapped that in Geotech & Viscreen...and covered them with dirt...

His cunning plan unfortunately has come unstuck when...


DON"T touch that mouse...stay tuned for the next exciting episode of...

Confessions of a Hot Sansui...

Edited by Rob181

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

His lovely wife (AKA "The Handbrake") donned a bikini in on a hot summers day...

Declaring it is time to cool down...only to find no water in said pool...rather a dirt landscape... 

She sweetly asked "My darling husband...where has the pool water gone"....

Quick as a wink @Luc declared "Its part of the landscaping you asked me to do...oh love of my life"...

"Hmmm..." said his lovely wife (AKA "The Handbrake")..."please give me my pool back"...

Oh dear...red wine spurted from @Luc lips as he realised the gig was up...


DON"T touch that mouse...stay tuned for the next exciting episode of...

Confessions of a Hot Sansui...

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, gemini07 said:

Mate, you've got it real bad.


Is there any truth in the rumour that you're starting up Audiophile Ampifiers Anonymous??



I tried an anonymous group a while back, it didn't stick.  Also the presenter only spoke in mono which completely ruined his sound stage, no imaging whatsoever. 



I like the abbreviation of the Sansui Anonymous Society, SAS, very cool.  

I'll have to tune in again this afternoon with some corn chips.  Can't wait to see how Luc gets out of this one.

Edited by Cafad

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

@rantan requested a pic of the Sansui Alpha 917XR cd spinner and who am I to say no.


OK, the first pic is terrible but it's an action shot from the listening position.  I've got the 917 teamed up with Simon's Zeus Integrated and the strength of the presentation is phenomenal. 



And one from a bit closer (after I realized I had to actually get up to take a decent pic).

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

My last Sansui has arrived this afternoon, an Alpha 607MR.  I picked it up while low on glucose and caffeine and on night shift but no regrets, we can't go having regrets about these things that just happen by themselves.  Acceptance is key to satisfaction with this hobby of ours.


Not quite as clean an example of the brand as most of my 907s but it does have its charm.


It arrived as dusty as all get out so I took the top off and got out my can of compressed air.  And when I look inside I see.


It was slightly dustier when I first saw it, but even then it brought a smile to my face.  



Note the plastic, anti-vibration treatment along the tops of the front and back and the use of copper plated screws on the inner chassis, I thought that only the 907s got this extra treatment but it seems I was wrong.  Even the little 607s get a decent dose of noise deadening.  See the plastic strips that run across each of the heat sinks?  Still there after 20 years!


And look, a strip of plastic across the underside of the case too.  


I think I'm going to have to plug it in now, because if I don't I just won't be able to sleep tonight.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

And....come on...haven't got all night you know...

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

And I thought this thread was over... but there's still more Alpha's to visit! :lol:


Didn't know the MR series came in black finish too, looks nice! I had only seen the common champagne silver, which is what my 607MR is :)


Can't wait to hear your impressions of this amp. Also, very curious to hear how it compares to its bigger siblings, 707MR and the ultimate 907MR...


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By olegau

      Sansui AU-α607MR Integrated Amplifier Mel
      Location: Melbourne 3183
      Price: 1250
      Item Condition: very good.  Recently was serviced. 
      Payment Method: Pickup - Cash, Paypal +PayPal fee 
      Extra Info:
      907MRX was the only amp awarded in Japan in 1995. 607DR is similar to 907DR.  The sound is the same but bit less power.
      Copper screws say a lot about the amp quality. It is built as a tank.   
      Sansui AU-α607MR was sold in Japan only.  It is need 100V power supply. 
      Comes with a high quality isolated 500W small size step down transformer. \
      No remote control.
      I believe that a buyer will not be disappointed.  The sound is so clear that you can hear a musician breath.  But what is most impress me is a high frequency bell sound. I have never heard in my live so nice bell sound.  I have had a lot of amps including many Sansui amps but only this one can do that.  It is just smoothly slow disappearing in air. Amazing! How Sansui could do that? My Luxman makes bells well too, but I prefer Sansui  bells. Sansui  bells sounding like inside a church whereas Luxman is outside one. 
      Power output: 90 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo)
      Frequency response: 0Hz to 300kHz
      Total harmonic distortion: 0.003%
      Damping factor: 150
      Input sensitivity: 0.3mV (MC), 2.5mV (MM), 150mV (line)
      Signal to noise ratio: 70dB (MC), 88dB (MM), 110dB (line)
      Output: 150mV (line)
      Speaker load impedance: 4Ω to 16Ω
      Dimensions: 430 x 162 x 452mm
      Weight: 18kg
      Year: 1996
      Photos: Advertisements without photos of the actual item will not be approved.

    • By sloper
      Item: Sansui AU555
      Location: Melbourne East.
      Price: $350
      Item Condition: Used, very nice and clean.
      Reason for selling: Too many Sansui Amps
      Payment Method: Pickup - Cash, Paypal, COD Only
      Extra Info: Goodaye all
      Got a recapped sansui AU555 that has to go, it has new tone board transistors and sound perfect.
      Has had coupling caps modified and sounds clear and crisp.
      Price reflects what it owes me.
      Prefer pickup and demo.
      Photos: Advertisements without photos of the actual item will not be approved.

    • By zakblue
      Item: Sansui AU-D33AU Integrated Amplifier
      Location: Balwyn, Vic
      Price: $170 
      Item Condition: Good *see below
      Reason for selling: N L R
      Payment Method: Pickup - Cash, Paypal
      Extra Info:
      This is the amp I grew up with. Possibly the reason I got into this hobby in the first place.
      It has some minor cosmetic blemishes on the top and the binding posts need some work as they
      are old and plastic and like to catch. Nothing a keen hobbyist couldn't fix easily.
      I have poked some fine cable through to connect to my thicker more recent design of speaker cable.
      It still sounds great!
      50w P/C I think from memory.

    • By JayNTH
      Item:  SANSUI AU-X1111 MOS VINTAGE
      Location: Sydney
      Price: 3000 firm + postage if requires.
      Item Condition: Excellent working condition
      Reason for selling: Too many amps
      Payment Method: Pickup - Cash, Paypal please add 3% fee.
      Extra Info: This Sansui is one of the top of the range in this day, purchased direct from Japan, recently serviced at Kimmy audio Sydney before listing for sale, many good reviews on google please search it out. The amp is in excellent working condition, every functions work fine. 
      I have this amp around 2 years and just hooked up sometimes. Local buyer welcome to have a listen. This amp is very heavy 35 kg so i prefer local pick up, however if requires to post i am happy to pack up and send at buyer cost, i still keep its double box was shipping from Japan would be safe for interstate shipping.
      Please note: This amp 100v need a step down transformer.

      Photos: Advertisements without photos of the actual item will not be approved.

    • By Cafad
      Item: Sansui 607MR Integrated Amp.
      Location: Sunny Nanango, Qld, 4615.
      Price: $1000 (plus postage)
      Item Condition:  Fully functional but several superficial scratches to the face plate (and top plate).  So not as pretty as she could be.  See pics for details.
      Reason for selling:  So very many amps, I just can't keep them all.
      Payment Method: Pickup - Cash, Paypal, COD Only
      Extra Info:  Mention of it can be found here: https://www.stereo.net.au/forums/topic/127101-sansui-alpha-series-amplifier-reviews/ 
      But you will have to head towards the end to find mention of this amp in particular.
      More info here: https://audio-heritage.jp/SANSUI/amp/au-alpha607mr.html 
      Comes as is with no manual, no remote (Sansuis from this era don't have remotes) and is a 100V model so a step down transformer will be needed.  I suggest looking here: https://www.wallcann.com.au/500w-voltage-converter/ 

  • Create New...