Restore Sansui or Buy something new?

Discussion in 'New Gear - Performance' started by Don Lowrey, Mar 9, 2018.

  1. Don Lowrey

    Don Lowrey New Member

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    6
    I am posting this here, instead of the Marantz or Sansui forums because I am looking for neutral advice. I have an AU-717 that's been sitting for years. It is not abused and is working. But the electrolytics should be replaced. The cost to restore it is substantial. I love the look and the tactile feel of the Sansui controls. The amp is really heavy hand has substantial transformers for each channel. The controls and switches are just really solid, not plastic, you know what I mean? The other consideration is that I also have a TU-717. I get it...FM radio is not so great but the pair look really good together, so there is that subjective in the mix.
    But the analytical side says that for the substantial cost of a good restoration, could I get a good quality new Marantz or something similar? Maybe the Marantz PM6006.

    What do you think?

    Thanks
    -DL
     

     

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  2. guiller

    guiller Toscaninichus Australis

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    Welcome to the AK community! Perhaps you should look for further techs to do the job on the Sansui and get a more significant sample of quotations. There are many expert techs here in AK and perhaps some may be located near to you.
     
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  3. 4-2-7

    4-2-7 Smart Ass Sponsor Subscriber

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    Welcome to AK Don

    The 717 is a lot of working hours to get them restored and if you can't do it yourself I don't see where it's worth it. Then really after the time and money spent nothing guarantees it will not go up in a puff of smoke or have other issues down the road.

    What I tend to do with this type of Sansui equipment of this time, Deox-it a little and use it, but this seems to be needed annually as well till a big fix is needed. When something goes out, and it will, maybe see if it's just a simple fusistor to fix and get it running, if not, it's not worth it to me to dump a lot of money into it.

    Since you have a working unit now, maybe get a thread started to walk you through a cleaning and just use it. Start saving your pennies and and learning about the many many options that are out there. Having cash on hand to act on the right option that might popup at a grate value is key to affordable audio.
     
  4. 59volvo

    59volvo Well-Known Member

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    963
    just had my au-717 recapped after an original cap failed and it sounds awesome - way better than it did before. Totally worth it to me.
     
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  5. dr*audio

    dr*audio Fish fingers and custard!

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    To get a new amp of similar quality you will spend upwards of $1300 for a Cambridge or similar. Get the Sansui restored.
    Just looked, the Cambridge has no Phono preamp.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018
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  6. 45rpmspinner

    45rpmspinner Active Member

    The 717 is a fine piece. Excellent build quality inside and out. Low distortion.
    My 517 [essentially the same] worked without a problem for 30 years.
    When I decided it was time to have some of my older amps rebuilt, it was the first one I sent out.
    I'm 62 years old. I'll be surprised if it doesn't outlast me.

    In 1978, it would've cost me 6 weeks worth of pay to buy a 717.
    In inflation adjusted dollars, something over $2000 today.
     

     

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  7. ConradH

    ConradH Addicted Member

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    The 717 is decent and well worth doing at least the basics to get it up to snuff. Something less than a complete rebuild might be sufficient for now.
     
  8. Old Guy8

    Old Guy8 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Buy a new amp. Especially if you would have toship to a tech. Chance of shipping damage two ways. Shipping cost. What if it has an issue after restore. Ship back again.
    Or, just clean with contact cleaner. Test outputsto assure safety for speakers. Use it.
     
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  9. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

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    I'd replace it with something new, #3.
     
  10. blhagstrom

    blhagstrom Mad Scientist, fixer. Subscriber

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    After repairing and restoring many vintage units, and after testing thousands of newer units and scraping those that are not working, I don’t think there is anything made today that is worth a good God damn.

    The Sansui AU-717 is one great piece of audio gear. It has a list of known weak points that can all be addressed and corrected.

    What is a great new unit’s cost?
    $1000, $2000, $10,000?
    When it fails, it’s worthless and there is almost a 100% chance it cannot be repaired.

    To date, I have never heard anything that sounds as good as vintage analog audio.

    If it is still working, a restoration such as new caps, fusistor replacement, Phono section update and glue clean up is a very very smart move. It will be expensive but it will pay off in the long run.

    But if you decide to go new junk, I will trade you a truck load of new junk for it.

    I traded a used $7000 Denon TOTL AVR for a Sansui AU-999 and TU-999 and I almost feel guilty.

    If you show up with an AU-717 with issues, I will work on it and more than likely repair it.

    If you show up with new stuff, I won’t even try because there is nothing I can do.

    If it all sounds the same to you, then the question is moot and just pick up anything that you will throw away some day.
     
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  11. corbin

    corbin Active Member

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    I have experienced the same conflict, trying to decide between staying with my vintage gear or going modern.

    With no direct experience, I get the feeling modern solid state is, dollar for dollar, marginally better than vintage solid state, but at the expense of features and character. Although the few modern solid state integrates I've tried have sounded thin and weak compared to my vintage amps, but they can't all be like that.
     

     

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  12. Old Guy8

    Old Guy8 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    IMO, there may be some wide generalities being wrote here. Can find quality and crap in both modern and vintage gear.
     
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  13. UncleBingo

    UncleBingo AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    AU 717 is quality. Properly re-built should last another 30 years if not abused. Much of the crap vintage gear has washed-out by now, although even some of the crap has developed a dedicated cult following that is willing to keep units going in spite of engineering (shall we say) "Anomolies"...
     
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  14. corbin

    corbin Active Member

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    274
    Hmmm, that's interesting, like which ones?
     
  15. UncleBingo

    UncleBingo AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Not going there in this thread.
     
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  16. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    I don't know about the Sansui you have, but many vintage amps are well worth the rebuild expense. I had a top notch tech (EchoWars) rebuild my Kenwood 700 amp and preamp and it works and sounds wonderful now and with no puff's of smoke! It didn't cost me that much and I doubt I could have gotten something new that would match it SQ wise and definitely build quality for what I have into it.

    I suppose there is a risk involved going the vintage route however. Not having a long warranty etc, but you may be disappointed in what you can buy today for the money it would take to rebuild your Sansui. No easy answers to your question!
     

     

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  17. Cliff O

    Cliff O Active Member

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    The frequency response is not that great on the AU-717. If you like vintage sansui I’d go with one introduced in 78 or later. You can check hifiengine.com to check ou specifications on vintage equipment
     

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