Sansui AU-9500 vs. Sansui Seven

Discussion in 'Exclusively Sansui' started by davstev, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. davstev

    davstev Active Member

    Messages:
    393
    Location:
    Montreal, QC, Canada
    Hi all,

    I am very happy with my recent acquisition of a Sansui Seven. It has caused me to be very keen on vintage Sansui. I am curious about the same vintage, but more powerful, AU-9500, in terms of its sound.

    I am driving Tannoy 12" Golds, which the Seven does very well for such a seemingly modest receiver.

    Has anyone sonically compared or contrasted the Six/Seven/Eight series vs. The AU-9500?

    The 9500 has more power, but what else? Will it be basically the same sonic flavour as the Seven as it's the same era of Sansui?

    Any commentary on the sonic differences is welcome as I am considering the 9500 as a possible upgrade.

    Thanks,

    David
     
  2. mjs1

    mjs1 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    349
    Location:
    Ithaca, NY
    Sansui AU 9500

    Hi David

    I don't have any receivers and cannot comment on your Sansui 7 but a restored
    AU 9500 is a magnificent amplifier which, I think, could hold it's own with any of the early AUs including the 919. Others have found the AU 9500 wanting and of course YMMV. I agree that before its restoration the 9500 sounded so so, mine had real problems. I believe that it was the last Sansui amplifier developed under the ownership of the company's founder and it was their TOTL then. Regards.

    Marc
     
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  3. davstev

    davstev Active Member

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    393
    Location:
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    Marc, It seems that many commenters on AK and elsewhere are a bit divided on the 9500 and it's sonics. All seem to agree that build quality is tops, but note that is "early years" for Sansui SS amps, and that they were yet to evolve for the better in subsequent years. Understandably, a 40+ year old amp will need recapping to sound optimal. Maybe many people commenting negatively on the 9500 might have been listening to one in need of a recap....

    There seems to be some consensus that the 9500 is a less detailed sounding unit than the 717 or 919, but that it excels in "punchiness". I will just need to see for myself. I am partial to the 9500 over the 717 or 919 for some reason I can't quite explain, it could be the era of manufacture, the weight, the build quality, the looks. I just hope that if I buy one it won't disappoint. I wouldn't hesitate to recap.

    Thanks for your input.

    David
     
  4. mjs1

    mjs1 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    349
    Location:
    Ithaca, NY
    Sansui AU 9500

    Hi David

    Kevzep, in particular, was down on the 9500 and I certainly respect his skills and judgement. I am sure his was recapped. I currently have the AU 717, 9500, and the 919, all recapped, hooked up to a switch box and all brought up to spec. The truth be told, the 919 does not have its original transistors, it has slower motorola substitutes. I can choose between the three by pushing a button. IMHO the 9500 is better than the 717, and equal to the 919 in listening tests. I have an unmolested 919 elsewhere but am afraid to use it until I can have something done about the black flag capacitors. Whether the transistor substitution on the 919 has any effect in the audible range is arguable. The 9500 built as well as the others and is much easier to work on than the 919 and probably the 717. It does not have the glue problem of the 717, and you could work on it in stages, not replacing the power capacitors immediately if they don't need it. Don't get me wrong, if I could choose between fully restored models, I would go in the order of 919, 9500, 717. But other things go into the equation like the mystique of the 919. It may be over engineered with attention to inaudible specs for marketing being part of its design. On the other hand a nice 9500 is probably a bit more expensive and harder to come by than a 717. Regards.

    Marc
     
  5. stereofun

    stereofun Super Member

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    Dave, by the end of the day, you will encounter some very different opinions. Besides individual "ears" it is as much a question of synergy in your system. The descriptors for the 919 ranges from bright and analytic to very musical and engaging. Kevzep for instance, really tried to like the 9500, in which he put great effort into its restoration, but never digged its top end reproduction, Instead he ended up favoring the "generation" older 999. Others, some really hardcore Sui fans, swears by the 9500 (I think one even wanted to buried with it :)

    Part of the fun is trying different eras of gear and then see what works with your ears, system and not the least music taste. You may also look at topologies - for instance you have the old cap coupled 555/777 series that excel in vocals and acoustics, rendering a tube like projection while not quite up to par with the 517/717 when it comes to multi-layed faster tracks and so on. Good news is, there uis always a market for the amp you didnt quite fancy :music: Cheers,
     
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  6. rasenthiran

    rasenthiran Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    749
    Location:
    Malaysia
    Pretty much agree with you Tom, Sansui AU 777 I had was very special to me. I only pass it to my cousin knowing I still can have it later when he want to upgrade his system. He is so much keen on it and I don't think he will be passing the amp to me in future. I have no regards because I found the sound signature looks very similar to my AU 7900. AS you described, different era of Sansui has different sound flavor.
     
  7. johnnyboy70

    johnnyboy70 Active Member

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    Location:
    Kent OH
    I have a AU 9500 paired with some ADS speakers. I've had it for several years and it's not going anywhere soon. To my ears it really does well with jazz, blues, and classical music. I also have an Eight and a 777a. I've heard a recapped 777a and the sound was phenomenal. Like Tom said it excels with vocals. The Eight just rocks, as I assume you Seven does as well.
     
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  8. davstev

    davstev Active Member

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    The Seven rocks indeed. I have a minty Marantz 2270, fully recapped, that I once adored, but now love less. All because of the Seven. Comparing the two, the Marantz seems to distribute the soundstage differently. I used Elna Silmic ii's in the recap, which could also account for a slightly darker, warmer tone of the 2270. The Seven is comparatively just more satisfying, a better balance and presentation, in spite of, or maybe because of, it's narrower soundstage.

    Maybe I should just be happy with the wonderful Seven, but I am interested in the AU-9500 for further exploration of the Sansui sound.

    Thanks for all your replies.

    David
     
  9. johnnyboy70

    johnnyboy70 Active Member

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    453
    Location:
    Kent OH
  10. davstev

    davstev Active Member

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    393
    Location:
    Montreal, QC, Canada
    Youtube videos of stereo gear. Sounds like a bad idea, but I end up enjoying those videos!

    Thanks, John.
     
  11. Hyperion

    Hyperion Roobarb & Custard Subscriber

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    I really hope AK member 'quadklipsh' has read this thread... :thmbsp:
     
  12. ZOOM

    ZOOM Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    781
    If you're only after more "power" - stop. You won't be able to make use of it anyway. Your speakers are highly sensitive, and it's unlikely they will ever draw much more than 1 watt.

    Instead, get a tiny tube amp, it will be far more enjoyable with those speakers than than what you're looking at now.
     
  13. stereofun

    stereofun Super Member

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    Ohh no - not again - don't go there :D
     
  14. Hyperion

    Hyperion Roobarb & Custard Subscriber

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    You are right of course, I did think about not posting that, but thought it might raise a smile :)
     
  15. skippy124

    skippy124 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    A bit like Faulty Towers...... "don't mention the 9500"
     
  16. davstev

    davstev Active Member

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    393
    Location:
    Montreal, QC, Canada
    Good point. I may have misspoken when I said I wanted more power. Of course that's not what I am after. I never listen at deafening volumes. It's musicality, stereo imaging and perfect tonality that I am looking for. It is also a very handsome receiver, in my opinion, and I appreciate that it is extremely well-constructed and engineered. Also that it comes from an era where companies put different, and better, materials into their pieces and took pride in the construction- built to last. Also I am intrigued when a piece of gear has a unique place in the evolution of a notable and respected audio company (i.e. Sansui). To top it off, i love recapping and cleaning in general. And, there is something wonderful about adopting a piece of gear that has been well protected and well taken care of over the years, that has, despite the odds, managed to survive unscathed. Enter the AU-9500.

    (note: by occupation, I work in a museum, as a Conservator. Yep..I preserve and restore old things.)

    Having said that, I would be interested in any tube amp that was in the under $500 range that fits the above criteria.

    thanks,
    David
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2015
  17. quadklipsh

    quadklipsh Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    953
    Location:
    Lahore, Pakistan
    9500

    love the post .
    love the 9500. and the fact that i own one.
    thanks hyperion, for remembering me.
     
  18. stereofun

    stereofun Super Member

    Messages:
    1,111
    Location:
    Tucson, AZ
    David, I get your sentiment about restoring a 40 year old amp. There is a deeper appreciation, than just making it work. As you get into the older amps, say late 60'ties early 70'ties you get a lot of character and unique looks - industrial design that has a quality to it: Tone controls that are solid core metal, high grade veneer etc.

    A good example that you could consider would be the Au-555a. It has a tube like projection of sound, which it is revered for, it is gorgeous, classic looking, easy to come by and very easy to restore. Being a different era of Sansui, circuit wise, it will offer a different sonic perspective than the Seven and 9500. Its 2 x 25w power has a surprising amount of juice.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2015
  19. rasenthiran

    rasenthiran Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    749
    Location:
    Malaysia
    Hi Tom,

    Nice picture, Yours look very nice unit.
     
  20. davstev

    davstev Active Member

    Messages:
    393
    Location:
    Montreal, QC, Canada
    Lovely unit you have there, Tom. It gleams. I think late 60's early 70's Sansui is amazing.
     

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