Sound of vintage Sansui vs. Marantz vs. Pioneer

Discussion in 'Exclusively Sansui' started by crouse, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. bd1886

    bd1886 Super Member

    Messages:
    3,106
    Location:
    Puget Sound/Cascade Foothills
    You can see that the opinions on how each companies "signature sound" is perceived about the same by most ears here. Marantz warm and rich to Yamaha's flat and critical (I agree with this description.) From one extreme to the other it is all about speaker pairing and what sound suits your ears expectations. I am partial to Sansui and early Pioneer but......and I learned one thing was huge from listening and experimenting with a friends Yamaha gear, Yamaha will "keep things modern" with recent speaks, or clean up the sound of some vintage speaks with "mush" issues. (He runs his Yamaha gear w/Klipsch Heresies....it is way to bright and EQ helps for me....not for him.) I will always have a Yamaha to push certain speaks.
     
  2. BloFish

    BloFish Active Member

    Messages:
    190
    Location:
    Northern Ca.
    That is a fair description of the Sansui. I totally enjoy my 9090 and my 881, they are the total bliss:thmbsp:
     
    bd1886 likes this.
  3. DonQuixote99

    DonQuixote99 just give me some truth

    Messages:
    5,831
    Location:
    Dayton Ohio
    I find the Marantz 2232 I have has a sound I like just a little better than that of the Sansui 2000X I used to have. More acoustically spacious, seemed to me. Neither was restored, though, and I suspect it's a case of the Sansui having more acute need of freshening-up.

    The Sansui definitely had a better-working tuner....
     
    Mr.White likes this.
  4. DonQuixote99

    DonQuixote99 just give me some truth

    Messages:
    5,831
    Location:
    Dayton Ohio
    As for Pioneers, I never really warmed-up to the Pioneer SX-828 I had. Loved the Pioneer SX-770 though. But it may have been context. The SX-770 just had to sound good in the bedroom; the SX-828 was in the basement competing with a Kenwood Basic M2....
     
  5. bd1886

    bd1886 Super Member

    Messages:
    3,106
    Location:
    Puget Sound/Cascade Foothills
    This typifies just how important it is to listen to all types of gear to find out how "your ears" perceive things.....no matter what others hear, your ears are the ones that matter. (We all should bow deeply to that...most around here do.) I have a little Sansui 4000 that dethrones some other gear I absolutely hate seeing it happen to....blind tested extensively (with many people) and have just came to accept it as....a tear in the space time continuum.
     
  6. canuckaudiog

    canuckaudiog On a quest for high fidelity

    Messages:
    7,936
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB
    Yep exactly.

    It's very easy to side with others' perceptions when in reality the most important one is yours. I've had some gear surprisingly dethrone some other gear, even though they were built to different standards and one is supposed to be better, but wasn't in the end, for me.

    There are just too many factors that make each listening experience unique, so it's hard to recommend gear for people over the internet or even quantify what one brand sounds like over another. Even within brands the models can have vastly contrasting sound signatures to each other, although not always, but it does happen within brands. An above posters experience with a Pioneer SX-770 reflects exactly how I felt about it and other Pioneer receivers. It just had a nice, enjoyable sound to it that I couldn't get into with other Pioneers. With Sansui gear I find their G series sounds vastly different from the early AU gear. Sure one is a receiver and the other is an integrated amplifier, but they sound a lot different from each other. Even this 881 that I have is quite a bit different.

    At the end of the day, it's your ears, your money, your time, your music, your enjoyment and your experience. While different brands approach their designs and product differently, they all end up doing the same thing in the end. My opinion that between these three brands being mentioned, they are all brands that built/build gear to high standards and take pride in their work. All three are worth considering equally.

    And just to add more confusion to the mix, let's not forget those of us who are listening to gear unrestored. At this point it could be out of spec for distortion figures and perhaps the circuit is no longer operating the way it should - this is not a good frame of reference for gathering opinions about how one piece of gear sounds over another.

    Too bad it isn't 1979 all over again huh? :)
     
  7. Gang-Twanger

    Gang-Twanger Resident Wharfedaliophool

    Messages:
    15,830
    Location:
    CT
    Yeah, I believe it. I think the models from '70-'72 are the peak for vintage Sansui. Certainly their best era for tubelike solid-state, and the 4000 is one of the best examples of that (as are the ****x models). They have that smooth, rich, engaging sound, even at low volume levels. Perfect for the background listener who occasionally gooses the volume on their favorite songs. And you can run them all day long like that, and they'll stay nice and cool. The transformers in those models must be one hell of a design (They were still making their own transformers at that point, and if there's one thing Sansui knew, it's how to make a good transformer... Perhaps this is the reason why those early-solid-state Sansuis do so well at low volumes).
     
    Mr.White likes this.
  8. bd1886

    bd1886 Super Member

    Messages:
    3,106
    Location:
    Puget Sound/Cascade Foothills
    Lower volume listening should be "king" for (most of us...not all) as that is what we do most of our living with. With swapping out gear being when "shit usually happens", having more than one area for different use is beyond nice. That's why you see people saying "Here's a shot of my bedroom setup." or "Here's what I run in my den.". It's not because these spaces require "lesser gear", it's because the "lesser gear" does/can do better in these spaces....because a it was designed this way by default. (Especially during the pre wattage war era.)

    Once the whole wattage "pissing contest" got started, you know the design engineers were never "not aware" of loosing something with ratcheting up other priorities to handle wattage demands. You can also bet there were "windows" where they would look up and say "OK....for these volume levels,we just got it back!".

    Guess we have to act like CSI teams to recognize where this all happens...and with some runs of gear, if it ever happened at all. An important aspects of learning for some of us. (Early Sherwood raised it's "single digit" to it all especially.)
     
  9. superdog

    superdog AK Member

    Messages:
    8,920
    Location:
    Southern Colo.
    After all the smoke cleared I settled on Sansui as my preferred receiver.There were some others than were just as good in their own right.The ones that come to mind was a very nice sounding Marantz 2215b and a Pioneer sx838.I still have the 838 because it seems to have the sound of the Sansuis with perhaps a little more detail.Wish I would have kept the Marantz.
     
  10. riverrat

    riverrat professional camper

    Messages:
    1,719
    Location:
    Oregon
    Just chiming in to say I really appreciate the OP for posing this question, and all the responders. Great stuff.

    I've been a Sansui fan for awhile now but I have not had the opportunity to do much in the way of side by side comparisons. Thanks to all those who responded!
     
  11. onepixel

    onepixel .

    Messages:
    32,015
    What he said.
     
  12. bd1886

    bd1886 Super Member

    Messages:
    3,106
    Location:
    Puget Sound/Cascade Foothills
    What he said too. This nails it and can be used as a general map to "knowing" what to expect w/gear that is tuned and serviced. There is no one right sound with me...only right pairings to appreciate on how different gear, teams up, to show off what each "type of sonics" can do. If it is all about the listening for you (and don't want a bunch of gear breathing down your neck) use AudioJoes "map" to help you grow into what you appreciate within this wonderful stuff we call "vintage".

    Having a decent modern receiver is an important tool to use (for me at least) in understanding a close to a colorless sound....in some ways it IS better. It all just sounds so close from one model to the next and lacks "breath and attitude" (ie color). If all I ever wanted was a decent listening experience, I would have stopped with my "Best Buy special"....what the hell is the fun in that? JMHO
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  13. DonQuixote99

    DonQuixote99 just give me some truth

    Messages:
    5,831
    Location:
    Dayton Ohio
    Even modern amps may not sound quite so close if you set them up for A/B comparison through the same speakers. My audio memory is pretty poor, but I can hear all sorts of things, after a while, if I can instantly switch back and forth. Hook a speaker switch up 'backwards.'
     
  14. bd1886

    bd1886 Super Member

    Messages:
    3,106
    Location:
    Puget Sound/Cascade Foothills
    What he said too. This nails it and can be used as a general map to "knowing" what to expect w/gear that is tuned and serviced. There is no one right sound with me...only right pairings to appreciate on how different gear, teams up, to show off what each "type of sonics" can do. If it is all about the listening for you (and don't want a bunch of gear breathing down your neck) use AudioJoes "map" to help you grow into what you appreciate within this wonderful stuff we call "vintage".

    Having a decent modern receiver is an important tool to use in understanding a close to a colorless sound....in some ways it is better. It all just sounds so close from one model to the next and lacks "breath and attitude" (ie color)....and force feeds you "vanilla only" if that's all you have. JMHO
     
  15. Flaminroids

    Flaminroids Active Member

    Messages:
    263
    What kind of speakers you are using also makes a big difference as well. For example: I had an old H/K Three-Thirty that I was very unimpressed with. I was using it to test old speakers I just picked up when I discovered that H/K and Polk speakers were a match made in heaven. I still got rid of it but I won't forget how much time I spent in my shop running back and forth to the living room grabbing records. I've had a few Pioneers that I liked (SX-680 and SX-3700), but they were sold the moment I heard my first Sansui.

    I have come across several different varieties of receivers, although none of them were high end, and Sansui was just the one that stuck on me. I got rid of my first Sansui (2000A) and I would just sit and think about it every time I listened to every other receiver until I snagged my current 8080DB. In my opinion, Sansui's can do it all. I listen to a variety of music ranging from folk to obnoxious pop music.
     
  16. Yamahaha

    Yamahaha Active Member

    Messages:
    425
    Yamaha has the most "Natural" sound.

    Had a bunch of Vintage amps. Many Pioneer in the 50 and 80 series. I agree that they are mucho fun but can be shrill and tiring. Every Yamaha I've had sounds natural to me. No coloring. Marantz, the best I had was the 2385 .... but to smooth for me. Smooth as in tube like rolling of everything. A pic
    IMG_0203.jpg

    Another favorite of mine is Optonica. I've had pieces that measured perfectly inside not seeming to need work. Clinical perhaps but I dont know why they are not more respected.

    Today I have the new Yamaha A-S2100 in main system and quite happy. Tried many audiophile brands with higher price tags that did no better. I love old receivers but I dont trust them in my main system, plus I am getting older and the remote is now coveted.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
  17. smurfer77

    smurfer77 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,074
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Yeah, that is my experience with the Sansui 2000 (as well as similar models like the 300, 350, 350A etc), that the bass is so strong you either run it flat or on -ve settings! :) :) :). I think those units sound fantasic if striving for that vintage sound with plenty of bottom end.... better than many of the higher-power models IMO
     
    Ronald.C likes this.
  18. smurfer77

    smurfer77 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,074
    Location:
    San Francisco
    To the OP, many here know I prefer Sansui. However, there were great models from most of the brands. I have some great units from Sony (e.g. TA-4650, TA-5650) & Yamaha (CA-1000) for example. Within each brand, there are quite different sounding amps. Do the research and find which particular models within a brand suit your personal preferences.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
    bluesky likes this.
  19. larryderouin

    larryderouin Do I get Food, Med's, or more gear this Month? Subscriber

    Messages:
    19,771
    Location:
    Glen Burnie Md.
    The wattage wars go back to the Mid late 50's with FISHER, Scott, Sherwood, McIntosh, etc., all trying to best each other. Before then most consumer amps, consoles, etc., ran 6L6 or 6V6 tubes, with the occasional EL-84 or EL 34 thrown in for good measure. In 59-60 the 7591, and other higher powered tubes came out. In 63-64 Transistors came out and the wattage wars became more visible, and you now had Japanese Co's, vying for space. PIONEER came out with the SX-1010 in 1974 and everyone was scrambling to catch up, IIRC Marantz was the 1st to catch up with a 100w receiver. Then all hell broke loose and everyone was engineering higher powered receivers and amps. It was highly visible as Vietnam vets would buy these Japanese units and bring or send them home. The guys in the states didn't have access at 1st, After a while the gear started coming in and the games began.
     
  20. bd1886

    bd1886 Super Member

    Messages:
    3,106
    Location:
    Puget Sound/Cascade Foothills
    That sound family is an incredible one.
     

Share This Page