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History of the manufacturer  

Sansui Electric Co., Ltd.; Tokyo

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Name: Sansui Electric Co., Ltd.; Tokyo    (J)  
Abbreviation: sansui
Products: Model types

SANSUI Electric Co., Ltd. was founded 1944 (named 1947) by Khosaku Kikuchi in Yoyogi Kamihara, Tokyo. 1955 ONKEN Kogyo Co., Tokyo, was founded for Ampifier production and this name was changed to SANSUI ONKEN Co. in 1956 and merged into Sansui 1960. Exporting started 1956 (Pre-Amplifiers), having a subsidary in the US since 1969 and since 1980 in England and Germany.

Sansui Austria: Vienna High Fidelity & Stereo Company, A-1170 Wien 7, Burggasse 114

History of the company SANSUI:
This has been taken from the website of
1944/12 Founder Khosaku Kikuchi Started SANSUI Electric Production in Yoyogi Kamihara, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo.
1955/11 Founded ONKEN KOGYO CO., for Amplifier Department Expansion in Waizumi-Cho, Suginami-Ku, Tokyo.
1957/1 Started Production of Pre-Main Amplifier for Exporting
1961/12 Enlisted the Stock on Second Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
1969/10 Increased the Capital to 1,200,000,000 Yen. Established U.S. Subsidiary.
1970/3 Enlisted Stocks on the First Section of Tokyo and Osaka Stock Exchanges.
1979/1 Developed and Introduced the Diamond Drive Circuit (Patented).
1980/10 Established England and West Germany Subsidiaries.
1984/1 Developed Twin Diamond Balance Drive Circuit (X Balanced Amplifiers)
1987/6 Changed the Company Logo.
2000/4 Moved the Head Quarters from Shi-Yokohama to Kodaira-Shi, Tokyo.
International v.s. Japanese Domestic Market
It's very interesting to correlate the relationship between the quality of Sansui products and the establishment of international version of its product lines. The last Sansui product lines sold in both domestic and international markets were Professional and Definition Series with the exception of AU-X1 to AU-X1111, and some high-end separates.

The first 07 Series introduced in 1976 in Japan consisted of AU-607 and AU-707. They did not have the highest model AU-907. In the international market, they named those models as AU-517 and AU-717 respectably. If you compare those, you can find that they are identical in build, but carry different names.

In 1979, AU-919 was introduced in the international market. This is identical to the top of the line model, AU-D907, the second generation of the 07 Series,. AU-D907 Series consisted of AU-D607, AU-D707, and AU-D907 itself.

In the same year, Sansui introduced AU-719 in the international market. This was the step up model of AU-717, and was not the step down model of AU-919. It means AU-719 was newer than AU-919, but used older technology.

I believe that this was the beginning of the down trend of Sansui international models. In other words, AU-919 was the last Sansui top model made the international market, of cause, with the exception of AU-X1 to AU-X1111 and high-end separates.

As mentioned elsewhere in this site, all consecutive international top models, such as AU-D11, AU-D11II, AU-G99X, AU-X901, AU-D901, AU-D901X, and AU-911DG, were less powerful and lesser built than domestic top models.

Of cause, the supreme limited editions, such as AU-Alpha907i MOS Limited, AU-Alpha907 Limited, AU-07 Anniversary, have never made the general international market.

Why? There have been some discussion on this issue among Sansui enthusiasts.

The year 1979, the last year Sansui introduced the top of the line model, the exchange rate between U.S. Dollar and the Japanese Yen was about 260Yen to a Dollar. This was about 38% appreciation on Yen for just a few years compared with the traditional 360Yen to a Dollar that was set at the end of WWII (Yen means round in Japanese - one circle is 360 degrees - this was the rumor why Gen. Douglas MacArther decided the exchange rate at 360Yen.)

With this rapid appreciation of Yen value, many Japanese companies had to adjust their cost structure. Sansui must had to face with the same problem since Sansui was heavily depending upon exports for its bottom line. The best way to cut the costs immediately is to eliminate excess employees. I have the credible source told me that Sansui had union problems since the middle of 1970's. This means Sansui could not get rid of excess employees easily. The second best way to cut the cost is to use less expensive parts and shrink the operation. This must be what exactly Sansui did.

Having the brand name that represents the quality, and worsened the quality as quick and as much as Sansui did. This was the worst thing Sansui could do. As mentioned in the another section, Sansui tried to improve the quality in the middle to the end of 1980's; however, it would take a lot of resources to change the tide. The reason Sansui changed the logo in 1987 must be trying to emphasize that new Sansui is not as same as the early 1980's Sansui.

By the end of 1980's, the exchange rate hit somewhere 120Yen to a dollar. This was another 216% increase in costs. The worst trend hit audiophile industry in the middle of 1980 to today as well. The increasing popularity of personal computers. Every house hold has limited budget to spend on electronics. Most yapees went crazy on computers, including myself ....

Internationally, Sansui have never recovered from the bad reputation of early 1980's. Domestically, Sansui kept producing the high-end products with tremendous loss. There was no mass market for high-end audio during 1990's even in Japan. It's believed that personal computers are to be blamed. Most specialized audiophile companies went out business, including Akai and Nakamichi. Sansui was bought out, and it closed the headquarters in Shi-Yokohama in 2001.

Today, Sansui brand still exists as a cheap electronics manufacturer. However, vintage Sansui equipments still keep playing fantastic sounds, and many people are still discovering once how Sansui was the greatest.

Some models:
Country Year Name 1st Tube Notes
83 4-Way Speaker System PM-C100   Sansui 4-Way 4-Speaker System Model PM-C100. Bass Reflex System Frequency Response:... 
83 4-Way Speaker System PM-C70   Sansui 4-Way 4-Speaker System Model PM-C70. Bass Reflex System Frequency Response: ... 
63 500 6AQ8  AM FM Stereo Receiver 500. 13 Watts RMS per channel at 1% total harmonic distortion.&... 
80 AM/FM Stereo Receiver G-3500/301   Sansui AM/FM Stereo Receiver Model G-3500/301. Tuning Range: FM 88 - 108 MHz, AM 530 ... 
88 Stereo Cassette Deck D-35BF   Sansui Stereo Cassette Tape Deck D-35BF. 4-Track/2-Channel System, 4,8 cm/Sec Elect... 
76 Auto Return Turntable FR-1080   Two speed, belt-driven automatic return FR-1080   Speeds: 33.33 and 45rpm ... 
75 Stereo Cassette Deck D-77F    
81 Integrated amplifier A-9   Power output: 65 watts per channel into 8Ω (stereo) Frequency response: 5Hz to 70kH... 
85 Computerized Stereo Receiver RZ-1000 VFD_unknown_type  2 x 40 W bei K= 0,07% und 10...70000Hz. 
66 Solid-State FM Multiplex Stereo Tuner Amplifier TR-700   Sansui Solid State FM Multiplex Stereo Receiver Model TR-700. Music Power 60 Watts +/... 
81 Turntable FR-D25 2SC945  SPECIFICATIONS: Type: Two speed, belt drive Speeds: 33⅓, 45 RPM Platter: Alumin... 
85 Integrated Amplifier AU-D22   Integrated Amplifier AU-D22. Power Output: Music power (IHF): 58Wx2 (8Ω) Cont... 


Further details for this manufacturer by the members (rmfiorg):