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The Best of SANSUI    - Vintage Stereo, Classic Audio Products and Company History -

Quick Jump to International v.s. Japanese Domestic Models,  Production Date, Did Quality Go down?, Company History by Sansui (Translation), Product History by Sansui (Translation), What does Sansui mean?, About this Site


[Under Construction]

About this Site:

The purpose of this site is to inform to general public about Sansui and its historical product lines.  We are not affiliated with Sansui Electric Company in any manners, instead, we are a group of people who are trying to discover and preserve the information of Sansui and its product lines.

As a company, the heyday of Sansui was 1970’s.  After the early 1980’s, the fortune of company quickly declined, and Sansui was not even independent company by the late 1980’s.

Yes, ever since, the majority ownership has never been repossessed.  They were not profitable at all during 1990’s.  It has been speculated for bankruptcy since the late 1990’s.  Sansui sold the last production facility in Japan by the early 2000’s.  Currently, no more than a few people working in the Japanese headquarters.  In the fall of 2002, they announced retreating further from audiophile market, and move into to computers and TV’s display panel business.

All those historical business news does not, however, alter any facts that Sansui has being one of the greatest specialized audiophile companies until even early 2000’s.  Sansui kept improving and producing many of the greatest amplifiers with six or seven consecutive years of business losses.  Wide rage of Sansui’s products being produced from 1950’s to 2000’s are still being traded on Web based auction sites all over the world. 

It is very unfortunate to see what Sansui is today, or it might be very fortunate having a slightest hope of miracle come back.  This is a Web site of dream and history of highly cerebrated brand and its product lines.    


About me:

Isao Asakura - was born and raised in Japan.  Came to the U.S. in 1980.  Finished BBA and MBA at Western Michigan University.  Working for a privately owned food processor in Michigan for the last sixteen years.  Currently, a Strategic Business Advisor, a Manager of International Marketing, and a Manager of IT Systems.  Ready to go to Japan in this June to promote cherry and blueberry concentrate – if you have arthritis or memory loss, try those natural remedy; they work.

My first Sansui was a brand-new AU-555 in 1970.  Back then, my dream amplifier was AU-111.  Or, to build my own power amplifier by using Sansui transformers, but in a reality, I built amplifiers with Tango transformers simply because for a teenager Sansui transformers were too expensive to afford.  I used AU-555 for a pre amplifier, took pre-output to my home made tube frequency channel divider, then used my tube power amplifier for the low frequency amplifier and used AU-555 power section for the high frequency amplifier.  Back then, this kind of setup was called as multi-channel amplifier systems.

After twenty years of computing, came back to audiophile hobby in the late 1990’s.  I have never care about CD sound, so I was excited with SACD and DVD Audio introduction.  I thought I can appreciate better quality of sound again. 

I simply could not forget the sound of Beatles played through Pioneer LP player, AU-555, and my home made tube amplifiers and speakers.

My first step was to purchase SACD and DVD Audio players.  They sounded very good on my B&K AVR 307 and Eosone RSF-600 setup.  But, still missing something.  I thought what’s wrong was the transistor amplifier.  It sounded very clear, loud, but cold.  It was still missing something.

I decided to build tube amplifiers.  Well, I needed transformers.  Now, I could afford my dream brand, Sansui.  I looked for all over the places on Web.  I could not find any.  I set up MS Windows Japanese version, and looked for on Japanese Web sites.  Then, I gradually learned what happened to Sansui, or in that matter, what happened to all specialized Japanese audiophile companies, such as Nakamichi and Akai (they went to bankruptcy, not Sansui yet).

I discovered http://www.classicsansui.com, http://www.retroaudio.ru, and http://www.classicaudio.com on this process.  I gathered more and more information, and bought some Sansui equipments and manuals.  I have found some valuable information through Japanese sites.  When I have discovered that Sansui did not just quit trying in the late 1980’s but actually they produced more incredible amplifiers during 1990’s, I thought that English speaking people ought to know this fact.     

Initially, I was not planning to get into all product lines Sansui produced.  Rather, my intension was to focus on specific product lines.  I was thinking http://www.classicsansui.com will take care of this field.  Well, I’m still waiting for its come back, David.

Now, you know the rest of the story! (Sorry, Mr. Paul Harvey)


About the Background Picture:

Please click on pictures to enlarge them.

(from Japan Trip 2001)

  (from Brochure of Ichijodani Asakura Family Historical Museum)

My family knew that we are descendent of Asakura clan who was one of the major competing “Sengoku Daimyo” (war time samurai feudal loads) in 15th and 16th century Japan.  My mother’s cousin researched my family genealogy about thirty years ago, and he traced all tomb stones back to the time when Asakura clan was prosperous.

Although the family history of Asakura clan was recorded since 1136, 1450 was the year when Asakura clan moved to Ichijo-Dani where they built a local capital and castles.  Since then, for five generations, Asakura clan was known all over Japan as one of major forces trying to unify Japan  

The local capital was quite prosperous, and Asakura clan built a remarkable mansion by imitating Emperor’s palace in Kyoto.  This Asakura mansion had numerous buildings and even three independent waterfall stone gardens.  Since Asakura clan loved higher cultural standard and their life style was very elegant, Ichijo-Dani was called northern Kyoto.

In 1573, load Nobunaga who was very ambitious concurring Japan attacked Ichijo-Dani, and burned the local capital down to the ground.  Some historical records said the town was in fire for three days and three nights.  The head of Asakura clan was killed, and they lost all lands, power, and opportunity to be the first Shogun. 

Since Ichijo-Dani was not strategically located for further war efforts and modern political systems, the burned down city was abandoned and forgotten.  Eventually, farmers moved in, and whole area became rice fields.

In 1967, after almost four hundred years, the local government started excavating the area since it was known that there were some historical artifacts buried in this area.  The more they excavated, the more details were reveled.  Since this area was never inhabited after the destruction, everything was discovered as if it’s took place no long time ago.  For Japanese archeology, it was the golden opportunity to learn the Middle Age city structure.

My parents, Dawn, and I visited this area two years ago (2001).  They have excavated Asakura mansion site as well as large section of downtown.  They even reconstructed a block of Middle Age city.  One of the remarkable discoveries caught my eyes on was three incredible stone gardens.  They use natural mountain water for water falls.  Those gardens were also varied in dirt and ashes, but the local government brought their lives back.

When I started this Web site, I needed some idea for back ground setup.  Then, I thought meanings of Sansui that is mountain and water.  Also, the theme of Sansui drawing is always mountain, trees, stones, and water in black ink on a white back ground. 

I have enlarged the picture of Asakura stone garden, which has hills, stones, trees, and water falls.  Then, I processed into a black and white picture. 

The choice of this back ground picture has another meaning for me.  Asakura stone gardens survived for four hundred years. Then, they have revived from under dirt and ashes as if they are phoenix.  I’m wishing the same fortune to once cerebrated and prosperous brand name, Sansui. 


Send mail to sansui@earthlink.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Last modified: 02/08/04