Four better than two? Sansui QR4500

Sansui QR4500 all lit up

Sansui QR4500 all lit up

Another chance find at an estate sale. This Sansui peeked at me from behind a bunch of other stuff on a workshelf. It was dusty and stained and it had no power cord in the immediate vicinity. I soon located it, or its replacement – I guess Sansui power cords of this vintage are either easily lost or broken, and the previous owner had fashioned his own out of lamp cord and shrink plastic. It worked well enough. When I turned it on, it lit up but there was no sound. I took a chance and heaved the 50lb, 22″ wide beast back to my car. I got it home and opened it up. What a mess! Four channels evidently means 16 times more wire – there were circuit boards and capacitors and transitors and whatnot jammed in there in three dimensions. There was no way I was going to be able to repair this if there were issues beyond some dirty pots.

Thankfully there were not. I cleaned the six knob pots and the front-back and left-right sliders. Everything came back to life.

One thing that was more of a challenge was the tuner cord – for whatever reason the dial knob would slip on the cord and not rotate the tuner gang. Hence no radio tuning unless you were willing to pull off the solid-wood cover ,slide out the massive receiver ,and pull the cord between your fingers. I scanned the interwebs and on a hunch bought a chunk of 100% beeswax from Michaels (I needed about 10g, they only sell by the kilo). I rubbed the wax all along the length of the cord and it caught right away – tuner problem solved.

I pulled everything back together and switched back on. Bliss! I have to admit the coolest thing was turning this massive set on and watching the front dial light up – the tuner, radio dial, and channel indicator all glowed with a luxurious green and yellow vintage gleam. All the switchwork was weighted and full-metal, and the print etched onto the brushed-aluminum frame felt premium to the touch. In a nod to today’s receivers, it even had sound effect processing, allowing you to dial in concert hall sound settings along with your channel decoder.

QR4500 decoder and channel light

QR4500 decoder and channel light

After replacing all the fuses all channels worked as well. I plugged my iPod in and gave it a whirl.

The sound was very good for a 40 year-old 27 watt per channel receiver. These are good-sized vintage watts but I still was able to set the volume at 12 o’clock in my basement and jam out without my ears bleeding – similarly-spec’ed pioneer receivers never needed that much volume. Or they didn’t sound as good at that level – perhaps the Sansui was smoother at higher levels and had more realistic headroom.

Good thing that you can hook up and play four sets of speakers total (2 quad setups!!!) The back panel of this thing looked like an old-time telephone exchange!

Sansui QR4500 rear panel. Note non-original power cord.

Sansui QR4500 rear panel. Note non-original power cord.

I really enjoyed listening to music on this setup. My favorite was Rusted Root – plenty of round full bass, happy and smooth top end. Like syrup pouring into my ears.

Eventually after being brought back to its previous beauty and performance this set found another home with a budding vinyl hobbyist. I’m just happy that I was able to help this set be enjoyed by someone else.

Channel indicator light aglow. Neat!!

Channel indicator light aglow. Neat!!

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~ by silverfacestereo on April 1, 2013.

11 Responses to “Four better than two? Sansui QR4500”

  1. I have a QR4500 that I got in Vietnam and am still using. I was wondering if you had some suggestions on cleaning the sliding pots, as they can be “scratchy” when sliding them and seem to have dead spots. Thanks, FRED

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    • Hi Fred, thanks for your question. I cleaned all the pots and sliders in my 4500 using contact cleaner and then contact lubricant. I think I just sprayed it right in the front of the slider and then worked them back and for about 100 times. You’ll have to remove the front panel of the receiver to do this but it’s not a hug amount of work – just need to pull off all of the knobs and buttons. Good luck!!

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  2. hi, what about sound quality compare to nowadays components? noisy transformers? alot of heat? eating 300W % of efficient power usage? required to change components like old caps? radio works? can be used as amplifier for 2+1 system? $300 is good price to buy in 2016 for daily usage or only for vintage freaks? thanks..

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    • Thanks for your questions. Sound quality comparisons are hard- a lot of it is subjective. The Sansui was definitely more mellow than modern components. I never measured but I am sure vintage units take more electricity and convert more of it to heat than modern units. But then again vintage stuff usually also can push more current than some modern designs.

      I’ve found that a lot of vintage components sound very good even in comparison with modern stereo equipment. It all depends on your taste in music, sonic preferences and how your speakers, players, and amplifier match up to one another. Repairs and component replacements are a good idea. But I have never had one vintage receiver that I bought working fail on me. And I have had 4 brand-new AVRs not live through their warranty periods, so go figure.

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      • thanks for reply, so you better recommend to check the sound first. i am sure the old days was a manufacturing _products_, not one-time-use condoms like now where components has two years lifespan so they can sell more stuff to a sheepls, i call it a modern capitalism, anyway was asking $300 is good price or not, but found today ad for a $200, what do you think a worth price for this if not think about design and how wooden top looks but about daily usage.

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      • I think this unit looks great, especially with the wooden case. These are really big so size is a concern.

        And a quadraphonic receiver is really cool but my recommendation would be if you don’t need quadraphonic decoder to play old tapes or records, stick with a regular 2-channel stereo unit – there’s a lot less to go wrong.

        $200 would be the limit I would pay for one of these in great shape. $300 if it’s been checked out and components replaced. But my recommendation would be that if you really would like a Sansui look at something like a Sansui 7070 first, and then a quad unit only if you need 4 channels. Happy hunting!

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      • i agree, thanks for advise.

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  3. was posted message or not? do not see it appear, your site is strange, looks like cheap wordpress style..

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  4. I appreciate the discussion. I also have one of these relics but I have not used it in years. But I still have it sitting in my family room, as mentioned the tuner slips sometimes, plus the sound shorts out when using the directional sliders. But I recall the sound with the 4 channels was really great. But I noticed some efforts to sell these on Ebay appear to have NOT sold at all. So to sell or not to sell, I might try to get $100 for mine since it does run. Eventually I want to start playing my old precious vinyl again, my records are all in excellent condition and I mean the classic Beatles etc etc. Get the Pioneer player hooked up to a newer type sound system etc. Any suggestions always appreciated. Good luck.

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