Sansui 551

Sansui 551 ad. Courtesy of Classicaudio.com

Sansui 551 ad. Courtesy of Classicaudio.com

 

Boy, did I like this little guy.

It came to live with me from a good friend and fellow audiophile who had enough gear in his stable and wasn’t using this one. He was also suspicious that perhaps the amp had blown due to some overly-thirsty speakers. I took it home and decided to play around and see what I could find.

I plugged it in to my workshop and set it up with a pair of Realistic Optimus 6B speakers, and then my Design Acoustic PS-10s.

Appearance-wise, this receiver fit into the early-70s design aesthetic. Knobs along the bottom and a radio dial that terminated 2/3 of the way along the top of the receiver, not reaching all the way across the top of the unit like subsequent offerings later in the decade. Pioneer and Sherwood did it this way too in the late 1960s and early 70s. This is also a compact piece of machinery – narrow (16″)  but heavy (19lb) for its size and meager 16 watts per channel.

There was nothing wrong with this amp. Nothing at all.

551 from the front. Classy. Not mine - photo courtesy Canuck Audiomart.

551 from the front. Classy. Not mine – photo courtesy Canuck Audiomart.

I’ve demoed only a small number of Sansui amps. Really just this one and the massive quadraphonic receiver I’ve written about before. Both were very very liquid and sweet-sounding units. To me, sweet means detailed but not clinical. Maybe another way of putting that would be a healthy midrange and maybe a bit rounded off at the corners. The QR-4500 was almost goopy sweet, but this little 551 was just right.

There was plenty of power to drive the semi-hungry Optimus 6Bs to good volume, with sufficient bass. Detail on the high end was very nice and never shrill. For only having about 16 watts per channel advertised, I never sensed any clipping or distortion indicating I was overdriving them, so they performed admirably.

A bonus was great FM radio reception. even in my basement up against the foundation wall I got good catch on the radio stations.

551 on the inside. Simple. Not a lot of big pieces needed to push 16 watts per channel. Also from Canuck Audio Mart.

551 on the inside. Simple. Not a lot of big pieces needed to push 16 watts per channel. Also from Canuck Audio Mart.

People really rave about this early 1970s series of Sansui amps, with a lion’s share of the enconium going to the top of the line 881 model. But I wouldn’t sell the more basic units like my 551 short. In good shape, these are very fun little amps, and will provide a lot of enjoyment for very little money.

Advertisements

~ by silverfacestereo on September 27, 2013.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: