The Sansui Alpha Series

The alpha 07 series by Sansui was the final assault of the company to produce topnotch audio equipment which had been its hallmark starting with the venerable AU111 of the sixties. The original 07 series was not released overseas probably due to the strength of the Yen against the US dollar which made exporting these units financially unwise. The international version did not bear toplevel parts  and some audio pundits claim that the sound quality did not come up to par with the original 07 domestic release.
It was the general belief that the quality of Sansui products worldwide declined during the early 80’s due to various cost cutting methods by the company in order to sustain the export viability of their products. The alpha series continued it’s availability to the Japanese domestic market as Sansui’s response to dispel this belief.

In a last ditch effort to cater to the high end audience, the engineers over at Sansui, poured everything into this series, coming out with highly regarded models such as the TOTL  AU-Alpha907i MOS Limited and AU-Alpha907 Limited. But the mid-level models weren’t slouches either, being able to compete in performance with their western high end counterparts. The alpha 707 was once reviewed in the British HFNRR and gained the thumbs up by the editors besting other ‘boutique’ brands such as Audionote.

In addition to their performance, the alpha series were very reliable and built like tanks. My first encounter with the alpha series was with the a607. Back in 2004, we were using this model in our CD/record store as our main amplifier playing 10 hours a day, seven days a week for two and a half years straight! It neither blinked nor broke out any electronic sweat during that period.
san-607-copy

I kept the a607 after our store closed down, and sometime thereafter, I tried experimenting if this amp  could drive my Magnepan MG 111s. Though it could not drive the Maggies to rock concert volume levels, this 85-watter was quite pleasing listening to small Jazz quartets. Not bad, considering the power-hungry speakers require lots of beef to make them sing. My only amp then that could drive the Maggies was the 200-watt Threshold Stasis.

Since the alpha series were originally intended for the Jaspanese domestic market only, it goes without saying that these units are hard to come by. Other than Hifido, seldom do you come across these units at Ebay and other online sites. I wasa fortunate enough to acquire an a707extra a few years ago and I must say that the engineers over at Sansui really knew their audio when they designed these amps. The a707extra has a very refined sound – a quality I seldom encountered during my audio journey these past 40 years.
sansui-707

The soundstage is one of the best I have come across. Layers of depth and pinpoint imaging are just some of the hallmarks of this amp. The highs soar sweetly with little or no grain at all. Very decent midrange especially on female vocals – though I would appreciate more ‘chestiness’ on male vocal recordings. It is in this midbass department that I find the a707extra lacking. The a907, according to some sources, has a more uniformed tonal balance across the frequencies.

. . . ok, time to hunt for that a907. 🙂

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3 Responses to “The Sansui Alpha Series”
  1. Norberto says:

    Hi guys, I own of a Sansui alpha 707L Extra, and I looking the disassemble manual or service manual to clean knobs and push pull buttoms, any helps are welcome, best regards. Can be anohter disassemble manual model, I need to clean knobs and push pull buttoms for now, email me at nofarias at yahoo dot com.

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  1. […] The Sansui alpha series is a different class in itself. Just take a look at the insides of one of these and you can see why these units are so special. Even for someone, who is “technically challenged’ like me, gazing at the innards is jaw-dropping. I only have the alpha707 so I’m sure those in possession of the alpha907 are definitely happy campers. Yes, they do sound great! https://bb3blog.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/the-sansui-alpha-series/ […]

  2. […] The Sansui alpha series is a different class in itself. Just take a look at the insides of one of these and you can see why these units are so special. Even for someone, who is “technically challenged’ like me, gazing at the innards is jaw-dropping. I only have the alpha707 so I’m sure those in possession of the alpha907 are definitely happy campers. Yes, they do sound great! https://bb3blog.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/the-sansui-alpha-series/ […]



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