The Sansui Eight Receiver

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The Sansui Eight receiver is truly a class act.

The Eight was the last receiver manufactured by Sansui before the 1973 oil embargo enabling the company to go all-out in the design and features of this model. Sansui, as well as other audio outfits, did not have this luxury on succeeding models due to the financial crunch brought about by the oil crisis.

From Audiokarma:
The Eight was an “Engineer’s” receiver and it really needed to be after the debacle of the 5000a recall. The internal layout is logical, the haphazard layout of the following 881 and 9090DB are a step back. 

Check out the expensive details that went into the construction and cosmetics*. The anodized heatsinks and the cast metal output covers with machined Sansui logo can only be enjoyed with the covers off! The AM and FM gangs are separate. All of the knobs are solid aluminum with set screws.
*And if I may add- real glass dial cover instead of plastic used in other TOTL models.

The interchangeable drivers boards have computer style edge connectors for easy removal and service. The antenna is double jointed. The dial and meter lights switch on or off depending on selector mode. Most if not all of these Engineer’s touches disappeared in the following 881.

In fact, there are very few receivers from any time period that can match the number of “Engineer’s” features the Eight had in 1971!
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The Eight was the pinnacle of Sansui build quality. The only thing that comes close was the first generation G series and they were just close.
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. . . My old Eight with relay sounded significantly faster and clearer to my ears than older Eights. All good stuff and I agree with Pete, these are the best of the Sansui receivers…except for maybe the G33k.

 

 

Time was, this receiver was a sleeper. It still is a sleeper among ‘mainstream’ collectors. But as enthusiasm for vintage gears grew in recent years, the Eight has been getting some positive nods from hardcore vintage aficionados. I’ve been wondering why the guys over at the former Monster Receiver forum have been raving about this 50 watter. Considering that those guys have in their stable, monsters such as Marantz2500 and Sansui 22000, they still show high regard for the Eight.

This is the only receiver in the 50-60 watt rating level that is often pitted against higher models such as the Marantz 2285, Harman Kardon (twin powered) 730.

There is even a discussion comparing the Eight to the cult classic Sansui 9090! Of course, personal preferences come into play but it is interesting to note that more Sansui enthusiasts/collectors would choose this 60 watter over the 125 monster cult favorite.

From Audiokarma:
I own both a working Sansui 9090DB and Sansui Eight Deluxe.. Both are lovely built,great sounding receivers,but for sound quality alone,the Eight Deluxe comes out on top.. It has more depth,more pleasing highs and lows,and is much more dynamic sounding. As a matter of fact,out of all the receivers I own,the Eight Deluxe would be the one receiver I’d be happy to listen to all the time if I didn’t own any amps.
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When I compare the 9090DB, G-8000, G-871db, and Eight Deluxe, they all sound a bit different from each other, but all great. That said, as I have said before, I would let all the others go before my Eight Deluxe. It has a punch that I love.
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The 9090DB is far from crap. It does have its issues, but so do many other units, not just Sansui.
The Eight Deluxe will have more “punch” to the sound. 
I have had the 9090DB pumping out tunes with the meters jumping around 50 watts. Not peaking at 50.
I don’t believe the Eight Deluxe would like that.
So, it depends on your needs. Both are great receivers IMO. 
Which one would I keep if I could only keep one? Probably the Eight Deluxe.
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I still think that the 8 Deluxe is better made, better sounding and better designed. It has a better tuner in it as well, and it is more reliable. I also prefer the looks of the Eight and Eight Deluxe. The 9090dB has it’s fans, I am not one of them, but I can make them work well and be reliable. They also sound much better if you replace the tantalum caps in the preamp, but still not as good as the Eight , IMO.

 

 

 

A full review is forthcoming, but from initial impressions, the Eight might just be the mix of Marantz’s musicality and Sansui’s presentation of detail and soundstage that strikes home to me.
https://bb3blog.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/marantz-vs-sansui/

 

In fact, the Sansui Eight might just change the pecking order of my Sansui hierarchy of choce. 😉
https://bb3blog.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/great-sansui-ampshmmm-first-just-a/

May 2014
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Initial impressions:

The first thing that got me was the roundness of the bass notes in Bill Evan’s Waltz for Debbie. The acoustic bass doesn’t just thump but has that extended hum. An emphasized bloom but never overbearing. The high piano notes are presented in detail – percussive hammering of the strings is palpable. Same is true for the acoustic bass plucking. Sibilance on the drum brushes is tamed, while still maintaining that air.

There is an overall sense of fluidity. The notes don’t trot staccato style but have that sense of continuity – swimming on that musical stream, one might say.

August 2014
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Still hard to make a final judgment on the midrange. Piano notes are bitches to reproduce. And although the Liverpool 2’s are decent midrange transducers, I would have wished the Eights to be paired with the Maggie 111’s and dissect this receiver’s midrange capability. Unfortunately, the Eight would break out into beads of electronic sweat when driving the power- hungry Magnepans.

But on vocals!!
Added nuances on Diana Krall’s vocals did not in any way impede the Eight’s fluidity. This finer distinction is not the last word in precision though.
Delicate nuances (mostly found in higher Sansui integrated models), are great for ‘criitical’ listening. Moments that would make your hair stand on end. . . but then again, these are just moments.
The Eight did not give me these ‘high end’ moments and produce audio goosebumps.
Rather, it allows me to listen to the whole song, forgetting that this was an audio review.

October 2014
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to be continued

 

 

 

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Comments
2 Responses to “The Sansui Eight Receiver”
  1. Jauque says:

    hi,

    The Eight Deluxe and DB models are different than Eight and non DB. The Eight Deluxe sounds more detailed and perhaps smoother vs the Eight.

    I cant really reconcile the Deluxe and DB models vs the popularity of the triple digit series except to speculate there may be something with the voicing and simplicity of the 555a, 666, 777a & 888 which i have yet to experience.

    What i like of the Eight Deluxe is the relaxed and natural sounding presentation, and this is apples and oranges to the 8080db… 8080db is built at a different time and is a taste of what’s higher in the lineup (9900, 9900a, 11000, 11000a or BA-2000).

    I noticed that you also mentioned the KA-6004 and the KA-8006 against the 8004, well the 8004 has the edge being more natural, relaxed just like the Eight Deluxe and this comes back to the period – there is something with the pieces produced in 1973 being advanced solid state, innocent compared to the heavier and then faster amps that came later. The 8080DB is warmer than the Eight Deluxe and that can be said of the Kenwood KA-8300 of the mid 70s too.

    * When searching for an 8080DB, 890DB, 9090DB and 990DB i looked for a serial number after a certain date so as to avoid those issues with the Dolby section; there was a revision early in the production to address the Dolby section. i looked and cant seem to find a date but (please don’t quote me) if the broad ribbon cable is green with rivets at either end then that is second rev, and if there is a black cable that is third rev, so make sure there is not a green cable with no rivets.

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