Monday, November 26, 2007

HiFi 04 : Sansui AU-317 MkII

I bought this Sansui AU-317 MkII integrated amplifier in 1978. If I recall it was about ukp400.00; about the price of a good example on eBay today.

The Sansui is very nicely built - virtually aircraft standard - and to me sounds great.

A useful feature is that the preamplifier and the amplifier can be separated. They are linked via a set of RCA connects on the back. It also has a phono-stage for connection to a record turntable and a sub-phono filter feature. This is necessary because the amp's frequency response runs down to dc and the filter stops your bass speakers transporting in and out with the warps on your lp records.

It can drive two sets of speakers either separately or together which I hope will enable me to have a play with bi-wiring at some point.

The problem I have here is that my particular amplifier was made for the European market. It has a voltage selector on the back, but this switches between 220v/240v @50Hz - rather a fine distinction.

Fortunately, I found this device, the Quick 220, which in practice supplies about 235v@60Hz. The amp seems to run well on this and so far, I haven't found the 60Hz supply to be a problem. I anticipated some extra heat, but this doesn't seem apparent.

There are some snags with the amp, mostly of a consequence of the time it was built. The RCA plugs are not gold-plated, appearing to be made of nickel-silver which has dulled over the years. But they're clean and otherwise uncorroded and I can't detect any performance issues as a result.

More seriously, the speaker terminals are of the quick-fit variety rather than nice stud-type terminals. However, if you take care over the insertion of the speaker cables, it doesn't appear to be a problem.

Lastly, I managed to find the amplifier's product manual in .pdf format and now available here. It also includes details of the AU-117 and AU-217 amps.

*See my hifi / media index here.