The name “Sansui” literally means “Mountain and Water” and is the term used to describe an exquisite form of ancient Japanese black ink drawings. The meanings of strength and simplicity in this art form has been an influence on almost all ancient Japanese culture. When Mr. Kikuchi founded his transformer company he named it to reflect the philosophy of “Sansui” symbolising strength and simplicity with a deep understanding of the value of life.
Mr. Khosaku Kikuchi worked for a radio parts distributor in Tokyo before and during World War II. However, quality was poor and he decided to start his own radio part manufacturing facility, the original Sansui Electrical Plant which opened in December 1944 in Yoyogi, Tokyo. He chose transformers as his initial product line, and his philosophy was '"let's not compromise on quality just to meet a price point. Even at higher prices, eventually, the products will establish our reputation, and get the business going."
In 1954, Sansui started manufacturing Pre-Amp, Main-Amp kits as well as finished amp models. According to one of the original Sansui executives from this period, "By improving transformer quality and technologies, our goal was raised to reproduce better and more musical sound." Sansui counted 99 employees by the close of that year.
By 1956, Sansui started manufacturing tube receivers, and in 1958, Sansui introduced the first stereo tube pre-amp, SP-220 and stereo main amp, Q-3535. Around this period, Sansui started exporting its products oversees, and Mr. Kikuchi's goal was "to build hi-fi products with a reputation better than those from Fisher or Scott."
The first stereo pre-main amplifier, SM-88 and the first stereo receiver SM-20 was introduced in 1959. By 1961 Sansui counted 885 employees and was listed on the second section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The brand name, "Sansui" was also registered in the United States. By 1963, Sansui had introduced more than 40 different tube amplifiers and receivers and introduced 2 receivers just for export that year. These models helped to secure Sansui's financial foundations and helped establish Sansui's reputation oversees.
As a direct result of 20 years of continuous RD and quality improvement Sansui also introduced 15 high-end hi-fi tube transformers in 1963. Sansui's tube technology master piece, the AU-111 tube integrated amplifier was introduced in 1965 and the quickly gained a reputation as one of the best tube amplifiers ever built. Sansui continued producing the AU-111 into the early 1970's and reissued into two different models in 1999 and 2001.
In 1968, Mr. Kikuchi emphasized the company philosophy, "Being independent without outsourcing". In return, Sansui halted the OEM transformer production for other companies, the first step towards reforming the company into a finished product manufacturer.
In 1969, Sansui established Sansui Audio Europe in Belgium, and introduced the top of the line Integrated Amplifier AU-999 and the first 4ch Synthesizer QS-1. Sansui also introduced the first pure complementary integrated amplifier, the AU-666 that marked the beginning of the modern transistor amplifier design.
During the mid 1960's, Sansui's tube technologies had produced several very impressive tube amplifiers; however, the industry wide rapid shifting toward the new transistor technologies forced Sansui. Because of this change, the importance of transformer technologies became less significant for Sansui's business infrastructure. Sansui still maintained transformer production for their own equipment even after the 1968 decision to retreat from the OEM production.
This continued until 1978 when Sansui decided to halt own transformer production altogether. At this point, all Sansui transformer technologies accumulated for the past 34 years were passed along to an independent company called Hashimoto Electric, who had been supplying some OEM transformers to Sansui for some time.
All this brings us to today and a new range of terrific value for money products… The new range is all serviced and repaired here in the UK. For added peace of mind everything comes with a complete 3 year warranty.