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Motor city madman

Enthusiast
I am new posting here so hi to everyone, this seems like a lot of good knowledgeable people here. I have been reading and going through a lot of the forums for sometime now but something I came across kind of just by chance a few weeks ago really had me wanting to post so someone with more experience could help shed some light on this so I understand a little better.
I came across a Sansui 9090db at a relatives house that had passed away, I don't know much about vintage gear but when I seen it I had to take a second look, so a little bit of googling and I seen it was something special. It looked in great shape but had stuff piled up on it so I could tell it had not been used in a long time. I ended up taking it home that night to check it out. I had a set of some skinny tower speakers I wasn't using so I hooked them up and turned it on. It took probably a half hour or so before I started getting any sound. I went and grabbed a old cd player I had and hooked it up. The longer it was powered up the more it started to come alive. I put a cd in and started to turn it up a little and I could tell right away this was different, it was music out of these speakers that I never thought was possible, bass I would have never thought these speakers could produce and it just made the sound stage huge. The more I listened the more I was blown away by what I was hearing.
This brings me around to my questions, I have a Yamaha cx-a 5200 with a Emotiva Xpa-5 hooked to it and much more expensive speakers that I use for home theater and music listening, I thought 2 channel music listening was pretty decent on this set up until I heard the Sansui. The Sansui is rated at 125 wpc and the Emotiva is rated at 200 wpc both a/b class amps but the Yamaha/Emotiva does not seem to be close. I took those same skinny speakers and hooked them to the Yamaha and it could not do what the Sansui could no matter how I tried to play it. This really has me rethinking everything. I love home theater but I also love music, is their just no way to have both on one system? What am I missing with the Yamaha set up to get that bass and sound stage you can feel? I took the Sansui in to have it professionally cleaned and looked at and I do plan on using it when I get it back but I really didn't want to have two set ups in my living room. I guess hearing the Sansui has me a little disappointed in my current set up music wise.
Sorry for this being so long I was just trying to cover as much as I could in this first post. Any thoughts or ideas would be great. Thanks.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
I generally would just call it old gear, would need to be somewhat unique/particularly desireable to earn the moniker "vintage" IMO. The Sansui 9090 I've heard nice things said about, never had one back then altho a few friends had Sansui receivers, don't recall them being particularly special myself. Couldn't tell you what you're hearing as far as differences go, or if it's an improvement or just a preference (or if it was much of a fair comparison at all), generally not my experience, don't miss my old receivers. Hard to imagine the 5200/Emotiva combo is lacking.

Now get to work and figuring out just what is causing the differences for you :)
 
M

Motor city madman

Enthusiast
I have seen this receiver go for 2 grand and better on ebay and you don't see a ton of them in great shape. Msrp in the 70's was over 900 from what I have found online so I would have to say most people that know about them or owned them would desire them and I think i understand why now. I was just hoping someone could shed a little light on why because let me tell you their is a big difference. I have done apples to apples comparison, same room same speakers, same disk player and the way the Sansui fills the room with sound and the bass just blew me away its what I would hope I could get the Yamaha set up to be. I have had plenty of speakers and receivers over the years and this was my first time playing around with vintage gear so I guess I was just wondering if anyone had some of the same experience.
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
make sure you level match between different equipment, ideally with an SPL meter.
As for older stuff, I don't feel much nostalgic, but If I had much FY money, I'd get Rotel RB-5000 amp
 
M

Motor city madman

Enthusiast
make sure you level match between different equipment, ideally with an SPL meter.
As for older stuff, I don't feel much nostalgic, but If I had much FY money, I'd get Rotel RB-5000 amp
I do level match with a spl meter. I was never into older stuff either until I happened into the Sansui because of a death in the family. And yes that Rotel is a beast.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Another interesting thing to do would be to measure the speakers' response as a comparison, if it's audibly changing level/frequency it should be easy to measure the differences.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Senior Audioholic
I do level match with a spl meter. I was never into older stuff either until I happened into the Sansui because of a death in the family. And yes that Rotel is a beast.
The one thing I don't see mentioned is bass management. You need to make sure that you are making an apples to apples comparison. If you have a subwoofer in your home theatre and are using bass management on your Yamaha, then the main speakers may not be getting a full range signal. For a fair comparison you would need to go into the Yamaha setup and disable the subwoofer and set the main speakers to large if that's an option (sorry, but I am not that familiar with YPAO). YPAO will also make room corrections, so if the Yamaha has a 'Direct' or 'Pure' mode that bypasses all signal processing, you need to enable that as well. Only with bass management and room correction turned off on the Yamaha and all tone controls set to 0 and loudness turned off on the Sansui can you really make a fair comparison. Once you start using EQ and tone controls then any differences you hear are more due to the way each component shapes the sounds as opposed to one being better than the other.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
I see a whole lot of expectation bias in the first post, and a lack of proper comparisons.
 
M

Motor city madman

Enthusiast
The one thing I don't see mentioned is bass management. You need to make sure that you are making an apples to apples comparison. If you have a subwoofer in your home theatre and are using bass management on your Yamaha, then the main speakers may not be getting a full range signal. For a fair comparison you would need to go into the Yamaha setup and disable the subwoofer and set the main speakers to large if that's an option (sorry, but I am not that familiar with YPAO). YPAO will also make room corrections, so if the Yamaha has a 'Direct' or 'Pure' mode that bypasses all signal processing, you need to enable that as well. Only with bass management and room correction turned off on the Yamaha and all tone controls set to 0 and loudness turned off on the Sansui can you really make a fair comparison. Once you start using EQ and tone controls then any differences you hear are more due to the way each component shapes the sounds as opposed to one being better than the other.
Yes I did all that, I turned off all EQ on the Yamaha everything on the Sansui was left at zero. I never had any reason to play with any controls on the Sansui receiver. I guess I should maybe be clear as why I am questioning the differences between the two. I was getting ready to buy another amp for the Yamaha because I wanted to start adding more channels and when I happened across the Sansui and heard the difference it had me questioning everything I was looking at amp wise. It started me really questioning what are the differences in amplification because with the Emotiva it does not have the same dynamics at all.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
What are you trying to say?
I'm saying your post reads like you heard what you expected based on what you've read. Unless you compared with the same speakers in the same location, setup exactly the same, level matched with a spl meter, defeated all processing, eliminated all bias and listened under double blind conditions then its not a proper comparison.

Amplification simply does not affect some of the things you describe, such as soundstage. Think about it. Do you think modern amplification has made no progress in the last thirty years? We've somehow gone backwards?
 
M

Motor city madman

Enthusiast
I'm saying your post reads like you heard what you expected based on what you've read. Unless you compared with the same speakers in the same location, setup exactly the same, level matched with a spl meter, defeated all processing, eliminated all bias and listened under double blind conditions then its not a proper comparison.

Amplification dies not affect some of the things you describe, such as soundstage. Think about it. Do you think modern amplification has made no progress in the last thirty years? We've somehow gone backwards?
I didn’t know nothing about Sansui until that night. I seen it and brought it home that night. I googled it when I seen it just to see if it was worth anything and that was all I knew about it. I used the same speakers for both in the same room with the same disk player. All amplification turned off on the Yamaha and for the hell of it turned on just to see the difference. Maybe you think I am here trolling like I have nothing better to do but to sit around and type all this but I am not. I had a experience I wasn’t expecting and I wanted to talk about it with some people that have more experience than me. Maybe find out what I need to do to get the Yamaha to play music like that.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
I didn’t know nothing about Sansui until that night. I seen it and brought it home that night. I googled it when I seen it just to see if it was worth anything and that was all I knew about it. I used the same speakers for both in the same room with the same disk player. All amplification turned off on the Yamaha and for the hell of it turned on just to see the difference. Maybe you think I am here trolling like I have nothing better to do but to sit around and type all this but I am not. I had a experience I wasn’t expecting and I wanted to talk about it with some people that have more experience than me. Maybe find out what I need to do to get the Yamaha to play music like that.
I don't think your trolling. I think you haven't done a proper comparison, and this response confirms that. I think that you have done what all humans do when reaching a conclusion based on fallacious reasoning like sighted testing and preconceived notions from what you had read before.That's all.

I also forgot to mention or ask what you used for instant switching for your comparison? How did you do the level matching?
 
M

Motor city madman

Enthusiast
I don't think your trolling. I think you haven't done a proper comparison, and this response confirms that. I think that you have done what all humans do when reaching a conclusion based on fallacious reasoning like sighted testing and preconceived notions from what you had read before.That's all.

I also forgot to mention or ask what you used for instant switching for your comparison? How did you do the level matching?
When I came home that night with it I didn’t even know if it would work so at first I sat it on my kitchen table hooked up some definitive technology mythos 4’s to it just to get sound. When I got that and could not believe what it made those speakers sound like a few days later I took those speakers sat them in front of my main speakers about 9 feet apart a little toe in. I took the Sansui and sat it on a audio stand to the left of my entertainment center and ran some cables over to each speaker. Played a song on one turned it off and plugged the other in same speakers and played same song. I had spl meter close to listening position tried to get them both at same level 75 db or so . But I am telling you that didn’t matter one had much more punch depth and bass then the other. I never thought those skinny speakers could play like that. Maybe I didn’t do everything exactly right doing it that way but it was all I could think of.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Curious, is the loudness contour on on the 9090 on?
 
Eppie

Eppie

Senior Audioholic
@Motor city madman I bet you had the loudness button depressed. ;) Just kidding! Ah, lovinthehd beat me to it.

One thing that might help is to listen to only the Sansui for a while. When switching back and forth it's easy to have perceived bias. You can help reduce perceived bias by getting used to the receiver for a while, like over a weekend, playing a variety of material. When the euphoria of having nice vintage gear wears off, switch back to the Yamaha in pure/direct mode again.

There can be issues with simple listening tests though. Please allow me to elaborate. I would assume that the Yamaha and Emotiva have relatively flat frequency responses, given that they are modern amps. What if the Sansui has a bump in the lower frequencies? That receiver is going to sound like it has better bass output, when strictly speaking it is not really better because it is not as flat (and most audiophiles seek that truly flat response). What you could be hearing is colouration in lower frequencies that gives the impression of having more depth and punch. So it's not a matter of one being better than the other, but one having a frequency response that happens to be more to your liking. If the Emotiva has 200W/ch I doubt that it would be lacking dynamic range as the Sansui only has 125W/ch by comparison.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
When I came home that night with it I didn’t even know if it would work so at first I sat it on my kitchen table hooked up some definitive technology mythos 4’s to it just to get sound. When I got that and could not believe what it made those speakers sound like a few days later I took those speakers sat them in front of my main speakers about 9 feet apart a little toe in. I took the Sansui and sat it on a audio stand to the left of my entertainment center and ran some cables over to each speaker. Played a song on one turned it off and plugged the other in same speakers and played same song. I had spl meter close to listening position tried to get them both at same level 75 db or so . But I am telling you that didn’t matter one had much more punch depth and bass then the other. I never thought those skinny speakers could play like that. Maybe I didn’t do everything exactly right doing it that way but it was all I could think of.
To be clear, I believe you when you say you can hear a difference. Placebo and sighted bias are very real and it gets everyone. All it would take is one paragraph 1 minute before you hear it for the first time and your expectations are primed. I wouldn't trust myself without some controls and blind, instant switching. Level matching is good, but critical because a difference of even less than 1 dB can make one sound livelier or clearer than the other.

This kind of comparison is really tricky because there are so many factors to account for, and sighted comparisons are known to be inaccurate. I'm unaware of any properly conducted DBT involving cables or amps, with all else being equal, where anyone was able to do any better than chance guessing which was which. Those night and day differences just disappear when the subjects don't know which is which, even with instant switching.

Do a Google search on placebo effect and read up on it. I did, and I was very surprised to learn there's a lot more to it than I'd previously thought. Your brain and other senses absolutely alter what you hear, see or taste in surprising ways. There were some interesting experiments with wine tasting too. Just changing the label on the bottle was enough to fool professional wine tasters.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
With the way the unit warmed up very slowly I also wonder if its at full health. What if you took it to be serviced and that special sauce gets repaired to flatness like your other gear?
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Overlord
With the way the unit warmed up very slowly I also wonder if its at full health. What if you took it to be serviced and that special sauce gets repaired to flatness like your other gear?
Yeah... that part is very curious. Almost sounds like something you'd hear about a tube amp.
 

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