Shop Action

Sunday, March 20, 2016

People mention in their emails how much they like this page.  Thought we’d do another one.  I don’t think we’ve ever had such a diversity of gear in the shop at one time.  If you’re a gearhead, you’ll get a kick out of all this gear in for restoration.



Here’s a 717, that Justin has just about finished on his bench.  They’re pretty, even on the inside.



Here’s an AU999 in perfect shape with a wood case (rare), a Sansui Eight (on our for sale page) and on the bottom, a Kenwood 1100.  The Kenwood is a little known 35 wpc tube receiver with 7591’s from the mid 60’s.  It’s in amazing condition, with not the slightest bit of corrosion on the chassis.  To me, it looks to be a copy of the Sansui 1000A.  Justin says he’s gonna restore it and take it home to listen to vinyl, and then decide what to do with it.  He’s never listened to hollow state before, although his Crate guitar amp is all tubes.

Kenwood was not a major player in hifi stereo in the Golden Age, but did make some really nice units.  Their top of the line gear was similar in quality and sound to Sansui.

The 1100 is part of a big purchase from an estate sale that Justin made, which also included a 9090, a 2000, and a Yamaha CR2020.  Justin found this gear because he had a friend who was looking for a 9090 that we could restore for him.  We already restored it and his friend has it.  It was in perfect condition.



Here’s another AU999 (metal case) in perfect condition, a 2000, and a Seven.  Just a few weeks ago we were running about a 3 week turn around, but now, I think we’re back out to 5-6 weeks on restorations.  It often happens that way.  In one week, 8-10 units might come in for restoration all at once.  It’s funny, people email and talk to me , but no telling when they will actually send it in.



Here’s a TU999 that goes with that last AU999.



And here’s another one of those “Perfect” 9090db’s that we get all the time.  Where do they all come from?



Here’s 2 more of the perfect 9090’s the lower one a db model.  Next to it an 11000 and on the bottom shelf a 20000 and to the right… a stack of Yamaha P2100 amps we restored, that we don’t know exactly what to do with.



Here’s a QRX999 that we just sold to John in Malaysia.  It will go out, probably on Tuesday.  We sell a lo0t of 9001 models overseas.  Potential problems always worry me, so we test them to death before shipping.  It’s on my bench playing through the shop system, cranked most of the time.



And here is another 2000 that is torn apart on our third workbench, the recap has been started.  These early ones are amazing, how good they sound.  See all those FM IF strip tuned coil cans?  That’s pre integrated circuit technology.



And here’s an unusual piece of gear.  I have never seen one of these, or even seen one for sale.  It is an AU555, not the A model.  I don’t think they sold many of these, but a lot of 777’s.  It was given to me by one of our long term customers, Dave, who we have done a couple of QRX’s for.  I’ll restore this and use it somewhere.  I wonder if it sounds as good as a 505?  Thanks Dave.



And here’s that Yammy CR2020, all torn up.  Justin was curious to see what a CR2020 looked like inside,  and so did a little work on it.  It’s gonna have to wait for a while though.  That’s a Fisher 800C right underneath it.

And so… see… don’t accuse us of only working on QRX9001’s.  LOL  We’ve never had so many different pieces of gear in, usually it’s just 9001’s, 9090’s and maybe 1 or 2 others.  Not this time.

For you gearheads…   :o)


Monday, January 16. 2016

We have a lot of interesting gear in the shop at present.  Quite a few 9001’s, a few 9090db’s and other stuff.

Here’s some of the 9001’s

An 8001 from a repeat customer, Dave. He didn't have us refinish the cabinet, as he has a nice one at home. No risk in shipping it, that way

An 8001 from a repeat customer, Dave. He didn’t have us refinish the cabinet, as he has a nice one at home. No risk in shipping it, that way.

This is Dave’s 2nd unit we have done for him, an 8001.  It has the pre out/main in jacks on the back.  He’s going to run it with some 160WPC amps.  He has another cabinet to replace this one.  Dave’s other 9001 is actually a QRX999 with the QBL remote.  Fun.

A 3rd unit from Dave. He offered to us. I guess two big QRX's are enough. He's a collector.

A 3rd unit from Dave. He offered it to us. I guess two big QRX’s are enough. He’s a collector.

This one is from Dave also.  He offered it to us, and we have it just about finished for resale.  It will go up on our For Sale page.


A 9090db being restored on Justin's bench. We do a lot of these.

A 9090db being restored on Justin’s bench. We do a lot of these.

We have become specialists in the 9090 series.  This one is a 9090db and is just about finished.  Justin is wrapping up the offset and bias settings.  He uses the 4 meters in the background to do it, so he can see both parameters in both channels at the same time.  All 9090db’s get the dolby bypass, which, as far as I know, we are the only ones who have figured out how to do this.  It’s easy to bypass the dolby section, per se, but not so easy to do it and retain the two Tape In and Outs. which our mod does. Fixing the dolby section is about the same as the re-pinning of the 4 ch board on the 9001, except nobody cares about using the dolby feature.  Hence the bypass.

A 9001 currently up on ebay, and also will be on our For Sale page soon. This is a really nice one.

A 9001 currently up on ebay, and also will be on our For Sale page soon. This is a really nice one.

We’re pretty picky about the 9001’s we rebuild for resale.  This one came out near perfect.  It has one little tiny dent on a cabinet edge, and knobs have just the slightest bit of discoloring.  Otherwise, as new cosmetics.  I just put this up on ebay today, and will put it on our own For Sale page later.


A 717 ready to be shipped to Kory. We get a lot of these, which really includes the whole up to the 20000, kind of like Sansui's final statement on the integrated amp. Very nice looking, very nice sound.

A 717 ready to be shipped to Kory. We get a lot of these, which really includes the whole up to the 20000, kind of like Sansui’s final statement on the integrated amp. Very nice looking, very nice sound.

We get quite a few of this whole series, from the 717 through the 20000.  Kind of like the final statement from Sansui on the integrated amp.

A 9090db being tested. From Mark. It had an FM problem which we are fixing, then go the testing process again.

A 9090db being tested after restoration. From Mark. It had an FM problem which we are fixing, then it will go through the testing process again.


Another near perfect 9090db, awaiting pick up from John in Washington. The one owner units are always the nicest.

Another near perfect 9090db, awaiting pick up from John in Washington. The one owner units are always the nicest.


Just about the rarest Sansui amp ever made. Sold only in Japan

Just about the rarest Sansui amp ever made. BA 303. Sold only in Japan.

And its companion tube preamp.

And its companion tube preamp. CA 303

These are some tube amps recently restored in the shop.  There’s a whole story at if you are interested.

As you can see we are plenty busy here.  We just got so many requests to continue the Shop Action Page, I thought I would try and put a new one up from time to time.  Here’s some proof that we actually do change all the caps.  LOL

A couple years worth of replaced caps, from all the recapping we do, easily 200 lb of old caps.

A few years worth of replaced caps, from all the recapping we do.


Tuesday, 23 October, 2012

Sorry that it has been a while since we’ve updated this page.  Here at Vintage Restorations we’ve been really busy.  We’ve moved into a larger shop, yet again, where we now have 3 workbenches. Each one is almost 8 feet long, with two workstations at each bench.

This is all part of an expansion we’ve been doing.  We’ve started restoring vintage ham radio gear, from the same era as the Sansui quads.  You can see one of the radios at the far end of the workbench. If you are interested you could see a few more pictures and learn a bit more about it at our new sister website, That’s a QRX5500 on the near end, being restored for Nick, from Ohio.

As you can imagine, with all that test gear, I can fix most anything.  HA



This is Justin’s bench where most of the recapping happens.  At the left end of the top shelf is a little high voltage plasma toy.  It doesn’t show up too well, but it’s 3 feet of plasma strings constantly moving.  Like a modern lava lamp.

Quad is really interesting, and a lot of people have a hard time dealing with 4 speakers… where to put them, and so on.  Well imagine you had 3 to 4 times that amount in your listening room…. your large listening room.


There are about 12 speakers in the picture, and that’s just the front.  This is the listening room of our good friend Mark, in Bradenton Florida.   He’s gotten into quad in a big way and has a QRX9001 and a QRX999 w/QBL1oo.  All restored by us here.  In case your interested that’s a pair of B&W 801’s in front, a pair of Klipsch RFA’s on the outside, and a pair of Klipsch Cornwalls.  There’s also some Sansuis there, and a couple I don’t even recognize.

I think the QRX999 is over to the side out of the picture because it’s a big room and the QBL only has a 16 foot cord.  You can bet if we ever make it to Florida we’re going to visit Mark and go fishing with him in his boat to boot.

Oh, and what do we have going out of the shop this week?

This is Peter’s 9001, that he bought from us.  It never made it to the for sale page, like about half the stuff we sell.  Potential customers often call us and will make a deal before we even finish the gear.  Peter lives in Alabama, and is really anxious to get this.  It’s going out today.



Wednesday, June 21 12:04 AM

Good a time as any, I guess.

Well, we’ve gone ahead and had the cabinet refinished on the 8001 on the For Sale page.  There wasn’t much interest, and I figure its because of the rather poor wood cabinet that was on the unit.  No longer, it now looks beautiful

It’s funny how the look changes when they get refinished.  Some grain patterns don’t show until after the refinish.  This one is nice.  Also on the For Sale page is an AU9500 that I have had for years.  Don’t use it much any more, and Justin talked me into selling it.  It has a some scratches on the bezel and the case has tape residue that we can’t get off.  I also listed this one on ebay.

Here’s a couple pictures of an QRX999 that was recently through the shop.

The first picture is with the unit off.  A very nice European version.  The second pictures is with it powered up, and the blue panel LEDs on.  My camera doesn’t do it justice, somehow the camera shows a blue cloud like affect, when it doesn’t really look like that, the lettering is actually just blue.  Wanted to show that we can do other colors.  This a very unique unit, as it also has a QBL remote, which was new in box, if you can believe it.  We copied the instructions, just because.

This belongs to Mark in Florida.  This is his second unit that we have done, the first is a 9001.  We like repeat customers.  Mark has quite a collection of speakers, and is always trading things around. . .  like most of us, always searching for that better sound.

The following is what a receiver used to be, when I was a kid.  A receiver was how you tapped into the international information net at the time, shortwave radio, which in reality, was mostly propaganda.

This is a National NC183D, a very expensive receiver, indeed, in 1952, at $369.  They made it til 1959.  It’s considered one of the top receivers of the Boat Anchor era.  I had a much cheaper Hallicrafters SX99 by my bed when I was 12, and listened to the whole world with it.  I listened to Radio Moscow, which even at the age of 12, I could tell was propaganda.  The assertions they would make about Russian inventions and science would make me laugh.  My receiver would also tune in the local AM pop station, which I listened to for a dose of Americana.  I’ll put a completed picture of the 183D up, In its cabinet, when it is completed.

This is Todd’s 9001 that Justin has just started on.  He had us send him one of our new boxes, empty, which always gets a laugh from the clerk at the post office.  Here’s this huge box, 30X24X12 that weighs about 6 pounds that I’m sending through the mail.   This is the 2nd or 3rd time I’ve done it, and they remember me now at 97502 (where I usually go) because of these empty boxes.

And, here’s your usual naked 9001 that you find all over the place at my house.  This one belongs to Chris, who distinguished himself with us by the wooden box he made to ship his unit to us.  He even put those metal corners on it.  I asked him if he might want to sell the box to one of our customers and he said yes.  (hint, he’s from California).   We’ll have a picture and maybe dimensions next time.  Ciao.

Friday March 23, 2012

I guess it’s time for another update.

We’ve had to increase prices slightly.  The price for the audio grade electrolytic capacitors that we use, Nichicon UKW, has increase by 2-300%.   That’s for the small ones.  The bigger ones that cost 20-25 cents before, have gone up a like amount.  They’re still not a lot of money.  It adds up though.  We’ve added $25 to the cost of a 9001 recap/restore, and $2 to our labor rate, making it $42/hr.  I didn’t want to do this, but it happens.

A friend told me that the price increase might be due to a typhoon in Asia, that wiped out a couple factories. He’s in the computer business and says that the cost of hard drives has doubled.

As promised a long time ago, our newest employee

This is Boo, and he is in charge of shop security and is at his post at the door,  asleep, guarding Vintage Stereo in case any stereo thieves might show up.     He’s an amicable employee and has developed a good relationship (after a rocky start) with the UPS guy and likewise the FEDex guy.  He also knows the postman well, and announces any of these guys when they show up with stereo or quad gear.   On the negative side, he doesn’t seem to be very impressed with quad, or our Diff Mod, which everyone else around here seems to like a lot.    Boo came to us as a lost soul, lost on a deserted logging road, way up in the mountains.  Nick name–Booboo

Our youngest customer, so far, sent us a 9001 to be restored.  He’s 14 and, it turns out, quite a musician.  He’s got his own website and band, and plays a killer guitar.  Check it out.   He will blow you away.

He got a 9001 as a christmas present.  His dad, also a successful musician, got it for him.  I think you would be surprised how many young people much prefer the older stereo gear.  They can see the quality and hear the difference.  Michael’s 9001 was a mint example that was fully functional, but soon started to have problems (yeah…..we know, don’t we) and he searched us out on the web.  He was really anxious to get it back, and I’m sure is quite happy with it now.  Anyway, here it is–

Really, if you didn’t go to his website, give it a shot.  I think you will be impressed with how he plays guitar.

Boxes and packing material are pretty mundane stuff.  We have to deal with them here, and ultimately, they become pretty important to you if you ship us your QRX or buy one from us.  Almost 5 mos. ago, we had a QRX8001 damaged in shipment.  Glen, who bought it from us was not happy to see his just bought, never played by him, QRX with a smashed in rear panel.  It had been packed to UPS standards and they agreed that it was their fault and would pay.  Then we had to deal with their insurance company.  Jeeeeez.   We have just gotten paid on this and it was a true nightmare.

Anyway, on our Services page, we have added a box with foam inside to our list of what we provide.  You can read about it there.  It’s $35 and you can buy one from us before you ship your unit, or, buy one when you have your unit shipped back to you.  If you buy one and have it shipped to you, the shipping will probably be expensive because it will be size and not weight.  No need to insure it though!!! LOL

We also have started doing a lot of amplifiers.  I guess people find our site and then want us to do their Sansui.  I turn down a lot of later ones, that we just do not want to work on.  We’ve put an AU999 for sale up on our For Sale page.  This amp turned out to be very sweet sounding.  It joins the Best of Sansui club, as far as I’m concerned being right up there with the 9500.  Check it out.

Don’t know if you follow Quadraphonic Quad forum.  If you don’t, you should.  Anyway, we’ve gotten a few units and boards to work on recently that were done by the previous guy who did this kind of stuff.  Jeff, who had his 9001 restored several years ago, has had problems with it since right after he got it back.  He finally sent it to us, and we went through it.  The 4 ch board had to be re-pinned, as it had not been done properly.  That was the source of his drop out problems (imagine that! LOL)

Anyway, he wanted to get the QBL mod, to have the coolest you can get.  Only problem was, that the previous tech guy had added the pre out/main in interrupts, and they are kind of mutually exclusive to the QBL mod.  There’s only so much rear panel space available, and the two mods work at the same point in the signal path.  Jeff wanted to have his QBL mod with a switch, instead of a shorting plug.  In other words, without the QBL plugged in, no sound gets to the speakers unless you plug in a shorting plug, which returns the signal to the amp stages.   Turned out that the previous mod was done differently than we do it, so we improvised and made Jeff happy.   Here’s a picture.  Note that the AM antenna mount been removed.

There’s the 9 pin tube socket and above it a 4PDT switch that shorts the socket when the QBL is not plugged in.   Pretty cool.  Interesting though, even with the switch in the shorted position (up), if the QBL is plugged in, it will still turn the sound off at the very bottom of the fader throw.  No gradual effect, just all off right at the bottom.  Took me a while to figure it out but it just shorts all the signals to ground.

Here’s a picture of Jeffs 9001, waiting to be shipped

With The QBL on top.  No surprise, I guess, but since we started doing this, the prices of QBL’s on ebay has gone way up.  They are hard to find.

We recently restored an AU517 integrated and a G9000 receiver.  The 517 is quite a little amp, with excellent sound and DC-light response.  The G is the same way, only putting out some ridiculous amount of power.  It has a mechanical throw, safety device, on the volume control, so you can limit how far you turn it up.  Officially 160wpc, but in the real world, more like 250 wpc, at least.  And of course, another 9001 on the bottom shelf.  Matt in Vancouver bought this one.

Here’s a 9090db we did for John, a local guy here in Oregon.  He delivered it himself and picked it up, along with his 9001.  We did some repair work on the 9001, and did a complete restore on his 9090db.  Luckily, there were no problems with the dolby circuit in this one.  I’m always amazed at the great sound of these receivers.  I think they’re the best stereo receivers ever made.  The tone controls are very well designed and sound great.  It’s got lots of power, like the 9001 in 2X power mode.

AND, speaking of that 2X power mode, we recently found something very interesting.  A lot of the 9001’s have a cap, that feeds audio when in that mode, that is installed backwards on many units.  If you are a DIYer, it’s C30 on the board behind the front panel with the vol and tone pots on it.  Sansui marked the board wrong, got the caps in backwards, then got the caps in right, then relabeled the board.  So, it’s confusing when your working on it, cause you don’t know which version you have.  The cap should be mounted so that the + side goes toward the back of the receiver and the – toward the front.  You can check by taking the cover off and looking down on the board.  It’s directly behind the dual concentric front/rear balance control.  You can see the C30 label on the board.  If you need a single cap to replace it, let me know and I’ll send you a 2.2uf 50v audio grade electrolytic, gratis, if you can do it yourself.  You shouldn’t reuse the old cap.  We make this offer to anybody, customer or not.  You can get to it by removing the bottom cover and standing the unit up on its left side.  You need some forceps or something to grab on to the old cap, and to install the new.  If you can solder, it’s pretty easy.

At this point I’m sure that some of the 9001’s we’ve restored have this cap in backwards, we just replaced them as they were.  If your 9001 makes a big pop/chirp kind of sound, or even a small pop, when switched to 2X mode, then you most likely have it in backwards.  We’ll be glad to fix any unit we’ve done in the past, with of course the problem of shipping involved, if you are a long ways off.  When installed correctly the 2X mode works and sounds really good.  We have more on this in the recap and restore section.

Anybody need some used caps?  Ha

Til’ next time.  Keep Quaddin’.

December 24, Saturday  2011

Happy Holidays to all our loyal supporters.  Justin and I wish you the best.  Here are all the caps that we have taken out of your receivers and amps over the last year.  Thousands of them.  Justin and I think somewhere around 5,000, give or take.   We hope that you and yours have a warm and music filled Holiday Season.  Thanks to all of you for a fun year.

Shop Action

Wednesday October 26

Well, as usual, it’s been a while.  My other hobby, homebuilt airplanes, has been taking all my extra time.  LOL   I’ve got a few interesting things to go over.

As we’ve said since we started this, we are most willing to help people who want to do this stuff themselves.  My feeling is that if a guy can work on electronics at this level, nothing will ever convince him to send his 9001 to me to restore, so I might as well help the guy do it right.  And we have, we keep adding more and more info on the Recap and Restore page.   And I guess a lot of people read and utilize that data.  Recently Chuck, a fellow 9001 enthusiast contacted us.

He wanted me to guide him through the QBL100 mod for the 9001.  He paid me for 1 hour of my time and I wrote him up a description of how to go about it.  He kept in touch while he was doing it and asked questions.   I explained that this was one of the tougher modifications to do to the 9001, not complicated electronics wise, just difficult to do.  Chuck followed my instructions to the letter and it worked first time he fired it up.  Here’s a couple pictures of Chuck’s work.

He did the mod differently than I did.  He took the left side of the back panel apart and removed the heatsink.  Here he is making the hole with the Greenlee punch.

And here is the connector on the back panel.  All wired in.  This picure shows the shorting plug, which allows you to use the 9001 without the QBL100.  It all worked the first time he turned it on.  A successful mod, made me feel good.

Glenn, from Texas contacted us and really wanted one of these receivers.  We ended up making a deal on the 8001 we had.  We restored it completely and did all our tricks.  Glenn is a woodworker and wanted to refinish the case himself, which quite a few people want to do.

This is the first 8001 we have gone through.  There are only a couple differences.  No dolby (whew!) and a slight difference in the power supply, and slightly less power.  Not enough to really make any difference, about -1.5 db less power.  If you have efficient speakers or are not the type who plays overly loud, I would heartily recommend an 8001.  The second most unreliable part on the 9001 is the Dolby selector switch, and we really can’t fix it like we do the 4 ch board.  All we can do is clean and lube, and make sure it’s lined up with the panel correctly.   And of course, the 8001 doesn’t have one.  This unit is on its way to Glenn, I hope he has some great listening with it.

We’ve just finished another 9001 to go up for sale on our site.

This one, of course has all the upgrades and mods, even a full LED front panel.   The chassis has just a tiny bit of corrosion, and the front panel is just a smidge less perfect than the last one we had for sale.  Other than that, it is truly a beautiful restoration, and you know we wouldn’t have it any other way.    The wood cabinet was refinished by our local shop.  Very nice.

Now here’s something interesting.  There are other Sansui units besides the 9001 series that some people out there seriously collect.  Here’s another one.

This is the Sansui Eight.  Yep, that’s its model number.  Made in 1971, before quad.   It’s a stereo receiver and the lovers of this unit claim it is the highest build quality of any Sansui ever made.   It’s much smaller than a 9001, but seriously heavy at 37lb.  You pick it up and you can’t believe how heavy it is.  I bought this on ebay, and it needs serious work.   The people that have them, love them.  60 watts/ch, which was big power in 1971.  Supposedly very good sound.  I’m gonna see how it does with the Diff Mod.

Chia, who you may remember from earlier updates, we did his AU9500, wrote and asked if we would work on a quad unit he has, a Pioneer QCA800.  Sure.  Shown here, sitting on top

of the above 9001, it had one of the oddest problems we’ve ever seen.  And it looked like it had been this way since new.  One of the tape monitor switches on the lower  right had a bent casing that was touching and shorting out a PC board pin.  It will remain memorable for me, as it was a toughie to figure out.  Kind of anxious to get this done, so I can try out some Pioneer quad decoding.  Never have.   This is like a quad preamp, no amplifiers, no tuner, all low level, a pretty complex unit.  Chia had a schematic to send with it, a god send.  We’ll put up a picture of it again when it is done.

And, we have another QRX6500 in the shop, and again, it is an almost perfect example.  You may remember I grappled with the string and rube goldberg wheels and pulleys on an earlier unit.  Oddly, this one has no problems with that whole mechanism.  Go figure.

Here’s Justin doing a recap on the tuner.  You can see all that string and complexity at the top there.  These units supposedly have the same tuner as the TU999, one of the best Sansui ever made.  If you’re an FM buff, well, it’s a fine one.  The 6500 has an old technology capacitive coupled amp.  Sansui made it work extremely well.  Makes for a very musical sounding amplifier.  Notice the lava lamp going full blast on the shelf.

Well, we certainly are busy here, and now with outside temps dropping (29 degrees F this morning), there won’t be anything to do except recap and restore.  Til’  next time.

August 29, 2011,  Monday

Summer is soon over.  We are starting to get real busy again.

These units are ready to go.   On top is a 9001 that we have readied for sale.  It has been completely restored, includes the diff mod, and is in pristine condition.  The next shelf down is Victor’s QRX999 that we have completely restored, from California.  This is the first 999 we have worked on and both Justin and I agree that it looks really nice.  I can’t help but wonder if the normal version was black and we finally saw a silver one, would we like it better?  Anyway, it’s beautiful.   Both these units have refinished cabinets.  More on this below.   On the third shelve is a QRX5500 belonging to John in California.  We didn’t do a complete restore on this one, just a repair and recap of the power supply and some of the audio path.  It sounds really good, and has one of those all discrete early tuners with no IC’s, that just continue to blow me away with sound quality.   John’s 5500 had a shorted diode rectifier and it blew fuses.  Actually, it vaporized fuses.  Literally.  And on the bottom shelf is another 5500, a parts donor unit.

Here is Gabe from Foss Furniture Clinic here in Eugene, holding a 9001 cabinet we brought him for refinishing.  Gabe is the owner and we have made a deal with him to refinish cabinets for us.  This is a service we have wanted to offer since the beginning, but couldn’t find the right shop to do it.  Gabe specializes in small jobs.  His shop is close by and we’re not gonna mark this up much, because we want to have our restored units looking as fine as possible, and also have it be affordable.   We will offer a cabinet refinish for $85, and it looks better than new.  Gabe can even fill in chips in the veneer.  You can still see where the chip was, but it looks good. See the previous picture, above.  If you have a cabinet with the veneer really chipped up and you want the veneer replaced, Gabe can do this also, but it will be a custom quote situation.

In the shop and being worked on are these, from the top, L to R.  Our shop test 9001 and next to it an 8001 we will restore for sale.  The next shelve has another 9001 we are restoring for sale and Jean-Leon’s 9001 from Louisiana.  This is one of the nicest condition one’s we’ve seen.  We told Jean-Leon about the refinish option, but that it would be a waste for him as his cabinet is perfect. We offered to put tongue oil on it for him, but he wants to do it himself.  We should have this one done by the end of the week.  On the next shelve, with parts piled on top are two more 9001’s that we bought and are restoring for sale.  Yes, we are going to have several units for sale.  On the next shelve down is our 7001 test unit, sitting on top of a 6001.  Other good news is that we have found a stash of the silver button covers that go on the quad push buttons.  We aren’t going to offer these for sale, they will be for customer units only, cause I think when these few are gone, there won’t be any more.   I’d love to find some black ones that go on the QRX999, too.

I know a lot of people read this update.  I wonder if anyone would be interested in info about speaker placement, room treatments, quad info and various other quad oriented stuff.  I get a lot of questions, and I realize lots of people are wondering the same things.  Email me if you have an opinion on this.  Now that we’re getting busy again, we’ll do updates more often.  Have a good week.

July 27, Wednesday

Things are a little slower in the summer.  We moved the shop again, have more room in the tech room, but less room to do shipping and receiving.

This is Ken’s QRX5500.  We’ve had it in the shop, I am embarrassed to say, over 3 months.  It has been a difficult project to say the least.  But we did learn a lot.  Ken bought a 9001 from us and when he picked it up, left us this 5500 to restore.  It came out looking very nice.  When he picked up the 5500, this past weekend, he brought his 9001 back to get the QBL100 remote mod.  We had prepared the  wiring to go in his unit in advance and so were able to do it while he went out for lunch.  We do appreciate customers like Ken.

This is Chia’s AU9500, in the shop for a recap and restore.  The restore part was pretty easy, as the unit was in almost perfect condition.  Many people, including me, consider this to be the pinnacle of the Sansui integrated amplifier line.  It is built like it was for the military, and is very heavy.  Seems heavier than a 9001.  There’s more sheet metal inside than on a Porsche 911 motor.  And here’s a picture

with the sheet metal installed.  The power of this amp is amazing.  I can run it all day pumping out Reggae in the shop and the heat sinks hardly get warm, the transformer gets just a little warm.  The sound is fantastic.  I have one of these myself but not as nice as this one.  This is the most pristine example I have seen.

I got a chance to work on some QB modified boards from a 9001.  Quadgirl, as she is known, had her 9001 restored by QB, and not too long afterward a problem developed, a crackling/popping sound in one of the rears.  That’s an easy fix, easy for me cause I just change a couple transistors, easy for her, because she only had to send me her boards and not the whole 9001.  The cool part was that I was able to talk her into letting me do the diff mod  on her output boards.  She was happy, to get her 9001 working again.  Well….. she was really happy.  Read what she had to say yourself.  Thanks Laura.!!!

QRX’s!!! and a 9500.  Nothing but Sansui excellence here.  The 9001 on the top shelf, beside the disassembled 5500 is the shop test unit, the other two are ours and are being restored.  We’re going to add a page to the website…. “For Sale” with equipment that we have completely restored.  Currently we have two AU505’s, an AU999, and these two (not done yet) 9001’s.  There’s an 8001 also, on a different shelf in the shop.  As soon as we can get our web page guru to build us the page.

Have a good one!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Been a while since an update.  Work in the shop has slowed down, I figured because of the summer, but in just the last two weeks, a lot more work has come in.  And somehow, just lucky I guess, 2 9001’s were offered to us to buy, and we have made an exchange of service for an 8001.  That should be interesting, cause I have never even seen an 8001 in the flesh.

Anyway, we’ve worked out the adaption of the QBL-100 remote, originally designed for the QRX5500, to a customer 9001.  This is the kind of thing that gets an audio geek like me truly excited.  I was dubious about doing this to begin with, but the customer really wanted it to happen and said that he would be happy with it, even if we had to hang a plug out the back of the 9001 on loose wires to get it done, a very un sanitary solution, as far as I was concerned.

The QBL-100 is a remote volume and balance control.  It has a joystick to center the quad image and a fader for level.  This is actually quite complicated as it has 12 different pots inside it, to get both balance and level done in the quad universe.  Simple stuff for modern digital audio, but complicated in the analog world.

Here it is plugged into the back of the 9001.  The hard part was not wiring it in to the output channels.  The hard part was making the jack fit on the back panel.  The 9001 does not have a lot of real estate back there.  There is room, barely, but how to cut the hole?  I just refused to completely unwire and rewire the back panel.  Even at just $40/hr, it would have been way expensive.  It’s a 3/4″ hole, so you can’t just do it with a hand drill.  My first solution was to take the 9001 out to my hangar, where I have a Bridgeport type metal mill, one of those big 2,500lb machines and do it with a special tool called an end mill.  Only problem was that once I got it mounted on the mill table, I couldn’t get the table low enough to fit the tooling in the mill head.  The 9001 was too tall.  I was ready to give up and just hang the wires on the back, when I read somewhere about a Greenlee chassis punch.  I used to use these things many years ago.  I got one of the right size on ebay, and here it is ready to make the hole.  It fit right in behind the panel, without having to remove it.

The blue tape is to protect the panel from being scratched.  The Greenlee chassis punch is a simple device, you just crank down on it with a wrench and it makes a perfect hole.

Here’s the connector wired up with the shielded cables that go to the output stages.  This is really like wiring in pre out/ins, only it goes to the remote.  The connector is a 9 pin tube connector from the ancient days of tubes.   So, you could say that this 9001 now has a tube mod.  LOL.   Anyway, once the hole is there, I just drilled two more small holes to mount it and put it on the back panel from behind.  Also had to make up a shorting plug that plugs into this jack so that the 9001 will work when the remote is not plugged in.  That was no easy task, either, mainly trying to solder to 30 year old steel metal pins.   So, once this was done, and hooked up in the test room, I gotta tell you, it is very cool.  The QBL-100 is a hefty piece and feels really solid and quality.  Sitting in the chair and adjusting the quad image, and turning it up and down without moving from the chair–muy bueno.  The guy I did this for, and another customer, John, who I’ve done two EVX-44 quad units for, both emailed me about one for sale on ebay, and I bought it in a heart beat.   MONDO COOL.  I had to have one myself

Enjoy the summer weather.

Thursday, April 14

It’s been a couple weeks since the last update.  Justin pointed out to me tonite, that we need to change “weekly” to “frequent”, because we’re not getting it done once a week.  Makes sense.

This QRX5500 belongs to Ken in Seattle.  Ken has the distinction of being our first repeat customer.  We did his 9001 with the neato LED front panel.  When he picked it up, he gave us this 5500 to restore.  He bought it new while he was in the Navy.  It’s amazing how many quad enthusiasts have had their quads since new and bought them “over there”.  The 5500 has some really nice features.  We’re just waiting for a couple parts to finish this project.  We liked the 5500 so much that we bought one last week on ebay.  It was a really good deal…. $78 including shipping.  And….

here it is.  Justin and I really want to have quad in the shop to listen to while we work.  Our original 9001, “old reliable” was spose to fulfill that function, but it gets used so much for testing boards and other circuitry, that it never stays hooked up to the shop sound system.  In fact, “old reliable” has taken so much abuse as a test work horse, that it is now broken.  The front right channel is out.  We’re pretty confident that we can get this 5500 going in the shop and have it just play music for us.  “OR”, of course, will get fixed and continue doing holy grail alignments and PC board testing.

Now this, this is a QBL100 remote volume control for the QRX5500.  Makes sense, it’s for one of the 5500’s I just showed you, right?  Well…. no, it’s actually going to get adapted to a 9001 that is in the shop for a complete restore.   A customer really wants to be able to sit in the sweet spot and not have to move to adjust listening levels.  And he wants it with his 9001, which does not have the adapter jack to accept the QBL100.  He even rounded us up the parts to do it.  The major problem with hooking this up to the 9001 is that there is almost no spare space on the rear panel.  If necessary, we will hang the connector on a cable protruding from the rear.  Hopefully we can fit it in.  Note that it has a volume control and a joystick for adjusting balance and relative levels.

So here’s the 9001 that gets the remote control.  Justin is checking to see if there’s any voltage on the FM tuner board!  LOL, just kidding.  He came in this evening with that hat on, and I just had to get it on the Shop Action page.  This is a really clean one.  It has the best wooden cabinet I have seen yet on a 9001, almost perfect.  Also, it is the only stock 9001 I have ever checked out for switching and quad functions, that I could not find anything wrong with.  You know, the exception that proves the rule.

We quad enthusiasts are a persistent lot.  How do I know this?  Well here’s a good example

A few weeks ago, we had an EVX44 quad processor in the shop for repair.  Turned out it was not to be, as the main (irreplaceable) chip just did not put out any right front channel.  Not to be deterred, John just went and found another one.  This one wouldn’t turn on and only needed a new power switch.  We’ll just mount a power switch on the front panel, and the good state of Oklahoma will then have at least one working EVX44 for a reference.  John ran down for us all the quad gear he has and it’s quite an impressive list.  He even once sent a 9001 off to be restored at “Quad___” heaven, and is still waiting on that one.  I hope he gets it back.              Til next time……

Sunday, March 27

Here we are with a shop update that is really just a week since the last one.  Good show!!   It’s been another busy week, getting two more 9001’s out the door and working on the quad board dilemma.

Here’s another picture of the voltage regulator added to the small power supply board.  I’ve put in a lot of time this week working on quad boards and trying to understand just how they work.  I can’t say that I know how they work, but I can say what type of problem is caused by which IC on the two quad boards, 8087 and 8088.   And these IC’s which were thought to be unobtainium before, are available,  as I got a bunch of them.  The regulator is a simple 7824 IC regulator and is very easily added.  When I get some time I will put a description up on the recap and restore page of how to do this, for you tech types.

This is the same 9001 as the previous picture, with the regulator just added.  It’s the unit we just sold on ebay and it’s been waiting for parts so that I could put the regulator in before I ship it off to the new owner, Don.  I hope he likes it.

Ken from Seattle drove down last week and picked up his 9001, with the all LED front panel.  He really liked the new look.  He also left us a QRX5500 to be restored which he has had since new.  Justin wanted to get right on it, and has worked two days on it already.   It has early quad boards that use the same IC’s as the later X001 series units.  Very interesting.  As we work on more and more of these units we get a hands on understanding of the Sansui quad evolution that took place in the ’70s.  Ken has already sent us comments on his 9001 which are on the Feedback page.  Once people get to hear the “diff mod” in an extended listening situation, they are believers.

The inner workings of Vintage Stereo Restorations.  Specifically, the shipping and receiving department, which consists of a pool table, suitably covered, and a bunch of boxes and packing material.  Because we are most efficient, the room also doubles as the large 4 speaker test room.   This 9001 is ready to go out, just needs a cabinet and some boxes in boxes.

I also make and sell a product for the pro audio industry.  It’s called an audience reaction pedal.  I’ve made about 30 of these, which is pretty much the whole market.  I made them to last forever, the ones I made 12 years ago are still working perfectly.  If you care, here’s the web site that describes them.

Saturday, March 19

It’s been a couple weeks, longer than we like for an update.  We’ve had a lot going on.

On the left of course is Old Reliable.  This picture shows the dial reallly well.  Sometimes I can’t remember which button is  QS or SQ.  We finally shipped Kurt’s boards off to him, but not without a few revelations.  His comments soon in the Feedback section.  About a 1/3 of the quad boards we are seeing here are blown, their chips suffering from an unregulated power supply and the effects of a house power problem, such as a brownout.   We use Old Reliable to test quad boards and others.  There is an adjustment to the 25v. but the final voltage depends on current draw.  A blown board draws way more current than a good one, so if you set the voltage for that, then when you plug in some good quad boards, well, they blow up before you can set the voltage.  I know, because I did it.

So, of course, a truly regulated 25v supply is what is needed.  Here it is, added to the back of the little power supply board on a customer unit.  Actually a very easy work up and design, using a 7824 regulator.  I’ve added it to units going out and will add it as part of our standard restore from now on.  My friend, Joe, had gotten me a couple quad board IC’s before, so I was convinced they were available, and after a two day search I have secured a supply of them from Asia.  I can now repair both 2087 and 2088 quad boards.

Didn’t mention, but in the top picture, on the right, is the 9001 currently up on ebay.  The cabinet is getting a last coat of finish, which it seems, I am doing to almost every unit now.

This is an interesting 9001.  This one is being purchased by Ken in Washington.  He requested all LED lighting, the first unit we have done this completely on.  It really changes the look.  The tuning meters stay the same color, but the power meters become white, (the picture shows bluish, but it’s really white) and the dial lettering all becomes a vivid green.  Since different color LEDs are available one could have whatever color meters and dial they wanted.  I really like this combination, which was suppose to look like stock, but doesn’t.   Nice cabinet, huh?

Another 9001 is back in test in the game room.  It’s playing as I write this.  The red croc clip is a makeshift antenna.  Many have noticed that the 9001 has quite a high noise floor, mostly humm.  I have worked out a fix for that and all units are now getting this too.  Complete silence for a background.  Not a real problem usually, but the QRX’s are old and that combined with efficient speakers can be a problem.

Until next time.–Jim

Saturday 3/5/11   QRX city

We’re starting to get pretty busy here.  I’m reminded of that old Japanese saying, “be careful what you wish for”.  Ha.   There’s a lot of QRX in the shop this week.  Here’s some pictures

I’m a pretty mechanical guy.  I’ve even built an airplane, and rebuilt 3 others, along with several airplane engines.  But this little Sansui mechanism on the left here, it humbled me.  I eventually got it to work, but not without a lot of cussing.  Then I worked on the FM alignment, and when it was all done, well, I gotta tell you this is the best Sansui FM tuner I have ever  heard.  Probably because it is in a TOTL rcvr, the QR6500 for 1971 and it’s mostly discrete, not a single chip or IC anywhere.  Even separate tuning front ends for FM and AM.  Of coursed that leads to the mechanical problem, the added drag of two tuners on one dial string.  But here at Vintage Stereo, we persevere, and now, that thing is gonna be working for a long time to come.

Here’s the guts of the 6500.  This is the very first of the QRX series.  They hadn’t even added the X yet, it was just a QR, but it had the first of Sansui’s Quad processing.  Not as sophisticated as later offerings, but still sounds very nice.  The amplifier section of this is amazing.  It is a capacitive coupled amp, which is usually looked down on in the audio world.  Sansui thought enough of this design to use it in a TOTL model, and that’s saying something.   Probably the most powerful CC amp ever made.  Much higher quality caps, available today, bring this design into its own.  The tuner is removable, so you can work on it.  40 years old, and everything in it, is top notch. still works well.  We did a complete restore.

This 9001 is almost done.  We were gonna put it on ebay again, but Ron, who we’ve emailed with a bit, called and has spoken for it.  Hope to have it done this weekend.  It’s a very nice one, with almost flawless cosmetics.  People do take care of these things, even when they’re not getting used.  It had all the typical problems. That 4 ch board is just a killer, it’s probably ended the quad experience for thousands of people.

On the left are 5 boards from a 7001, from Kurt in Hawaii.  He wants his listening room to be an audio paradise, as well, and so, sent us pretty much all the removable boards.  We recapped all of them, and did the holy grail alignment on the quad boards, and the Differential mod on the output driver boards.  When we restored our 7001, I thought that we must have just had a bad example with poorly setup output boards.  But Kurt’s boards were the same.  What we call the “current balance” was in the neighborhood of 45-50% off on every channel.  That’s way off.  Within 1% is what we calibrate for after the mod.  Kurt has had his 7001 for a while.  We will be very interested to hear his impression of our modification.  The unit on the right is something I’ve never even heard of.  It’s an Electro Voice EVX44 quad processor.  According to the reviews I read, it’s suppose to synthesize quad from normal stereo, pretty nicely.  John sent me a lot of data and reviews, but there doesn’t seem to be a schematic available anywhere.  The problem he’s described to me just might be the power supply.   We’ll give it a shot.

Another 9001 arrived yesterday, on the left.  It’s pretty nice, even has the little hanging memo attached to the dolby knob, saying, “you can’t make it work unless you turn the dolby off”  That’s not what it says, but it is funny, you can just see some poor guy in a stereo store trying to get it to work and not being able to do it, and being rather frustrated.  Oh, the 70’s.   This one will be rebuilt and sold, a buyer has already got dibs on it.  We might end up restoring 9001’s and selling them.  It’s turning out to be about half of what we do.

Just thought I’d throw this in.  This is a 920 EQ module from a Sphere mixing console.  Rarer than hens teeth.  It’s considered to be one of the top 3 EQ’s ever made.  It has 11 bands, the little levers move left and right and the numbers on the left tell you how many db plus or minus.  Many mastering studios use this EQ.  Sphere was a really small company that went out of business by 1980.  Considered to be in the same class of audio quality as Neve.  I have 3 of these, I had a little Sphere console once, and I’m never gonna use ’em.  If you want to see the auction go to ebay and search for Sphere 920.  Audio trivia department.

And since I’m doing trivia, we had an interesting event this week.  Justin made his first mistake.   It was a cap added by the factory to the back of a board.  He got one lead soldered back in the wrong place.  He’s done most of the recapping for several 9001’s, the QR6500, a 7001, two AU555A’s, and two AU999’s.  He’s practically filled up a gallon pail with old caps, almost 800 of them.  And, he just made his first mistake?  Do you get that?  It’s that kind of expertise that will make Vintage Stereo Restorations into a very important resource for a lot of people.  He’s my son, and of course I’m proud of him.  That’s excellence.

Monday 2/21/11

Justin couldn’t stand it anymore and we moved the workshop into a much larger room.  We still haven’t moved in all the parts, but we will, once we set up a couple more shelves.  Justin did all the work.  It took a couple days but we still got a lot done this week.  Note the lava lamp on Justin’s workbench, behind the 555A.  It’s the 70’s!!!

Many of you saw the 9001 on ebay and made favorable comments.   Thanks, we really appreciate it.  It’s on its way to the new owner, John in Texas.  We’ll see how he likes it in a couple weeks.  We’ve started a new page, with feedback from customers.  It will be linked to each customers Sansui that shows up here on the Shop Action page.  That is making it hard for a neophyte web programmer like myself to get it working, the links part.

In the shop are 2 AU999’s, 2 AU555A’s (all  done but waiting for a few parts) and a QRX6500 that just came in today.  It is a one owner and is in perfect condition.  Not a scratch or mark on it anywhere.  The 6500 is the most powerful capacitive coupled amp ever made, as far as I know.   The AU555, 505 and all the smaller Sansui’s are capacitive coupled.  It’s gonna be fun to work on it.  With poly caps they sound simply wonderful.  Our shop 9001 has been doing duty as a test bed, and we have set up a 555A and a TU666, the devil tuner, to make some beats in the shop.  The stuffed animals have a long history in our family.  The other AU555A is on the bench.

Here’s the 9001 that we sold on ebay.  We are still getting calls and inquiries from this ebay ad.  Not about the 9001, but about all the services that we offer.  It’s turned out to be the best advertising we could ever do.  We bought another one that is on it’s way to us, and I guess we will restore it and put it up on ebay.  I think we’ll put up one of the AU999’s also.  The ones we sell get the full treatment and have  the differential amplifier mods.  Ken got his 9001 from us last week and said this about the mods “. . .didn’t realize it would have that much impact on overall (bottom to top) quality of sound, seems every sound has its place, sharper, clearer crisper. . .”  When we get the Feedback page working, we’ll have more.

Thur 2/10/11

Ken’s 9001 finally got on the truck at UPS.  It was a big fight, doing the cross the border shuffle.  I somehow thought that NAFTA and GATT made it easy and duty free to ship from one country to another.  I guess that is just for big Corporations.  And with Canada, no less.  I hope Ken gets it in one piece and doesn’t have to spend more than a day or so at Customs!!  😮

The 7001 is recapped, upgraded, and restored.  This one stays in our shop, so that when people send in boards to be worked on, we can do it.  This one has a really nice tuner, and sounds, well, like a Sansui.  Pretty damn good.

Justin working on the AU999.  At one time this was Sansui’s top of the line.  The whole thing is recapped and ready for diff mods, just needs one bipolar cap, that we don’t happen to have.  It’s a different value than the schematic, and when there is a discrepancy, we always go with the existing part.

This is the 9001 we just completed and put up on ebay.  It has generated more email and questions, than anything else I ever put up there.  It’s a nice one, it even has the little plastic tag that says to turn the dolby off (when you can’t make it work).  Well of course, but when all else fails, you can always listen to dolby FM!!!

Dolby FM was such a ruse from the start.  Dolby is basically the same thing as FM pre-emphasis used since the beginning of FM to reduce hiss.  Dolby just took the idea and applied it to tape recording.  Why Sansui ever thought that FM stations would adopt something they were already using, with a new brand name and royalties that weren’t being paid before, well, it’s a mystery to me.  Dolby was a big deal back in 1976.

We’ve got an AU555A just started that should be done tomorrow.  We’re going to put it up on ebay, as a promotion, just like the 9001.  I guess it’s quite a big deal when a Sansui is up for sale that has actually been completely restored.  I don’t know how many times I have read, “completely refurbished and gone over by my tech” in an item description, which means, (and you know this if you’re here on this site) absolutely nothing!  A complete restoration is a big deal, and Sansui enthusiasts know this.

Wed 2/2/2011

This week we have finished up Ken’s 9001.  It has been in the living room, playing quad for about 5 days now.  We got it finished on schedule.  A relay problem showed up when we began the testing.  It had been cleaned with Corrosion X but did not seem to be responding.  I guess it just needed a little more time, as about a day later it was working fine and has worked without a hitch since.  Corrosion X, the miracle drug.  I have repaired old pin ball machines that would not even turn on, simply by applying it to all the internal relays (usually more than 50).  Look it up, it’s good stuff.

Ken’s 9001 got the full treatment.   It’s been playing for days.

On my workbench is another 9001, from my “collection”.  It’s been recapped, modded, and HG aligned.  It’s in the process of getting the pre outs installed. This one will get sold on Ebay, or someone can make me an offer here.

On Justin’s workbench is the 7001.  Yes, he is considerably neater than his dad.  He is constantly cleaning up the shop and doesn’t understand how I can work the way I do.  I tend to clean up between projects.  We now have to wait for some bipolar caps that we didn’t have in order to finish this one.  The hose is to suck solder fumes out of the room.  It moves to the work and keeps the air clean.

Old reliable is still doing the quad thing in the shop.  An AU999 is up next, and beside it are some of the boards from the 7001.  Another 9001 should be arriving soon for restore, from a customer who called today.


Shop Action

Monday 1/24/2011

This week we have two 9001’s and a 7001 in the shop.  Ken’s 9001 has had the crucial 4ch board fix and is just about ready for power up, maybe later today.  Jim’s 9001 still needs the 4 ch board fix, but has most of the other boards recapped.  We have just gotten started on the 7001.

Old reliable, our shop stereo 9001 is on the upper left.  Jim’s 9001 (sans front panel) and the 7001 are on the 2nd shelf.

Ken’s QRX is just about all back together.   The recap is done and the big 12,000uf caps are being wired onto their panel.  Ken wanted all the mods for his unit, you can see a lot of the polypropylene caps on the CD4 board, upper right.  77 poly caps added to this 9001.  That’s a total of 284 parts replaced or added to this QRX.  Can you see why I get a little nervous at first power up?  LOL.   Next will be to calibrate and set all adjustments, then the HG alignment, then the ouput driver mods, then test, test, test.

Here are Ken’s removable boards.  The poly caps are the red blobs.   The tone control boards (with the pots) get 12 each, the others not so many.

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