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  The AIG FM Tuner Project: Sansui TU-999 - Another 70s Classic!

      Date posted: January 21, 2008

Read the AIG FM Tuner Project Introduction

Sansui TU-999, front
Here we have a top-of-the-line Sansui from the great analog days, the model above the TU-888, which we recently reviewed. The TU-999 is a little more sensitive, and has a few more features as well. This unit comes with a complete combined owner’s and service manual, so further tweaking will be easy for advanced audiophile or technicians with the right tools. It is in excellent physical and operating condition, with a metal case, and a very high quality of construction and interior compartmentalized shielding.

Across the front panel we can see the Power toggle at left, the Stereo light beside it, with 3 toggles at center for MPX Noise Canceler, FM Stereo Only, and Muting. To the right are knobs for Selector (AM, FM, FM Auto, FM Stereo), with the Tuning knob at far right. Centre Tune and Signal Strength meters are just above.

The rear panel offers spring-load antenna connections at left, the AM ferrite rod across center, with Muting and Level adjust screwtaps below, and slide switches for FM AGC (Automatic Gain Control) and De-emphasis (75 or 25 ohms). Toward right near bottom are the audio outputs, one intended for Tape recording that bypasses the level pots. Fuse and switched and un-switched AC outlets complete the back panel complement.
TU-999, rear
On both 75 and 300 ohm antennas, the TU-999 received 46 and 48 stations, respectively, and will probably favour a 300-ohm antenna, but is comfortable with either. Conditions were a little poorer than average in early Winter. One oddity I should note is that the Stereo light stays on when the Selector is set to FM, even though the sound is mono; I guess this allows one to check which stations are stereo when in this mode. Mono stations are muted in FM Stereo mode. The TU-999 is quite selective, but its stereo quieting is not up there with the best models on weak signals.

Sound quality is right up there with the better Sansui models of its era, with very solid, defined bass, a sweet, open midrange, and wide separation. Dial calibration on our sample is very accurate. All the lights work, as I hope I’ve shown in the first photo, taken without flash. I liked and enjoyed this tuner a lot, and like a faithful bright-eyed sleek dog, it found a good and loving home. Shucks…I just couldn’t resist that. Canine comparisons aside, the TU-999 is an early classic predecessor to the legendary TU-9900, and a very fine performer in its own right. Both exhibit the solid and enduring quality of the marque at its height.

Andrew Marshall

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4 Responses to “The AIG FM Tuner Project: Sansui TU-999 - Another 70s Classic!”

  1. James Squires c-unknown Says:

    What a fluke to find you guys; I am searching for Ole Sansui Equipment.

    I have a Sansui AU 9500 Amp that needs service ; I need the parts for a complete tune up ??

    I would like to find the matching TU 9500 Tuner or whatever they called it back then ??

    I am looking for the Monster Sansui SP 5500 Speakers ??

    Thank you, and I hope to hear from you.

    Jim

  2. Andrew Marshall c-ca Says:

    Hi Jim,

    I would suggest you look for local service people in your area. There are quite a few who specialize in restoring older gear, since it’s now so popular on eBay. You might want to check out www.fmtunerinfo.com, who suggest service bureaus in various parts of the US for tuners, and these people will also deal with amps, etc.

    The TU-9500 does exist, and comes up periodically on eBay, and I believe they sell for under $200 in most cases. There are also lots of Sansui and other Japanese-designed speakers of this vintage, though I would not recommend them. North American models were always better, if not as flashy looking, and speakers have also improved exponentially since the 70s and 80s, so if you want to hear the best from the “ole” equipment, I suggest modern transducers.

    cheers, Andrew Marshall

  3. Juergen c-de Says:

    Hi @all,
    I’m a proud owner of a TU-999, unfortunately my model has problems (i assume) the AGC. (The stations are getting lost, if the temperature in the tuner is getting more warm.)

    Could anyone provide me with a copy of the circuit diagram of the tuner to enable me to fix the problem?

    cheers juergen

  4. FILLIOUX Philippe c-fr Says:

    Good morning,
    I m a happy owner of one Kenwood KR 6600 receiver, the tuner is wonderful i m living in suburd of Paris and it’s not necessary to use an antenna with it i have all fm stations with higt quality.
    I’like to have this separate tuner but i don’t know the modele in the receiver.
    Could you help me?
    Thanks
    Cordialement
    Philippe

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