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Amplifier Sansui AU-X417R review

It’s rare to find plenty of features, oodles of power and a good sound at anything other than an inaccessible price. Yet Sansui has nailed this brief with its AU-X417R. There’s even a matching remote handset to duplicate the on-board volume and input selection facilities.

This amp will cope with both MM and MC phono cartridges, with independent rec-out selection and A+B speaker selection to boot. Incidentally, there is an ’impedance’ switch located at the rear of the case, restricting the power available to multiple 4ohm speaker pairs.

Inside, a large frame mains transformer accounts for much of the amp’s prodigious bulk, though the general standard of construction is rather messy. Quite how this jamboree of components sounds so good is something of a mystery!

Sound quality

The Sansui made a good impression from the first few bars, and built on it as the various tracks progressed. Its coherency and naturalness, the result of plenty of detail combined with a rare degree of tidiness, struck everyone on the panel and inspired comments such as ‘good positioning in soundstage’ and ‘fundamental correctness’. The only dissenting comments related to a slight brightness.

It was clear within one track that this was no ordinary amp, and the second piece did nothing to harm that image. The tone and intonation of the various instruments were particularly well preserved, although once again there was slight criticism of the high frequencies, which one listener felt had a digital shimmer.

The panel agreed that the Sansui AU-X417R captured better than most the mood, ambience, depth and space in the music being played. Quite a lot was made of its Imaging abilities, several comments relating to the positioning and scale of instruments being made, particularly in respect to the Mahler piece.

With vinyl, the balance was the same. The sound was slightly more relaxed and detail retrieval was of a high order.

Conclusion

Undoubtedly the most pleasant surprise in the batch, the Sansui AU-X417R combines the userfriendliness of remote control with enthusiastic, inspiring sound quality.

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