Stefano Pasini



SANSUI TU-317, TU-717, T-80


In April 2020, during the first lockdown, I bought a nice 1977 Sansui TU-717

The dial is very nice, but when I unpacked and connected it, the fourth lamp (last one on the right) was not working

Luckily it was only a problem of it having been a bit 'disturbed' during the shipping. Removing it, cleaning, using some contact-cleaning spray made the lamp work again, giving the dial a pleasant uniformity

From the excellent :
"Sansui TU-717 (1977, $370)
The TU-717 has 4 FM and 2 AM gangs, 4 ceramic filters, and audiophile-caliber sound. Some think the TU-717 and its relatives are among the best-looking tuners, with their sleek black faces and nice lights. When modified with narrower filters in the narrow IF bandwidth path, the TU-717 can be an excellent tuner for DXing while retaining its fine audio quality in the wide IF mode. As good as most TU-717s are, they can easily be made better; our panelist Bob says, "I think the TU-717 must have had a systematic problem at the factory for the alignment. Every one I see is grossly off. Just getting that done correctly makes a huge improvement, if you do nothing else." On the DIY Mods page, our panelist Jim describes how to make the TU-717 even better by rebuilding the power supply and inserting better-quality capacitors in the audio stage. See how one stock TU-717 sounded compared to other top tuners on our Shootouts page, and our contributor Jeff R. compared his TU-717 to a Kenwood KT-9900. Here are Sansui's instructions on how to replace the dial cord on a TU-717. On eBay, the TU-717 can sell for almost anywhere from the mid-$100s to over $300, with $150-200 being the most common range. The all-time high was $461 in 4/05 for a "new old stock" TU-717. The higher priced 717s usually have rack mount handles


The first setting of the classic TU-717 confirmed the importance of a good antenna even in urban settings. Above, no antenna connected, tuned to RAI3 radio, that broadcasts from a good station nearby.... wth a normal dipole antenna...

...this is what happens connecting a better longer dipole antenna, horizontal polarization....
...and finally this is the signal strength fitting a better, longer dipole antenna with vertical polarization. This is the obvious choice for allowing an audiophile-grade tuner like the TU-717 the best possible signal; this allows the use of 'wide' filters and as a consequence of the best possible sound
SANSUI T-80 (1979)
I also bought a T-80, intrigued by its double display, analogic and digital with quartz-lock

 From the excellent :
"Sansui T-80
The T-80 is almost identical to the T-60, cosmetically, but it also has a digital frequency readout. Like the T-60, the T-80 has 3 gangs, 2 filters and good sound. Read our panelist JohnC's mods to the T-80 on our DIY Mods page. The T-80 generally sells for $20-60 on eBay, but a T-80 sold for $1.75 in 6/08 and one clueless bidder paid $90 in 6/07.
Sansui T-80

No antenna...
Sansui T-80

...normale dipole....
Sansui T-80

...longer dipole, vertical polarization
Sansui T-80

Family portrait: T-80 (1979), above, and TU-717 (1977), below. Only two years separate the two tuners, but everything has changed dramatically. For most of us classic audiophiles, the older machine is the better-looking and it's very probably the best sounding of the pair


SANSUI TU-317 (1978)


Sansui TU-317


The dreaded UE technical laws (most of them conceived to force us to throw away perfectly good old stuff and spend more money to buy new equipment for the profit of its manufacturers...) are going to make our beloved FM tuners useless.The quarantine days are a good occasione to pull off the shelves some of the equipment we bought years ago and almost this very attractive Sansui tuner


Sansui TU-317

The fascination of an old-school stereo tuner is evident in this simple but extremely well-lit tuner. The TU-317 was one of the cheaper Sansui tuners at the time but works very well even in a busy zone like my home in central Bologna, where there dozens of radio station broadcasting, sometimes with a very low control of the bandwith they would be allowed to use. It links very well to this FM transmitter
And as it is very easy to see in the picture below, a Sony S590ES may be much better for sensitivity, selectivity, signal control, allowing a much better tuning of difficuolt stations, but from the visual point of view there is simply no match...!
Sansui TU-317

From the excellent :

"Sansui TU-317 (1978, $240)
The scarce TU-317 appears to be the same tuner as the TU-217 with the exception of an additional switch labeled "Noise Canceller" and a lighted tuning dial. They look almost identical cosmetically and have basically the same circuitry. Like the TU-217, the TU-317 is easy to modify for even better sound quality as described on the DIY Mods page (the toughest part is finding one). Our contributor Warren M. reports that his modified TU-317 is "not very selective, not very sensitive, and requires a very good signal to get quiet, but its stereo/soundstage is fairly good. It performs seriously above its weight." The TU-317 has 3 gangs and 2 filters and usually sells for $40-80 on eBay, with a high of $159 in 6/08 for a mint one. A TU-317 with rack handles and manuals went for $123 in 4/09.

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