Sansui Electric Co., Ltd.
A Japanese manufacturer of audio and video equipment. Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, it is part of Grande Holdings, a Chinese Hong Kong-based conglomerate, which also owns Japanese brands Akai and Nakamichi.
Founded in Tokyo in 1947, Sansui initially manufactured transformers, but by the 1960s had developed a reputation for making serious audio components. They were sold in foreign markets through that and the next decade. Sansui's amplifiers and tuners from the 1960s and 1970s remain in demand by audio enthusiasts.
In the UK around 1982, the Sansui AU-D101 amplifier and its more powerful sibling the AU-D33, were highly acclaimed by audiophiles and were so well matched to a pair of KEF Coda III speakers that they could be bought as a set from some outlets. These amplifiers used a complex feed-forward servo system which resulted in very low 2nd order harmonic distortion. Despite this success, Sansui completely failed to follow up with further mass market audiophile components.
As the mid 1980s arrived, sales were lost to competitors (Sony, Pioneer, Matsushita's Technics). Sansui began to lose visibility in the United States around 1988, and then focused on manufacturing high-end components in Japan. The company began to manufacture high-end television sets and other video equipment, but ceased exportation. In the late 1990s, the company's brand was used on video equipment manufactured by other companies. The current manufacturer of the rebranded sets as Orion Electric, based in Osaka and Fukui, Japan. Its U.S. subsidiary markets products under the Sansui brand, among others. Sansui is thus a mere umbrella brand at present. This radical change in Sansui's corporate identity has resulted in a notable change in its product quality as consumers now tend to consider Sansui a mass-market brand rather than a maker of high-end electronics.