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Sansui TU 919




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  600.000 lire anno 1979




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Sansui TU-919 (1979, $585, front, closeup, back, inside, block diagram, brochure1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) search eBay
The TU-919 is now widely recognized as a top tuner and a worthy rival of Sansui's classic TU-9900 (if perhaps a bit short of a TU-X1). The TU-919 has a 5-gang analog tuning capacitor with a digital LED readout like the TU-719 has. Our panelist Bob has details on the TU-919's 4 filters: "The filters are set up a little differently than, say, a KT-7500. The TU-919 uses three 280 kHz GDT flat group delay 3-pin filters for the wide IF bandwidth mode, and what appears to be one 150 kHz 3-pin filter for narrow mode - all Murata, and well-matched stock. In narrow it is using all 4 filters, and in wide just the three 280 GDT's. As a result, the wide mode is not super wide, and really almost makes the narrow extraneous, sort of like the Accuphase T-100 or Kenwood KT-8005 or 8007. The TU-919 would probably be great for DXing with a 110 kHz filter in narrow for getting adjacent channels." The TU-919 is more sensitive than the TU-717 and 719, and our audiophile reviewers agree that the TU-919 sounds great. AM radio listeners should note that the TU-919 has a wide-narrow filter for the AM band which can eliminate typical AM splatter noise, making it the best-sounding AM section Bob has ever heard. He adds, "Sensitivity is very good, and the TU-919 excels in having probably one of the best stock stereo blend noise filters. It really does a good job killing the noise, keeping the stereo image, without rolling off the highs. The ergonomics are good, but you are wishing you could turn the crystal lock off on occasion. It locks on and hangs on well past the indicated dial marking, then lets go and steps to the next frequency (in .1's). It's just odd because you are now well past where the dial says you should be. It does this in both directions, depending on which way you approach the station."

Our contributor Ed Hanlon did some work on a TU-919: "My favorite tuner of all time is a newly modified TU-919. First off, we defeated that silly quartz lock tuning (but kept the pretty green LED on all the time). Next we rearranged the filter configuration so that instead of 3 filters functioning in wide mode, now just two do. The narrow band, which before only added a fourth filter to the 3 in wide, now has 2 filters. So instead of being a 3+1, this tuner is now a 2+2. Wide bandwidth has enhanced fidelity, and you can even notice a difference between the wide and narrow settings! And unlike our first go-round with defeating quartz lock tuning (in the TU-719, perhaps?), defeating the lock on the TU-919 works perfectly. Right now I'm listening to WQXR-96.3, with no splash from my local station on 96.5, and it sounds wonderful. The one nit I can pick: even with the stereo threshold cranked all the way down, this tuner will pop in and out of stereo on very weak signals. By changing the pot that controls the stereo threshold, the user can decide how much noise is too much, and has the option of using the very fine FM Noise Filter this unit employs. It looks like the stereo threshold will affect the muting, meaning that if we change that pot, we may lose the muting function. I say 'who cares?' I never use FM muting anyway."

Our contributor John C. did a comparison: "I initially felt that my modded TU-919 was better sounder than my TU-9900, until I got around to replacing the 9900's op-amps, direct coupling the output and bypassing the variable output control. Huge, huge improvement, made the 919 sound flat, and this after having felt that the 919 was my reference. Relooked at the 919 and replaced a couple of electrolytics with some film caps, and a couple of other things knowing now what could achieved, and it came in much closer than it had been." See how one TU-919 sounded compared to other top tuners on our Shootouts page, and read our panelist David "A"'s Ricochet.

The TU-919's normal sale price range on eBay is $500-700, but higher is possible for particularly nice ones. A TU-919 in good condition with rack handles can easily sell for $800 or more, and a "new in box" 919 fetched $820 in 7/07. And what about the truly abnormal sales? In late 2003, some crazed eBay newbies ran up the price of two ordinary TU-919s (no rack handles, no manuals or other extras) from $650 or so to $1,005 and $920, respectively, and another one with rack handles and manuals went for $1,125. Hey guys, even though Jim thought the TU-919 sounded great in his system, you got carried away. [DA][BF][EF][JR]

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