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Sansui, and Beyond
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Tran Vinh Tho
Reply with quote  #1 

Hi all,


As far as I know, the ever best combos of Sansui are CA-3000/BA-5000 and C/B-2301, the former in the 70s and the latter in the 80s. I myself have got C-2301, B-2301 & B-2301L. Some comparisons have been made so far between these 2 combos, especially by BF on other forums. It seems that we can't say which is better - B2301 or BA5000, although BF has showed his great interest in BA-5000 (he poseeses 3 of it!). What I want to ask you pals here is the comparison between C-2301 and CA-3000. I don't think it is so difficult as the case between the two powers.


As you know, it took Sansui three years after manufacturing the B-2301 (1982 @JPY470,000) to finish the C-2301 (1985 @JPY550,000). So, we can understand that the C-2301 was really the masterpiece of SS at that time. Because I have still been in the seek of BA-5000/CA-3000, I can't make audition these two pre-amps for comparison. Would anyone here have any expriences and opinions on this? And BF, have you ever compared C-2301 and CA-3000 hooked on BA-5000 or on B-2301?


Looking forward to your opinions.



Reply with quote  #2 

Hi Tran:

Your questions are interesting, just the type that I like to answer    How about adding a B & C-2302 to the list for comparison?

I havent been able to do a comparison because of a channel dropout problem with my CA-3000. I believe it has the typical 'feedthru foil' problem that is common with the CA-3K, as Warren is quite familiar with.  I hope to get that fixed soon. Otherwise, my CA-3000 is in great condition, and I'd rather be able to use it, then having it sitting around inactive.  I do have a CA-2000 which I think is also an excellent preamp, not quite as classy as the CA-3K, but has a superior volume control knob, probably the best on any Sansui (as on the AU-11000 & 9900).

Although I understand your interest on the 2301's, keep in mind that not many people are going to be able to respond with comments for the simple reason that there arent alot of others of them out there, compared to say.., AU-717, 9090DB, etc..    The 2301's were audiophile-level quality, thus, a bit expensive to buy when they were introduced. I dont know if Sansui sold that many of them, I imagine more people who wanted an excellent amp, but more affordable, bought an AU-G99X. I  also think these models required a high level of quality control at the factory, so I dont know if Sansui manufactured as many of them, compared to their AU-G models at the time. I suppose the serial # would give some indications- my 2301's are February 1986 models: B-2301 is an ..0001!, and my C-2301 is an ...0007.

I have seen very few of them for sale here in the U.S.  I actually bought mine from a seller in Canada- he was moving, and posted a for sale notice on this forum, in the old message board, so I consider myself to be quite lucky to have bought them.

You had mentioned that B-2301 came out before C-2301, but I have an issue of Audio magazine, April 1985 which reviews both models together. The review is quite detailed, I'm glad the magazine did the review, I dont think there is that type of information anywhere else, except for some German hi fi mags which I have, (where info/reviews on B-2302 can be found also).



Tran Vinh Tho
Reply with quote  #3 

Hi BF:


I really know that not so many people possess B/C-2301 or BA-5000/CA-3000. So, as you said, there's not much hope to get opinions about the comparison between C-2301 and CA-3000, but the one from you, who have got both combos! I'm just surprised that so far you haven't made such a comparison (or I haven't read that if you've ever made and posted somewhere on the net)!


In my opinion, CA-3000 was made to match BA-3000, and then after that BA-5000 was produced. So CA-3000 was used for the two powers. I have been wondering about these two pre-amp just because I have got several chances to obtained the CA-2000 but I've given up the intention. Opening the CA-2000, I was really disappointed with the design and circuit inside. Of course we can't expect that it should be of the same level as C-2301 (the one I've got). And looking at the inside of CA-3000, the circuit and design are actually better than the CA-2000. But frankly speaking, it (CA-3000) does not look as superior as C-2301.


I also have some other high quality pre-amps. They are Exclusive C3 (1973, JPY330,000); Denon PRA-2000, 2000Z (late 70s, JPY200-250,000); and Yamaha C-1 (1974, JPY400,000). Compare them with CA-3000 (1975, JPY160,000) and even with BA-5000 (1975, JPY390,000). All those top pre-amps, in my audition, are clearly surpassed by C-2301!


BF, I hope that once your CA-3000 works perfectly again, please try making an A/B test between C-2301 and CA-3000 on both B-2301 and BA-3000 in order to see any difference. I myself will get one CA-3000 if I have the chance in oder to fulfil such a test.


The information that it took Sansui 3yrs to design and manufacture C-2301 to match B-2301 was given on some Japanese audio websites (I'll show you later). The review on C/B-2301 in a German mag in 1985 is not contradictory to this information. I also read that review when you posted it on another forum.






Reply with quote  #4 

Hello again, TVT:

I am fairly sure that the BA-5000 and BA-3000 came out at the same time (rather than your idea that the BA-5000 came out afterward).

This can be verified by the serial #'s in the back going back to 1975, as well as hi fi magazine ads from that time, and finally, the Sansui brochure & catalogs which show them together.

The CA-3000 was the best preamp that Sansui could make at the time, thus, I dont think they couldve made something even better and called it a CA-5000

I do hope to get my CA-3000 working again, its just a matter of having enough time, which I dont seem to have lately   I understand your interest in sound-comparisons, though there have been numerous debates in audio publications about proper ways of doing an accurate comparison, so, I dont know if its a simple matter as it may seem to switch between 2 amps and be able to proclaim which one sounds better. Interconnect cables, power conditioners might play a role, and if not, well, the listening room certainly does!

Also, keep in mind: The BA-5000 & CA-3000 dont offer balanced XLR connections as the @2301's do, thus there are differences to be aware of.


Well, those are alot of preamps you mentioned. Glad you regard the C-2301 so highly, (as I do).

The only things I can think of that I would add to the C-2301 is a larger illuminated Sansui logo (as on the G series receiver- the best logo design in my opinion),  and balanced INPUT connector, so that a CD player with XLR's could go to the preamp.

One must also be careful with the 'Source Direct'- and not accidentally send a huge, loud blast of volume to the speakers, as can happen (I learned that firsthand!  

The illuminated volume control numbers is a nice touch.  I bet that if you like the C-2301 as much as we do, just imagine an early 1990's C-2302.



Reply with quote  #5 
Nice site!
Reply with quote  #6 
Hello TVT

I have C/B 2301 year of productions 1989 , and AU 20000.Surley you now that he is the same as C/B 3000.......
My overall sound impression between C/B2301  and AU 20000 is:

                    C/B2301                    AU20000

focus                10                              7-8
noise                10                              7
details              10                              8
stage               10                              8-9
warm                7-8                            8-9

C/B 2301 is better device than AU20000.... still some songs sound  better on the  AU 20000 
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