The Sansui 350A was a budget receiver introduced by Sansui in 1970. It is all solid state and produces just 20 watts per channel. It was offered at a retail price of just $199.95. Given its price point it was designed to do the basics well but with minimal features.
The Sansui 350 series has 3 different models:
- The 350 was produced from end of 1968 to early 1970.
- The 350L was produced in 1969 and is rare.
- The 350A was produced from late 1970 to mid 1973. This model is the most common.
The 350 front panel is quite a bit different as you can see.
The Sansui 350A stereo receiver embodies much of the aesthetic and tactile qualities of Sansui’s more expensive models. The two tone front with smoked acrylic dial panel and silver control panel give it a sophisticated look. The broad tuning dial occupies the center of the front panel, with ample spacing between FM frequencies for clarity. A signal strength meter sits to the left of the dial, and the tuning knob rests on the right. Below are an array of controls and inputs, including the power switch, headphone jack, speaker selector (main or main plus remote), bass, treble, volume, and balance knobs, and switches for loudness/volume, stereo/mono, tape monitoring, and multiplex noise filtering. A selector knob provides source options of phono, FM, AM, and auxiliary.
To reduce costs, the 350A approaches FM reception uniquely. Most receivers contain a mono FM mode that disables stereo sound. However, the 350A lacks this setting. Instead, the unit activates stereo reception for any station whose subcarrier surpasses its stereo sensitivity threshold, then illuminates a stereo indicator light. For weak stations that fail to produce clean audio, listeners can either enable the mono setting, which combines the left and right channels to suppress noise, or activate the multiplex filter to diminish high frequency disturbances.
Tone controls –
- Bass at 100 Hz: ± 10 dB
- Treble at 10 kHz: ± 10 dB
- Loudness: + 6 dB at 100 Hz, + 3 dB at 10 kHz
The wood cabinet was included with the 350A at no cost as there is no metal case underneath. The chassis slides out of the cabinet and the interior is exposed.
The FM tuner on the Sansui 350A is very good and many owners compliment its separation and clarity.
The frontend of the 350A uses a frequency linear 3 gang variable capacitor and low noise field effect transistor (FET) in the RF stage. This combination improves interference rejection and noticeably enhances the signal-to-noise ratio for overall high performance and stability. An automatic gain control (AGC) circuit also ensures exceptional selectivity in strong signal areas near broadcast stations.
The 4 stage IF amplifier and 3 stage limiter circuit provide excellent limiting effects. With abundant amplification, high stability, and low noise and distortion, they guarantee quality reception in both noisy, remote areas as well as strong signal locations. The exceptional 32dB selectivity confirms the tuner’s superior ability to isolate stations despite competing signals.
Unlike conventional high cut systems, the noise canceler circuit in the 350A removes only high frequency noise components within the audio band. Together with the 3-stage limiter, it ensures noise-free reception. This ‘feature’ is really a cost saving measure on Sansui’s part so they could do away with any filters on the front panel.
The FM Multiplex circuit in the 350A provides channel separation exceeding 30dB at 1,000Hz and total harmonic distortion below 1%.
In FM AUTO mode, an electronic switch automatically adjusts for stereo reception and illuminates a stereo indicator. For weak stereo signals, the tuner reverts to mono to avoid subpar stereo quality.
An FM local/distant switch (on the rear panel) allows distortion-free FM reception even in strong signal areas.
The Sansui 350A aimed to minimize costs which resulted in some interesting characteristics. For example, the speaker selector permits listening through the A speaker pair alone or together with the B pair, but does not allow the B pair to operate independently. Inserting headphones into the front panel jack silences the speakers entirely, preventing headphone use in one room while speakers play in another. Additionally, the left and right channels cannot be adjusted separately using the tone controls. But, the minimalist design still met the needs of those listeners seeking high quality stereo sound on a budget.
The amplifier in the Sansui 350A is a cap coupled design which many feel gives it a warm sound. It utilizes a semi-complementary Darlington circuit design to deliver 54 watts per channel of music power into 4 ohms, and 46 watts per channel into 8 ohms. Continuous power output reaches 22 watts per channel at 4 ohms, and 20 watts per channel at 8 ohms. Distortion is rated at 1% or less, while the power bandwidth spans a wide 30 to 30,000Hz. This combination of power and low distortion provides clean, detailed stereo reproduction across the full audible range.
One common issue with the 350A is it can develop a hiss or noise even when the volume is at zero. This is usually a problem with some transistors in the unit. There are a number of 2SC458 transistors in the 350A that can go bad and cause the hiss. They can be replaced with KSC1845 NPN transistors which should solve the problem. Fortunately the 350A is very easy to work on and parts are not hard to find.
This has become one of my favorite receivers over the years. Nice mid-range bass and plenty powerful. It produces a much bigger sounds than its numbers suggest.
Very nice little receiver, sounds and looks great.
Great little stereo, seems to be more powerful than its specs.
I use it on FM and the sound is impressive. Very separated and clean.
This is the best little receiver my ears have ever heard.
Really like its simple and classy aesthetics.
The rear panel of the Sansui 350A stereo receiver contains multiple input and output options. Clip-style terminals, which don’t require spade lugs, accept connections for a 300 ohm FM antenna (twin lead), 75 ohm FM antenna (coaxial cable), long-wire AM antenna, and two pairs of stereo speakers. Phono jacks are supplied in right and left pairs for the magnetic phono input, auxiliary input, tape recording output, and tape monitor input.
Additional rear panel features include grounding posts, a local/distant FM switch, a ferrite AM antenna, AC power cord, fuse, and a switched convenience outlet. A voltage selector lies concealed beneath the nameplate. The clip terminals and abundance of inputs and outputs equip the 350A with the connectivity necessary for integrating the receiver within a full stereo system.
The Sansui 350A is definitely not a powerhouse, so pairing it with inefficient speakers should be avoided, especially when utilizing two speaker pairs. Exceptions include small rooms, or settings where music plays only as background audio. Despite some power limitations, it can readily meet the needs of most listeners looking for an affordable vintage receiver. The 350A’s tuner is excellent and it has a great vintage style that will look good in any vintage audio setup.