Sansui 551

Sansui 551 Receiver

The Sansui 551 is a mid-range receiver that was on the market from around 1974 to 1976. It retailed for $259.95 and is a solid state receiver that produces 16 watts per channel. For a mid-range, low powered receiver it does its job well and looks good too.

It has most of the connections you’d want including a phono, a tape, 2 speaker outputs, 2 AC outlets, and an AUX connection.

Sansui 551 Meter

Its features are somewhat limited with just the basic functions incorporated into the receiver. There is a signal strength meter, bass and treble controls, a high filter, loudness switch, a headphone jack, and a muting button. That’s about it.

Sansui 551 Knobs

The 551’s silver face coupled with faux wood-metal case, and the green dial scale gives it a great vintage look, and it’s smaller size makes it perfect for a small room, office, or garage.

  • Dimensions: 16 3/4 x 5 3/8 x 11 3/4 inches (424 x 135 x 285mm)
  • Weight: 19 pounds (7.7kg)

The Sansui 551 really looks good lit up in a dark room too.

Sansui 551 Lamps

So, how about its performance? As mentioned above it puts out 16 watts per channel so unless you’re pairing it with some smaller bookshelf speakers your speakers will need to be very efficient. Not really a problem. Total harmonic distortion is a respectable 0.8%.

Sansui 551 Inside

The FM tuner on the Sansui 551 is actually pretty good with a signal-to-noise ratio of better than 65 dB.

Mechanically the 551 receiver is pretty well built. Not top quality but probably above average. It does have a couple IC’s in the phono and tuner sections which, if they go bad, can be hard to find replacements for.

The 551 is the smallest receiver in the xx1 lineup that utilizes discrete main amplifier components.

Sansui 551 Comparison

Here are the specs for the Sansui 551 from the user’s manual:

Sansui 551 Specs

The 551 was part of Sansui’s xx1 line which also included the 221, 331, 661, 771, and the top-of-the-line 881. As a comparison the 881 produces 63 watts per channel. Here they are in one of Sansui’s advertisements:

Sansui 551 Ad

What do owners of the Sansui 551 say about it?

  • Very sensitive tuner but you need to mate the 551 with neutral speakers, otherwise it will sound too boomy.
  • Wanted to give a shout out to the little Sansui 551. Holy moly this thing packs a punch for lees than 20 wpc!
  • It’s a very good receiver. Powerful, with a fine tuner aboard. Typical for the whole series, starting from 221 up to the 881.
  • I think my humble Sansui 551 at 16 WPC is my favorite receiver!
  • The 551 is a sweet sounding receiver. All of the xx1’s are.
Sansui 551 Back Panel

If you’re looking for a smaller receiver that won’t break your budget and you don’t need a lot of power then the Sansui 551 receiver meets the bill. Despite being toward the lower end of the Sansui model lineup, they have a great sound and the warmth you’d expect from a quality vintage receiver. It’s the perfect small receiver for a pair of bookshelf speakers and a turntable.

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2 thoughts on “Sansui 551

  1. I can personally vouch for this receiver. The 551 has a tremendous sound and at 16 watts it does punch above its weight. I would highly recommend for a small to medium sized room.

  2. I inherited one of these from an old employer. It was used in their shop for decades as a daily driver, and cosmetically it looked like it. It worked , but at the very least needed a full cleaning inside, and more likely needed a re-cap/ restoration. I ended up getting rid of it when I moved to a different state, but I often wonder if I should have kept it and had it fully restored. I know most vintage receivers of lower wattage punch far above their weight, and sound incredible when working properly. I know my Sherwood S 7100 A does.

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