View Full Version : Sansui SS-20 Headphones


VinylHanger
12-28-2002, 12:36 AM
What era are these from. They have tone and volume controls, with the 70's white cups. How are they regarded as far as vintage phones go. My folks had a set similar if not the same ones. Any other vintage phones to look for? Even if they aren't Sansui?
Best part is that they cost 2 bucks and are as minty as possible, looks like they were never used. The cord is making a bit of noise, I will be pulling them open tonight and fixing that.

BeatleFred
12-28-2002, 02:54 PM
Hi VH, I have a pair of SS-20's that I got from Ebay about two or three years ago. I already had AKG K240's & Grado SR-80's but I was curious about Sansui h-phones- how they sounded (as I did the same with trying out one of their speaker models, the SP-X8700's).

Maybe I can fetch them out of the closet and try 'em again, but the SS-20's as I recall, didnt really knock me out in any way. Certainly didnt offer any special sound qualitities that would make me stop using the AKG's or Grado's. Since owning my Infinity Renaissance 90 speakers in Jan. '01 Ive hardly done any headphone listening at all, but I digress).

The SS-20's date to the late 70's, they, along with about a dozen other SS models are shown in a German Sansui catalog I have from that time (where they are called "kopfhorers"). While the SS-20's are very bulky, I do notice some other models like the SH-5 and SH-15 which are much more sleek and stylish (dont have the white bulk) - now THOSE might be worth a listen to, but now that I think of it, I realize that I dont think Ive ever seen ANY for sale Online.

As for the question you mentioned, I imagine there must be quite a few sites dedicated to the glorious world of Headphones with ratings on the better sounding & made ones though not sure how many of them go bacjk that far to cover Vintage models.

http://headwize2.powerpill.org/ubb/forumdisplay.php?fdays=20&fnum=1

Regards, B/F.

VinylHanger
12-28-2002, 09:16 PM
BF,
I haven't really done a whole lot of headphone listening. I remember my folks having this series of headphones though. I think I may be odd, but I enjoy the bulkyness of them. It allows me to totally tune out the rest of the house. Which with a four year old in the house isn't an easy thing to do. I did open them up last night to fix a loose/broken wire and there was a large capacitor in them as a crossover, I may switch it out and see if that helps any. I realize there are probably much better new units, I am looking for a Stax adaptor for a set I have, but the older vintage ones are so cheap and there are so many of them, it is easy to try the different ones out.
There is a set of SS-60's on the bay for under 10 bucks, I may try for those and see if there is a difference.
The SS series is the only ones I recall also, but I will keep an eye out for the others as well.

stump69
03-20-2009, 04:18 AM
Just joined the forum because I saw a very nice pair of SS-20s up for bids on E-bay and remembered my old Sansui gear from the 70s. Back in 1973, I had just received an installment payment on my Army re-enlistment bonus and it was enough to buy a Sansui Seven receiver but not quite enough for the SP-2500 speaker system that I wanted, so I bought the next best thing - the SS-20 headphones. I could still enjoy all my music from FM and my Garrard SL-95B turntable.

The headphones were still working when they could no longer be worn because of dry-rotting pads on the cans and a broken headband, so I'm thinking of bidding on the E-bay set...

Arkay
03-20-2009, 06:53 AM
I have a pair of Sansui SS-20A headphones. I don't know what difference the "A" represents; I assume these models are close.

What I found when I heard these, STOCK, was a mediocre old headphone sound, with a muddy, un-loveable bass. Fortunately, I had just finished studying the "markl mods" for the Denon Headphones, when I got these. With all that tweaking in my head, I decided to see what I could make out of these Sansuis.

I spent a whole evening trying different things, until I found what sounded RIGHT, and it turns out to be very simple. Open 'em up. Put some Blu-tack on the back of the "motor"; the little metal can-like thing that covers the magnets on the rear of the rivers. Dampen those down with a layer of Blu-tac. That's it. That's all you need to do.

The result put these almost in the same class as my Beyerdynamics. No more boomy bass; the bass tightened up nicely. Along with it, the whole balance across the frequency spectrum improved.

Are these sows'-ear headphones transformed into exotic, hand-embroidered audiophile silk purses?

Well, not quite. But they sound pretty darn good this way, better than all the other vintage headphones I've found, including the Pioneer SE-505s. Very easy to listen to, without listener fatigue, for hours on end, and while not extreme audiophile like some of today's headphones, still overall very good.

I use them now in rotation with a couple of other cans on an almost daily basis, and I like them. Without the Blu-tac tweak, I would have hung them up as decorations and never listened to them again. With it, I'm grateful to have found these and to be able to listen to them. Still planning to buy Denon AH-D5000s in a few months, but until I get those, these will do fine.

Mystery
09-10-2012, 11:49 AM
...
I spent a whole evening trying different things, until I found what sounded RIGHT, and it turns out to be very simple. Open 'em up. Put some Blu-tack on the back of the "motor"; the little metal can-like thing that covers the magnets on the rear of the rivers. Dampen those down with a layer of Blu-tac. That's it. That's all you need to do.

The result put these almost in the same class as my Beyerdynamics. No more boomy bass; the bass tightened up nicely. Along with it, the whole balance across the frequency spectrum improved.
...

Bringing the thread back from dead.
I just go my hands on a pair of Sansui SS-20 and these sound good but not enough bass as KOSS PRO-4AA's.
I'll try this mod and see if it improves bass.
Also, these are very inefficient.
KOSS PRO-4AA are ear piercing loud where these Sansui sound at normal level at the same volume.
Thanks for the tip.