Is the Sansui SR-333 a good turntable? (need advice here)

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by Mr. Lin, Apr 3, 2008.

  1. Mr. Lin

    Mr. Lin Lunatic Member

    I have the option of taking one of two Sansui turntables for free from my girlfriend's father. Off hand I can't remember the model number of the first one, but it's suspended, wood base, belt driven, S-shaped tonearm. When I asked about it here a while back someone told me it's ok but at the lower end of Sansui turntables.

    The other one I currently have sitting on my floor. It's a SR-333, direct drive, very heavy. I plugged it in and it works, and in a minute I'm going to test it out on headphones. The only thing that concerns me is that the entire tonearm assembly seems to move back and forth to a very minimal, almost unnoticeable, degree. So perhaps there are bearing issues?

    Anyway I'd like to know if this table is considered a potential performer or not. It would be nice to own a direct drive table for once, but I like the appearance of the other Sansui better.
  2. Mr. Lin

    Mr. Lin Lunatic Member

    Aha, I just found my older thread. The other turntable is a Sansui SR-212. So between the two of these, which would be considered the better turntable? I definitely prefer the appearance and design of the SR-212.
  3. Mr. Lin

    Mr. Lin Lunatic Member

    Just because I enjoy talking to myself I'm going to add one more thing...

    I just hooked it up to my headphone amp, set the VTF and gave it a quick listen with a beat up Bowie record. It sounded pretty awful, very muffled. Part of the problem is that one of the RCA pins is actually bent so it doesn't fit properly into the RCA jacks on the phono preamp. The other issue is probably the cartridge, which is an Empire 6000, and it sure doesn't look like much. That doesn't matter because I have plenty of good backup cartridges.
  4. Sansui Louie

    Sansui Louie Curmudgeon

    The 212 is a belt drive, the 333 direct, me thinks. Personally, I'd also take the 212 as the build quality is probably a bit better than the later 333.
  5. BrocLuno

    BrocLuno AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Mr Lin - take them both. Put one in a box in the basement or garage. Let's start with the one you like. The belt drive probably needs basic maintenance. If it spins, that's all you can expect from a donor. Lets do all the basics and see where you end up before passing any sound judgment?

    Let's get some De-Oxit, WD-40, some sewing machine oil in a clock oiler and see where we end up? Did you download the owners and service manuals for these from Does the spindle have sealed bearings or open ones? Have you spritzed the speed controls, headshell contacts and all switches? Have you tried slightly rotating the headshell leads to get fresh contacts (with a bit of De-Oxit)? What's the stylus look like on the Empire? Tried Magic Eraser and cleaned the stylus? Tried to pull the stylus and reinserting to make sure it's seated correctly? How's the alignment (you KNOW how important that is)?

    If it takes interchangeable headshells, get a few or borrow one from the other machine, mount your Silver and spin it with that to get a better idea of the condition of the tone arm wiring and such. Get yourself down to Wally World and get some "Video" patch cables and drop by Radio Shack and get some bulkhead RCA connectors and fix away. THEN run another sound test? in Corvallis OR will get you another cheap after market stylus for the Empire (or an OEM if you want?) and a new drive belt, probably with free USPS shipping. Once that's taken care of, you can sound test AGAIN. Then we'd like to hear your impressions of these tables :) My suspicion is that they will surprise you with their sonic performance. You'll likely be within 10% of your higher end tables when all serviced and finally running with a good cartridge :)
  6. Thom

    Thom Active Member

    I have a SR-333 I got from my brother and am very pleased with it. No tonearm issues. Rock steady speed. I use it for recording.
  7. Mr. Lin

    Mr. Lin Lunatic Member

    Yikes! I've never had to bring a vintage turntable back to life, and I guess I didn't realize all the things that need to be done. I do have some De-Oxit and WD-40, so that's a start.:D

    I'll point out here that I can't have both the turntables, it's one or the other. Frankly I don't know why this is since her father doesn't listen to vinyl at all anymore, but I'm not going to question it because it's very nice of him to give away either of these. I've pretty much decided I want the SR-212, and Broc when you see a picture of it you'll probably understand why, it's a very nice looking turntable and the build quality does seem better to me. If I did keep the 333 I would not be interested in using that Empire cartridge, I'd keep it for a possible trade-in, then use my Silver, M97XE, or 10X5 even.

    So I'm going to return the 333 and bring the 212 home, then I'll go from there. I suspect the 212 is in better condition overall because I know he took care of it, and the 333 was something he just won off ebay, and it doesn't look to me like the previous owner particularly cared about it. I'll start by getting a new belt, then we'll move on to all the bearing stuff like you suggested. Then I need to try and figure out the approximate mass of the tonearm, which someone in my other thread suggested was around 15 grams. There's very little information available on this tt.

    I kind of wish it had a low-mass tonearm so I could play around with some AT or other high-compliance cartridges, but I'm sure I can work something out with what I have. Thanks everybody, and if anyone else has anything to add please do so.
  8. BrocLuno

    BrocLuno AK Subscriber Subscriber

    It's a Japanese mass market TT. It'll play an AT just fine. They were almost all engineered to work with each other. It may not have had an AT when originally shipped, but believe me they all know their specs and no one engineered a system that excluded the other major suppliers - even Denon who made their own cartridges (among others).

    It might be 15 grams, but seems to be a little too heavy for me? It's also not likely that Sansui made their own arms? It's most likely that they bought them in from another supplier? I'd just treat it like a 1200, with the exception of the geometry and distances. I'm sure it will play any good Japanese cartridge just fine :)

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