Fixing my SANSUI D-550M

 Dominic Vautier

And if you remain callous and obdurate, I
Shall perish as he did, and you will know why
Though I probably shall not exclaim as I die
"Oh, willow, titwillow, titwillow"
                      The Mikado   play

I finally got around to digitizing cassettes.  I realize that records are better but it's so hard to get good digital copy from a record unless it is in excellent condition.  Also you can get a practically new cassette for around 10 cents as opposed to a record of doubtful quality for a dollar or more.  This machine does a fine job of playing cassettes and they are well worth digitizing.

So I dusted off my old Sansui and began to determine why it would often stop half way through a recording.  you need to remove the cover, faceplate and transport cover.  The first thing I looked at was the transport itself.  The head was in excellent shape but I noticed that the rubber band driving the counter was a bit warn out.

I also noticed that the rubber band was connected to another one which drove the counter.  I played the tape until it stopped at 99.  To rotate to 100 required just enough force to allow the rubber band to slip.  Looking behind the counter I saw a magnet that turned near a sensor.  When the magnet stopped turning no signal was sent to the machine so it thought that nothing was moving and shut down the carriage.


I lifted the sensor to bring it closer to the magnet.  I then replaced the rubber band and ran several tapes through.  The machine played without stopping.

RIAA attenuation is only for records so these older machines run straight into your computer.  They do not put out as much signal as receivers and sound cards of today expect.  So you have to turn up the output level to max on this Sansui and leave it there.  The signal on this deck goes straight into the computer sound card.  When editing I sometimes have to amplify the strength if the wave file it produces.  A lot of the sound quality depends on the tape manufacturer.  Most cassettes are dolby stereo so always have the dolby on.  A cassette recording has no chance against the quality of a good record but you can't always find a good record.  Besides at 10 cents a pop you can't go too wrong.  This deck has direct drive so wow and flutter is very low.  You may have to bump up the 2000 to 5000 cps range for a little more headroom but no more than 1 db.

As long as you got this thing apart clean the capstan and pinch roller.