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Sansui SE-9

Stereo Graphic Equalizer (1981-83)

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Sansui SE-9


The Sansui SE-9 is a truly unique graphic equalizer that lets you attain flat response in any room, regardless of speaker response, furnishings or room size.

Here's how it works: the calibrated microphone (included) is placed in a favourite listening position.

Next, the SE-9's Analyse button is pushed. Automatically, a built-in pink noise generator is activated and the sound is picked up by the microphone.

Response is sent to the SE-9's computer, which automatically adjusts each control - one by one - until response is flat.

The Spectrum Analyser lets you actually watch the SE-9 flatten response.


Output Level: 1V (5V max)

Gain: ± 0dB

Frequency response: 10Hz to 100kHz

Signal to Noise Ratio: 110dB

Total harmonic distortion: 0.008%

Control Range: ± 12dB

Frequency Bands: 80, 160, 315, 630, 1.25K, 2.5K, 5K, 10KHz

Dimensions: 430 x 148 x 311mm

Weight: 6.6kg

Finish: silver, black


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Reviewed Aug 04th, 2015 by mobay

I bought my Sansui SE-9 in exemplary condition from GW for $15. The first thing I did was to clean all button switches and rear jacks. I was surprised at its weight and amount of circuitry in the unit itself. Now with that said ,it must be remembered that we're talking 1983-84 microprocessor and memory technology here. It has a 4-bit Netware based processor with about 100K of memory. Laughable today, with most smart phones having THOUSANDS more times the processor speed and memory, but in 1984 , for an audio component , that was pretty high-tech.

There's a lot of “stuff” in the unit and one of the things you'll notice immediately are the motors used to manually slide the 8 EQ levers once a room has been analyzed by the SE-9. I VERY lightly put lubricant ( a drop ) on each of the string pulleys avoiding the actual string itself. Oh yeah, it uses a string coupled to a a complex arrangement of pulley wheels to move the EQ levers up and down to match what the computer has calculated to be a “flat” response in the room where the SE-9 is in. This motor drive , string and pulley arrangement is just awesome in its design and how well it works. If this is an original Sansui device and mechanism…., hats off to their engineers as I don't think you could make something like this in 2015 for less than a $1000 dollars.
Like almost ALL SE-9's sold, the microphone ( 600 Ohm, battery powered eletret condenser type ) that came with my unit from Sansui was missing.

Luckily, I had a very high quality Panasonic stereo microphone that is battery powered ( 3.0 volt ) and has great frequency response ( 30 – 18K ). I initially tried a old ( but working ) Radio Shack PZM microphone but found it was lacking in sensitivity and I did not get an accurate enough reading for the SE-9 to capture room acoustics and therefore make a computer generated EQ setting curve for my set-up of speakers, ( 2 pair of speakers and 1 subwoofer ) in a “soft” room filled with furniture and sound absorbing and reflective materials.
This room would be a challenge for any computer trying to simulate and come up with a flat sound profile, let alone using 1984 technology. I've used equalizers in the past and think that I have a pretty good ear for tonal balance, but admit to having a bad habit of placing my EQ controls like an “S” lying on its side as far as bass, midrange, and treble.

I was therefore surprised when the SE-9 analyzed , plotted, and then performed a eq curve base on my listening room unique qualities. This curve was different from what I thought it would be, and the left and right channel had unique settings that showed that the unit actually had “intelligence” when provided with a good microphone to measure and listen.
By far , the most shocking thing about using the SE-9 was how damn good the computer's “guess” had been as to what my room needed to produce a flat and balanced sound . I heard a more refined timbre to instruments that I only had heard in a live performance. Timbre is what differentiates the sound of a trumpet from a coronet, or a violin from viola, a timpani drum from a kick drum. It's the subtle but often - times missed part of music that only a musician or (one who listens a lot to live music ) can point out and identify. OK, I'm going off here……………, sorry.

I just was flabbergasted on how well this device had smoothed and improved my overall speakers ( ADS L810's, Pioneer HPM 100's with the crossover mod, and a big ole' 12 subwoofer with a ADCOM GFA 585 and a Kenwood Basic M2A providing the muscle). Not just by a simple boost and cut procedure, but by blending the various sound frequencies in order to use the various drivers in the boxes and achieve a balanced sweet sound and bring out harmonics that were previously missing because of overunder emphasis of what I “thought” was a good balance.

I guess I can say that I was of the belief that a machine could make such a good guess as to sound balance. After all computers,will never be able to listen to music.., right? I think now that I suffer too much from listening to the equipment , and not concentrating on listening to the music.

The SE-9 begs for a good quality mic in order to analyze and then use the sound data collected to automatically adjust the freq. levers and produce a flat response. You WILL NOT really get an accurate computer generated room EQ curve with a cheap mike. Sorry about that, but a good mic can be had for under $40 bucks, or less ( which ain't a lot ) , just make sure it's battery powered, has a good frequency response, and is of the eletret condenser type. Oh .., make sure it has an adaptor for plugging into the ¼ microphone input of the SE-9. Parts Express has such a microphone and adapter, just call them and ask.

So, in closing, let me say that I was amazed at how well the Sansui SE-9 works and improves the overall sound of my listening experience. I notice no degradation in my audio , having this Equalizer in the sound chain. The really bad part of the SE-9 is that it's almost impossible to find readily and is usually ( I say this mildly ) missing the mic that's needed to measure sound. I see them on E-bay and guess they're not entirely rare, but also not entirely common either.

One of the best unknown treasures out there.

Get one, get a good mike, and enjoy the awakening!
Did I mention that seeing the levers move by themselves during an EQ adjustment is just way, way cool??



re: SE-9

I picked one up and been very impressed by the way it can calibrate and set up the eq once you run the pink noise generator. I have Magnepan' s Mg11b and Smga's in my listening room and thought I had them dialed in perfect " theses speakers do sound amazing " running in 2 Luxman receiver. Well once the Se-9 did it's thing and watching the eq sliders move on there own, way to cool, my Maggie's opened up and never sounded better. I was impressed before but now even more so.
If you can get your hands on one ... buy it... you'll be just as impressed and you'll here your sound system to it's true potential.
I give the Sansui SE-9 ... 5 Stars

This website is not affiliated with or sponsored by Sansui. To purchase SE-9 spares or accessories, please contact the company via their website or visit an authorised retailer.