Sansui P-L95R

OK, I’ll just come out and say it. This Sansui P-L95R is ugly. But, it’s now a vintage turntable and was made from 1985 to 1987 which, if you were listening to music at that time, was right during the period when CD players were hitting the market. So, it became a victim of a mass transition to a newer technology. It retailed for around $500 at the time.

It’s a linear tracking, two speed (33 and 45), direct drive turntable. It is ‘computerized’ and fully automatic. The front loading system is a drawer just like a CD player. Just hit the Open/Close button and the drawer would eject or retract. Perhaps the quirkiest feature of the P-L95R is what Sansui referred to as the Auto-Reverse feature. This meant that the turntable could play both sides of the record without the user having to flip it over. This is accomplished by having two tonearms, one on the top, and one on the bottom, of the record.

The cartridge is Sansui SV-909 phono cartridge and the stylus is the Sansui SN-909 (conical).

The P-L95R is also programmable so that the user can select the tracks to play by making selections from the numbered buttons front panel. While this sounded like a great feature it, unfortunately, never worked that well and many times would fail to select the proper tracks.

Internally the P-L95R is complicated. One motor powers the tray loading system and the linear tracking arm carriage with a piece of nylon cord which, according to one tech, “makes even the most complex tuner dial string look simple“. He also mentioned that, “it’s entirely impossible to see all the working parts once the machine is assembled, and it’s likewise impossible to operate the machine when it’s taken apart.” Not very handy if you need to repair one.

As you can see the drawer looks very similar to a CD drawer. On many of the P-L95R’s you’ll find today the belt operated drawer will not work properly. Belts can usually be found on eBay:

Specifications:

  • Type: fully automatic record player
  • Drive method: direct drive
  • Speeds: 33 and 45rpm
  • Platter: 76mm, 0.37kg aluminium alloy
  • Motor: DC servo
  • Wow and flutter: 0.08% wrms
  • Signal to noise ratio: 72dB
  • Tonearm effective length: 70mm
  • Dimensions: 435 x 128 x 355mm
  • Weight: 8.2kg
  • Finish: silver or black
  • Cartridge: Dual Magnet Type
  • Stylus: SN-909 (0.6mil diamond stylus)
  • Power Consumption: 25 Watts

If you’re really into quirky turntables that can play both sides of a record without flipping it then maybe the Sansui P-L95R is for you. For everyone else it’s an interesting piece of turntable history but not really a turntable that you’d want to spend money on. There hard to find but that may be because Sansui didn’t sell many of them. One in perfect working condition can sell for over $200. However, most of them on the market today have issues of the sorts mentioned above and are difficult to repair.

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