The Sansui SR-222 turntable debuted in 1978 and was at the lower end of the price spectrum. Despite being a budget turntable it is considered possibly the best belt drive turntable that Sansui has ever made. It’s a very basic manual deck with minimal features but does the important tasks very well.
- One-touch power/speed lever mechanism
- Tripod motor suspension system
- Diamond-cut Die-cast aluminum platter
- Sensitive S-shaped or straight pipe tonearm with acoustic absorbent damping
- Slimline cabinet with particle board construction
- Induced magnet Sansui cartridge
Belts for the SR-222 are easily found on eBay.
The precision-finished drive belt in the vintage Sansui SR-222 turntable was designed to resist aging and stretching. This turntable boasted a wow/flutter factor of just 0.07% (WRMS) and a high signal-to-noise ratio of 54dB, allowing for clear audio playback.
The S-shaped tubular tonearm on the SR-222 provided excellent lateral balance while being filled with acoustic damping material to eliminate resonance. Adjustments for tracking force and bias allowed optimized performance and reduced record/stylus wear. Additional tonearm features like the 10 degree upward resting angle, zinc base, and gold-plated headshell connectors contributed to the turntable’s capabilities.
Sansui utilized diamond-tipped cutting and special polishing equipment to finish each heavy, die-cast aluminum platter with absolute concentricity. The platter spindle was held snugly in a unique oil-less metal housing with rugged plastic thrust bearings to maintain an air-tight seal. Convenient one-touch power and speed controls were built onto a sub-chassis for quick operation.
The heavy-duty 4-pole synchronous motor powering the SR-222 was engineered to withstand fluctuations in line voltage and changes in record load without impacting its speed, eliminating the need for manual speed adjustments. A unique tripod motor suspension system made of thick, natural rubber effectively isolated the entire drive assembly from vibration while keeping the motor shaft perpendicular to avoid belt twisting or stretching.
- Type: two-speed, belt-driven
- Speeds: 33 and 45 rpm
- Platter: 300mm (mk I, II), 308mm (mk IV, V) aluminum alloy die-cast
- Motor: 4-pole synchronous
- Wow and flutter: less than 0.07% (mk I, II), 0.03% (mk IV, V)
- Rumble: 60dB (m kI, II), 68dB (mk IV), 72dB (mk V)
- Tonearm: statically balanced, s-shaped arm (mk I, II), straight arm (mk IV, V)
- Effective length: 220mm (mk I, II), 230mm (mk V)
- Overhang: 17.5mm (mk I, II), 16mm (mk IV),
- Cartridge weight: 4 to 10g (mk I, II), 4 to 9.5g (mk IV), 4 to 8.5g (mk V)
- Dimensions: 452 x 139 x 370mm (mk I, II), 490 x 175 x 385mm (mk IV), 430 x 161 x 390mm (mk V)
- Weight: 6.0kg (mk I, II), 7.4kg (mk IV), 8.3kg (mk V)
One issue with the SR-222 is that there is a plastic piece next to the motor pulley that changes the belt position for 33 or 45 rpm speed. It can cause a grinding noise during speed changes. If the belt is too high or the fork position is slightly off, the belt can continuously touch the plastic piece and make noise.
With its dust cover and sturdy particleboard construction, the slim-line SR-222 cabinet design reduced acoustic feedback while blending into any room aesthetic. Sansui also supplied low-capacitance cables to enable the use of CD-4 cartridges. Though a cartridge was not included in US, Canadian, or European markets, the induced magnet design minimized moving mass and a 0.5 mil diamond stylus promised extended use.
There are other, later versions of the SR-222 including the MK II, MK IV and MK V. There was no MK III. The MK II version came out a year after the MK I and is generally considered the best of the lineup. All but the MK I have glossy black bases. The MK IV and MK V both have straight tonearms. The MK V was on the market until about 1985. Sansui seems to have sold quite a few of the original SR-222 but not nearly as many MK II, MK IV, or MK V units as they are much harder to find. Here is the MK IV:
The SR-222 is extremely well built and looks more expensive than it was back in 78.
The Sansui SR-222 Mk II is a gem, used with the right cartridge this simple budget player brings a great musical sound from vinyl.
This is a surprisingly good performer (the MK1 and MKII versions) which can bring the best out of even the best moving magnet cartridges.
Cheap but with a great sound! My first turntable. I bought it in 1982 but it’s still working perfectly.
Much better than most turntables out there. Match it with a good stylus and you will get high end sound out of this baby.
The MK II is probably the best belt-drive turntable that Sansui has ever made.
The MK II is a definite upgrade as its cabinet is much more “sound-dead” and its shiny black cabinet it looks great.
The Sansui SR-222 is a great, basic, manual turntable. Its belt drive and reliable motor perform well and its simplistic mechanics make it very easy to maintain and repair. It will last forever as long as you change the belt and oil the motor when needed. For those that want a basic turntable requiring a lot of fuss, that just plays records well, the Sansui SR-222, especially the MK II version, are very good choices.