McIntosh MR65 with multiplex feature. I think that is the only McIntosh tube tuber with AM/FM; all others are FM only. Expect to have to put money into anything that old you buy as almost certainly passive parts (tubes, capacitors, etc) will require replacement as this is a 40 year old item.
I would strongly urge you to pass on the tubes and look for a mint Accuphase T100 AM/FM tuner and then have it upgraded by Don Scott. You will then have one of the best tuners on the planet for about a grand. These tuners typically sell for 550/625 used and are very, very good.
Most of the information you require is at this website:
The Accuphase tuners are discussed here:
There is a seperate page for tubed tuners. Fisher and Scott offered some nice tuners; you can find the Fisher and Scott fan pages with all the info. When looking for Scott and you cannot find anything try "HH Scott" in the search as that was the actual name of the company.
Try a Leak Troughline with a modern decoder. This is a great tuner when properly adjusted with a good quality aerial. Many people in the Uk would say that they are still amongst the best sounding tuners regardless of price. Only thing is they are FM only. Still, at only about 100 GBP (185 USD) with a new decoder at say 300 USD, they're very reasonable.
Tuners are the one audio component where it is hard to say that transistors don't beat out tubes. For a start, a circuit called a "phase locked loop" far outperforms other demodulation schemes, and, although it was invented long ago, could not be realized in hardware until integrated circuits became available. Also, analog tuners involve a lot of critically tuned inductors, and the heat of tubes is bad news for them.
I suppose you could make a tuner where the RF stages were transistors and the audio stages were tubes. I doubt that such an animal actually exists.
And, if you do get a tube tuner make sure the tubes are good and that you can source replacements easy and they do not cost too much money. I've been warned that many of the tubes in old tuners might be hard to find and expensive.
What if I go with just an FM tuner? Does that open up the flood gates?
AM radio is for talk, and ball games. In fifty years I never had AM in my audio system, and never missed it.
The only time that AM radio had anything to do with serious audio was back in the 50s, when WQXR, AM and FM, in NY, broadcast experimental stereo, with one channel on each radio. I set up a couple of little table radios, and was impressed.
Eldarford, you forgot the Magnum dynalab MD 108 tuner. It uses 2 12AX7 tubes for output stage.
Agreed on AM. But I love to listen to baseball games occaisionally. Not really that important on this system since I can always listen to the radio. Maybe the FM tuner is a better choice.
The Magnum Dynalab 108 looks likes it runs $3200 to $3500 used. Is it worth it? That is about 3 times what I want to spend but if it is top notch, it is interesting.
I'm perfectly happy with my vintage MR71 with Richard Modeferri mod/upgrade via audioclassics.
I've done some comparison with some other top SS performers and MR71 sounded more musical and transparent to me. The SS tuners sounded thin and light. However, it does have good bass. MR71 sounded full and round and articulate. The bass is not and punchy and dynamic but it is well above acceptable. The vocal is just lovely. It sounded like the DJ is in your room. Anyway, I still prefer tube tuners
A Fisher 100b with some simple mods (replace power supply diodes with FREDs, quality coupling caps and a good tune-up, maybe replace the 12AX7 output tube with a 5751) will sound wonderful. These can be had on ebay for ~$200. Expect to pay $500-$800 for the mods and tune-up. I'd put the sound of it's germanium bridge demodulators up agaist any PPL system on the planet.
Agreed as to Fisher FM tuners. I have a Fisher 100B with minor updates (new bridge rectifier, new output coupling caps), and it sounds very nice. In principle, a solid state tuner should have a leg up in RF performance, but there is just something "right" about the sound of a good tube tuner.
I just called Magnum and the Dynalab 109 is now out. This is the revision of the 108. Has anyone heard about this unit?
Bryanhod, unless you have many good stations or you are super loaded, jumping on expensive FM-tuners is a money loosing investment. There are many good internet radiostations out there but not as good sound quality as the FM tuners. Most of the audiophiles I know don't listen to radio at all.
I have not heard the 109 yet but the 108 was quite impressive enough to most of the FM lovers.
You know S23chang you start off thinking maybe I can add an inexpensive tuner and then all hell breaks loose. Too much of a facination with great sound. There are jazz stations and classical stations that play music you just can find so i really want something that is good.
A McIntosh MR74 is also an excellent tuner that goes for around 500 and will probably appreciate as it is close in performance to the much more sought after units (mr78, mr71)
After a good station to listen to the next most important thing is not the tuner but having a good external FM antenna. If you have one of those almost any tuner in good repair will sound good.
I use an Onkyo T9 quartz locked tuner from around 1980. I paid 100 for it with a warranty from a local shop called The Sound Well. It works great; holds weak signals and sounds very good. I simply cannot justify the additional expense of a much more expensive tuner; most would be about 500 for a McTuner MR74. I'll send this tuner off for mods at some point.
I also listen to quite a bit of AM radio (Raiders, Talk Radio) at home so the AM feature is useful.
The "best" tuner depends very much on your location. If you are in a metro area, sensitivity does not matter, but multipath rejection is important. In all cases, a directional antenna on a rotator does more good than any tuner upgrade. With regard to audio quality, as opposed to the RF performance, this is not so hot for many FM broadcast stations, so is probably not of great concern.
You should try for an in home tryout. This is much more important for a tuner than for other components.