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You may be right, except for the high end tuners that are "custom designs". And if you thin FM sucks, Try AM on any of the newer equiptment! (For old time music and talk radio) The tuner components have been reduced to simple I.C. chip sets to save money, and that is why most comsumer tuners are about all alike, and all mediocre. I just worked on an early 80's or late 70's Pioneer rcvr for my brother with an analog tuner. The amp was not so great, but the tuner sure could pull in alot of stations with just rabbit ears, much better than a comparable 90's rcvr does. I had an 80's SAE tuner with selectable IF bandwidth, muting, etc. and it whips up on the 90's Hafler tuner I use now, only that this one works with my Hafler system remote for convenience. I cannot get schematics for either, to try improvements! Also, compare a 60's or 70's all transistor japanese portable radio on AM, to anything now(the tabletop size, not pocket). If you want to get anything outside of your own city, go with the old "junk" radio! The AM is on a chip, now.
I suppose that this is true. I have offered examples of older Kenwood, Yamaha, Sansui and other manufacturers popular in the late 1970's and early 1980's. I can state that in comparisons with my favorite all-tube tuners (Fisher FM-200-B, FM-1000, Marantz 10-B and McIntosh MR-71, they still sound impressive and are much more "musical" than most other more modern tuners, with the exception of the most expensive models out there these days (ie Magnum-Dynalab, McIntosh, etc). You have to realize that in most current FM broadcasting, the signals are highly manipulated and, in most cases, the program material itself is not always of the highest quality. There are also fewer and fewer stations broadcasting classical recordings or live performances these days, at least where I live (SF Bay Area). I hope this has helped! Richard Links Berkeley, CA
I suppose that this is true. I have offered examples of older Kenwood, Yamaha, Sansui and other manufacturers popular in the late 1970's and early 1980's. I can state that in comparisons with my favorite all-tube tuners (Fisher FM-200-B, FM-1000, Marantz 10-B and McIntosh MR-71), they still sound impressive and are much more "musical" than most other more modern tuners, with the exception of the most expensive models out there these days (ie Magnum-Dynalab, McIntosh, etc). You have to realize that in most current FM broadcasting, the signals are highly manipulated and, in most cases, the program material itself is not always of the highest quality. There are also fewer and fewer stations broadcasting classical recordings or live performances these days, at least where I live (SF Bay Area). I hope this has helped! Richard Links Berkeley, CA
I never thought about tuners getting worse,but I have several examples. We have a large antenna with a rotor just for recieving local TV an crytal clear FM. Our older (80s)analog tuners lock on with no fade. our high dollar AV digital reciever amp will sometimes lose a station. I must be old fashion,that old analog tuner with backlit scale is really great to look at. (9500 PIONEER)
Sorry to disagree, but I don't think tuners are getting worse. For me there are four reasons radio seems to sound worse then in the past: 1. Much more RF-pollution (mobile phones are the worst source); 2. Cable: I used to work for a couple of radiostations, and invariably the sound picked up with a 'normal' antenna was better than through cable (my tuner's got two, switchable, antenna-inputs. That makes comparison easy...); 3. Processing at the radio-stations: each station has it's own, distinctie sound-character. Things get worse when they tailor there sound for reproduction; 4. Radio is, on its best, always a medium with a limited bandwidth, a lot of noise and not much stereo-separation (compared to CD), so, switching form a CD to radio will always be a big difference. Maybe DAB will improve things, but I personally don't see it'll become a succes. Anyway, I wouldn't spend to much on a tuner, just pick something that'll fit within your budget, and don't forget to spend some money for a decent aerial, preferably not one of those camping-gadgets with a built in antenna-amplifier...
Very good point. There is so much more RF pollution that wasn't there 20 years ago. But A/V units made nowadays do not come equipped with the electronics necessary to weed thru the noise and pull in AM/FM stations. They put everything on one cheap IC. One of the better tuners I've always liked is the Kenwood KT6500. Doesn't really look like much but attach a $3 fm antenna and 3 inch piece of wire for AM and you'll have very few problems picking up stations. BTW, the best radio I have for AM is a transistor radio I found years ago. Actually uses a 9 volt battery so only have to change it once a year! Gets AM/FM and VHF channels 2-13. Use it constantly when outside.
Your other posts are right about the appalling quality of many FM broadcasts and the availability of FM chipsets causing most non-esoteric tuners to sound much the same. However, a lot of the "classic" tuners of the 70s/80s use pretty dire internal components and of course are beginning to suffer from problems caused by dry joints and failing internals - not to mention burnt-out dial lights. I'm not knocking old tuners (I use a Quad FM4) indeed I'd like to try a Yamaha CT7000 or a Pioneer 9500TX to see if it's an improvement, but probably I'd find a Naim NAT01 better than both (at a price, of course...) In the UK we have a more fundamental problem called Digital Radio - the Government is trying to free up the airwaves to sell off to mobile phone companies and the BBC is supposed to switch from analogue to digital broadcasting at some undefined point in the future. This will make all our lovely analogue tuners totally useless - old, new, cheap and Day Sequerra! The problem is that there will be no compensation and obviously our kit will be valueless on the 2nd-hand market. And at the moment, digital radio is supposed to sound like early CD - enough said. You think YOU'VE got problems, try living over here!
I disagree, in part, with Satch. His argument about RF pollution is correct with respect that large corporation owned FM stations (those that own many top pop 40 stations for example) deliberately compress the signal so it sounds like garbage, if another station within the 1Mhz or 2 of your station is strong or close to you it can have an influence but not if it is farther than that unless it is very very strong. If you listen to a good local fine arts station through an outside antenna connected to a good tuner it will sound great. Very very very close to CD sound. But just like the argument about the poor not being educated so that is why they eat bad foods is wrong. They are educated it is their source about foods is bad. It is called Corporate America. I heard on npr (FM!!) that there is nearly a 100% correlation between the rise of fast food advertizing (education) and the fast food industry and fat related diseases. You really deserve it to your self to find someone with an exceptional tuner and a good FM station (probably are next to none that play the pop stuff) signal to take a listen at what a free music library is all about and as important what democracy is about (I guarantee that across many university FM stations across the country are topics and guests discussing those topics that NO TV station would allow to air).
satch is right about all the garbage out there, (especially the compression used on pop-music stations, imo), but i think he's wrong to yust buy a so-so tuna, for the reasons nanderson mentions - a good tuna, w/a good antenna & a good radio station will be an excellent hi-quality music source.
as far as no good tunas being made any more, they're being made, yust that they're all really expensive! tunas like the naim nat-01, the linn kremlin, the magnum md108, the sequerra, are *killer*. see the related tuna thread for some good decent used tunas - and not all are crammed w/stuff waiting to break - like my onix bwd1 w/soap power supply, that i do a *lot* of critical listening to...
while ewe don't have to spend a fortune on a good tuna, i tink yule have to go higher than $100. mebbe ewe can find a nec t6e for $100, that's the only one i can tink of at/near that price that's a good one. i have a nice adcom gft-1a (their best tuna) f/s if yure innerested - more than a bill, but less than 2! ;~)
go czech out that thread on tunas under $1k in the analoge section...