FM/AM Tuner under around $500

I am looking to purchse a tuner but I do not really know the terminology involved or what the numbers associated with those words actually mean. If anybody can help on the following list it would be appreciated.


Harmonic Distortion:


S/N Ratio:

Capture Ratio:

Also if you have any product ideas for me to look and that as well ($500 range)
Hi Bianchi27,

I take it that your name is the bicycle you tool around on?

For tuner information please take a few moments to visit the two web sites I have listed below. They are a weath of information on both sites. On the fmtunerinfo site it provides with detailed information/reviews on many manufactures models over the years. Good luck with the hunt and purchase.

PS On one of the web sites the mention Yamaha and Sansui tuners for sale on ebay. I happen to be an original owner of a Yamaha TX-2000 and love the unit. If you can get that for under $500 (listed for $750) it will be a great catch. However, it is one of those rare units that doesnÂ’t show up for sale much and appears to be highly sought after these days.
For a real killer tuner. Pick up a vintage Pioneer TX-9800 am/fm analog tuner. This tuner is amazing in every way.
TX-9800 weighs about 30 lbs in a nice cabinet. They are a steal if you can find one under $275.

It's close in a lot of ways to being as good as my other tuner the Marantz 10B (tubes gives it the warmth edge)
I'm not a tuner expert but you may want to consider a Magnum Dynalab FT-101A. I've read a number of comments on them that they are not that well made but I have one and have been perfectly satisfied with it. Then again, I haven't spent a lot of time searching out alternatives.

You can generally find used FT-101A's here on Agon for under $500.
As for what all the words mean, try these links:


I'm sure there are others that might be better, but they should provide what you need even if lengthy.
Actually, the first link by Lngbruno if the best, and was the one I was originally thinking of but couldn't remember. Should have read the post more carefully.
The first thing you need to decide is whether you want a modern digital tuner that has preset stations and a remote control, or, whether you want a vintage manual dial tuner.

Next you need to decide whether sound quality, or, the ability to tune in hard to get stations is more important. Easier to get a good sounding tuner than one with great tuning ability.

Before you decide, any recommendation is not worth as much. There are great tuners in each catagory, and some that do pretty well at everything (with compromises). The Yahoo Group and the Tuner Information Center ( are the best places to go. Both sites are moderated by the same small group of people.

I (and some other Agon members) have contributed comments to the Tuner Information Center, but they use real first names instead of made up screen names; so you won't find "Sugarbrie" there.
thanks for your input guys, very informative. I know I want to go digital and put tuning in stations above sound quality (although both are important). My main purpose is too get as many public radio stations as possible. There is great station about 45 mins to 1 hr from me but they have a weak signal.
Especially for the weak signal, getting a good directional FM antenna well above your roof--especially with a rotor, correctly aimed--this will make the most difference. Within the tuner, it's sensitivity that makes the most difference for far away stations. (lower number is better).

Best bang for the tuner buck, especially in distance reception would be a vintage tuner that has been modified, resulting in excellent sensitivity. Here is just one place to look:

....sell modded vintage tuners, giving you excellent reception for your $. They also sell high performance FM antennas.

I'm not associated. There are other people/companies, too. But my point is that restored & modified vintage would work best with your budget.
the analog transmissions are terrible in sa.the djs have to mush to play with..resulting in over modulation=distortion on fm. have called sabc a few times to tell them to lower and back to distortion a few days later...gave up!
I use the digital transmissions like dmx on sat.take the analog output from the decoder to the amp...and hk sounds acceptable.picked up a fisher 77 retro tuner today, makes the hk tuner sound another toy on top of the pile..and believe me it is so sensitive a one inch antenna pulls stereo thats is something which i have to see with any avr.
radio has been my life since 14, crystal sets to the latest icoms, kenwoods..yaesu's etc.have around 7 transceivers and love hf, vhf, uhf and 27.555 with 100w pep on ssb with a processor is fun when the ionosphere opens up for us..