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I was in the same boat as you several months back. I went with the Fanfare FT-1A, which is just about into the MK.II version along with thier AMAX am. The FT-100 will be the MKII version plus the am capability. Its a nice tuner and I don't regret not buying one of the magnum's. I didn't go with the older ones, although I almost got a Mac 78, just because I wanted something new and that i could count on for reliability. I'm sure the old tuners are nice, some very nice, but I was still a bit wary of buying something 15 to 30 years old that still claims to be state-of-the-art. Unless you're going to spend $6k for Magnum's top of the line or a Day Sequerra or, maybe the Linn Kremlin, I still think the Fanfare is the one to own in the up to $2,500 price bracket. I'm pretty well isolated from getting an audition for any of them so I just had to go on faith in the end. The Naim's, from what I read, are rather flimsy in constuction and minimalist in parts. Now if they sound great then it doesn't matter, but I never really considered them. The fanfare packaging is nice and the owner's manual is a three-ring binder with each page in plastic sleeve. That's about all I can say.
I was another in the same position. I considered the Fanfare, Magnums, and Tag. Probably couldn't go wrong with any of the above.
Fanfare and Tag are somewhat more fancier (especially the Tag), although you have to love the Magnum's look and meters. If you have multi-path problems, the Tag is probably the way to go but it's more expensive.
I finally went with the MD102 given the balanced out capability and wonderful sound. If your system is up to the task, this tuner is special and extremely smooth and musical. Ultimately, it's also a good buy here on Audiogon. Picked up mine as a demo in mint shape for about $1,700. It's a frequently available piece and usually listed new, or like new for $1650 - 1900. At this price, a great buy.
I don't know that I would have paid $2500 list for it.
Hope this helps.
The Day Sequerra remains my favorite, but I'm not sure if it's still made. It was so good that it forced me to get a top-quality roof antenna to take advantage of its capabilities. A work of art. All of the ones mentioned above are excellent, although my suggestion would be to get an analog tuner with a signal strength meter (I think the Magnums meet this description), you don't realize until you have such a capability how much of a difference it can mean to get a signal precisely locked in.
hey cornfed, i'd be curious how the accufaze stacks up agains yer onix bwd1 w/soap. the onix, a minimalist tuna, is quite a bit nicer than the magnum ft101a, & the equal of the naim nat-01, imho. while rare on the market, these are a steal at the $300-$600 they usually go for...
also, the revox tunas are excellent, tho a tad-bit leaner sound than the onix. at least my b261 is... i found a great price on a revox b760, so i yust bought it, even tho i don't really need it. i can't wait 'til it arrives! ;~) re: the tandbergs, the 3001/3001a is the one to get - an excellent piece. if it hasn't been serviced recently, yule pay some bucks to have it serviced. these tunas have well-known service issues... forget about the 3011 - i bought one used, w/a week return-policy - it dint sound as good as my old adcom gft-1a, so back it went. for cheap, actually i'd recommend the gft-1a - the sonic equal of the magnum gft-101.
doug: like you, i still have an onix tuna with soap. (yes, it's a great little bargain of a tuna. no, it ain't as good as the accuphase.) i'm using it much less recently, since our "state" npr outlet decided to split into 2 stations, broadcasting 24/7 classical on fm and news/talk on am. it was mostly the news programs to which i was devoted for many years. i don't listen to am, even in my car. part of my daily routine has been shattered with this programming move, as well as the publication by our 2 newspapers through a JOA (only one paper on weekends). ARRRRRGH! -kelly
There are many good ones to chose from, both new and old, as listed above. I do not have experience with any but the Fanfare FT-1A. I decided to buy a tuner last year and after all my research, I settled on the Fanfare and love it! I should of bought a tuner years ago.
Some say presets and a remote is of little use to them. This may be true, or it may be they can't miss what they dont have. I use my remote and presets daily and can't imagine being w/o.
Keep us posted to what you settle on. I believe there are a number of them you will be completely happy with.
Just a follow-up on my earlier post: you might also want to check out the vintage Marantz solid state tuners available on Audiogon and other places (eBay, audioclassics.com, classicaudio.com) because they are CHEAP (under $500), some are in excellent condition cosmetically, and they sound really good. The Marantz solid state tuners are alleged to last you a lifetime. Some of them have oscilloscopes, which are WAY cool, too.
brian, i don't need a remote for the tuna, as i usually yust listen to one or two stations. i woodn't *dreamm* of using a preamp anymore, w/o remote volume control, at least.
and to whomever thought it necessary to give me negative wotes on my last comments, may the tuna gods strike yer antenna w/lightning & fry whatever tuna ewe have that i dint say good tings about... ;~)
I have 2 Tandberg tuners, a 3011A and Tandbergs flagship 3001A. From a looks standpoint, almost identical. The same engineering team built both tuners in the early 1980's. The engineers were given a mission of building the finest tuner they could for the 3001, which then sold for $1100 and is absolutely outstanding. Extremely musical with excellent sensitivity. The Company realized they were losing their shirt on it and came out with the 3001A and doubled the price to $2200. Exactly the same tuner other than the A suffix. The 3011A incorporates many of the same parts, and stages of its big brother and gives up very little to it in sound quality. It’s really excellent. The sensitivity is not quite as good but build quality, attention to detail and finish are very good. You can find both tuners if you look around, there are still many in service and would be a fine choice.