Philly FM Radio and FM Tuner Redux

This post is principally directed to members who live in the Greater Delaware Valley/Philly/South Jersey area. It's actually a two part question.

The first part of the question pertains to the number of quality classical and jazz radio stations (hi-def if there is such a thing) that broadcast in the area. To the best of my knowledge, I am only aware of WRTI 90.1 FM. Are there others?? If so, haven't gotten out a lot ... so I don't really know.

The second part of the question will now become more relevant in light of responses to my first inquiry. I suspect that there may not be too many more hi-def FM radio stations that broadcast here. Maybe 2 or 3 in total, ... or maybe just one -- WRTI. :(

The second part of the question is if I wanted to add a quality FM tuner to my rig, any obvious suggestions. I checked the Forum archives ... there must be hundreds of tuners that were on the market at one time or another. Two brands that seem to have been mentioned many times are the Tandberg 3001A and the McIntosh MR-78. Lots of MR-78 listed on eBay and A'gon. Just a couple of Tandbergs.

So, on the one hand, I'd like to pick up a tuner that will do a very good job, but on the other hand, being proportional to the reality that there may not be many radio stations that broadcast the type of music I want to hear.

Thanks and sorry for the long post. It's getting to be a habit.
I've looked for classical stations other than WRTI and never found one. I found this via Google, it's HD only and I have no idea of it's signal strength.
There's really no such thing as hi-def broadcast radio. HD stands for hybrid digital and refers to the digital wave that rides on the FM carrier.

There is a good resource for finding out about vintage tuners here:

In the old days WRTI used to be 24/7 jazz radio. The classical station was 95.7 (I think). They changed their format and RTI picked up their DJs and started daytime classical broadcast. There was a smooth jazz station around 106. They might have moved on the dial or changed format, I don't know. Pretty slim pickins, although RTI is good sometimes.
You might want to consider a Magnum Dynalab model as well, there are a good number of them available and they are excellent tuners. And if you don't have your computer nearby your rig, you could also consider getting one of their internet tuners, that would greatly increase the number of classical stations you could get.
Thanks Lowrider and Fleib ... you'd think that living in Philly is like being in a third world country. Sheeezz.

One station ... that's it!!! Hardly worth looking for an FM tuner for just one station. Might as well do a wireless hookup from my car radio to my stereo rig.

Well if I was so inclined to burn money, what are your thoughts about the MAC MR-78 or Tandberg 3001A?
Yes, FM music in the Philly area has been dying for many years now. I stopped using an FM tuner about 5-6 years ago as it was just collecting dust and taking up space. I still look at tuners, and have even seen deals so good that I'm tempted, but then again I think about....would I actually use it? That always quells my desire, though I still look. LOL!!

The fmtunerinfo site can be a little overwhelming, so I suggest looking at the rankings at the bottom of this page,

Surprising that the MR-78 is ranked #77, and a Tandberg 3011A is ranked #50.
Bifwynne, I wouldn't put any real money into a vintage tuner unless you're prepared to get it serviced. Most techs aren't really up to aligning and modding a tuner. There were at least 2 versions of the MR78, a good tuner but apparently one version was better. The Tandberg has good specs but can sound a little brittle, maybe the one I heard wasn't 100%. There's a guy with 2 Kenwood L-07T on Audio Circle trading post and there's a Nakamichi ST-7 here, might be worth considering.

You should use that link in my last post. It's really a great resource. On the left - click on the manufacturer and get the low down.

I owned A Nak ST-7, and have had other tuners I thought sounded better. The description of the sound for it in the shootout rankings (link in my previous post) at #75 is spot-on.
I listen to RTI 90.1 on a vintage Denon, made in Japan and it sounds very good. Buying vintage is a crapshoot, so glad I'm the original owner.
It's hardly worth owning a tuner in this radio-starved city.
I have a Sansui TU-717 that I picked up off ebay. It had just been serviced and aligned. I think I paid around $300 or less. It looks just like new and sound great. I looked on ebay today and there are some in that price range. It ranked 13 in the shootout rankings. 300 for me was pretty reasonable. Your priorities may vary.
Correction to previous post. Sansui TU-717 was 17th ranked on fmtuner info. Need new reading glasses?
Also worth considering is many stations provide high quality internet radio streams these days in addition to over the air broadcasts.

From a technology perspective, internet streaming these days has a clear edge over traditional FM stereo broadcast technology IMHO. Like FM stations though, most Internet streams provided can vary greatly in terms of sound quality. Streaming rate/resolution is but one factor to consider. Higher bitrate streams are better in general, but not assurance alone of better sound quality. Its the overall implementation of the stream with attention to sound quality that matters. There are many very good ones to sample though these days.

I am an FM radio fan from way back, but I am finding more and more internet radio resources these days that I tend to prefer over what can be accomplished over air with local stations, except perhaps under the most ideal FM reception conditions and with a top notch quality FM tuner/receiver. Plus the variety of sources available over the internet is without equal. You can easily spend an afternoon just sampling through the various streams available.
Thanks guys. You gave me an idea. We use Verizon FIOS for cable TV. I wonder if I can stream internet/cable FM radio off my FIOS connection. Will I need a DAC? How can I hook it up?
"I wonder if I can stream internet/cable FM radio off my FIOS connection."

Definitely via any internet connection or service from any internet provider including Verizon/FIOS..

You need a DAC somewhere. In computer already, outboard, whereever.

Easy way to try is a stereo y connector from computer headphone jack to dual RCA phono into pre-amp line level input. I started that way. Easy, cheap and can sound pretty good, though a good outboard DAC can well be a step up from most DACs built into most common home computers.
Mapman ... thanks. And if I wanted to use a DAC, what then? How do I go from the internet (FIOS) to the DAC to my linestage?

Not absolutely sure, but I think you can use the Sonos Connect.

Wired connection from computer USB port to DAC with USB input is one way.

Also Audioengine and maybe others sells a couple of devices that provide a wireless conenction from computer USB out to DAC digital input. That is something I would consider.

Currently, I use Logitech Squeezebox music players with server software. THe Logitech system (recently discontinued unfortunately) provides access to many internet radio sources. Sonos is the most common similar system today probably, but there are others as well. Each will have their own design/features regarding specific internet music/radio sources available most likely, so pay attention to that with any particular device or system considered.
I have an Onkyo T-9090 FM tuner and a 6 foot antenna you could have for $75 OBO