Question about seperate tuners

I have never used one of these. Im not sure i ever will for that matter either, not one that costs maybe over 300 bucks, i dont listen to the radio much

If i went out and bought a 300 tuner, what could i expect as the most significant change compared to the tuner on my AV reciever?

Does it recieve frequencys that much better? How do they sound compared to a good CD source?

I see some pretty expencive tuners out there. I would assume there is some quality about them that is leaps and years beyond my AV reciever's tuner...

please forgive if this is a dumb question, but i have never in my life heard one of these.
A tuner is much like a preamp in that it either allows you to hear, or gets in the way of your hearing, the signal from the radio station and the music it is broadcasting. The hardware and software used by the radio station would be the only limiting factor to sound quality if you had a high end seperate tuner. You can usually receive better signals from longer distances with a seperate and you can get a better ability to reject strong signals on adjacent signals. Sound quality is also important just as with any amp/preamp and have sonic signatures such as cold, warm, good bass etc. You can buy some vintage analog tuners for $300 +/- which will walk circles around the sound of a typical receiver. But if you don't listen to the radio much, why bother with the hassle?
Yeah, Im not too sure if i will buy a tuner...

im going to get away from the reciever. I was thinking of getting a used Sunfire Grand Cinema 1 with matching 5ch 200w amp. I dont know if it has a tuner or not.

Im also fixing to start building a 2channel setup seperate from the HT, and the pre-amp i used will probably not have a tuner. I might pick up a cheap-o. I dont listen to the radio much, but i like the capability.

Just about all tuners today have audio quality that is as good as the signal which stations transmit. The important specs and the costs relate to sensitivity and selectivity, and these matter greatly if you live in a "fringe" (weak signal) area, or in a city where there are many multipath reflections of numerous signals from clustered buildings.

More than any other component, a home trial is useful. Buy and install an antenna before you do the trial. If you are in a suburban area you will likely find that a "midFI" unit will be just fine.
FM broadcast of a live performance is the only music that most of us have access to in our homes that is not subjected to any form of storage media. In contrast to compressed pop stations, a good live broadcast is a jaw dropper that can stand with any other sources that are in common use. That said, I have found many good analog tuners at my local Goodwill, including a Sansui TU-717 and a Fisher FM-1000. This is a great way to go, but always get the right of return as tuners are very complex and some at Goodwill do not operate properly. To find out about specific models of older tuners go to
Slappy: a good tuner will walk circles around the tuner in most any current production AV receiver. Yes, the Sunfire Cinema Grand Pre-Pro has a built in tuner. It works but is not anything to write home about compared to a high quality separate tuner.

Having said that, stepping up to separates from a receiver will make a HUGE difference. If you are seriously considering a Sunfire combo, check the archives for tips and tricks on how to get the most from it. As a side note, the Sunfire also has a reasonable phono stage built into that will accomodate all moving magnet and most high output moving coil cartridges. As a side note, this unit does have analogue pass through, so your LP's will remain analogue all the way through the system rather than going from analogue to digital and back to analogue again.

El: I agree with your basic comments but would only add that there are a few select stations that do try to maintain very high standards for broadcast. It is on those stations that a good tuner will really shine. Only problem is, one may have one of those stations nearby, but not listen to the type of music that they present : )

Viridian: I agree that one can find some great buys in out of the ordinary places. Flea markets, garage sales, pawn shops, etc... have all turned up great finds for me. In such situations, always consider that the unit does not function properly and base what you think the unit is worth if you have to pay to have it repaired. That is, unless you can test the basic funtionality of it right then and there. Even then, it might have a problem that appears after prolonged periods of use due to thermal related problems. Sean