Consider splitting into a good integrated and something like a Magnum Dynalab FT-11 tuner. This is not an expensive tuner--I see them used here pretty regularly for a few hundered. Most receivers in that range will have a marginal tuner and for low power college stations you really want a great tuner. As to the integrated I'll let others comment--there are so many.
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The Rotel RX-1052 is a pretty good sounding, well built stereo receiver with a solid power supply and 100w/channel. Retails for under $900 new.
The tuner will not match up to the Magnum Dynalab Rives has suggested, however.
I am a big fan of receivers. If you are buying new, there are really only three worth considering:
1. Music Hall Maven at $1500. This receiver was reviewed in a Sam Tellig Stereophile column in the last month or so.
2. NAD C720 BEE at $600 - $700. This receiver has the C320 BEE integrated amplifier at its core with an RDS NAD tuner.
3. Rotel 1052 at $800 - $900.
What you will need to pay attention to is how the tuner sounds. It is not that sensitivity and selectivity are not important, but every review of a tuner seems to center around how many stations the tuner can pull in ... which just misses the point. I say this because a good antenna (especially if you can go with an outdoor or attic mounted one) can make up for somewhat less sensitivity in a tuner.
About 3 to 4 years ago, I was looking for a quality receiver and there was not much choice outside of the Onkyo 8211 and Denon 395, which have OK amplifiers, but sub-par tuners for city use (I live in NYC). I went the vintage route and purchased and refurbished two Marantz receivers, a 2216B and a 2240 ... so each receiver wound up costing $400 to $500, which is high for electronics that are 25 to 30 years old. The payoff is they have excellent tuner sections, especially when compared to so many receivers today.
Stay away from HT receivers as their tuners are afterthoughts and fairly processed sounding.
I agree w/Rarl about tuners. I use an old Akai tuner that originally came with a stereo stack about 20+ years ago. I use one of those wire in clear plastice T's just thrown on top of the cabinet and the little 6 inch wide unit brings in everything with good signal strength. It sounds ok too, decent stereo separation and sporatic soundstage depth. It's been with me for a long time and I doubt I'll ever replace it, it frees up my choices for other electronics.
I own the Arcam AVR200, Rotel 1065 & Rotel RX-1052. The 1052 is amazing when paired with the t-style antenna that comes with the unit. I'm able to clearly pick up more stations then ever before. I own two different Terk antenna's and they don't seem to help much, just the out of the box cheap antenna seems to have the best reception. The problem is the rotel connection in the back is not a typical 75 ohm connector, it has a circle in the center that doesn't allow for perfect connection wiht aftermarket solutions. Overall, I'm very happy with the RX-1052, but it's to soon for a detailed review.
Please consider the Magnum Dynalab MD-208 Stereo Receiver. The web site is http://www.magnumdynalab.com/home.html
This is a remote controlled solid-state receiver with digital volume control. Discrete all-analog FM tuner section (digital readout). Power output: 100Wpc into 8 ohms (20dBW), 160Wpc into 4 ohms (19dBW). Current output: 30A peak. THD: 0.15%. Damping factor: >100. Audio frequency response: 10Hz-17kHz, -1dB. THD (stereo): 0.18%. Capture ratio: >1.5dB. S/N Ratio: 80.0dB.
I own the MD-208 and it is an excellent unit. cheers.
Last year I wanted a receiver or integrated for my office system and I only wanted to spend about 700-1000 used. After listening to several receivers - Onkyo, Arcam, Rotel, Denon, NAD - I bought a vintage Luxman (R107? 70 watts) for $300 on eBay - great receiver with a wonderful tuner in it - nice looking too. Couldn't be happier. I think the rec for the 160 watt R1170 is right on. These Luxmans remind me soundwise of Accuphase gear. They're very reliable and smooth and the tuner sections are killer.
The Tandbergs are also great sounding and were SOTA in their day. Do consider high end receivers from yesteryear - especially if you'll be doing FM listening - those were the says when receivers were true statement pieces and still has excelent tuners. Otherwise, if you go the new route, I'd still consider a separate vintage tuner.
The Luxman won't outperform my (Cary/Herron gear in the main system but it sounds great in the office and it's easy to use. I think the tuner sounds better than the Magnum Dynalab. No remote though.
However, if I was planning to use a receiver eventually in any kind of HT set-up, the Arcam AVR200 was a great option. Its tuner is just OK, however, something I find typical with Brit receivers.
There are no better tuners in a receivers than the Sherwood s-7900,8900.My crew immediately went over to Dyna(components) or Sherwood(receivers). Fisher,Scott,etc. seemed to be declining, Sony/Superscope got Marantz (you should have seen Japanese stuff then,Akai was respected but that was because they got Roberts and then only for reel to reel)Hell,I remember when everyone was drooling over Sequerra's,the Sherwood CPU-1 blew that away,minus $1000!
Now on EBay you can get a S7100a(BOTL) for ~$40-50 & guys now talk about their "warm tube-like sound". Sadly after the S-9910, Sherwood declined into the CP Series, and The Sony's,JVC's, Panasonic's(by now Technics) caught up and surpassed everybody. The last great non-Shotz tuner was probably in The Proton Radio & I don't mean the MoMA clock radio.
BTW, I still have my Sherwood S-7300 & AR-5's, and my college KLH suitcase.
Please do NOT consider the Magnum Dynalab MD-208. You can do much, much better by getting one of the hot and integrateds such as the Naim Nait 5 plus a vintage Kenwood, Sansui or even a brand new NAD tuner.
I used to own an MD-208, not that good really.
The Magnum receiver was once rated class ''A'' in Stereophile...No way. This thing used to have a Sim Audio amplifier in it, of the economy Celeste line, nowhere near the premium parts of the Sim Audio i-5 integrated (and you can beat THAT easily for less money too). I hear the magnums now have a ,.'Magnum'' amplifier inside..hummm...don't know about that one, they are first and foremost a tuner manufacturer....
The vintage Sansui, Marantz, Kenwood and Pioneer can have outstanding tuner sections in them. For 500 you can get a very nice one and send it to someone like Radio X and have it gone over. This is far better than buying most new ones in my opinion. Just using a Pioneer SX 780 in my second system I'm still amazed at how good it sounds. It's used mainly for our local NPR station.