The onkyo T9090II was the gold standard for a long time, and for long distance reception especially, but it is now an older design. If you want the newer gizmos, such as RDS and accuclock, to name a few features, you should hunt for the latest quality design form Onkyo, the T4711. It seems to have been dropped from their current USA lineup, but some dealers still have new in the box supplies. I is a terrific buy for the money. I get clean, usable reception from transmitters 60 miles away.
Find yourself a Marantz, from the late 60's to early or mid 70's, and you will be extremely satisfied - if you are concerned with sound quality. If it's new features that you want, obviously this wouldn't do. Good luck and enjoy whatever that you end up with!
I own a Fanfare Ft-1. The presentation, soundstaging & tonal balance is near or the same as most of high end cd reproductions sytems given the right signal. With poor signal or crap quality broadcasts it fares no better than less expensive tuners. It is worth spending the money if you listen to a classical or jazz station with quality broadcast signal. Save your money if you only listen to commercial rock & rap stations.
My vote is also for the Fanfare FT-1, as it is (relatively) sanely priced for the CD quality performance it is capable of, with a high quality signal source. I am amazed every day by the music it makes in my home. It has balanced (XLR) out- puts as well, and if you can take advantage of these in your system, the silent background gives an even greater impress- ion of "live". As noted, the depth,soundstaging, etc. are all first rate.
I AM PUTTING MY VOTE IN FOR THE OLDER YAMAHA TUNERS, T85, T80, THEY REALLY LIVE UP TO WHAT THEY SAY ON THE FRONT, "NATURAL SOUND" I NEVER LISTENED TO FM BEFORE MY T85 TUNER BECAUSE IT WAS "JUST RADIO" NOW I CAN TELL WHERE THE DRUMMER HITS THE HIGH HAT AND HOW HARD BY THE DECAY OF THE SOUND. AN OUTSIDE FM ANTENNA REALLYYYYYYYY HELPS.
I own both a Yamaha T-2 FM tuner circa 1978 (bought new for $800.) and a Denon TU-800 AM/FM tuner circa 1989 bought used for 200.(originally sold for 500.-600.). Both these tuners are very sensitive and are available on the used market for reasonable money. The Yamaha is the better of the two. They both have the tube like sound. In fact, I bought the Denon to replace a McIntosh MR-67 tube tuner. The Denon was an A Class tuner according to Stereophile in the late 80s.It is a good tuner but it is not the McIntosh. It doesn't even come close. I have never heard a better sounding tuner than the MR-67.
A second to Gasman's review above. I also have the Fanfare FT-1 using the balanced outputs and am extremely happy. You will think a CD is playing when the reception is strong. This is worth the cost!
my experienceis....... a harmaon kardon citation 15. it sounded like the studio feed. it wasnt that reliable, perhaps the repairer was below standard. when i switched in mono after a repair, left and right channels were out of phase! next...the tuner in the marantz mokdel 19 receiver was excellent. then lately, my friend purhcased a magnum dynalab ft101. he is a dyed in the wool radio afficianado who has worked at a couple of stations (kppc+kpfk), and also instantly hears the copression/limiting schemes used by the different stations. of course he has an fm beam AND a rotator. he has yet to stop raving about the mag-dyn. oh yes, i bought the hk form him.
Without a doubt, the Marantz 10B from the 60's had the lowest distortion, superior quieting, fabulous separation and(too bad!) a need for alignments far too frequently. Not being a big FM fan here in Mpls/St Paul, I never really listened to it very often. The stations here just don't have great audio quality or variety. I sold mine to Audio Classics last year for @ $1100.
After having searched wide for some sort of decent tuner, I am certain that the Mcintosh mr78, circa 1970s is one of the best tuner's out there. The question of selectivity, narrow, wide, distant etc . . . It gives a excellent reception even with poor signals. Nothing beats its styling and also its aftermarket value.
Accuphase T109 is hard to beat on any count.
Why bother? FM is for the car.....
It's not just for the car. You might start with Stereophile's recommended components. Then you might try the various mail order highend dealers, to see if you can audition any contendors. I use an ADCOM GTP-350 as the tuner, and it sounds pretty good. My Sennheiser HD-600's with my 10 year old AM/FM Walkman are unmistakably highend and high-rez. The classical station waylays me for long periods of time with these, and the inside of my skull becomes 300 feet in diameter...
affordable? Creek tuners,and of course Magnum Dynalab. This company makes only tuners. The 108 is a benchmark,102 about 90% performance at 1/2 price ,Etude 85% of performance for 1/3 price of 108.
The PILOT 380 is by far the very best fm tuner ever made! Get one and listen carefully.
So far I enjoy my 23 year old Accuphase T-100 best of all. When it came out it was slated as an MR78 killer....I am lucky enough to have several stations that broadcast live classical and "unplugged" music. This tuner recreates the spatiality well, unlike other tuners. I stress the importance of the best aerial you can install!!!
You might also try to find an older Nikko Gamma. These were very high quality and extremely musical. I picked my Gamma 20 up at a pawn shop for $45, it's list price was $495. If you have a good FM station nearby, a good tuner is worth having.
Linn Kremlin ($4K) or the top of the Naim chain with outboard power supply. Definately if not the best, one of the best I have ever heard.
Any of the Musical Fidelity tuners with a reasonable antenna will give you OUTSTANDING fm sound IF the station is up to the task. Most articulate and deepest bass of any tuner i have ever heard. They easily better comparably priced Magnum Dynalab's and do not drift. No competition. Quad FM 4 sounds very good but lacks sensitivity. Not a good choice if your out in the "boonies". Like most Quad gear, it lacks bells and whistles and is high on quality sound. A good outdoor antenna will get you excellent FM for a very small portion of what a truly superior tuner would cost you. Quad used to demo these by setting up a small high fidelity FM transmitter in the shop and then comparing the recieved signal via the FM-4 to the vinyl source via an A-B switch. No difference. Sean >
It may not be the best but the rotel rt940 i have sounds really good and is cheap
Pioneer TX-9500II tuner and maybe their other TX models. Fun time is surfing the dial at night in IF narrow. Decent tuner for peanuts.
The Day Sequerra tuner. No one writes in about them because people who own them have realize time is money and tehir time is too expensive to give away for freee on the net in discussion groups.
If you can find one, definitely a Tandberg 3011 or 3011A. If you do get a Tandberg, however, have the preset switches replaced--they die after about 15 years. Once you've replaced them, and had the unit aligned, you won't believe how musical it is.
every tuner mentioned is more than worthy I would say buy any of the above used preferably the least expensive and put your money into a good outside antennae my feeling being this the most important factor
Agree with above comment. Buy VHF only antenna (not VHF/UHF combo). Ensure FM trap is diabled. DO NOT USE splitter or signal boost. Use better quality RG-6 cable. Use rotor of course.
Is without a doubt, Magnum Dynalab..... hands down. While the MD-108 is their top-of-the-line tuner (at $5,000.00...... OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!), you can get an MD-102 for about half of that and it offers 90% to 95% of the perfomance of the MD-108 without the headache of replacing burnt out tubes later on. The FT-101 Etude is also a respectable tuner for almost 50% less still than an MD-102. The FT-101A still sets the standard as far as affordable tuners are concerned. But I wouldn't pay $900.00 for a new one however. Try to find a used one on the "net" for about $300.00 or $400.00 less. If you want to, you can have it upgraded to an Etude later on. But now, if you really want a good sounding tuner that is also affordable, then try one of the used NAD tuners that was produced over the past 15 years. Good tuners (talking about the NADs now), great prices. I am fortunate. I own a Magnum Dynalab FT-101 (the original one..... not the "A" version) and it is the part of my audio system. Sounds great as advertised. And I also own an NAD 4155 (1982 to about 1986). That one is going to be part of my home theater system. It will also be a back-up tuner when I finally decide to have my FT-101 upgraded. Good luck in your search. I'm sure your tuner is out there somewhere.
Speaking of antennas, can anyone report on Magnum ST-2 or equivalent Metz (marine) whip?
tuners i like that i've heard include the magnums, the onix bwd1 w/soap p/s, the naim & linn tuners, revox, & the sequerra. also, the tandberg 3001/3001a - isn't this one the one yer referring to, dschoenberg? i had a 3011a in my home for a week & was thoroughly unimpressed. tuener i've heard good things about, but have no 1st-hand experience include the mac 67/71/78, the yamaha ct7000, the sansui tu-x1, the marantz 10 b, the fisher fm1000, and the kenwood lo7 (i think that's the model). doug
Price/Performance ratio at about $200.00 used,I would pick the Yamaha T 1 or the Sumo Charlie,and for a third choice the venerable NAD 4020A.To do better than these will have to spend a lot more,for performance that is for the most part only marginaly better.
The Accuphase T101 I used to own was without a doubt the best tuner I or any of my audio buddies have ever heard. Here in Phila. PA when WRTI (90.1) went of the air at night I would get Howard Univ.(90.1) without any re-tuning. This was with a hunk of 300Ohm twinlead hung on my wall with a nail. I could kick myself for selling it. I got all hooked up in digital readouts. What a mistake.
I have a Merantz model twenty from the late 60's or early 70's. It has an osilascope tube that provides perfect tuning. The tube is about a $400 item used, the unit is basiclly the tube cost. The spec's on this and the 10b are the same. I know of no tuner that has ever matches these spec's. I'd intertain offers in that I too live in the Twin Cities, land of bad FM.
Magnum Dynalab MD102. It captures everything the airwaves have to offer. On the radio stations that take their transmission quality seriously the sound is superb. Turn the lights out you'd swear the broadcaster's voice is coming from someone right there in between your speakers. A good antenna is crucial however. The Magnum ST2 (also known as "The Whip") does a beautiful job. These guys are the Rolls Royce of tuners. If you've got the scratch check out the MD102 or at least the Etude.
i'm glad to read people posting about marantz. i bought a 2020 on ebay for about 70 bucks but didn't really listen to it because i had just bought a line stage with one set of inputs only. two days ago i hooked it up to my new preamp and wasn't expecting anything when suddenly i thought, holy crap this sounds amazing! and it does. what's up with THAT magnum/dynalab?? oh yeah, and i dont even have an antenna for it!!!!!
Magnum Dynalab: MD 108
I loved tuners since I bought my first stereo system. It offered me "free music" and I was able to try different directions, you know, some jazz, classic etc. I owned some of these socalled ' Reference ' tuners like the Onkyo or Revox. They really hurt my ears. Crap.Wasted time and money. After this experience I bought 7 years ago my Dynalab 'Etude'with the Signal Sleuth 205. These two units survived every change in my system, until a friend really wanted to have them. I ordered the 108 without listening. Got it, connected it and had really problems to believe that I am listening to a TUNER. Unbelievable. I had the Naim 01, good sound, but the 108 smokes it in EVERY area. It is lean and quick-sounding with excellent frequency extension. Instruments like piano and drums are rendered with weight and authority, but without any overhang or woolly quality that can obscure clarity. Vocals have excellent detail and body. High frequencies are very well extended and not bright, edgy or grainy-sounding, as is often heard from lower-quality units and it can throw a wide and stable soundstage. This is amazing because we all know what kind of signals are coming out from the Radio Stations. A really, really excellent unit. I use it very much and I am always impressed. There is some hype about the ' Marantz 10 B ' or the ' Sequerra ' tuners. I know some owners. Well, when something in these units stop working - specially with the ' 10 B ' - then it is over. Definetly. Same with the Sequerra. So here is the new Star. System's Components: Turntable: Basis Debut Vacuum Mk.V Arm: Graham 2.0 Deluxe Cartridge: Takeda ' Miyabi ' CD Transport: Goldmund Mimesis D/A Converter: DCS ' Delius ' D/D Converter: DCS ' Purcell ' Phono Preamp: Stan Klyne 7 PX 3.5 Line Preamp: Stan Klyne 7 LX 3.5 Power Amps : 2 x Pass Aleph 0 ( Mono ) 2 x QUAD II ( GEC, Mullard ) Speakers : Kochel ( Horns ) Tuner : Magnum Dynalab ' MD 108 ' + Magnum Dynalab ' Signal Sleuth 205 ' Headphone : Stax SR-404 Sign.+ SRM-006t Interconnects: XLO Ltd. Edition Phono Cable : XLO Signature Speaker Cables: XLO Signature Shotgun Digital Cables: XLO Signature AES/EBU Power Cables: XLO Ultra Record Cleaner: VPI HW 16.5 Power Conditioner: Burmester 948 Rack : Solid Steel
The Marantz 10b is the best sounding tuner ever made. Anyone who would argue otherwise hasn't heard one that was working properly. You can buy a mint Mac MR-71 for under a grand that will make anything else in it's price range sound broken. I've got an old Knight tube tuner, that while hardly state of the art in it's day, is more musical then any solid state tuner I've had.
Sansui TU-X1 or TU-9900. They really can hold their own against ANY tuner.Whats nice is that they can be had for a reasonble price even today. Don't, however, forget to hook them up to a "real" antenna such as the APS-9. Just my $0.02.
Marantz 10b w/o a doubt in my mind. Heres a sob story for you I missed one several ago in a estate sale for 75 bucks by 15 minutes (bo ho). Right now I magnum dynalab etude. But by no means equal a 10b or a Day sequerra .
MR-71, without any reservations.
And I currently own almost all the others including a 10B.
For s.s. I can think of two tuners that please my ears and I own them both, the Harman Kardon Citation 18 and the Philips AH 673/44. These are in stock form and with a good signal and antenna can be sonically matched by few, if any other tuners.If you love tuners check out www.fmtunerinfo.com
For full reviews of just about any of the older FM tuners visit www.fmtunerinfo.com.
...Musical Fidelity's Elecktra E50!!
I find it very good in every sence. Almost 15 happy years with the unit.
HH Scott 4310
MR-71 with Richard Moderfferi (ex chief engineer at McIntosh) mod has convinced me that FM can be as good as any other source. The Moderfferi mod gives you better reception, drift and quieter background without sacrafice the original nice sound. The MR-78 just too thick and dark for my taste. Lack of air, life and seperation when compared to MR-71. The stock 10B is no comparison. However, Richard can also work on 10B to make it a top performer.
However, since everything has become digital these days, we can't get as good song selection as internet radio stations.
I'LL PUT MY VOTE IN FOR PIONEERS SILVER FACED F-26...HERE'S WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY!!!!
The quartz-synthesized F-26, which was Pioneer's most expensive tuner, is very rare and seldom seen on eBay ($770 in 3/02, $785 in 6/02). Our panelist David, on his Ricochets page, calls it one of the three best tuners ever.
David's top three tuners: the TU-X1, L-02T and F-26
I am increasingly of the belief that the Sansui TU-X1, Kenwood L-02T and Pioneer Series 20 F-26 are really in a class by themselves. I hear much bigger differences between stations overall than between these tuners! However, none of these tuners sound identical and each has different merits and weaknesses. In my system, with my FM market, I rank the TU-X1 #1, the F-26 #2 and the L-02T #3 (on a sonic basis). Each can make a claim under various listening/RF market conditions as the best production tuner made. There may be others, but none that I have seen or heard yet. All three embarrass all of the more recent digital tuners that I have compared to them. There is a gap between these three and the next best tuner that I have heard and measured.
I noticed that I had to reposition my speakers to get the best out of each tuner. For example, the TU-X1 has so much stage width (separation) that placing speakers too far apart yields a hole in the middle and diffuse sound (as Jim notes in his review). This effect can also be a problem when trying to optimize a system for CD versus LP. The TU-X1 has better frequency extremes (both measurable and audible) but will not show those advantages if the speakers are bandwidth limited, placed so that they have ragged frequency response, or in a system optimized for LP instead of CD. The L-02T appears to favor smaller speakers, because many smaller designs don't have the extreme bass extension and to a lesser degree extreme treble smoothness of larger (read this as 3 - 5 way, not physical size) speakers. Placement of the speakers can be further apart with the L-02T. The bandwidth compression scheme of the L-02T's IF appears to hide or at least diminish some of the low-quality nasties so prevalent in broadcast radio these days, but also makes it prone to certain types of external interference. The F-26 is not as sensitive as either of the other two tuners, but possesses an ease and naturalness in the mid-treble (especially on an excellent classical station) that is not always present in the TU-X1 & L-02T. Overall, I would place the F-26 a little behind the TU-X1 and L-02T under most (but not all) listening situations. Note that the F-26 stages a comeback if you have a station that requires the narrow IF for decent reception due to a crowded dial, multipath, etc.
The F-26 tuner, like the other components in the Series 20 line, received carefully design engineering to push the technological envelope on tuner design. In true audiophile fashion, it featured FM only. It was a higher performance, lower profile design compared to the F28 tuner. Pioneer employed newfeatures and circuitry having: Quartz-Locked Touch Sensor Tuning, an elaborate "Clean Pilot" system for cleaner high-frequency, and a Parallel Balanced Linear Detector( PBLD) for vastly improved signal-to-noise ratio and detection efficiency.
This tuner also featured automatic wide/narrow IF bandwidth slection. The F-26 was design with a large power supply and two 6000 microfarad power supply capacitors, a muting level control on the rear panel, adjustable stereo/mono signal switchover, adjustable muting control, and gold plated terminals.
The semiconductor count in the F-26 was mind-boggling. There were 11 Field Effect Transistors, 19 ICs, 68 transistors and 59 diodes. Its frequency response was 20 to 15kHz. Other specifications could be listed here, but suffice it to say the F-26 could easily hold its own with far more expensive and esoteric FM tuners then on the market. Examples in good condition are much sought-after by Pioneer collectors.
The F-26 had an M.S.R.P. of $1000.00.
hey...have you ever gone to fmtunerinfo.com?
Best sounding tube tuner is the Marantz 10B without question. Pure silk with no roll-off. Best SS tuner I own (going on eighteen) is the Tandberg 3001A (orignally $2200)followed by the Audiolab 800T.
Any experience with Nikko Gamma 400 or Scott T527 or Yamaha T720?
Has anyone out there compared the MD108 to the MD106?
I know the MD108 uses 12ax7's while the MD106 uses 6922's.
The 6922/7308 is generally considered the king of audiophile tubes while the 12ax7 is generally not as highly regarded. Can anyone tell me if the 5751 is an acceptable substitute for the 12ax7 in the MD108 circuit?
I am trying to chose between these two models (without hearing them) and any opinions would be appreciated. Thanks.
Just saw the Day Sequerra website. Good looking tuners. Was told it is sold out til June..