Tuner Recommendation for New York City

I live in New York City on a low floor in a 20 floor building closely surrounded by 10 - 20 floor buildings. Can anyone suggest what I should look for in a tuner or attenna.

Specifically, I'm wondering if something like the Magnum Dylalabs 102 or 108 might be "overkill" since most stations I would listen to are close enough. Or is pulling in stations really a question for choosing an attenna?

Any comments on those two models, especially from New Yorkers, would also be appreciated. Thanks.
I have used...
Pioneer 9500II $100-150
Luxman T110 $ 125-175
Carver TX11A $ 175-275.00
Tandberg 3001a $ 595-795.00

My two favorites are the Tandberg & the Carver But I noticed a big improvement with the magnum dynalab Sg-2 whip antenna , Forget the terk. Email me & maybe I let you stop by for a listen.
Magnum Dynalab will do the trick with a Magnum Dynalab antenna.Hopefully it will pull in the stations especially if youre on the lower floors surronded by other buldings.I live in a ground floor apartment,with 6 story buildings in the back,but some space,get the strong stations with my Maunum Dynalab FT-101 and a 7 foot pole of an antenna inside.somedays the weaker stations give me headaches but other days it comes in nice.If you pick up 88.3 WBGO then you are in.By the way I live in Flushing Queens.Good luck
I live in Manhattan in an environment very similar to yours: 6/10 mile from the Empire State Building on the 21st floor of a 35 story building with four 35-57 story buildings within several blocks of me. In our respective locations, reception difficulty tends to be due to multipath distortion or problems with spurious rejection. I have lived in this neighborhood for 22 years and have had a couple of good tuners, neither of which completely satisfied me. I have had the Pioneer TX-9100, a classic solid state tuner from the '70s. It had serious problems with multipath which could be evenly only moderately tamed with the tunable indoor antennas such as the BIC Beam Box or the various powered TERK antennas. About two years ago, I sold the Pioneer and bought a Marantz 10B. As good as the Pioneer sounded, the Marantz was a significant improvement in sound, but the station-pulling power of this tuner in my environment I found to be disappointing. For me, as well as Vayasteve, the goal is to pull in a noise-free WBGO 88.3 in stereo. This tuner cannot do that with a TERK antenna and it has spurious rejection problems where very strong local stations transmitting on other frequencies are received at spurious frequencies and dominate the weaker stations particularly at the low end of the dial. I have hesitated to try the Fanfare or Magnum Dynalab whip antennas since they are omnidirectional, thus exposing me to severe multipath distortion, and they have to be placed indoors. Before I give up on the Marantz, I will probably need to try one of these omnidirectional whip antennas and I may spring for an alignment of the tuner, although I don't see where the tuner actually needs it. So that is my tale of woe. My feeling is that a current Magnum Dynalab tuner will most likely allow for improved reception of these difficult stations, but perhaps at some sonic expense compared with the Marantz 10B. For reception problems, I doubt that a current top-of-the line Magnum Dynalab will be "overkill", if you are interested in those "tough" stations at the low end of the dial. There is also a chance that it may not completely satisfy you, even with any of the usual indoor antenna products. If you want to listen to KISS-FM or even WQXR, my advice is just to get the best sounding tuner possible and not to worry about reception. In fact, if you just listen to KISS, or nearly any other rock or any other commercially programmed station in our area other than WQXR, sound quality of the tuner will not matter much either.
Hi everyone, great to see some of my fellow New Yorkers posting! I recently sold my Terk-FM Pro (a good antennae in the right place) for the same reasons. I live on the second floor of a 15 story building surrounded by other buildings of equal height. Talk about "surround sound". I am considering the MD "whip" antennae as well. Guess I'll have to order one and just try it. If anyone gets it before I do, please keep posting your impressions. *Current system: Musical Fidelity A3 Tuner, Harmonic Technology "Magic"interconnects with Harmonic Tech's Pro-11 AC power cord. I like to listen to WFUV (Fordham University's station at 90.7) but sometimes I can't get it, and when I can it's not very clear.
Anyone here who wants to shoot me an email at: butlermusic@mac.com feel free to so.
I just did a "shoot-out" with 6 different omnidirectional FM antennas last night. While these are all primarily designed to operate outdoors, you could use them indoors if you had no other options. None are big i.e. "TV antenna" sized or difficult to assemble.

Given the location that you folks are in, i would HIGHLY recommend playing around with the "junk" wire dipole antenna that most "audiophiles" laugh at. Not only do these have the advantage ( at least in your type of situation ) of being bi-directional to help null out multipath, it is actually tuned quite well in comparison to other "brand name" designs. You can position it for your at least a few of your favorite stations, which should give adequate signal strength and help to minimize reflections from nearby buildings. I would try to orient the dipole so that it is away from large metal structures and possibly near a window for best results. With a relatively decent signal, these "throw-away" antennas will hold their own against "products costing well over 10X, and maybe even 100X the price" : )

In plain English, i found that the MD antenna did not perform that well and you should save your money. This is especially true if you are planning to use this product inside of a building. It was very sensitive to what was in the nearfield and easily detuned by a human's physical presence or other "conductive" objects. The wire dipole was FAR, FAR less sensitive to this type of de-tuning due to the difference in polarization i.e. vertical for the whips and horizontal for the wire dipole. Given the near identical design, i would venture to say that the Fanfare would react quite similar in overall performance. The Metz antenna, which is the company that builds the Magnum's for them, would also offer the same results.

One other hint. Look for a good tuner with a HIGH "selectivity" rating. Since most of your problem might be due to front end overload i.e. stations coming in on more than one point on the dial, stations bleeding through other stations, strong stations sounding somewhat fuzzy or furry / lack of definition, etc... this would be more important that ultimate "sensitivity". To achieve high selectivity requires a circuit that is of "high Q" design and tubes TYPICALLY don't fall into that category since they are broadband by their very nature. Sean
I will give my opinions as well, the others are very good also.

I am using the Fanfare FT-1A and I am very happy with, VERY! I find it to be quite musical and I chose it over the Magnums due to the remote and the presets. I think you would be quite happy with the MD's or Fanfare.

If you don't mind the size (and looks), consider a McIntosh MR78 or MR80. For the most part these can be found plentifully, are highly rated, can be upgraded (by many different techs) and their value seem to hold well.

I have the Fanfare FM-2G antenna Sean mentioned, I did not compare this to anything so I can't comment there, but I am quite happy with my reception.
My first recommendation to move across the bridge to Fort Lee where I experience, for the most part, great reception from the New York City stations. If that is not a possibility then read on.

I have a Fanfare FT-1A tuner that I love. I am on the 14th floor which is toward the top of the building facing the Hudson River. I have used the whip antenna and the Terk powered antenna in the past. I now use the Magnum Dynalab silver ribbon antenna with better results than the previous two antennas. I am told that if you can place the whip on your terrace or outside of your window it will easily outperform my current setup. There is an antenna made by a company called Godar that sits on top of your tuner that is supposed to give good results. I have not heard it so I cannot say how it performs.

It is difficult to determine what overkill is in terms of tuners. I use my tuner more often than any other source and it is my least expensive source component. In my system the tuner is a bargain. At some point we are able to get 90 percent of our current systems abilities for half of the cost. That extra 10 percent is what we pay for in High End audio equipment. That being said, I have seen numerous advertisements for High End tuners from New York audiophiles who felt that it was overkill for the esoteric tuners.

Good Luck
Harumph, I used the MD Silver Ribbon antenna with a 20+ year old Yamaha T-550 tuner (bought right here on Audiogon for the whopping price of $20) for about a year while on the first floor of a building in the West Village and then gave up. Since I've moved (top floor of a five floor-er surrounded by much taller buildings on all sides near Union Square) the tuner's lived in the closet. I never could get much in the way of a signal (let alone programming) that impressed me all that much. Maybe I should try again....? I guess this is one vote for how not to do it.
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While I don't live in NYC, I do live in Chicago and expect we have similar problems. I recently upgraded to a Fanfare FT-1A from a very good Sony ES tuner. The Fanfare is much better for multipath problems and has balanced out. The balanced out was nice because it gave me something to use my standby cables that I've "outgrown" on. As always the best way to find out is to try as many as you can get your hands on in your particular dwelling. The multiple antennae sampling situation could make it more of a complex test. But, it certainly would be best to find the greatest combination that you can afford and live with prior to purchasing. Best Regards, Aaron
Thanks to everyone for their posts. I've picked up a lot of good information.

There's a lot of great stuff on the New York airwaves!