What are the Best FM tuners?


This is an often asked question. This is my current list of favorites:
A. Good out of the box, judging sound quality only, not in order of preference because each has merits:

1. Very rare Accuphase T-103
2. 1 out of 10 Tandberg TPT 3001As
3. Onkyo T-909
4. Bogen TP-100
5. Akai AT-S7
6. JVC FX-1100B
7. NEC T-710
8. Onix Audio BWD-1
9. Kenwood KT-990D
10.Crown FM-2
11.Marantz ST-17
12.Sim Audio "Moon"

B. Modified tuners, both RF and audio performance, in order of preference:

1. Kenwood KT-727
2. Kenwood KT-3200D
3. NEC T-6E
4. SAE 8000
5. Accuphase T-101
6. Sony ST-S550ES
7. Onkyo T-4500
8. Tandberg TPT-3011A
9. McIntosh MR-74
10.Luxman T-110
11.Onkyo T-909
12.MD-102, early version

Sure, there are others -- and you may have your own opinions -- but these have proven to be excellent choices over the past 20 years.
bdscott
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Interesting to see the Crown FM-2 on the list, which I've had for oh around 35 years.  And agree by the way!  Don't ordinarily see Crown components here but it's been able to cleanly pull and lock in stations others can't - with consistency.  Back in the day it seemed Crown wanted to bridge that gap from Pro to consumer and this one was more the latter.
The thread should be changed to "what are the best VINTAGE tuners".  Can't imagine having a list like this and not including Fanfare. I don,t have personal experience with the Magnum Dynalab so I can,t comment.
Your opinions are interesting, but there is a site that had many knowledgeable FM guys test and listen to all the ones they could get their hands on, and it was a lot.  All of you are prejudiced by what you have owned and heard, but your experience is too limited.  This site also offers upgrade advice, and occasionally contradictory opinion, such as the low ranking of the Kenwood KT815, which one tech raved about.  I have owned most of the best Kenwood tuners, and others tested for the site, and must agree with both reviewers of this tuner:  For example:  The thing has no bass. It sucks on rock, but it sounds really good on classical music.  Slight mods give it bass.  I really believe this $430 tuner in 1979 was designed to make the $1000 KT917 sound like it was worth more than double the price.  I have owned both, and first had the entry level $300 KT615.  When I read that the electronic (HORRORS!), and inexpensive B&K TS10 sounded a bit better than the 917, I had to find out for myself.  I now own one.  I tried out several tuners from the site's shootout rankings, and they are spot on.  FYI, I had to use my best preamp  amps, and speakers to hear any difference at all between the B&K and 917.  The B&K is a pain in the rear to use, so I kept the 815 to search for stations to put in the B&K's memory.  The reason you never heard of the B&K is that it was scarfed up by Fanfare, which added a remote.  See  fmtunerinfo.com and go to the Shootout page.

As a general comment I would say to be a great tuner it
should allow for fine tuning to the frequency. 
This question may have been relevant to hifi in the 1980's but is it in 2017? I had a decent Yamaha tuner with a pretty good antennae in the attic but never used it so I sold the tuner and have not missed it. With all the source options that are available today with better quality and music choices, is this a hifi option?
It looks like  everybody try to push what brand model they have without any comparison.I had owned over 25 tuner SS & tubed and I always come back to tube which they have 3D,transparent and very musical.Bogen,HH Scott & Pilot and one of my favs.
I've had a lot of good tuners over the years and very soon I'll be getting a Sumo Charlie. I'm an analog tuner/tube and vinyl person but looking forward to hearing this tuna.
I, must say you should give the nakamichi st 7 a listen , with the sholtz circuitry, it is really quiet and really pulls in weak stations, of course you must have a good antenna, and most of us don't hook up to outside antennas, I use a non powered inside antenna , which is really good .I think it was called the sound trap ,
Anyone .. I didn't realize the Sumo was so rare
Anyone own a Sumo Aurora or Charlie tuner
Are they equally as good
My friend owns a vintage Marantz, and it sounds great! it was made on the 70's.
I own a Fisher 800c and love it,next I hope to find a Fisher FM1000 and matching amp. Love the tube stuff!
Best sounding fm tuner I owned, and have regrets selling, is the Pioneer Series 20 F26.
FM tuners in cars have a bloated midrange response which may be causing this perceived difference in sound. They are receptive and sound decent with crappy speakers. Which is why they are reserved for autos.
I believe some years ago The Absolute Sound(?) asked the question as to whether the best tuner (Blaupunkt?) was an automobile unit. On the one hand a moving vehicle would probably need better tuning ability, on the other hand the necessary miniaturization might necessitate compromise.
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Bogen, really? It seems to be designed as an after-thought add-on for PA systems, how did it end up being a 'contender'?
for the price you can't go past the rotel r-t 1080,love it.
"Sam Tellig in Stereophile raved re the sub $100 Sony."

I respectfully disagree about the Sony. True, for the price it really grabs stations, but the tone/fidelity/sound stage/presence is just not in league with the best (albeit much more expensive) audiophile tuners. IMO. Sam loves to rave. Proof? See his review of the LFD Zero Mk III. Case closed. I have a theory that most Hi-Fi reviewers really want to be writing fiction, and the rest are co-mingling wine reviews with their audio reviews. Just kidding!
The Marantz 10B tuner is my personal favorite. While there have been numerous design innovations since the 1960s --the Schotz front end, for example-- Dick Sequerra's design for Saul Marantz has done something that I've not heard another tuner do.
Often I listen in the dark, when sense cues can take on a 'heightened' feeling, but while listening during the day, I became absorbed in my work while the tuner was on. Several times, while alone I was startled back to awareness by feeling there was someone in the room with me.
The audio cues that lead to that kind of experience are very subtle and complex. The fact that I was startled, literally to the point of having the hair on my neck stand up, attests to the realism of the presentation possible with the Marantz 10B.
Sometimes a component attains highly respected status without cause; in my estimation the Marantz 10B tuner is justifiably worthy of its accolades.
McImtosh MR78
McIntosh MR85
Magnum
Newbee -- Enjoy the new Accuphase!

Re my own tuner experiences, I'll quote from myself in another tuner thread:
I've been through about a dozen tuners over the years, mostly vintage tube units, but a few modern ones as well including a Carver TX-11. The vintage ones include a REL (Radio Engineering Laboratories) Precedent (from 1954), two different Marantz 10B's, a McIntosh MR71, and numerous Scott and Fisher units.

By far the one with the best sound quality has been the now 55-year old REL Precedent (with a Scott or Fisher multiplex adapter to decode the stereo). The best in terms of station-getting ability have been the REL and the 10B's, which I found to be about equal (both significantly better than the Carver unit, which has proprietary digital processing claimed to provide extra-special sensitivity).
The REL is the one I've kept in my main system, and I've sold most of the others. Although ever since I acquired it about 18 years ago, it unfortunately only feels like working properly on some days and not on others (I think it has a problem with a diode or capacitor in the detector circuit). But when it cooperates I couldn't ask for more.

Here's a pic from this link of someone else's REL.

Regards,
-- Al
Since no one else has mentioned it, I recently replaced my Accuphase T101 with an Accuphase T100. A substantial improvement - not as 'bright', better bass, and more highly resolved. Better reception as well. On those occasions when the signal is high quality it approaches the general quality of the other sources I have. FWIW.
Sam Tellig in Stereophile raved re the sub $100 Sony.
Sansui TU-X1. Haven't heard anything close. A huge rare piece that weighs 30 pounds. Sounded great when bought used. Upgraded by Ken at Stereo Surgeon in CT. Simply incredible sound from live broadcasts off WQXR in NYC (despite their move to the end of the dial). Previously owned Pioneer TX-9100 and modded Sansui 717. Agree with everyone that vintage Sansui crushes any current models.
I just replaced my uber-expensive Magnum Dynalab MD-108 with NOS tubes with a surprisingly enjoyable vintage Sansui TU-919. The Sansui has not been modded and sounds great as-is.
I have a Luxman T-03L that sounds better than any other tuner i have heard.And i have listened to many tuners.
I can assemble a dozen analog front ends for the price of an MD-109 and each one will crush it.

Disclaimer: MD-109 retailer
I say its better than any analogue front end, and dont forget most anolog front ends cost more than the 109 !!!

considering the table, arm, cartridge, phono stages !
Check out the MD 109- it is pricey but some have said it sounds better than a 20k analog front end. At the price of a good new car it should be.
Sequerra Moodel 1 FM Tuner
The best are tubed Fm tuners, hands down. Then get the upgrades and the rest is left in the dust. Also, the simply tubed circuits generally sound the best.
I have an Audio Horizon modded H/K Citation Eighteen tuner that I'm absolutely enamored with. I just hope that standard FM broadcasting will be around for awhile longer. (O:
Recently I have been listening to a audio horizons modded sansui 9900. Absolute addicted and analog sounding music, so much so I spent more time listening to it than on my turntable ( sonically still my prefer choice) or CD which cost 10-30x more. Looking forward to an accuphase 1000, marantz 20b or do u think there is any tube tuner anybody can recommend that in your opinion is better than a modded sansui 9900? Happy listening
I've had an Accuphase T-1000 for about 3 months. I've previously used a Luxman T-117, a Luxman T-12, and a Marantz 20B. The Accuphase is in an entirely different league. Believe me when I say it actually sounds better than my Levinson 390s cd player in some cases (probably more a reflection of variation in cd quality than the player). I still don't see how a tuner can have such solid bass, crystal clear highs, stellar imaging, and continue to sound good for hours. Even at $5K, it could actually be considered good value, when you look at what a lot people pay for a lot of other components.
jeez- sounds like they like it a lot.
Here's a link to some info on the FM Tuner Info site:

http://www.fmtunerinfo.com/reviewsA-C.html#accuphase

I'm wondering if anyone has listened to the Accupahase T-1000 tuner. It's a pricey puppy!
There are so many good tuners when properly aligned, with many subtle differences. And making a considerable investment in a tuner doesn't always mean that you will get better sound.

If you live in an area where you receive many stations without reception problems, a simple and inexpensive tuner with clean circuit topology is all that's needed.

I have such reception and have found that inexpensive tuners like my NAD 402 and Sansui TU- 217 perform quite well, and sound great.

Some of my other tuners have better DX'ing capablities, but they're really unncessary here.

I have owned many excellent tuners over the past few decades including a 10B and Sequerra FM Studio. However, for less than the price of one of these I have more than ten tuners that are all great performers. And with vintage gear like this, it's nice to have so many pieces of equipment so that you don't over tax them.

Vintage gear's not meant to be a "daily driver" so to speak. It's meant to be used sparingly like a classic automobile.

Some of my tuners:

ReVox B261
McIntosh MR-65B
Tandberg 3011A
Sansui TU-217
NAD 402
Pilot MKIV

Three recent purchases which are on the way:

Kenwood KT-5300
Pioneer TX-7800
Yamaha T-1

And I am still at least $500 away from what it would cost for a nice Marantz 10B these days.

Sold my rack mounted 10B back in the mid 1990's for $1800. Given inflation (thanks to the Federal Reserve Bank) that would equate to about two and half grand these days.

Regards,
JimmyBlues
Hi BdScott,
I have a stock H/K Citation Eighteen tuner that I like very much. Are there any mods available that will focus on improving the sonics? I believe this was manufactured @1977.Thanks.
Don - I just today hooked up the Nikko Gamma 5 that you sent to me. I'm running it without the Winegard Yagi antenna, which I just recieved today. Initial impressions - WOW!!! It's receiving many stations with 75' of coax just coiled and laying on the ground level floor. I'll check back in once I have the antenna rigged.
Regards, Mike
I recently upgraded a Nikko Gamma 5: additional IF filter, swapping out one linear-phase IF modules in favor of two standard ceramic IF filters, improved audio output IC, better audio output caps, improved high blend. It is hard to believe it gets much better -- WOW! 35-40dB adjacent-channel selectivity in Narrow with no ill effects.
I have a Sansui 9900 and it is better than any tuner I have personally used including Fishers (tube) Marantz 2110, various Denons and a vintage Dyna FM3. wfc
Put up the MD-6 - no looking back. Station pull increased, as did clarity, dynamics, etc. Put an Epiphany PC on it and some Virtual Dynamics Revelation ICs and now have sound rivaling my CD player! Pretty sweet tuna.... I suppose there's always something better....
I also have a Sansui 9900, modded, currently hooked to an MD ST-2 whip antenna on the roof, run through an MD-205 Signal Sleuth. It pulls stations about 40 miles away and the sound is very good.

Currently pondering the merits of replacing the ST-2 with an MD-6 Yagi antenna I just purchased(before I discovered how well the MD-205 worked with the Sansui), but am torn between "leaving well enough alone" and the brain damage involved in modifying brackets, etc to install the MD-6.

Feedback?

Thanks
I have listened to many, but the Sansui TU-9900 is my personal favorite beating many Kenwoods, Tandbergs, Pioneers, Denons, Sonys, and three other Sansuis. Very tough to beat IMO
No one else has said it yet,so I will say it.

No tuner is better that its antenna and the quality of the broadcast signal.

It is by no means the best,but I like the flywheel accuracy tuning on my Matantz ST-17. It's connected to a chimney mounted,turnstile style,multi-directional antenna from Radio Shack. It's a good antenna for about 30-40 miles,line of sight.
david
i currently have a sansui 417 an amber model 7 and THE hitachi FT 5500 MARK11
HAD THE AMBER FOR YEARS THOUGHT it was the best the sansui moved it too the surround sound system
the hitachi though has cd quality sound reproduction- i no longer listen to either of the others.
You might want to check out www.fmtuner.com

Lots of info there.