What happened to the AM/FM tuner???

I want to add an AM/FM tuner component, but apparently no one makes this any more!! Every AM/FM tuner I see for sale is integrated with an amplifier, cd-player, or other thing I don't want/need.

All I want is an AM/FM tuner with RCA line level output - no built in amplifier, no built in cd player, nothing else!!
What happened to the tuner? Corporate radio stations and the internet happened to radio broadcast. This basically rendered the radio tuner useless as there's no quality program material or quality sound to be found in most markets.

If you have a good station in your area, consider yourself lucky!

BTW, there's plenty of older or vintage tuners available here or on other sites.

Also, the Tivoli PAL portable radio is really cool. It's a great portable radio with a rechargable battery, so it makes a nice emergency radio. It also works great as a stereo am/fm tuner. This is what I use in my big rig when I want to listen to radio.


"Antenna Performance Specialties" usually has a few outstanding tuners available. Just go to their web site and have a look.
I had a NAD S400 that was way decent.
Lots of great tuners available.

Magnum Dynalab
to name a few.

As mentioned above, vintage tuners are plentiful. Go to Ebay and type in AM/FM tuner, you will find many.
A few more
It all depends on what you want to spend.
I see them listed here on AG on occassion as well
What do you want to spend?
The Marantz ST17 is a few years old but if you can find
one it is a great tuner.
What happened to AM/FM tuners is that without content, they essentially became worthless. And what happened to FM radio is truly a crime against humanity. The FCC should be locked up in jail and sodomized nightly. They let the corporate foxes rule the hen house and now we have nothing worth listening to on FM except for NPR.

If you purchase an FM tuner, all you will find is coporate pre-packaged pablum off a digital music server that stores the music in an MP3 format. Oh and now we have plenty of spanish-language stations to choose from and more commercials than you (or anyone) can stand. None of which is worth spending $75.00 to listen to.

So, while you can still find new and used AM/FM tuners available to buy, why would you want one... they're just a waste of money and shelf space.

One of the biggest problems that I had with trying to listen to FM is the fact that most of the stations pump the bass about 12 to 15 db and the music sounds way too bass-heavy on a decent system.

Now the hype is all centered around HD radio. Broadcasters want you to invest in a new service to stream commercials into your home,car, or office. The HD radio system uses part of their FM bandwidth allocation to stream 100, 112, 125, or 150 kbits/second of lossy data to HD receivers. The actual rate is set by the station depending on power budget and desired range of signal. By comarisson, a CD has between 900 and 1400 kbits/second of data. In listening to HD radio, the sound has a time domain distorion to it that becomes tiresome after about 5 minutes and irksome after about 15 minutes. While this would be fine for your car (at least the meta-tags are useful), it really doesn't make sense for a high quality 2-channel audio system.
The new replacement for FM is internet radio or satellite radio. You are far more likely to be happy with either of these technologies than if you buy a new AM/FM tuner.
I recommend internet radio if you wish to stream to your system. A bit complex, but lots of choices for music and information. I like having XM radio available. Monthly subscription, but very few commercials and lots of choices for music. I also have DirecTV which hosts most of the music channels from XM. The Sat receiver has digital Toslink outputs and RCA outputs. I use an Onkyo receiver as a pre-pro and sometimes use the tuner in it. Many choices, but not like the old days. Good luck.
I find the Magnum Dynalab tuner that I bought an excellent source for good quality music, and it is free. Living in the northeast there are plenty of inependent/college stations with a great variety of music. Bought myself a decent powered antenna at RatShack and I find the quality to be quite good, sometimes better than what I get over the internet or via cable. And it is nice not having another bloodsucker draining $10- $20 per month in fees.
You should be able to find something to fit your needs right here on AudioGon.
After years of neglecting FM because I didn’t think it was worth the time or effort I stumbled upon FMtunerinfo.com and my enthusiasm in FM was ignited. I, like Zenblaster live in the Northeast where decent college stations are fairly plentiful. While there are many big corporate stations with over compressed and badly EQ’d signals, WGBH, NPR out of Boston has simply amazing sound quality and program material, classical, including live broadcasts (great sound quality), jazz every night and Celtic and others on Saturdays. This station alone has been worth the price of admission and in fact I rarely change the station. I hear all sorts of music I otherwise wouldn’t.

I have found some very musical tuners like the AM/FM Kenwood KT-5020 and AM/FM Luxman T-117. These get the high frequencies right, a weakness I’ve found with a lot of tuners. Sansui also made some excellent, but pricier AM/FM tuners like the TU-X1, 919, and 9900. There are plenty more by other manufacturers too. Two of the biggest mistakes it to 1) get a great tuner but neglect the antenna, and 2) not get it aligned.

Here’s some sad but appropriate news while we’re on the subject;


The electronic engineer who helped develop production of high-fidelity stereo sound over the airwaves has died. 83 year old Carl G. Eilers, Friday at his home in River Forest, Illinois, on June 26th of an apparent of a heart attack.

A 50-year employee of Zenith Electronics, Eilers joined Zenith in 1948 as an engineer in the research department working on a subscription television system called Phonevision. In 1977, he became manager of research and development and led the team that in 1961developed FM stereo broadcasting. Eilers was also co-developer of another key industry standard known as MTS or multi-channel television sound for stereo TV. Zenith's MTS system was adopted by the industry in 1984.

Eilers also worked on development of remote controls, laser-disc recording and supplemental audio programming. He also contributed significantly to high-definition television and was granted 21 U.S. patents.

Eilers retired in 1997 but returned as a consultant for the company, which is based in the Chicago suburb of Lincolnshire. He is survived by his wife of Sandra; his son John and a daughter Janet Ames. (Published reports)
Check out fmtunerinfo.com and you won't be disappointed.
I highly recommend getting a Logitech Squeezebox and a good DAC and switching to internet radio instead of AM/FM. The Squeezebox gives you access to tons of channels and the sound quality is at least as good as FM in most cases. Using my Squeezebox I can access the streams of most of my local stations, although I seldom do because they all suck.
Try the new Sony HD Radio Receiver. It can be found on Amazon for $100 and supposedly it sounds great. People even complain that it does not have speakers to make it a "Radio".
I recently purchased a 1960 Sherwood S-2000 tube tuner for $15 at an antiques store. I replaced the broken dial string and recapped it with Sonicaps and 1 Auricap (output coupling cap) and it sounds Great! It's mono, but I really don't miss the stereo at all. It does have a separate MPX output (for forward compatibility with the not-yet-introduced FM Stereo). It pulls in the stations well and has a very liquid sound.
That said, I'm building the Bob Fitzgerald MPX converter to see how it sounds in stereo - for the price I can't go wrong.
I am also searching for a good FM tuner but also experience the relative lack of good classical music stations in the NY area with the exception of WQXR which has a lot of commercials during the daytime hours. I presently use a Vector Research VR 7000 as my tuner, with pretty good results, and although it brings in the station better than my Denon, I have no A/B switch in which to experiment. Does anyone have any knowledge of the VR 7000 receiver, and have any suggestions for a decent but not expensive tuner? I use it with my Musical Fidelity A5 integrated and Sonus Faber Home edition speakers.
Radio stations happened to the radio tuner. Listening to music on radio anymore is like trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon..its pointless to get so little material out of so much to offer. IMHO
Pharmlaw, I sent you a pm on a link to explore tuners. cheers
I recently purchased a 1960 Sherwood S-2000 tube tuner for $15 at an antiques store. I replaced the broken dial string and recapped it with Sonicaps and 1 Auricap (output coupling cap) and it sounds Great! It's mono, but I really don't miss the stereo at all. It does have a separate MPX output (for forward compatibility with the not-yet-introduced FM Stereo). It pulls in the stations well and has a very liquid sound.

As someone who has been through a lot of 1950's and 1960's tube tuners, as well as a few modern ones, I second these statements 200%. It can take a little patience to find a good example of a good model, and perhaps some work on what you acquire, but the effort will be well rewarded.

As Ait alluded to, it's a lot easier to find good sound and good sensitivity at a low price if you are willing to listen in mono. And you will be, because the sound can be so glorious!

If you do want stereo, either from a stereo tube tuner, or from a mono unit that has provision for connection to an external multiplex adapter, be prepared to spend at least several hundred dollars for a good example, unless you get very lucky. The better multiplex adapters themselves (Fisher MPX100, Scott 335 and its kit equivalent, the LM35), will go on eBay for $200+ for a good example, and they don't appear particularly often.

And the better stereo tuners with built in multiplex adapters will commonly be several hundred dollars, or a little more than that for the better McIntoshes, or a LOT more for the two legends of the time, the Marantz 10B (stereo), and the REL Precedent (mono with multiplex out jack) (NOT the modern subwoofer manufacturer; that's Radio Engineering Laboratories, of NYC in the 1920's or 1930's to 1950's). For those two, be prepared to spend $3K or so for a good example.

I live about 60 miles from NYC, and I have a good roof-mounted antenna. Out of all the tuners I've tried over the years, including the 1980's Carver TX-11 which sold for $550 then and used special signal processing to achieve extraordinary MEASURED sensitivity, the only ones that would receive WQXR in stereo with close to negligible hiss levels are the 10B and the REL (+ mpx adapter). Not to mention that their sound was exceptional as well.

I've had several Radio Craftsmen Model 10 or RC10 mono tuners, from around 1952, which I typically paid $25 for. They too produce a gorgeous sound (you will not mind the fact that they are mono), and I'm sure you can find one in good shape on eBay with a little patience. Although they are probably in the $50 to $100 range these days. I believe Radio Craftsmen was the corporate predecessor of Sherwood, which Ait mentioned. It's appearance, though, is definitely not what you are used to, although it has a beautiful chrome chassis.

I've had wonderful results also from an H.H. Scott 310D (mono with mpx out). Not the 310E, which goes for close to $1K because TAS hyped it some years ago. The 350 I believe provides stereo, and is probably findable for $200 or $300, although I haven't heard one.

The Fisher FM90X gave me good results, also, and is reasonably priced, as are several other Fisher's.

The McIntoshes of that era, and later, are of course very good, but are more expensive than the others (other than the 10B and Precedent).

Hope that helps,
-- Al