It is not just sound, it is the music.
47 responses Add your response
The station I listen to most of the time is a public radio station that does not compress any more than necessary (far less than the majority of commercial stations). I actually enjoy listening to my tuner (MR71)! Additonally the new music I am exposed to on the radio is invaluable. File me under totally disagreeing with you!
We mostly use our tuner for CBC 1 which is mainly talk programming. Yes, a Sony table radio would do just as well. The kids use it for their "music" when we're out. Sometimes I use it to catch live music broadcasts where content is the key. Apparently European FM broadcasting is higher quality than ours, jusatifying the cost of tuners like the Naim NAT01.
Simply for the unexpected.
Second the new exposure post.I really enjoy shows like 'The Other Side' which is aired on a very clean sounding listener sponsored station which also plays vinyl.Couple of good FM show hosts(sultry voiced) deliver occasional jokes,news and drinks recipe. Tuner is great for warm up.
Why do I listen to radio?
-It's easier than putting on something I have on disc.
-Sometimes I don't have a strong preference and just want some music to listen to.
-Radio is one of the primary ways I discover new music that I like.
-Notably, I find myself listening to my tuner quite a bit and liking it. The sound doesn't have to be the ultimate in fidelity. I enjoy listening to radio in my car. Should I turn it off and not listen because the sound quality isn't as good as a disc on my home system?
Why do I have a quality tuner?
-While signals are not always pure and perfect, I want to hear them as good as they are, not further degraded by my own equipment. After all, no source is absolutely perfect.
-Some stations do actually broadcast high fidelity signals, and I'd like to be able to enjoy their quality.
-If I'm considering an album purchase, hearing it on the radio could dissuade me when I can tell the recording quality is poor (i.e., help me decide). This can happen when the broadcast is high fidelity and requires that I have a good tuner.
-It's a pleasure for me to own and use well-designed, good equipment, even tuners.
Yo! I moved to Orlando and am living at an extended stay kind of deal. Alongside my bed there's my spare classic Yamaha A-1 integrated & matching T-1 tuner on an IKEA Lack table. There's not going to be a digital setup for a while. I need to know what's going on here. You'd be surprised how all this sounds. Rx8man gave me some little Rat Shack A/V sealed speakers and with some basic noise control equipment (PS Audio Juice Bar, Audio Power parallel filter, ONEAC 2 ampere isolation transformer, cryo'ed Tice power cord & Wirewraps) plus two sets of Marigo cones it's sounding clean & decent. There's a lot of vulgar & sexually explicit Latino music I enjoy listening once in a while. For other times there's NPR and classic rock stations.
I have recorded from my tuner in the past
ONTO Minidisc, for a local show called
"Rock Of The 80`s". Now that i`ve recorded onto
120 Minidiscs, I DON`T need the tuner anymore.
So, it just sits there. Minidisc is SOOO nice,
the ability to edit, move, delete, combine,
alter, any song in ANY order, IS A PLUS!
You are missing the point.
I am not against tuners at all. I do enjoy my portative one and one in my car as well.
I am talking about stereophile system that we listening from our "Sweet Spot".
During those times I rather listen to something I prefer and not what on the radio at that time.
I have never herd about anybody listing to MP3's on hi-end system, just because it is compressed and flat and doesnt have enough data to reproduce a good recording.
So my question was purely in the respect to audiophile point of view.
I hope I haven't offended anyone.
Enjoy the music!!!
I agree, many non-commercial radio stations don't compress very much at all. I volunteer (and had previously worked in management and production) at one and it was the same deal--we kept VERY little comp on the transmitter, and in fact have NO added compression on the program bus. It's all live mix over the air BTW, nearly no automation like you have at the cookie-cutter corporate joints, so the on-air jocks have to really watch their meters because clips will most definitely be heard over the air, especially now that they've installed a *blech* digital hybrid console *gag* Oh, headroom, I shall miss thee...
FWIW I don't have a tuner right now but would like one, particularly to listen to classical music--I don't know anything about classical and don't even know where to start with buying, especially since there is none available on vinyl around here...so it would be great to be able to hear it over the waves and get an idea for what I like, and for free no less. But I have no money or shelf space for a tuner right now, unfortunately...
I agree with Muzikrat. IF I lived in a town with with a good college radio station I may have a decent tuner. But I don't so I don't. With the stations I can get, I hear far to much of them while I'm in the car. I have a cheap Kenwood receiver $100 Circuit City that I bought about 6 years ago, and I recently set it up on the shelf next to my system - and connect it through tape out. It's mainly for news/talk, but from time to time I find a good Jazz or Classical program on PBS. The fidelity has been surprisingly good.
free music programs are nothing to scoff at. An excellent resource for sampling music,and with satilite options, and internet, etc, there really is a bounty choices available. There could be real adventure in this avenue of listening. The tuner like the library is one of the great shared treasures of a social life. Of course, you could run into ruins and muck and - + confusion of bad sonics but real meaning. It is kinda of exciting to me though.
Again, I am not talking about regular listening to the radio at all.
My point is strictly about listening to FM thru hi-end system.
There is no way FM signal can camper to CD or record in the quality of sound.
Even a strong FM signal contains distortions. This are just rules of Physics.
Sum of hi-end tuners cost $2000-$6000. Why bother to pay for them and not to invest in to speakers, CD player or amplifier instead?
This is my point.
Thank you for your responds.
Misterl, if we settle on a $5,000 tuner price for discussion purposes (e.g., one of the dynalabs is that costly), I agree with you. For my lifestyle, I'd prefer to spend no more than $2,000 on a tuner and invest the rest in other system upgrades or in music. That's because I don't sit in the sweetspot and listen to the radio. The radio is terrific background music. I'm willing to invest in that up to a point.
As a caveat, I hope to never hear a $5,000 tuner since I might then be persuaded to actually buy the damn thing! That's the problem with this hobby ;-)
I'm not sure what your question is, you seem to feel it has not been answered, however, it sure looks to me like it HAS been answered.
Several people have stated they listen to different radio stations with a high end tuner and are quite pleased with the sound. What else do you want?
You cannot understand why people would pay 5k for a tuner?
Well i cant understand why somone would pay $350,000 for a pair of wavac monoblocks that are as linear as a pile of noodles and suffers extreme distortion, and are so reliable that one of the channels blew out a week into the review.
In any expencive hobby, there are always things that wont make sence. Look at the Tice Clock, and Shaki Stones. Explain those to me. After crap like that, a 5,000 tuner makes perfect sence.
If you want to worry about distortion then why dont you ask the Tube fanatics why they listen to a system with so much distortion and so little power? You cannot always measure the musical experience with distortion, loss, or power.
Maybe the loss of fidelity though FM radio is pretty minimal when using a real good high end tuner. Maybe they find the musical experience very satisfying?
If you dont think High end tuners are worth it then dont buy it, but dont expect people to agree with you. People have varied tastes.
Seems like you have an axe to grind against high end tuners. But i dont really see a point of this thread. The answers are right there in front of you, just because you dont agree does not mean the answers are wrong.
Why dont you just tell us what you want to hear if yer not interested in the responses you recieve? Then we can tell you whatever and get on with our lives
Misterl, given that criteria - I agree with you. I don't understand the technical benefits of a state of the art tuner, but my money would go into other parts of the system or the room, and I would probably stick with my Kenwood receiver as a tuner (it has remote tuning, prresets, and decent reception). I think the other factor for me is when I have time to really listen, I want to listen to what I really want to listen to, not what someone is playing for me. I've been drawn in to radio programs before, but not when I was in "the chair" it was when I was listing to radio while doing something else.
. . . well that's my 2 cents anyway . . .
I just like hearing the different music, from different performers, as well as the DJ's, all as background music. It is something new and different from the cdp's you listen to, kind of like the reality shows you see on tv today. When I am listening to the radio I am not critically listening, but just wanting music I can towel my butt off to.
Not a pretty sight!
mister1, you say:
"...There is no way FM signal can camper to CD or record in the quality of sound. Even a strong FM signal contains distortions. This are just rules of Physics..."
i say: you are simply mistaken. i have a hi-end system. retail walue ~$50k (tho i paid far less, ~20% on the dollar, by being a prudent shopper, buying mainly used or close-out.) it's a true full-range system, & extremely revealing. the sound i get from a quality fm station *easily* rivals that of my digital & analog sources. EASILY. i spend a *lot* of my prime listening time listening to fm in the "sweet spot." don't knock what you don't know. sorry you haven't had the pleasure of experiencing it.
then you say:
"...Sum of hi-end tuners cost $2000-$6000. Why bother to pay for them and not to invest in to speakers, CD player or amplifier instead? This is my point..."
i say: yust like anything else, you can overpay for a product. i presently own six tuners that cost $200 or less, & i'd put *any* of 'em up against the magnum dynalab md-108, marantz 10b, day-sequerra reference, linn kremlin, naim nat-01, you name it. their sonics & reception capability are outstanding. my best-sounding tuna cost me $75, after i spent $300 on mods for it. i can only imagine how good the other six could sound if i spent money on mods for those. (i'm seriously considering mods for three of them. one cost me $26, one $175, the other $200.) if someone wants to spend big bucks on a fancy md108 or sequerra, then *let* 'em. in a good rig, w/a quality signal, they will get outstanding sound. even if they insist on using $350k amps that measure poorly... ;~)
Thank you all for your feedback.
My intensions were not to start controversial thread and I am definitely not against any kind of tuners.
It was interesting to hear different opinions on this subject, even though; some of them were not related to it all.
Lets just enjoy our hobbies to the fullest, because it all about little things that make as happy.
Mostly I bother because you are quite incorrect when you state that all stations broadcast compressed format. Simply not true. Especially the good stations that broadcast jazz and classical. And even a couple of classic rock stations (although that format is being rapidly eaten up with the mega-station ownership). And excellent quality/performing tuners (mostly vintagge) are inexpensive and provide great listening. Try one with a good antenna and you will be in for a treat. Read all about tuners/antennas/mods/stations, etc. here http://www.fmtunerinfo.com/index.html. Gaurantee that you will be pleasantly surprised.
I have a modded Kenwood Kt 7500 and listen to a local jazz station that easily rivals cd's at times. Records sound like they are in my system almost with the typical vinyl surface noise with clicks and pops here and there. Dynamics(due to very little compression) are very good. There's three decent quality broadcasting stations in Portland, two of which are fortunately my favorite stations. It's pretty obvious most people have no idea how good FM can be. A good antenna is also required. I get to listen to new much music without having to get up and am quite happy sitting in the sweet spot listening to the "radio". Another good thing about public broadcasting is the lack of commercials.
My humble hotel room setup is sounding real smooth & pleasant after the ONEAC filter has been on for 24 hrs. Listening to Dominican hardcore, old-school merengue & Colombian salsa. FM can be great to keep up to speed and enjoy--they're transmitting live from a club named Cocobongo's, on Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando. Got to go there next Saturday--WOW...and I haven't yet seen the *mamis*...
Sedond would be *shocked* if I'd bring my Modwright modded belt drive transport (and associated vibration gear, power cord & VenHaus Pulsar digital cable) and one of my T4 filters. He'd weep...and try to get an even better tuner!
Now they're playing Bachata music in Cocobongo's. The DJ's actually mixing the songs--not easy with Bachata's beat. I got to go to that club. Perhaps I should post pictures here...
Listening to FM gives me an opportunity to evaluate music for before making a final purchase. I can do this while on my computer for work and for pleasure. I end up buying for my tastes and don't waste money on CD's with only one decent tune. I uncompress the FM signal (restore it with my dbx 4BX) and it is impressive. Perhap you should give this approach a try?
>How any audiophile could be serious about having tuner in >his of her system?
>What is your opinion?
My opinion is you have no clue about FM. Like a turntable needs to be setup, an FM installation also needs to be setup to work properly and deliver the best sound.
The antenna system is the primary consideration. It can't be an after thought, like a dipole tossed behind the equipment rack. The dynamic range in stereo FM is directly related to the signal strength. Without a strong, multipath free signal, you'll never be optimized to hear what FM can offer.
This usually means a large, multi-element, dedicated FM antenna on a rotor, and high quality low loss cable to the tuner. Make an investment here first, THEN start listening to what FM can offer. If you pick a tuner from the top 20 list of Jim's shootout list (www.fmtunerinfo.com), you'll likely do OK for a stock unit.
A modded and aligned unit will sound even better. Ed at APS sells them, for a less than most audiophiles spend for high end speaker cables.
If you want to fet an idea of what can be had in your area for diversity of listening, try antering your zip code into www.radio-locator.com
Do an advanced search after the initial results, and check "fringe reception" - with a good antenna as above, and a decent aligned tuner, you'll get all the fringe stations easily in clear stereo.
I guess that's my opinion.
i love my magnum dynalab ,its usually tuned to 88.5 WMNF tampa fla. public radio,very eclectic,they play everything from 1930 s jazz to underground hip hop ,and everything in between,,ive discovered so much music i would never have heard otherwise!!!!!! yes ,i love my tuner! wmnf can also be heard online ,check out thier program schedule !! there are times you just dont want to get up and change cds or lps,
no, kjg, sid is wrong; it is also how fantastic the music sounds! ;~)
re: which cheap tuna to try, everyone has their faves. go to fmtunerinfo.com to read about different tuna. jim rivers' shootouts are a fascinating guide, but not the final answer. be aware that this is one man's system, in a small room, & while an excellent system, it is *not* a true full range system. for example, jim himself sez he might prefer one tuna ranked somewhere in the 20's in his list over his fave - if he had his rig in a bigger room. (this also shows how closely ranked his top tunas really are.) also, he still prefers his modded lowly kenwood kt-7500 to *any* of the tunas on his shootout list.
antenna *is* important. rooftop-mounted directional is best, if possible. for cost no object, ed hanlon's aps-13 is regarded as best. (unless, of course, ya wanna pay him more for a custom antenna!) next best, imo, is the winegard hd-6065, at ~1/3 the cost. better than the aps-9, which is about half-way between each, price-wise. i am in a difficult reception area, & went from an earlier iteration of the aps-13 (the aps-14, supposedly even better), to the winegard, & had zero reception or sonic change. if ya must use indoor, i like the now-discontinued archer/rat-shack 15-1833. find 'em on ebay, etc. these are tunable, yust like the tuna itself. some folk like tv-style rabbit ears.
for mods & service, i'd recommend stephen sank (don't expect it back soon, tho), bill ammons, or joseph chow. for service w/o mods, add mike zuccaro to the list. ed hanlon also does a good job, but i wouldn't recommend him if you want feedback as to what he's actually doing. he got all testy w/me on a coupla occasions, accusing me of trying to steal his secrets & then diy. if i wanted to diy, i could get info to learn right from fmtunerinfo. com & its sister yahoo tuner forum. go figure. also, i know a lot of folk like don scott, but i (and others on the fmtunerinfo forum) don't recommend him because he aligns & adjusts filters "by ear", & you really need proper electronics testing gear for tuna.
for the tuna itself, well there are literally dozens! my present #1 is a highly-modded (by stephen sank) harmon-kardon citation 18. but, the next group is so close, i could really be happy w/any of 'em. philips 185, sumo charlie (ya have to get the ones w/rack handles, as these were the only ones adjusted by james bongiorno before they left the factory. unless, of course, ya send it, along w/$500 to james for a refurb & mods!), mitsubishi da-f20, hitachi ft-8000, rotel rt-2100, accuphase t101...
then, there's a whole slew of others that are also really close, but they're either a hair off the pace, (and i *do* mean a microscopic hair), or they're a bit more $$$ and not worth it unless you have an emotional attachment. :>) again, if these are modded, they're gonna get better. and again, i could also be really happy w/any of these. technics st-8600, onix bwd1 w/soap-2, revox b760, revox b261, tandberg 3001a, sansui tu-517/719/9900, bill-ammons-modded heathkit aj1600, stephen-sank-modded mcintosh mr65b (lousy sensitivity, tho), yamaha t2, meridian 204. (and, i have four euro-tuners that i could add to the list, if they were adjusted to the usa-standard 75us de-emphasis, instead of the euro-standard 50us; as it stands now, they are a tad bright in the treble: saba ts-2000, restek d2, philips 186, & b&o beolab 5000.)
one special note about the kenwoods - unless yure gonna spend big money on something like the l-o2t, i'd strongly suggest only a modded iteration. why? well, i had a mint kt-9900, supposedly one of their better iterations. it *was* beautiful, & had excellent reception, w/loads of detail. but, the sound was not at all dimensional. i asked bill ammons about it, thinking mebbe mine was in severe need of alignment or something. he assured me, that based upon my description of its operation & sound, that in fact this is the case w/the kenwoods - a *lot* of sonic potential is left hidden inside. which is likely why the kt-7500, which ranks almost at the bottom of jim rivers' shootout list, vaults to the #1 position after it's modded....
i may have inadvertently forgotten one or two. ;~) but, the point is that there are *lots* of gems out there that won't cost ya a fortune, & for a moderate investment in mods (at minimum, service/alignment is a prerequesite, imo), you will have a fantastic sounding piece of audio gear that will give you free music.
so many tunas, so little time... :>)
"Only Sidssp seems to have the right response to this."
The "music over sound" thing is always there, that's pretty obvious, regardless of the source, right?
We have some very serious audiophiles contributing to our tuner discussion. For an example, take a peek at David's system in the Richochet section http://www.fmtunerinfo.com/ricochets.html
francisco, my tuna obsession is only the tip of the iceberg. there are folk on the yahoo tuna forum that have >100 different species of tuna! :>)
check out this link. (this guy is into other gear besides tuna, but the tuna is really choice.):
Oh dear, somebody just pulled my finger. Engage tongue lashing.
Let us first talk about the sound quality that is possible via FM. The potential for FM, in all honesty, is quite high and actually does equal or rival that of compact disc, in certain respects (actual data delivered), and actually quite exceeds that theoretically possible with a vinyl LP, in other respects (separation, frequency response, interchannel crosstalk, etc.). Say what? Allow me to explain:
See, when you have a $20,000 FM alignment and testing rig sitting at your disposal, you can learn a great many things about FM. First is this: FM is capable of incredibly low distortion performance insofar as static testing is concerned. I have regularly obtained results below .01% on a fully modulated signal on a tweaked and perfectly aligned, well-designed tuner. A Magnum Dynalab is having a good day if it can hit the high side of .20%. Shocked? Most "audiophile" tuners are genuine pieces of GARBAGE. These are complex devices and require a massive engineering budget many audiophile companies are not going to spend on a niche market product. High end audio has become a market where parts selection and fancy wire unfortunately often supercedes sound engineering practice. That said, that measurement is lower than many tube amplifiers.
Still, all is still not perfect. STEREO FM does have a real, legitimate, and definite problem with intermodulation distortion both on an individual channel and between the channels. This can become particularly pervasive on badly processed pop music with too much high frequency content. HF noise can actually fold over from the stereo subcarrier to the primary channel, to put it into really simplified terms. Fortunately, with modern and properly configured equipment, this isn't so much a problem. Go read some of Bob Orban's whitepapers on the Orban website if you need a technical fix.
The real problem with FM enters in when one considers the effects of the 19kHz stereo subcarrier. Yes, it is at a low level, but it is still there and a constant potential source of intermodulation distortion. You've seen the 19+20kHz IMD test charts in Stereophile. FM has a constant signal at 19kHz for all of the musical data to cope with. This, in turn, can and does give rise to very measurable and audible problems. The sum of these problems in a tuner with a very carefully designed IF strip with incredible care paid to obtaining steep filter side skirts and the lowest possible group delay can be massively diminsished, although never entirely. A proper demultiplexer implementation is also critical. I'm really skimming over the surace here and cutting a lot of corners, but so be it. FWIW, the MPX chip in the MD tuners is a decent piece. Unfortunately, the IF strip is very poorly designed and is not up to even mass market Japanese high end tuner standards. It is just *AWFUL*. I've called them and told them how to fix it, but I bet they haven't.
FM's other major potential problem CAN revolve around stereo separation. A full techincal discussion would be overkill, so I'll cut it short and suffice to say again that IF implementation is the primary critical factor along with proper compensation. I have obtained nearly 60dB stereo separation from 40Hz to ~14,000kHz, which is more than enough for virtually any recorded program material. Most tuners, of course, won't do this well. Yamaha and Tandberg tuners tend to do the best here, but I have also seen some vintage designs to shockingly well, at 45-50dB or above across the frequency range. Magnum Dynalab, OTOH, and curiously, leaves out the compensation adjustment, and it's gotta be a cold day in hell to squeak 25-30dB out of one of those misable things as frequency increases. Incidentally, however, reduced stereo separation can produce a decrease in noise-level, another major FM problem.
Mono FM can broadcast with truly incredible fidelity. Stereo, on the other hand, requires a whopper of a signal to get the noise level down. That's where the primary objectively identifiable problem with FM comes in at a theoretical level, and it is one that cannot be overcome. A good antenna, and a properly aligned front end are, of course, the best remedies.
Now, onto compression. In reality, *ALL* FM stations use some level of compression. Uncompressed FM is simply too soft. A good compressor/limiter won't be driven too hard and too close to full modulation. If it is, you'll get that awful seasickness feeling where the music is pulsing and changing in volume. Very annoying.
Ergo, in sum, while FM has some theoretical problems, the primary issue is compression IN THE MODERN ERA. Old FM modulators had a *HOST* of other problems. Suffice to say that if you have a favorite station and cash to burn, offer to buy them a new digital setup for a few grand. The difference can be uncanny. Many of the FM stations I listen to around here are not highly overmodulated/compressed, and do, in fact, sound very good. On a live broadcast, from a technical perspective, more actual audio "data" may be making it over the airwaves than CD will allow.
Audio is often about the music, and not just getting the best sound quality possible, unless you're one of those contemptuous boobs who just listens to "audiophile approved" rubbish. Many jazz, classical, and live performances just are not available elsewhere.
And also do pardon my habitual tearing down of an audio industry sacred tuner cow. I know you probably own one, dear audiophile reader. I've talked to the incompetant twit they pass off as their engineer. I told them how to fix their product. I have (partially) fixed their product personally. Want a revelation? MD, for the cost of about $10 in parts could produce tuners with *TEN TIMES* less distortion and *THIRTY DB* more channel separation. I have never seen another high end company, particularly in the tuner realm, make the same omissions and errors these people make, and I, frankly, find it inexcusable, and I'm not even an engineer or an expert. A good tuner can truly be an eye opener, and *CAN* have objective specifications as good as or better than many pre and power amplifiers, if you feed it with a good signal. Not surprisingly, when you eliminate a whole bunch of musically unrelated IM distortion, the component also sounds a heckuva lot better. Have a nice day.