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Thread: A Flock of Tuners....

  1. #111
    Join Date: Nov 2008

    Location: Belfast/Northern Ireland/UK

    Posts: 16,638
    I'm Neil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick_G View Post
    Any more news on this Neil? Bumping this thread up to stop it from disappearing....
    Sorry Nick

    I have done a substantial amount of work and I was aiming among other things to try and have this completed last year but personal events over took me. I was ill for 5 weeks with the mother of all flu and during that time my Dad died.

    To be honest I am now well behind re my online mag reviews and the Whittelbury Show report so I don't know when this will be completed now - sorry.

    Thank you for the additions to the thread.


    Regards Neil

  2. #112
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Whitchurch, Hampshire

    Posts: 115
    I'm Nick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalek Supreme D L View Post
    Sorry Nick

    I have done a substantial amount of work and I was aiming among other things to try and have this completed last year but personal events over took me. I was ill for 5 weeks with the mother of all flu and during that time my Dad died.

    To be honest I am now well behind re my online mag reviews and the Whittelbury Show report so I don't know when this will be completed now - sorry.

    Thank you for the additions to the thread.


    Regards Neil
    Sorry to hear about your news Neil My thoughts are with you.

    If I find any other tuners of interest (I'll still be looking out for them) then I will post my findings on here.

    Regards,
    Nick

  3. #113
    Join Date: Nov 2008

    Location: Belfast/Northern Ireland/UK

    Posts: 16,638
    I'm Neil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick_G View Post
    Sorry to hear about your news Neil My thoughts are with you.

    If I find any other tuners of interest (I'll still be looking out for them) then I will post my findings on here.

    Regards,
    Nick
    Thank you Nick

  4. #114
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Whitchurch, Hampshire

    Posts: 115
    I'm Nick.

    Default Hitachi FT-MD5500 (aka FT-007) vs Denon TU-800L

    Well, I picked up a Hitachi FT-MD5500 recently for chump change, which is the UK iteration of the FT-007. According to the TIC, this tuner may sound slightly better than the FT-5500 MkII due to shorter and better paths from the audio stages, and it gets a very good write up on the Tuner Information Center. So I had to do a shootout against the Denon. I only just got round to hooking it up this afternoon.

    So, very quick first impressions are that it doesn't have the extended frequency response of the Denon TU-800L, and consequently has a 'darker' sound. So it does not have that superb sense of clarity, air and space that the Denon has. It does make the slight hiss I get on some stations a bit less noticeable though.

    Reception-wise, the narrow mode is considerably wider than the super narrow mode of the Denon too, and so selectivity is adequate for normal use but not good enough for proper DXing. The sensitivity seems a tad down on the TU-800L for the very weak signals that I use for tuner torture tests too.

    It is smaller than the Denon and has a compact footprint though and looks a bit more attractive with the faux wood side panels. However, the Denon comprehensively beats it, and so remains my best tuner deal so far. I think the Denon is probably an exceptional digital tuner tbh.

    Of course, as always YMMV.

    Regards,
    Nick

  5. #115
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Whitchurch, Hampshire

    Posts: 115
    I'm Nick.

    Default Sony ST-SA5ES tuner

    A couple of new tuner additions recently so I thought I'd write up my thoughts on them here.

    I bought a Sony ST-SA5ES recently from a seller in Germany. I have been curious about these tuners as my first 'proper' tuner for DXing was an ST-SA3ES and this tuner is its 'big brother', so to speak. Apparently it has had some adjustments to the distortion levels (THD I assume) and the signal strength readout - the seller sent this diagram to explain what had been done: http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/Mzg0WDMwMA==/z/UpoAAOSwPe1T-KE6/$_4.JPG

    Anyway, it is very solidly built, weighing 6.3 kg (compared to the 4.5 kg for the SA3ES) and has the same set of features including full RDS (PS, PTY, CT, PI, Traffic, News, EON) and I must say it is good to have access to PI codes back again for the first time since late December 2006! A very useful feature, particularly during Sporadic E openings, of course. There are a couple of other minor features added on top of those on the SA3ES such as a timer function, preset calendar display and calibration tone. The selectivity of this tuner is also a pleasant surprise, as it is definitely better than my old ST-SA3ES (a UK model, the next one down) despite the selectivity specs for the SA3 and SA5 being the same. I wonder if the Euro models have slightly narrower filters installed than the UK ones (I'm not even sure if the SA5ES was available in the UK). Todd Emslie reports that the SA5ES has 180 and 150 kHz filters installed and this sounds about right to me. I can tune 200 kHz either side of the Wrotham BBC nationals (about 27-28 dBf) without splatter, something that wasn't quite possible with my old SA3. Sensitivity as you would expect is excellent. Tuning modes are 3-fold: manual, via auto-tuning, or through the presets, all with a turn of the large rotary tuning knob.

    Ergonomics are mostly very good indeed but some of the features such as IF bandwidth adjustment are hidden in menus which can be a bit of a pain. It does include a signal strength readout in dBf in real-time which is very useful for adjusting the aerial for peak signal. This is accessed by hitting the DISPLAY button until the signal strength appears on the display. I do know that these Euro versions are very different to the versions sold in Japan and North America. It seems odd that Sony gave them both the same model number. There some good images of the Euro SA5ES at Audio Extasa here: http://www.audio-extasa.eu/popup_add...?imagesID=4041

    There is a slight quirk with this particular tuner (isn't there always?) in that there appears to be a small amount of 'MPX leakage' when mono is selected. So it doesn't quite shut down the stereo circuitry with the result that there is a low-level hiss on marginal signals and a vague sense of stereo separation. I seem to remember reading something about this on the Yahoo FM tuner forum regarding another Sony tuner but I can't remember where. It isn't a big problem although it is a bit annoying when listening to weak signals through headphones. I'd guess that something needs adjusting somewhere. Maybe it happened when the tuner was tweaked.

    The sound quality is very good, but again, it seems to have a slightly rolled-off upper treble compared to the Denon TU-800L. The bass is definitely above average though and matches the high quality AAC streams on the likes of BBC Radio 2. Many other tuners seem to fall a bit short in this regard. It is more ruggedly built than the Denon and looks very attractive.

    I will be sending this tuner off to a friend be looked at to see if the hiss problem can be fixed, but apart from that a very nice tuner from Sony, and probably the last proper ES one that they made.

    Regards,
    Nick

  6. #116
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Whitchurch, Hampshire

    Posts: 115
    I'm Nick.

    Default Kenwood L-1000T FM tuner

    I saw a Kenwood L-1000T on eBay the other week with a starting price of 99p and free shipping (despite weighing about 10 kg) so I put it in my watch list and kept an eye on it. It had some holes drilled on the top panel for ventilation purposes as apparently these tuners run hot due to a big toroidal transformer inside. It included the manual (tatty) and the all-important remote, which is needed to access most of the functions on this device. Apparently the seller had inherited it from a friend who had died recently who had bought it second-hand from a high-end audio emporium. It finished early on a Sunday morning so about 10 minutes before the end of the auction I put in a maximum bid of 101 (about $163) using Gixen and was lucky enough to be the highest bidder.

    It arrived here last Wednesday all intact, apart from the plug which was cracked and split exposing bare wire, so I didn’t get it up & running until Thursday evening after obtaining a new plug for it. The tuner is built like a tank, and comes in what I would describe as ‘graphite grey’. It appears to have been released in 1990, around the same time as the KT-7020 and 5020 models. It has 2 aerial inputs, fixed and variable outputs (I wonder if RDS data would be accessible from one of these?), and multipath outputs for an oscilloscope. As most of the functions are on the remote the tuner is minimalist and industrial-looking with just an on/off button on the left, the central display (in a muted amber colour), and rotary tuning knob on the right with a small button for auto or manual tuning. The remote accesses the other functions such as Ant A/B, IF bandwidths (3, labelled Wide, Normal and Narrow), Mono/Stereo, Direct/Distant (like local/DX modes), presets (20), Active Reception (where the tuner decides on the bandwidth, stereo or mono depending on signal/conditions), Manual or Auto tuning, Sensitivity level (related to how strong a signal stops the tuner in Auto tune mode), tuning up/down and output level for the variable outputs.

    So, how does it perform? Very well indeed! The selectivity in Narrow is excellent for a stock tuner, and is in the same league as the Denon TU-800L (and therefore the Onkyo T-9990 and probably similar to the KT-6040). I have noticed that compressed pop stations in Narrow sound rough with some obvious distortion, but sound fine in Wide and Normal. This is probably due to the very good selectivity, although the Denon doesn’t sound as rough in Super Narrow. From what I have read, the European version (and UK, judging from the performance) has 8 ceramic filters, but I don’t know the configuration used for Narrow. If all 8 are in line then this may explain the increased distortion. The L-1000T also tunes in 25 kHz steps, unlike the Denon’s 50 kHz so it probably has a slight edge over the Denon for this reason. The steps increase to 50 kHz when Auto tuning or when the tuning up/down arrows are held down. The result of this is that it scans up and down the band more slowly than my other tuners. An interesting feature is that when the bandwidth is changed or the tuner stops tuning a relay clicks, which is something I’ve not come across before. I think that apart from the Sony XDR-F1HD this Kenwood is probably the best stock tuner I have used for DXing. It really is very good for these purposes.

    Sound quality in Wide on a good broadcast is excellent with a clean, relaxed sound and good stereo imaging. The bass seems to be better than average too. I did notice whilst listening to Radio 2 a few evenings ago in Wide some slight grainy harshness to vocals on some records that wasn’t present on the AAC internet stream. However, there was no such distortion on Radios 3 and 4 so I can only assume that it was at the BBC’s end, not mine. It could be that this tuner is more revealing of source material and is not as forgiving with sloppy broadcasts.

    So this was definitely a lucky find at 101 as I have seen these go for several hundred Euros on eBay Germany. Perhaps some were put off by the holes in the top cabinet, but I took a chance, and it was definitely worth it! I think it has become my favourite tuner. I suspect with hand-picked filters it would be even better. A poor pic below:



    Regards,
    Nick
    Last edited by Nick_G; 07-10-2014 at 21:08.

  7. #117
    Join Date: Nov 2008

    Location: Belfast/Northern Ireland/UK

    Posts: 16,638
    I'm Neil.

    Default

    Hi Nick

    Glad you are continuing with this thread, personal life and other factors have contrived to prevent me continuing. The project is shelved but not permanently.

    I managed to get a Kenwood 7020 and a 8300 over the last year, so I still have an eye on the project but for a future time when conditions permit doing it.

    Nice score re the L1000


    Regards Neil

  8. #118
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Whitchurch, Hampshire

    Posts: 115
    I'm Nick.

    Default

    Thanks Neil. I hope all is OK.

    I also tried a Pioneer F-93 during the winter after reading intriguing comments about it but I found it underwhelming to be honest and it was a disappointment, especially considering the premium price I paid for it. I sold it on earlier in the year.

    I have also read several things on the net suggesting that the L-1000T (and the L-1000 components) had input from Accuphase but that would seem unlikely.

    Regards,
    Nick

  9. #119
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Whitchurch, Hampshire

    Posts: 115
    I'm Nick.

    Default BW Broadcast RBRX Encore Rebroadcast Receiver

    A long time since I posted on here, but here's my thoughts on a new gadget below:

    I have bought a new DSP-based tuner, and it is unlike any other I have used before. I had sort of distantly lusted after the BW Broadcast RBRX1, but never thought I'd be able to afford one. Well this has since been superseded by the RBRX Encore. Normally I wouldn't have been able to afford this sort of thing, but I had a bit of a windfall recently and so used the opportunity to snap it up. The device is actually a professional rebroadcasting receiver. Although it is extremely sophisticated with many options buried in menus, it is actually very logical and intuitive to use and I can make adjustments quickly as needed. It has dual DSP-based tuners. I had to buy adapters for the audio cables (it has balanced XLR inputs only) and for the coax plug (it uses a 50 ohm BNC input) but it was easy to set up for monitoring. The receiver is designed to work with the most challenging of reception conditions and rebroadcast your signal at the highest possible quality, so I knew it was going to be ideal for DXing.

    Most of the options useful for me are in the PRESETS menu, and I go to the TUNER 1 submenu (this is the tuner I have the aerial hooked up to) where you can tune up and down in 100 kHz steps, adjust the de-emphasis (off/50 uS/75 uS), if filter (auto/fixed - the latter has 15 bandwidths to choose from ranging from 56 kHz to 311 kHz), stereo blend adjustments, stereo improvement with traditional high blend or fmsi (FM stereo improvement) which uses DSP in a similar manner to the Sony XDR-F1HD to kill the extra hiss with many parameters adjustable, soft mute on/off, again with lots of possible adjustments. The display on the left which gives info about the received signal includes RDS data like PS name, PI code and Radiotext (this doesn't seem to work properly) as well as received signal strength in dBuV, multipath %, modulation %, ultrasonic noise, softmute, high cut, stereo blend, high blend, and fmsi parameters such as low band, 2.2 kHz band, 5 kHz band and high band. In short it makes one of those Revoxes look plain and simple in comparison! Adjustments are made using the central rotary knob, which means that you can use this knob to tune up & down the band, with no muting. Very nice. The extended coverage down to 65 MHz mentioned in the PDF specifications is actually not included yet but will apparently be added in a future firmware update. I don't know if the DAB and HD options involve extra hardware or whether this will also be included in a firmware update. I would also hope that there will be an option to adjust the tuning steps e.g. 10, 30, 50 or 100 kHz.

    For information, the available IF bandwidths available are: 56, 64, 72, 84, 114, 133, 151, 168, 184, 200, 217, 236, 254, 287 and 311 kHz. Very comprehensive and useful!

    The receiver has even more flexibility if it is connected to your LAN, but that isn't really practical for my set up. In theory I could set it up to monitor, say 87.6 MHz, and send me an email when a signal is received, so it could be used as a DX warning device! Having said that, it has what I think may be a software glitch as it occasionally reboots itself at random times, so I'm going to try and update the firmware via ethernet hook-up later this week.

    For DXing this receiver is a dream machine in every way. With the IF bandwidth set to Auto it isn't as good as the XDR-F1HD at fending off splatter from adjacent signals 100 kHz away, but using the fixed bandwidth of 56 kHz I think it is actually slightly better in this respect. For general tuning around and DXing I use a fixed bandwidth of 114 kHz as this is a good compromise for good audio quality, excellent selectivity, and easy RDS decoding. If you want to use the receiver as an audiophile listening device you can choose the Measure mode, which bypasses all of the DSP and gives you an unmolested clean FM signal at the widest 311 kHz bandwidth. On BBC Radios 3 and 4 in this mode the audio quality is fantastic, with a bit of a different character to the Kenwood L-1000T, but not inferior. Bear in mind however, that using this mode you will get multiplex noise even on empty channels. The 8 presets can all have different setting stored in them so it's almost like having 8 different tuners as they can be set up for different purposes.

    So this device is extremely flexible and sophisticated and it shows what can be done with the latest chipset and DSP software. More info on this receiver can be found at the links below:

    http://www.bwbroadcast.com/bwbroadca...ore/64/product

    http://www.bwbroadcast.com/files/dow...RBRXencore.pdf



    Manual: http://www.bwbroadcast.com/files/dow...26%20rev2a.pdf

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