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Thread: The benefits of a better tuner

  1. #1
    Join Date: Aug 2013

    Location: Isle of Wight, UK

    Posts: 35
    I'm David.

    Default The benefits of a better tuner

    Hi, I suspect like many of you I have more items of hi-fi "in store" in my loft than is sensible. Trying to have a bit of a clear out today I came across a Magnum Dynalab "Etude" FT 101A tuner brand new in a box. I can remember buying it just before we moved from London to the Isle of Wight but it must have got lost in the move and has been among the boxes in the loft ever since.

    Whilst I think these tuners are still reasonably sought after I thought it would be a shame to move it on without trying it so I put it in the system instead of the Quad FM4 we have been using. I must say I am stunned by the difference. The Quad is a good tuner, however this is amazing - huge soundstage, stunning bass, lovely full sound. Even Classic FM sounds good whilst Radio 3 and Radio 4 are excellent, so much so that I'm really looking forward to Soul Music tomorrow morning.

    Sadly my bank account won't be benefitting from this find but my ears will be. The Quad will now be doing duty in my workshop - just need to run an ariel cable in and connect it to the 34 and 405 already there.

    David Whistance

  2. #2
    Join Date: Feb 2016

    Location: Melksham, Wiltshire

    Posts: 469
    I'm Peter.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dwhistance View Post
    Hi, I suspect like many of you I have more items of hi-fi "in store" in my loft than is sensible. Trying to have a bit of a clear out today I came across a Magnum Dynalab "Etude" FT 101A tuner brand new in a box. I can remember buying it just before we moved from London to the Isle of Wight but it must have got lost in the move and has been among the boxes in the loft ever since.

    Whilst I think these tuners are still reasonably sought after I thought it would be a shame to move it on without trying it so I put it in the system instead of the Quad FM4 we have been using. I must say I am stunned by the difference. The Quad is a good tuner, however this is amazing - huge soundstage, stunning bass, lovely full sound. Even Classic FM sounds good whilst Radio 3 and Radio 4 are excellent, so much so that I'm really looking forward to Soul Music tomorrow morning.

    Sadly my bank account won't be benefitting from this find but my ears will be. The Quad will now be doing duty in my workshop - just need to run an ariel cable in and connect it to the 34 and 405 already there.

    David Whistance
    I have that very tuner..... just staggeringly good. By far the best tuner Iíve ever heard.


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  3. #3
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Norwich

    Posts: 675
    I'm Mike.

    Default

    Amazed that a tuner of that calibre can have lain forlorn and forgotten about; As it's new, I imagine things might improve as it settles down. I've often wondered about Magnums in comparison with my 01 as they're both in that select band (!) at the top. think you've got a pretty strong signal there, but being so hilly this may not help. I'd guess you have a good outside 6 element plus aerial, however.

  4. #4
    Join Date: Nov 2008

    Location: Belfast/Northern Ireland/UK

    Posts: 17,049
    I'm Neil.

    Default

    Compare this to a silver period Pioneer, Kenwood, Sony, Revox or an Audiolab

    Here is the Tuner Information Centre guide, fairly accurate I think.

    Link to listing http://www.fmtunerinfo.com/shootouts.html#FT-101

    '1 PLUS: -C- Accuphase T-109V - Very natural sound, good bass. Pinpoint imaging. Lifelike, three-dimensional sound, smooth extended highs.
    1 (TIE): -C- Kenwood L-02T - Most natural sound, good bass. Pinpoint imaging. Lifelike, three-dimensional sound.
    1 (TIE): -C- Burmester 978 - Natural, open and airy sound, good bass. Pinpoint imaging. Lifelike, three-dimensional sound with nice extended highs.
    4: -C- Sansui TU-919 - The prince who could be king.
    5: -C- Sansui TU-X1 - Very good sound top to bottom. Big soundstage, three-dimensional. Very slight diffuse sound.
    6: -C- Audiolab 8000T - Good bass, natural but diffuse sound, sweet extended highs.
    7: -C- Philips AH6731 - A very natural, neutral sound. Stereo separation best with a good signal.
    8: -C- Revox B760 - Great bass, lifelike midrange and extended highs.

    9: -M- Mitsubishi DA-F20 - Quick, punchy bass, open, lively midrange and extended highs.
    10: -M- Kenwood KT-5020 - Great bass and midrange and extended, sweet treble. Again, why pay more?
    11: -M- Kenwood KT-990D - Smooth, clean sound that always pleased. Why pay more?
    12: -M- Meridian Model 104 - Excellent, natural sound, good bass, no to DX games.
    13: -M- Meridian Model 504 - Good bass, excellent midrange with smooth, just-right highs.
    14: -M- Kenwood L-1000T - Good bass, punchy midrange, sweet extended highs.
    15: -M- Sansui TU-X701 - Great-sounding midrange, bass OK, softer highs next to the L-02T.
    16: -M- Luxman T-117 - Very good-sounding tuner. No real faults, top to bottom. Not as three-dimensional as the L-02T and gives up some bass richness.
    17: -M- Sansui TU-717 - Good bass and midrange with nice "depth" to the soundstage. More forward than the L-02T.
    18: -M- B&K TS-108 - Very nice midrange, good bass and nice, extended highs.
    19: -M- Technics ST-9038 - Very good bass, nice midrange, smooth treble.
    20: -M- Magnum Dynalab MD-108 - Bass OK, very good imaging and realistic midrange, extended but forward highs.
    21: -M- Kenwood KT-917 - Good bass, midrange and treble. A very pleasant sound but more one-dimensional when placed next to the L-02T.
    22: -M- Sansui TU-S9 - Smooth, natural sound. A budget bargain.
    23: -M- Kenwood KT-1100 - Quite tuneful, but flatter soundstage than the L-02T.
    24: -M- McIntosh MR 80 - Good bass, lively midrange and pleasant highs. More one-dimensional than the L-02T.
    25: -M- Sanyo Plus T35 - Good bass, laidback midrange and extended, pleasant highs.
    26: -M- Technics ST-G7 - Very nice bass, articulate midrange, forward but nice upper range.
    27: -M- Pioneer F-99X - Follows behind the big bass dogs but the midrange and treble are where it's at. Sweet, clean, quiet and to be copied.
    28: -M- Kenwood KT-3300D - Very good bass, slightly diffuse light mids and pleasant extended highs. A laidback, nice listen.
    29: -M- Pioneer F-90 - Great sonics with a slightly lighter sonic presentation than the top dogs. Upper midrange and treble are top-notch.
    30: -M- Sansui TU-D99X - Good bass. Bass, midrange and treble work well together for a balanced sound.
    31: -M- Hitachi FT-007 - Clean, balanced sound, but less dynamic than the L-02T.
    32: -M- Sony ST-J88B - Good bass, pleasing midrange, slightly forward and sweet treble.
    33: -M- Linn Kremlin - OK bass; articulate, precise sound; good high frequency. Midrange, bass loses some natural warmth.
    34: -M- Restek Metric - Excellent imaging, bass and highs. Midrange gave up some to other tuners.
    35: -M- Onix TU39 - Dynamic, smooth, the midrange give up some "life" to others. Some added sparkle in the highs.
    36: -M- Perreaux TU-3 - Nice balanced sound. Gives up some richness and dynamics to the L-02T.
    37: -M- Magnum Dynalab FT-101 - Good all-around sound, treble very slightly forward.
    38: -M- Kenwood L-07TII - Good all-around sound but loses some inner detail.
    39: -M- Accuphase T-109 - Great bass, dry midrange, pleasant but slightly forward treble.
    40: -M- Magnum Dynalab FT-101A Etude - A good, balanced sound, but slightly dry.
    41: -M- Technics ST-8077 - Good bass, midrange OK. Nice treble presentation.
    42: -M- Technics ST-8080 - Good bass, good midrange, forward highs but not unpleasant.
    43: -M- Nikko Gamma V - Very good bass, good imaging, treble forward but not unpleasant.
    44: -M- Kenwood KT-8300 - Good bass and dynamics, with a slightly forward upper midrange and treble.
    45: -M- Onkyo T-4500 - Slightly lighter but a pleasing sound. Neutral, top to bottom, with nice highs.
    46: -M- Onkyo T-9090II - Pleasant sound, good bass, but not as dynamic as some tuners. Great DX machine.
    47: -M- NAD 4155 - Good, punchy bass. Light, articulate mids with well-mated highs.
    48: -M- Pioneer F-91 - Very good bass punch and control, articulate midrange with forward highs. May be a good tuner for a large room.
    49: -M- Pioneer TX-9800 - Rich bass presentation. Good midrange with a treble slightly forward that took away from the total picture.
    50: -M- Tandberg 3011A - Good bass, midrange a little light, sweet treble. Very good imaging.
    51: -M- Sansui TU-417 - A most pleasant sound, bottom to top. Needs good signals.
    52: -M- Carver TX-11b - Punchy bass, clean highs and treble.
    53: -M- Sumo Charlie - Punchy bass, good midrange, slightly rolled-off treble.
    54: -M- Revox B260 - Rich bass and lower midrange. Good imaging. Three-dimensional. The highs are a little too much for my personal taste. The high rating reflects its other positive sound qualities.
    55: -M- Yamaha CT-7000 - Warm-sounding bass, pleasant midrange and highs. Highs a little rolled-off.
    56: -M- Sequerra Model 1 - Harmonically rich bass and lower midrange. Very seductive, but if you want accuracy, shop elsewhere.
    57: -M- Magnum Dynalab FT-11 "NEW" - Good sound, natural midrange, treble nice, loose bass.
    58: -M- Kenwood KT-7300 - Punchy bass, pleasant mids and highs. Slight loss of ambience.
    59: -M- Onkyo T-4310R - Pleasant, inoffensive sound, good imaging. Good digital DXing tuner.
    60: -M- Magnum Dynalab FT-101A - Pleasant light, airy sound. Lacks bass dynamics.
    61: -M- Realistic TM-1001 - Sweet treble, pleasant mids, but the bass is not as full and dynamic as the big dogs.
    62: -M- Yamaha T-2 - Very pleasant and listenable. This may be the cutoff tuner between the keepers and the also-rans.

    63: Revox B261 - Punchy bass, pleasant enough but slightly forward mids and highs.
    64: Pioneer TX-9500II - Clean, articulate sound. Lighter sonic presentation against the L-02T.
    65: SAE Mark VI - Inoffensive sound, good background music. A mini-Sequerra.
    66: Denon TU-850 - Good sound, midrange just right, treble sweet, slightly bass-shy.
    67: Sansui TU-217 - Good sound when reception is strong.
    68: Kenwood L-01T - Good sound, midrange slightly forward, good bass.
    69: Phase Linear Model 5000 Series Two - Bass-shy, pleasant midrange and treble.
    70: Magnum Dynalab FT-11 "OLD" - Good bass, dry midrange, treble OK.
    71: Quad FM4 - Very nice midrange, good resolution, extended treble, rolled off bass.
    72: Technics ST-9030 - Inoffensive but bland.
    73: Naim NAT 01 - Bass OK, midrange OK, treble sweet.
    74: Luxman T-115 - Good bass, midrange OK, treble slightly forward.
    75: Nakamichi ST-7 - Muffled bass, forward midrange, highs soft and inoffensive.
    76: Marantz 2130 - OK bass, midrange and treble forward and "light" sounding.
    77: McIntosh MR 78 - Good bass, slightly electronic sound.
    78: Fanfare FT-1A - Best through the low-output jacks, clean but bright midrange, lacks bass power.
    79: Kenwood KT-7500 - Flat soundstage, better sound can be found. One-note bass. More boring than unpleasant in a long listening session.
    80: Cambridge Audio T500 - Bass light, midrange forward and lacks focus, highs OK.
    81: Kyocera T-910 - Pleasant sound, but what's that ringing in my ears?
    82: SAE 8000 - Not irritating but not involving, either. Too much background noise.
    83: Kenwood KT-815 - Bass thin, treble forward. It cries out for a new audio stage.
    84: Denon TU-600 - Good sound, but not recommended because of reception problems.'
    Regards Neil

    System 1 (Living Room) : AMG Giro turntable, AMG 9W2 tonearm, Air Tight PC3 cartridge, Passlabs Xono phonostage, AMG Reference armcable. Marantz CD7 CD player, Sony HAP Z1es Digital File Player + Audioquest Jitter Bug, AMR DP777 DAC + HP laptop + iFi Audio i power, Wireworld Starlight USB + Audioquest Jitter Bug, for computer audio, Audio Valve RKV2 headphone amp, headphones Grado GS 1000, Nakamichi CR5e tape deck, Balanced Audio Technology VK300se integrated amplifier, Anthony Gallo Reference 3.1 speakers. Cabling: Signal - Atlas Mavros, Audience AU24, Speaker - Atlas Mavros. Mains Cabling: Audience AU24, Analysis Plus, TCI. Mark Grant distribution blocks, Equipment tables Target Audio B series.

    System 2 (Music Room) : Loricraft Garrard 401 turntable + SME 5 tonearm + VDH MC10 cartridge + Graham IC70 tonearm cable, Modified Technics 1200 turntable + Triplannar 7 tonearm + VDH Frog Gold cartridge + Paul Hynes SR7 PSU, SME Model 20 turntable + Graham Phantom tonearm + Ortofon MC5200 cartridge + Graham IC70 tonearm cable, Balanced Audio Technology VK10se phonostage, Moon Andromeda CD player, Esoteric P5 SACD transport and P 5 DAC, Toshiba 9500 DVD Audio player, AMR DP777 DAC + Dell Laptop + iFi Audio i power + JKenny JKSPIDIF + Wireworld Starlight USB - for computer audio, Kenwood 8300 tuner, Revox B760 tuner, Magnum Dynalab signal sleuth, Leak Troughline tuner + EAR Stereo decoder, Revox B77 mk 2 & Revox A77 mk3 reel to reel recorders, Balanced Audio Technology VK52se pre-amplifier, Music Reference RM200 mk1 power-amplifier, Anthony Gallo Reference 3.5 speakers. Cabling: Signal/Speaker - Audience AU24, XLO Type6. Mains Cabling: Audience AU24, TCI. Mains distribution blocks Mark Grant and Russ Andrews, Equipment tables Clear Light Audio.

  5. #5
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Norwich

    Posts: 675
    I'm Mike.

    Default

    All quite interesting, but only indicative of what was heard (and presumably over a fair old period) within the context of that valved based system. Couldn't see a mention of the other bits ! Each of those tuners would differ (slightly) in their output. E.g. My 01 has a low output because it hardly moves the needles in my pre. I'd no idea of this with the Naim pre. It did say that there was no guarantee of top working condition, though.

    Over the decades, received wisdom and general opinion have allocated certain kudos to a smallish coterie of tuners. I remember that a Marantz 5B ????) valved jobby was raved about. I've had 2 x Leak, Revox, Pioneer, 2 x Naim, Technics, Quad and a few other tuners over the ages, and they've all been very good indeed. However, a few have that ability, fed with a good signal and channel, to offer an experience over and above 'very good'. I'd say that 'experience' is more apposite than adjectives.

    Thank heavens for the recent reprieve of FM. It always has, and always will, provide me with part of my music fix.

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 17,396
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

    Default

    I agree, the description of sound quality is far too general and vague. No mention of selectivity and sensitivity, nor of the ability of the tuner not to drift off-tune with time. For example the legendary Marantz 10B was famed not only for SQ but was notorious in its inability to remain on-tune, requiring regular and expensive realignment.

    Not surprisingly the list is incomplete, as well as being of limited use - hardly the best way of choosing which tuner to buy.

    When at home I listen to either Radio 3 or 4 for at least three hours a day, and have done so for the last forty years using several tuners: Quad FM2; Quad FM3; Leak 'Troughline'; Cambridge T55, and B&O 1700. But for the last five years I have been more than happy listening with a tuner ranked at 71 ()
    Last edited by Barry; 18-04-2018 at 17:34.
    Have you listened to this month's choice in the Album Club?

    Barry

  7. #7
    Join Date: Jan 2012

    Location: Glasgow, UK

    Posts: 1,739
    I'm Tony.

    Default

    There's one for sale @ £100 over on PFM, the reviews aren't great otherwise I would have bought it plus it's only FM no AM.

    7: -M- Magnum Dynalab FT-101 - Good all-around sound, treble very slightly forward.

  8. #8
    Join Date: Feb 2008

    Location: Middlesex, UK

    Posts: 3,238
    I'm Alex.

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    Quad FM4, I remember reading that it needs to be fed in to a high impedance input otherwise bass will be curtailed. Of course Quad pe-amps are suitable.
    Spendorman

  9. #9
    Join Date: Oct 2015

    Location: Pulborough, West Sussex, UK

    Posts: 765
    I'm Ian.

    Default

    I can highly recommend the Acoustic Solutions SP111 DAB/FM tuner. The sound is very good, detailed with good bass and a nice wide soundstage. It is very basic though with only 4 pre-sets and a fairly cheap display. It comes with a remote when new but it's extremely fragile so most are a distant memory. Considering you can pick these tuners up for the price of a couple of CDs it's a bit of a bargain.
    My stuff; Toshiba SR-370/Mission 774 /Ortofon Quintet Black, Cambridge CXC CD transport/Musical Fidelity X DAC/Musical Fidelity X10v3 tube buffer, Musical Fidelity A3, Nakamichi CA-5E pre amp, Acoustic Solutions FM/DAB tuner, Mordaunt Short Signifer, Klotz MC5000/MS audio, NVA LS5

  10. #10
    Join Date: Feb 2016

    Location: Melksham, Wiltshire

    Posts: 469
    I'm Peter.

    Default

    God bless,

    Thatís a list!! Where on earth did that come from and by whom??

    Not my choice of great tuners thatís for sure!

    How bizarre!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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