Suggestions for a budget tuner?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KeithH, Jun 29, 2002.

  1. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    I find myself listening to the radio more and more in the car and would like to have a tuner in my second system where I do a lot of casual listening. The tuner need not be a Magnum Dynalab or anything with a pedigree. All I am looking for is something inexpensive that works. Audiophile sound quality is not a criterion. I would use the tuner for listening occasionally to the local AM all-day news station, talk radio on FM, and music on FM. Crutchfield has the Sony ST-SE370 for $200, which is more than I want to spend for my needs. I could probably get it for less through J&R Music World, but probably not much less. Would an inexpensive Radio Shack tuner work well enough for my needs? How cheap can I go on a tuner and still get something that will work?
    My other question regarding a tuner is very basic with respect to an antenna. I have never used a tuner in an audio system, if you can believe that ([​IMG]), so I don't know how serious an antenna I would need. I live outside of Wilmington, Delware and easily get Philadelphia stations in my car and on a cheap boombox. I can even get some New York City stations. What kind of antenna would I need for AM and FM? Hopefully something small and inexpensive.
    Crutchfield has the indoor Terk amplified AM/FM antenna for $25. Would this work? They also have the indoor Terk non-amplified (passive) AM/FM antenna for $20. Would this work? Should I get an amplified or non-amplified antenna? Does it depend on how remote you are? Finally, for my needs, would an AM/FM antenna be suitable, or should I get separate antennas for AM and FM?
    Please bear with me, as I obviously have a lot of questions here. Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
     
  2. Jack Keck

    Jack Keck Second Unit

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    You might think about either getting a cheap receiver or boombox and runnign a patch cord from the tape outs on it to your pre-amp. Can't help you with the antenna. When I bothered with the radio, I couldn't find that did the job. Now I only listen in the car. And then, only under duress.
    I have a NAD tuner that I bought in 1979. However, it would be just my luck to find something I want to listen to on the radio and a good antenna after I get rid of it.[​IMG]
     
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    How ’bout something both cheap and good? You can find tuners on e-bay for great prices – usually much less than $200, depending on what you want.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  4. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Keith, first try the ol' FM standby -- the 300ohm flat antenna wire folded dipole -- or make one yourself: 59in across and spliced in the middle on one leg to length. RS sells 'em cheap. It's push-pinned to the wall behind the unit as high as "decor" allows.
    Tuners MAY have a 300ohm ANT and/or 75ohm in which case use a 300-to-75ohm converter. THEN think about hardware antennas if it doesnt pull enough stations.
     
  5. wei

    wei Auditioning

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    Hi, Keith:
    You may want to try some used ones first. I just got a Kenwood KT42B for $3 (Canadian) this weekend from a garage sale. It has 16 preset stations (AM and FM together)
    but does not have a remote. The unit works perfect. I tried some second market antenna (UHF/VHF/FM) but it did not do a good job so I end up using the very basic one come with a desktop system -- it worked fine.
    good luck.

    By the way, did you ever try to record SACD onto a minidisc? what is your exprience?

    Wei
     
  6. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Keith, if you want something new that is better than the Sony, the Rotel is about $100 more. You can pick them up used as well. I run the 2nd A/V out of the Sony 444ES in the bedroom system into the main system in the event I want to listen to FM. The bedroom system backs to the main system and also feeds 4 other places so I don't need more. I am always tempted to try to get a used Phase Linear 5000 with the auto-correlator built-in. I had the 5100 Series II way back when with the outboard auto-correlator (model 1000 series II) and it cleaned up background noise and increased the dynamic range in a nice subtle way. I thought I saw one on one of the sites like Audiogon and almost bought it. The Magnum/Dynalab FM Antenna is $99.95 and it should be as good as you will need. You can get it at Audio Advisor. I use an outdoor attic antenna with a splitter for the FM band.
     
  7. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Thanks everyone for the replies. I didn't get around to checking this thread until just now and was pleased to the feedback.
    Jack,
    I think even an inexpensive receiver would be overkill for my needs. Although I am not looking to spend much on a tuner, I am thinking that a dedicated unit like the $200 Sony ST-SE370 would be better than the tuner in a budget receiver. I might be wrong, but a receiver is more than I need. I do appreciate the suggestion, however.
    Wayne,
    Cheap and good? Hmmm...what a concept! [​IMG] I had thought about eBay, but I just need to know what I am buying. I'm not sure I want anything too old since I obviously can't see it and test it out before buying.
    Bill,
    I appreciate the info. on antennas. I figured Radio Shack would be a worthwhile place to look. Now I have a better idea what to look for. [​IMG]
    Wei,
    Wow! $3 Canadian? That's like free in US dollars! [​IMG] I am not averse to buying used, but I like the idea of buying locally better than eBay for reasons stated above. Now I just need a garage sale!
    I have not gotten around to recording SACD to minidisc, or to CD-R for that matter. I am still interested in doing it, but I simply haven't gotten to it. I've bought a lot of CDs lately and have been spending a lot of my music time listening to them.
    Phil,
    The Sony ST-SE370 tuner is $200. Are you saying that Rotel makes a dedicated tuner for $300? If so, that would be great. It's true that $300 is more than I set out to spend, but I'm sure Rotel would make a very good tuner.
    My 'V444ES, which is in the repair shop right now (PROTECTOR mode after a lightning storm), resides on another floor in my home, and running cables between it an my second system is not feasible.
    I appreciate the suggestions regarding an antenna.
     
  8. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Phil, I went to rotel.com and found the RT-1080 and '940 tuners. The '940 looks more like it would be $300. Can you comment on these models?
     
  9. Dave Herkert

    Dave Herkert Agent

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    Check out this page: Tuner Info Page
    It's a geocities page, so sometimes the allocated data transfer is exceeded, so you may need to try it later. It's a great guide to sorting out those ebay deals on vintage tuners!
     
  10. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Dave, thanks for the link. I'll check it out.
     
  11. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Yes - Keith, the 940 lists for $349.99. One sold on Audiogon a couple of days ago for $165.
     
  12. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Phil, thanks a lot. Much appreciated. I like my NAD integrated and power amps and looked up their C 420 AM/FM tuner at nadelectronics.com. The C 420 has a disappointing signal-to-noise ratio of 45dB. It only goes for $250, which is not a bad price for my needs, but I'm not sure it is very good. I know that NAD tends to be conservative with its specs., but I'm not sure they are that conservative. Even the more expensive C 440 (which I am not sure is available in the US) has the same signal-to-noise ratio. I will look into the Rotel a bit more. Thanks again.
     

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