Tuners

tmallin

WBF Technical Expert
May 19, 2010
276
1
18
65
Chicagoland
#41
I'm probably the only person without a flat screen tv. Actually the screen is flat but it is also more square than rectangular. I kept waiting for the price to go down. Moreover I would rather spend my money on audio. Complicating matters further I'm not into surround sound and my local cable feed sucks. Committing to an antenna would not be so bad I could mount it on the balcony of my third floor apartment. I don't want it struck by lightening. We do get some nice pyrotechnics around here. I may be able to find an antenna at a yard sale or something. On a cold crisp winter night you can get one hell of a signal. Not just jazz and classical some great blues, R&B and Rock.

Hey! I got a Nakamachi cassette deck I can record them on.

BTW My tuner is a used Yamaha CT-7000.
These days, for HDTV signals (there are no more analog broadcast signals, of course) all you need for over-the-air HDTV reception is a very small antenna assuming you are not more than 30 miles or so from the station and can put the antenna outside. Most all the HDTV channels moved their broadcast frequencies to the UHF band, making the VHF band available for other societal uses. Since the UHF wavelengths are much shorter, the antennas can be much smaller. As long as your apartment management doesn't mind, such a small antenna would fit fine on a balcony and propbably would not be an eye-sore.
 

tmallin

WBF Technical Expert
May 19, 2010
276
1
18
65
Chicagoland
#42
I now use my also-attic-mounted large Winegard TV antenna to feed FM signals to the other FM tuners in my house. Much better than dipole sound, but not as good as a dedicated FM antenna like my Channel Master. Also, over-the-air broadcast HD TV signals usually look considerably better than the same HD signals from my cable or satellite provider. So if your TV set has a built-in HD tuner (most recent flat panel sets do), and you are close enough to receive the HDTV signals, give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised at the quality.

Most everyone thinks that the very best FM antennas are the models built by Antenna Performance Specialties, especially the huge (200-inch boom) APS-13. It probably has at least 3 dB more front-to-back gain than my Channel Master. I looked today, however, and could no longer find that company's presence on the Web. If you are looking for a new FM antenna and can still find it, that's the one to get, if you can mount it. A huge antenna like that requires a large attic or a very sturdy outdoor mast to resist high winds.
P.S.: I forgot to mention that if you DO plan to use an old VHF/UHF TV antenna for receiving FM, you should make sure that any "FM trap" or "FM filter" which is part of that antenna or its electronic amplifier (many antennas are used with electronic amps, which ideally are mounted near the antenna) is disabled. Otherwise, you may get just as good or even better reception from an ordinary indoor folded dipole antenna.

Many of such TV antennas and amps have such filters built in and enabled at the factory. Usually, if they are there on the antenna, they can be snapped out or otherwise disconnected. With antenna amps, there is usually an in/out switch for such a filter. They are usually labeled. There was a school of thought that, for best TV reception, the FM band, which was between VHF TV channels 6 and 7 in the United States, should be filtered out. Disconnecting/disabling this filter can raise signal strength on FM by 40 dBf or more, which makes a night-and-day difference.
 

tmallin

WBF Technical Expert
May 19, 2010
276
1
18
65
Chicagoland
#43
For Tom or Amir.........

I don't drive a car with HD stereo or have a tuner in my house HD. I don't know anything about it but judging from both your posts it seems that it is worth exploring. Amir I know you don't like satellite radio because it is too compressed.

BTW Tom that Sansui tuner sounds precious. I owned one many years ago and IIRC did a stupid thing and traded it for a Yamaha tuner
You will find a lot of nay-saying over on the FM tuner Yahoo group about HD radio. I recommend that you ignore those voices. Sure, under ideal signal conditions analog FM may sound better in some ways. The sampling rate of HD radio is not high enough for the full fidelity of a quality FM broadcast to reach you the same way it left the broadcast antenna. But in a moving car where signal strength and multipath distortion is the constantly changing enemy, sonically it is no contest: HD FM wins hands down unless you are in direct unobstructed line of sight of the broadcast tower and even then HD wins some of the time. Car HD radios allow instant comparison between the analog FM and HD signal, so you will know which is better. And if you are sensitive to background hiss and noise on FM signals at home (you may not notice much of this unless the station is broadcasting non-rock music), even the best analog FM tuner under the very best reception conditions will struggle to even appproch the 90 dB signal-to-noise ratio HD FM consistently gives you once the station is locked in.

Know also, that while both analog FM and HD FM are usually highly compressed signals, some stations compress the HD signal much less. There are several Chicago stations for which this is true. And for car listening, you have to have some compression of classical music and any other type which has some semblance of decent dynamic range in order not to have to constantly ride gain on your radio. Yes, satellite radio is compressed compared to CDs of the same material, but, in my experience, not nearly as much as most analog FM is compressed.

Also, you may not know it, but many AM stations also broadcast in HD. If you like talk radio, the talk is much more lifelike in HD. This is really a night and day difference. Normal AM sounds very band limited and grungy. HD AM sounds decent; the bandwidth is quite extended and the background grunge is no longer a problem.
 

tmallin

WBF Technical Expert
May 19, 2010
276
1
18
65
Chicagoland
#45
So another dumb question.

How does HD FM differ from analog FM? is the former all digital?
Oh, yes. HD FM is digitally processed and broadcast as a digital signal. See the description at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HD_Radio

I'm sure that many analog FM stations also use digital links in their signal paths from studio to transmitter. But the broadcast signal is in an analog format, not a digital one. See the description of ordinary FM broadcasting at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FM_broadcasting
 
Apr 3, 2010
16,022
0
0
Seattle, WA
#46
So another dumb question.

How does HD FM differ from analog FM? is the former all digital?
Not a dumb question at all. HD radio is a digital transmission that can run alongside the old analog station or alternatively, replace it completely with one or more digital channels. The former mode is called hybrid and in our area, that is the way most stations are setup. Some stations have more than one digital station and in doing so, are reducing the bandwidth/quality available to the primary channel much like TV broadcasters stuffing multiple TV channels in the space of one. I was listening to one case last night with a station having three digital stations and the last channel (designated as "HD3") had a lot of artifacts although still less bothersome than XM radio to my ear. Still, it was bad enough that I decided to not put it in the memory in my car.

You can hear the hybrid mode operating as it switches back and forth to analog in difficult spots with the fidelity changing and a delay in the two programs (compression systems benefit from some buffering to improve fidelity and that causes a delay).
 
Jul 26, 2010
3
0
0
#48
The vintage Sansui TU-X1 goes the Fanfare one--actually several--better. This is one of the top rated FM tuners over on the Tuner Information Center site. Not that the Fanfare is bad or even mediocre--far from it. It is still excellent in my book. But the vintage Sansui has amazingly good sound on a good source like WFMT, and draws you in even on mediocre stations. There is a sweetness and low distortion to the sound that the Fanfare and Magnums can't touch, and the greater three-dimensional imaging and staging must be heard to be appreciated. Instruments sound more like they do live. The word 'analog' comes to mind, maybe because that is what it is, an 'old-fashioned' truly analog FM tuner. It's as if even digital sources at the radio station are being played on fine analog turntables. And live location broadcasts of classical fare are unbelievably good. Background hiss is about as low on any station as with the Fanfare, which means quieter than anything else I've tried. After having the Sansui aligned and all its capacitors replaced by by Mark Wilson of Absolute Sound Labs in Minnesota, the tuner matches the Fanfare in the only areas where it previously might have been second: inky black background, dynamics, and bass extension and punch. FM sound quality is maximized by detuning and muting the AM reception and by shorting the second FM antenna input. RF-wise, the Sansui is at least as good as getting and quieting distant and adjacent stations as the Fanfare, which means better than the Magnum MD-102 and better than anything else I've owned. This is a honey and a definite long-term keeper. By the way, mine is in truly excellent condition after restoration up by Absolute Sound Labs.

But the DaySequerra M4.2R is AT LEAST as good as the Sansui in my system. In my location, 30 miles from the transmitter, and limited as I am by the covenants of our development to an attic-mounted antenna, the advantages of HD done right, as in this unit and a good HD signal like WFMT broadcasts, outweigh the superiorities of the analog FM signal. Even on the best station, WFMT, while analog FM through the Sansui has better depth and midbass/lower midrange "roundness," the DaySequerra's HD reception is better in terms of freedom from audible distortion, clean high frequencies, dynamics, bass extension, and freedom from background noise.
Tmallin, for introduction of HD the Sequerra’s hands need to be cut off- a pure barbarianism that is very bad for FM BTW. Anyhow, it is not why I reply. I am about your experience with TU-X1.

You need to be VERY careful with modifications of TU-X1 and particularly with letting somebody to replace capacitors. Those people who do the parts replacement are uneasy incredibly incompetent and very friendly are deaf in sonic and musical context. I am not knocking in the door of your Minnesota guy but I know something about TU-X1 and I know that playing with it’s caps is not so simple and straight forward. In fact none of TU-X1 need to be replaced, come of them need to be bypassed but not replaced. From what you say I presume that you have a compromised TU-X1.
 

tmallin

WBF Technical Expert
May 19, 2010
276
1
18
65
Chicagoland
#49
Tmallin, for introduction of HD the Sequerra’s hands need to be cut off- a pure barbarianism that is very bad for FM BTW. Anyhow, it is not why I reply. I am about your experience with TU-X1.

You need to be VERY careful with modifications of TU-X1 and particularly with letting somebody to replace capacitors. Those people who do the parts replacement are uneasy incredibly incompetent and very friendly are deaf in sonic and musical context. I am not knocking in the door of your Minnesota guy but I know something about TU-X1 and I know that playing with it’s caps is not so simple and straight forward. In fact none of TU-X1 need to be replaced, come of them need to be bypassed but not replaced. From what you say I presume that you have a compromised TU-X1.
Maybe you misunderstood. I complimented both these tuners, saying they are the two best I've ever heard in my system.

As to the DaySequerra, I know that there are many naysayers about HD radio, but my own experience, both in a moving car and in this home system, are that in real-world FM-land it usually sounds as good as or better overall than the same station's analog signal. As with most HD radios, at the touch of a button one can compare the standard analog FM signal of a station with its HD signal. Both sound excellent on this tuner.

The "restoration" done of my TU-X1 was not a "modification" in any way. Capacitors can age and the re-capping was done at my direction just to make sure that the TU-X1 would perform stably and up to spec after realignment. I heard the tuner for months before the re-capping and first realignment and I can assure you it sounded a bit better afterwards. I recently had it aligned again by the same shop, Mark Wilson's Absolute Sound Labs, after a number of dial lights went out and needed replacing. Again, the work was purely to correct deteriorated original parts, not a modification. Mark Wilson's Absolute Sound Labs is the shop which has long been at the top of the list of recommended tuner repair facilities by those who appreciate vintage tuners over at the Tuner Information Center.
 
Jul 26, 2010
3
0
0
#50
Maybe you misunderstood. I complimented both these tuners, saying they are the two best I've ever heard in my system.

As to the DaySequerra, I know that there are many naysayers about HD radio, but my own experience, both in a moving car and in this home system, are that in real-world FM-land it usually sounds as good as or better overall than the same station's analog signal. As with most HD radios, at the touch of a button one can compare the standard analog FM signal of a station with its HD signal. Both sound excellent on this tuner.

The "restoration" done of my TU-X1 was not a "modification" in any way. Capacitors can age and the re-capping was done at my direction just to make sure that the TU-X1 would perform stably and up to spec after realignment. I heard the tuner for months before the re-capping and first realignment and I can assure you it sounded a bit better afterwards. I recently had it aligned again by the same shop, Mark Wilson's Absolute Sound Labs, after a number of dial lights went out and needed replacing. Again, the work was purely to correct deteriorated original parts, not a modification. Mark Wilson's Absolute Sound Labs is the shop which has long been at the top of the list of recommended tuner repair facilities by those who appreciate vintage tuners over at the Tuner Information Center.
Tmallin,

I do not care what “is the best”. You guys invented for yourself those primitive, fictitious and ignorant games of finding the best; I do not play those games. I am glad that DaySequerra makes nowadays tuners where 46kBit of HD is not distinguishable from FM.

Maybe you misunderstood. I complimented both these tuners, saying they are the two best I've ever heard in my system. Regarding the TU-X1. Did you replace a capacitor at the entrance of multiplex decoder and the DC blocking caps after the output stage? Those caps are truly matter but it is VERY difficult in my experience to find anything that would replace them, I mean the single MPX entrance cap. The export version of TU-X1 went with old polarized special production Nichicone, and they are absolutely phenomenal. After many best today’s caps I was forced to put the original MPX entrance cap back. So, this is why I say that you need to be very careful with the “fashionable” TU-X1 modification. I do not care who Mark Wilson is and who recommend him. If the re-capping was done at your direction then what is difference who solder them?

Also, Tmallin, I am bit concerned about your comment about the “inky black background” or the fact that you did not have it before. Properly regulated TU-X1 has own signal to noise ratio very low – the transmitter at your station has much higher. Driving TU-X1 from crystal I measured 72dB p you absolutely shall not be able to hear it and the problem with noise you reported before were due to reception not due to own noise. If you know the TU-X1 has some design flows in front end and very inclined to be overload – so a manual attenuation of the signal is a must.
 
Apr 3, 2010
16,022
0
0
Seattle, WA
#51
Tmallin,

I do not care what “is the best”.
That is the name of this forum. So if you don't care, this may not be the right place for you ;). BTW, one of the rules of our form is to show respect to our distinguished guest writers such as Tom. We appreciate you following that style as other members have. You can disagree with him of course, but please use cordial tone.

I am glad that DaySequerra makes nowadays tuners where 46kBit of HD is not distinguishable from FM.
I assume you mean 48kbps, not 46. The MP1 mode of HD radio allows the broadcaster to use the full 96 Kbps data rate. They can of course split that different ways and wind up with 48kbps for HD1. But unless we are speaking of the specific station that is doing that, you can't make that categorical statement.

BTW, stations can also use extended hybrid (so called "MP3" mode -- not to be confused with MP3 codec) which provides for an extra 24 kbps of channel capacity which can then be used for secondary channels, leaving the primary at 96 kbps. This mode does cause some degradation of the analog station so not every station owner chooses this mode.

To the extent the analog stations can go away, the fidelity can be much improved in increasing the sideband bandwidth and with it, the available data rate for the codec. Will it be truly CD quality? No. But then again, FM is not there either with its limited frequency response and poor stereo separation.
 
Jul 26, 2010
3
0
0
#52
That is the name of this forum. So if you don't care, this may not be the right place for you .
Of course it is not. I am well informed what this forum all about and what audio interests most of the people pressure in here. It will not be long as I will be gone. The level of this forum is not my level of interest.
BTW, one of the rules of our form is to show respect to our distinguished guest writers such as Tom. We appreciate you following that style as other members have. You can disagree with him of course, but please use cordial tone.
And I do not see why you feel that I demonstrated any uncordial tone. I engaged a very narrow and very specific subject and I advance the subject. There was no attempt or even intend from my side to make any amiable or adversary commentaries. I have no idea who Tom is and for the mater of subject it is absolutely irrelevant
I assume you mean 48kbps, not 46. The MP1 mode of HD radio allows the broadcaster to use the full 96 Kbps data rate. They can of course split that different ways and wind up with 48kbps for HD1. But unless we are speaking of the specific station that is doing that, you can't make that categorical statement.
There is not much difference between 96 Kbps and half band and most of the HD stations do broadcast at 48kbps. There is no need to have a specific station in aim as HD format has unfortunately absolutely identical format to ANY station that have endorsed it.
BTW, stations can also use extended hybrid (so called "MP3" mode -- not to be confused with MP3 codec) which provides for an extra 24 kbps of channel capacity which can then be used for secondary channels, leaving the primary at 96 kbps. This mode does cause some degradation of the analog station so not every station owner chooses this mode.
Anything HD-related has degradation to analog signal. This subject is well covered elsewhere. Not the last moment is the fact that ½ of station recourses and antenna surface is wasted to serve the HD needs
To the extent the analog stations can go away, the fidelity can be much improved in increasing the sideband bandwidth and with it, the available data rate for the codec. Will it be truly CD quality? No. But then again, FM is not there either with its limited frequency response and poor stereo separation.
It is not about increasing sideband bandwidth – digital compression will eat sound no matter what. What is VERY important to understand is that it is not “analog stations can go away”. Hey sure will but it is not an objective natural process. The analog stations and FM signals will be barbarically destroyed by VERY EXPLICIT ACTIONS of the very specific ignorant, uninformed and indifferent individuals. That is VERY important to understand in order to comprehend the nature of progress in audio.
 
Jul 1, 2010
8,713
0
0
#53
I have one of these:



I turn it on maybe once or twice a year. No time for radio; too many new CDs to listen to and not enough time to listen to them. For example, I've had the Beatles remastered box set sitting on my desk for almost 3 months - haven't played one disc from that set.
Sorry for the drift, but Ron, you really should get into that box. Not great recordings in the first place, but this set gets more out of them than was ever there before. These should be the model for what "re-master" means.

P
 
Apr 3, 2010
16,022
0
0
Seattle, WA
#54
Of course it is not. I am well informed what this forum all about and what audio interests most of the people pressure in here. It will not be long as I will be gone. The level of this forum is not my level of interest.
This forum has wide membership with lots of interest. If you can't find a way to get along with anyone, then if you are gone you only have yourself to blame.

And I do not see why you feel that I demonstrated any uncordial tone.
Read the tone of your posts. If you can't see any issue with them, then ask a friend to read it to you and react.

There is not much difference between 96 Kbps and half band and most of the HD stations do broadcast at 48kbps.
Really? That is like saying there is no difference between all you can eat sushi and a top class restaurant :). Or if that doesn't resonate, the difference between McDonald's and a stake house :D.

Codec fidelity improves exponentially as the bit rate improves. If you can't hear the difference then it is hard to accept your comments regarding its fidelity.

Anything HD-related has degradation to analog signal...It is not about increasing sideband bandwidth – digital compression will eat sound no matter what.... The analog stations and FM signals will be barbarically destroyed by VERY EXPLICIT ACTIONS of the very specific ignorant, uninformed and indifferent individuals. That is VERY important to understand in order to comprehend the nature of progress in audio.
I am electrical engineer/analog designer and built my first FM radio about 40 years ago. As a guy who has been fortunate to also manage the development of some of the most popular audio compression formats for over a decade, there is little I don't know about the subject we are talking about. You want to have a real conversation, by all means, be specific. Please don't throw out words like you know better and want that to be the conclusion. That certainly won't work this forum or with me. Stay with the fact rather than your assumption of the competence of the person speaking.

To be clear, any form of lossy compression does bring some amount of degradation. I personally would not listen to 24kbps version of HDC (audio codec used in HD radio) as it has too much pre-echo and SBR while nice sounding at first, can grind on you. Unfortunately people assume that if the content is talk radio, it is easy to encode and it is OK to use low bitrates but compressing speech using a "music" codec like HDC is very difficult and requires unusually high data rate to sound good (this is why for cellphones and VOIP we use specialized CELP-style voice codecs). I think this practice damages the reputation of HD radio a lot, especially since the radio never shows an indicator regarding the data channel for that (sub) station making people throw the baby out with the bath water.

Reading between the lines, you seem to be thinking that anything analog is good just because it is analog. By that token we should all use cassette tapes then because after all, it is analog. 8-track tapes would also have to be put in ahead of the queue for that reason I imagine :).

FM stereo has many compromises. Yes, it is analog. Yes, it is free of quantization noise and pre-echo. But unfortunately, the forcing of stereo to be backward compatible with mono from design point of view means a matrix system with very poor treatment of the difference signal. Here is a picture:


Imagine what happens with the L-R signal degrades and then gets added to L+R.

Mind you, good antenna and good receivers make a lot out of FM signal and when it sounds good, and the above issues are not at hand and you are not bothered by the limited channel separation and frequency response, I can see the appeal to it. But HD radio, despite its trade offs, at least in my car experience, is a step up in most every way. I hear the signal switch back and forth and with the exception noted above regarding secondary subchannels, I don't wish for the analog version.

I personally wish that analog FM goes away so that more bandwidth can be allocated to the codec. Here is how much bandwidth is still allocated to analog FM (in the middle):



As you can see in the standard MP1 mode, out of the 400 Khz spectrum, more than half (260 Khz) is allocated still to analog. Given that to the digital channel would free up a ton more bandwidth.
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,507
4
38
Metro DC
#55
It is always sad when someone is banned. Even crazy people have something of value to say. Believe me I represented more than my share of them. The 1st amendment binds only the government. It's to the credit of most Americans who voluntarily apply the 1st amendment to themselves. Allowing the most annoying, ignorant people to speak thier mind within reason. Of the limits on free speech the most dangerous is prior restraint. That is to silence someone before they speak. I thank Steve for not yanking the chain to soon. It is clear he was headed down the wrong.

Anecdote: One of the more colorful crazy people I represented was named PacMan by the lawyers in our office. He would order dinner in the finest restaurant of the DC area. All of them were afraid to deny him service. Upon completion of a very expensive meal he would just sit there and announce his inability to pay. Judges were reluctant to send people to jail for stealing food. The judge asked him why he did not avail himself of the many soup kitchens available to the homeless. His reply was I have a very discriminating palate. I can't eat that crap.
 

kach22i

WBF Founding Member
#57
Something was wrong with that cat.:cool:

One of the tuners mentioned I just had to see what it looked like, a handsome brute.

http://audio7979.co.kr/orange/bbs_v...T1hMDMmc2VhcmNoX2l0ZW09JnNlYXJjaF9vcmRlcj0=||

Rankings so far:
1 PLUS: -C- Accuphase T-109V - Very natural sound, good bass. Pinpoint imaging. Lifelike, three-dimensional sound, smooth extended highs.
1: -C- Kenwood L-02T - Most natural sound, good bass. Pinpoint imaging. Lifelike, three-dimensional sound.
2: -C- Sansui TU-919 - The prince who could be king.
3: -C- Sansui TU-X1 - Very good sound top to bottom. Big soundstage, three-dimensional. Very slight diffuse sound.
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
6,507
4
38
Metro DC
#58
George what is the reflection?
 

tmallin

WBF Technical Expert
May 19, 2010
276
1
18
65
Chicagoland
#60
Looks like a hand holding a WWF wrestling belt?

It is a hot link image from a Japanese site, found it doing a Google image search, that's all I know.
It is a reflection of the hand holding the camera, plus other equipment and contents of the room. This photo comes from this site which has dozens of high-res photos of the inside and outside of the unit--may take awhile to load.

I know from trying to photograph my own TU-X1 that this is a very difficult piece to get a full-front photo of. The front glass dial area is EXTREMELY reflective. Here's a decent shot showing the dial lights lit up. In a darkened room, this tuner looks even better. I'm sure tube lovers would appreciate the subtle glow.
 

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