2015 Recommended Components Fall Edition FM Tuners & Antennas

FM Tuners

A

47 Laboratory Model 4730 Midnight Blue: $1500 $$$
From Japan's reliably unconventional 47 Laboratory comes the Model 4730 Midnight Blue stereo FM tuner, surely the only tuner in current production that allows the user to dial in stations with an actual dial. Its modest size (4.8" W by 3.75" H by 8" D) and attractive dark-blue casework set it apart, as does its use of an old-style rotary variable capacitor—made in a small batch to designer Junji Kimura's order—instead of a crappy digital receiver circuit. According to AD, "Decent-quality broadcasts sounded better through the 47 Laboratory Midnight Blue than MP3-quality Internet radio does through any USB digital-to-analog converter of my experience. The 4730 was clear and believably crisp without undue brightness, and while it didn't have the sweetness of, say, a McIntosh MR-65, it performed admirably with weak signals, ultimately pulling usably clean sound from a greater number of stations than the Tivoli Model One I normally use. And the 4730 looks a lot better, and was more fun to use." (Vol.37 No.9 WWW)

C. Crane FM Reflect Antenna: $34.95
The CCrane FM Reflect Antenna is a thick T-run of twin copper wires terminated by a 75 ohm connector. ST arranged it discreetly behind a closed window curtain, and used it to pull in all of his favorite HD Radio stations, including those his Sony XDR-F1HD tuner couldn't otherwise retrieve. "This is, by far, the best indoor FM antenna I have used, with or without HD Radio, and I am buying two more," he said. (Vol.32 No.4)

DaySequerra FM Reference Signature Modification: $3200 (+ cost of tuner) ★
David Day's Signature Mod effectively addresses this ultimate FM tuner's cathode-ray tube's tendency to burn out. Switching circuitry has been added to allow the CRT to turn off when not needed. The Signature Mod also replaces the tuner's incandescent bulbs with longer-lasting LEDs, and uses hand-matched, low-group-delay filters for lower distortion and better channel separation. LG noted punchy, quick bass response, a deeper soundstage, and a more transparent midrange. "The new CRT's greater range of brightness and longer life expectancy makes the Signature Modification essential for owners of the DaySequerra FM tuner." The FMR25 upgrade replaces older models' cathode-ray tube display circuitry with a much brighter and more reliable thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal display, and adds a post-FM demodulation filter to remove noise at 99kHz and above. "A run-don't-walk upgrade for owners of FM References," decided LG. Price is for upgrade only; does not include cost of tuner. (Vol.12 No.6, Vol.14 No.12, Vol.21 No.6, FM Reference; Vol.29 No.9, Signature Modification; Vol.36 No.11 25th Anniversary Edition WWW)

D

Tivoli Audio Model One table radio: $149.99 ★
"The Tivoli Model One is a radio stripped to its essentials: no stereo, no station memories, no remote control, no tone controls," said ST. This design from the late Henry Kloss didn't like being played very loud, ST discovered, but was "plenty loud for a typical office, and, ultimately, loud enough for me." He heard "a richness, a warmth, a generosity of tone, and a clarity that made for enjoyable listening. I was never fatigued." "A bit boomy," says JA, "but pleasantly so." AD connected the Model One's record-out jack to his preamp inputs, then muted its speaker. Matching the Tivoli with a RadioShack 15-2163 FM antenna, he found that "the combination has been nothing short of wonderful in my system: a flexible, great-sounding monophonic source for a combined price of only $124." (Vol.24 No.3, Vol.27 No.7 WWW)

COMMENTS
corrective_unconscious's picture

Is meant to summon 1960s LP album covers - the record company banners on them. Of course the "stereophile" logo is of a different style, but still a nice touch if I'm correct.

Venere 2's picture

Too funny to see the 1499$ KEF LS50 still in Class A with the Magico Q5 at 65 000$

That is one of a good handful of aberrations. Stereophile gets a lot of things right. But when they don't, they really don't!

z24069's picture

Under Disc Players, Transports, etc...there are some fine choices in all the categories and they all definitely belong on the list IMHO.

HOWEVER, you've completely left Esoteric products off the list; this begs the question as to how at least one of the myriad SOTA products (1box as well as multi-box) from Esoteric including the K-01x, K-03x, P-02/D-02, P-1/D-1s/etc...cannot be found on this list.

Their products did receive nominations from TAS and Stereophile for best-of categories for many years and have been bettered in terms of sound quality in more recent product releases; it leaves one wondering how they could be conspicuous by their complete absence from this year's and last year's lists???

John Atkinson's picture
z24069 wrote:
it leaves one wondering how they could be conspicuous by their complete absence from this year's and last year's lists???

This is because we haven't reviewed any Esoteric products for a couple of years. (I favorably reviewed the D-07 D/A processor in 2011 - see www.stereophile.com/content/esoteric-d-07-da-processor.) The company has gone through major changes in its management and distribution and we are waiting for things to settle down before investing our resources in a review.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

z24069's picture

John,

Thank you for the reply...there has been high praise on various forums for K01, K01X, K03X, P1/D1, P2/D2 and C02/C02X products from them. It is true with the buy of Esoteric away from Teac and Onkyo/Integra now providing support and sales things have changed and a number of us had to dig a bit to get contacts at the new company for everything from sales to support. It may be time to review them again however as the level of playback achieved by the P1/D1, P2/D2 and K01X is nothing short of stunning, certainly in line with many products that did make the list over the last couple of years. If you are interested in those contacts or talking directly with some Esoteric owners of multi-generations including the current ones, please let me know and I'll get you in touch.... There are other brands and products missing as well (check out Legacy "V" and "Aeris" for example) and the industry has grown,...perhaps the 500 number as a cut-off should be revisited and raised!

z24069's picture

BTW...if there is a way to reach you via email, I'd be happy to pass on the contacts that some of us have found work for getting in touch with the Sales and Support side of the new Esoteric and to talk about some great music that is currently spinning....Have a great weekend!

yuvalg9's picture

Hello,

1. In the CD players category, I think you should have mentioned the Naim CD5si and the Cyrus CD i. Both are great value for money.

2. In the Turntables category, I think you should have mentioned at least one of the Pro-Ject models. Pro-Ject is, as you may know, the largest TT Manufacturer in the world.

3. GoldenEar's Triton 5 under the "K" category? Maybe I misunderstood what the "K" category is?

Regards,

Yuval

blingbass's picture

Hello,
I am in the quest of a good noise-cancelling pair of headphones and I came across this bose quietcomfort 25 review.
They are far cheaper than the PSB M4U 2 but I don't know how they compare... Have you tried them ?

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