Finally Time for a Tune-Up

They don't turn over quite as fast as computer equipment, but mass-market audio component product cycles typically last about a year, until the next Consumer Electronics Show comes around. High-end audio products, however, enjoy much longer life spans—sometimes stretching to several years.

And then there's Magnum Dynalab, who have finally decided to replace one of the key products in their tuner line—after almost 15 years. Introduced in 1987, the company's FT101A tuner is finally facing retirement, to be replaced by the new MD-90, which takes advantage of newer technology featured in the firm's pricier MD-100 and Pro-101 tuner designs.

According to Dynalab's Vincent Stables, there are 20,000 customers who have purchased FT101As over the years, and the unit is still sought after today. But, he says, tuner buyers needn't worry if they missed picking up the FT101A during its tenure, since the MD-90 "continues the tradition by re-defining state-of-the-art in analog FM tuner design."

According to Dynalab, the MD-90 combines the very latest in discrete analog technology, and its MOSFET front end provides three stages of "very careful and precise amplification . . . even the most fragile signal is strengthened and further defined by using highly effective 'group delay' filtering. The result is a sonically correct audio signal, one that contains all the inherent richness and brilliance of the source being broadcast."

In addition to the features offered by its predecessor, Dynalab says, the MD-90 now offers even greater selectivity in order to deal with urban signal congestion. The MD-90's "automatic variable blend" is keyed to signal strength, "to maintain a quiet stereo output under low signal conditions." When the feature is off, Dynalab says separation is maximized, regardless of signal input level, according to Dynalab.

The company says the MD-90 incorporates all of its functions in a totally redesigned motherboard. "This integration has provided the necessary design efficiencies to allow consistently higher levels of selectivity to be maintained." Along with added selectivity, Dynalab says, the MD-90 also has a redesigned power supply circuit that maintains the tuner circuitry at standby at all times when the tuner is connected to a live AC source. Kimber Kable wiring is employed in all of the tuner's significant signal paths.