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Blackdawn's picture
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The end of HiFi tuners?
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I thought I would have a quick look on the usual HiFi shops online (for a new DAB/FM tuner )- such as Richersounds, Superfi and Peter Tyson etc. The problem I found is there is hardly any choice anymore. Are people just not buying tuners these days? My old Denon FM/AM Tuner is going strong but it would be nice to have more stations sometimes from the internet.

Is it best to hold out for an Internet radio tuner box which is a reasonable price - e.g. £200-£300.  I'm not looking for one lumped in with an amplifier or all in one box. 

What are the best quality internet radio stations in the UK?

HiFi - Cambridge Audio 340C, Pioneer A30, Denon TU 260L, Dali Lektor 2. 

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RE: The end of HiFi tuners?

If you already have a smartphone or tablet with Bluetooth (especially aptX® Bluetooth) then you could use something like the Arcam rBlink and just download a good internet tuner app (like TuneIn Radio Pro) to your smartphone / tablet.

Of course, you can also use the rBlink / smartphone for other radio apps like BBC iPlayer Radio.

You could just buy any USB (non-wireless) DAC and plug it into your computer/laptop if you don't mind having your computer switched on to get internet radio that way.

 

 

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RE: The end of HiFi tuners?

I recently looked at the Revo Supersignal because it has DAB / FM but can receive apt-x Bluetooth ... and it can send all of these to your hifi via optical SPDIF. So the best of both worlds ... a standalone radio when needed, which can hook into your hifi via a digital connection when you want the extra amplification and scale that your hifi can give.

 

PS .. just saw that the price has dropped at one retailer to £129.99 .. down from £159.99

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Blackdawn's picture
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RE: The end of HiFi tuners?

chebby wrote:

If you already have a smartphone or tablet with Bluetooth (especially aptX® Bluetooth) then you could use something like the Arcam rBlink and just download a good internet tuner app (like TuneIn Radio Pro) to your smartphone / tablet.

Of course, you can also use the rBlink / smartphone for other radio apps like BBC iPlayer Radio.

You could just buy any USB (non-wireless) DAC and plug it into your computer/laptop if you don't mind having your computer switched on to get internet radio that way.

Thanks for the ideas.  No I have no tablet or smartphone. if the Marantz MCR510 had pre-outs this would be perfect for me. Otherwise if I go for the 510 I would have to ditch my Pioneer amp - which i don't really want to do.

HiFi - Cambridge Audio 340C, Pioneer A30, Denon TU 260L, Dali Lektor 2. 

Blackdawn's picture
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RE: The end of HiFi tuners?

tino wrote:

I recently looked at the Revo Supersignal because it has DAB / FM but can receive apt-x Bluetooth ... and it can send all of these to your hifi via optical SPDIF. So the best of both worlds ... a standalone radio when needed, which can hook into your hifi via a digital connection when you want the extra amplification and scale that your hifi can give.

 

PS .. just saw that the price has dropped at one retailer to £129.99 .. down from £159.99

 

Thanks, this looks good and i can connect to HiFi using Stereo outs.

HiFi - Cambridge Audio 340C, Pioneer A30, Denon TU 260L, Dali Lektor 2. 

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FM radio through cable in NL

Apologies for my late reply, I didn't see this thread earlier.

It's interesting to see that things are so different in different countries. When most of the country got connected to cable TV from the 1980's here in NL every home that got connected not only got TV but also FM radio. One of the drives behind councils supporting cable TV was the ability to get rid of aerials and that would only work if FM would be distributed alongside TV signals. It also offered more stations than the regular FM band. Every home got wall sockets with 2 coax outlets; male for TV, female for FM radio.

After the cable networks were privatised and sold off and merged into big conglomerates the FM signal is still there. Most cable companies offer between 35 and 43 stations for their subscribers. Our cable supplier Ziggo offers BBC R1, R2, R3 and the World Service over FM and besides stations from NL, also stations from B, D and F. Through our digital cable box we get even more channels including BBC R4.

The quality of the signal is pretty good and I don't know anyone who has got a special FM roof aerial. 

Anyway, a lot of FM tuners are still for sale in NL, most probably because of the wide availability of FM through cable. Most tuners are in home theatre receivers, stereo receivers and minisets. 

Many homes have several coax wall sockets (our home came with 5 but we only use 2 of them), so plugging in a tuner is very easy. Most cable companies still offer a basic analogue TV service as well (around 25 channels) so you can still use an old CRT TV without a settop box.

A full DAB+ broadcasting system has recently started but the bitrates are quite low and the transmitters are not very powerful yet. Apparently DAB+ works quite well in cars so eventually we could see an analogue FM switch off. But there would be a national outcry if the cable companies would stop the FM signal at home. The costs for modulating from digital sources to FM are very limited and the bandwidth needed on the cable networks is very limited as well. I simply can't see the Dutch consumers buying DAB+-tuners for use at home and then installing a seperate aerial for reception. 

I was very surprised that when we visited friends that had moved to London and use Virgin Media to learn that there is no FM signal anymore on that cable network.

As far as sound quality is concerned, I have listened to BBC radio stations through several means. 

1. BBC Radio 3 through iTunes radio (it's a hidden feature under 'Internet' in the music tab. The High stream at 320kbps over Airplay to our Airport Express, the DAC and the stereo is probably best.

2. BBC Radio 3 through FM (cable) on the receiver. Very nice and warm but not as dynamic as the stream.

3. BBC Radio 3 through our TV or cable box and the DAC. The bitrate is downsampled to 192kbps and sounds quite a bit worse than FM.

I think in theory the streams on the internet give the best sound quality, but it all depends on the bitrate. BBC Radio 3 is excellent at 320kbps and so is Canal Classics. But other classical stations are a mere 128 kbps. Other BBC stations are only 128 kbps as well. I will have FM over a 128 kbps stream any day.

Yamaha R-S500, Infinity Overture 1, Cambridge Audio DACMagic, Sony KDL 40HX750, Humax iHDR 5200c, Sony BDP-S590, Pro-Ject 1Xpression III Comfort, Sony MDS-JE 520, Apple Airport Express, Apple Mac Mini (2013), Atacama Eris Eco 5.0

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Dying tuners

The used market is awash with good FM tuners that folks can barely give away. Couple of years ago I flogged a mid-90s £200 Sony tuner on eBay for my dad and 50% of what I got for it was the postage cost. More and more people are listening to radio using apps and smart-devices.

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