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Tuner advice

Can someone please advise me on which mini system has the best tuner, or would I be better off buying a separate tuner?

I’m looking to buy a better mini system, but it needs to have a good radio, because I live in an area with pretty poor reception. I listen to the radio more than I do CD’s but the CD player still needs to be pretty decent.

The radio on my old midi system (as it was called back in the late 80’s) was brilliant, I didn’t even need to use the wire aerial to get all major radio stations in FM stereo. For this current one, I’ve had to buy an internal aerial with built in signal booster just to get a few stations in FM (not stereo). Even with that, reception isn’t always good. I used to think all tuners were the same, clearly not. I’m keen not to make the same mistake again.

I’ll be listening to FM, DAB reception here is so bad it’s not really worth considering. I also don’t want to go to the expense of an external aerial. I have looked at systems with internet radios too, I like the idea, but none have impressed me. I would prefer a mini system due to lack of space. My budget is around £500, but that includes speakers. I might stretch the budget further for the right system.

I would really appreciate any advice you can give.

Thanks.

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Re: Tuner advice


Just bumping this to give me a chance to answer this tomorrow (unless Chebby wants to jump in, he's a radio man).

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Re: Tuner advice


Right. I'd buy whichever mini system you fancy, irrespective of its tuner, and connect either your TV box (if it's Sky or cable or Freeview) or something that can feed internet radio from your PC (like an Airport Express). Bit rates on all those options will offer you better quality than a poorly-fed FM radio, and open up a whole load of new stations.

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Anonymous
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Re: Tuner advice

Thanks for the reply.

Sorry, I should have told you this, but I was trying to keep my initial post fairly short. I've already considered the option of connecting my Mac to the new system, but I thought it was an extravagant waste of electricity having my Mac on just to listen to the radio, so I dismissed it. If I was to go down that route, I might as well just buy some better speakers for the mac and use it as a radio/cd player, but that too would consume more power than a mini system: My mac idle consumes appox 171W, the mini system I am considering 65W - no contest really. From the research I did, it seemed airport only streams from i-tunes, not browser based internet radio, to get that to work you have to buy another piece of software called Airfoil. Looking at everything, I decided the best option for me was a tuner. It is simple and straight forward, as switching on a radio should be. Connecting to my Mac is something I would only do as a last resort.

I'd really rather find something with a good tuner, (I don't mean this to sound sarcastic, but) that's why I asked about tuners.

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Re: Tuner advice


Understood, and sarcasm is usually people's default position, so thanks for the clarification - however, I'll try this one more time - a Mac mini consumes 21w idle, and Airfoil is genius... Big Smile

My favourite two mini systems are the Arcam solo mini (over budget) and the Yamaha CRX170 (much less expensive, but great fun). However, I suspect that either would face the same problems you do at the moment, and I'd be more inclined to err on the side of cheapness and spend £150 on a proper, rooftop FM aerial (property permitting), which will transform the sound of any tuner.

Lastly, it's a real shame you're stuck with mini systems, as a s/h (full width, though not deep) Denon TU260L Mk2 off eBay for 20 quid, plus a proper rooftop aerial, will beat anything you can get in a mini, hands down.

Though lastly lastly, there's always this on ebay...

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Anonymous
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Re: Tuner advice

Yeah, my Mac's a Mac Pro, I sometimes wish I'd gone for a mini, if I had, then I would definitely go for your original suggestion, and get Airfoil.


I might go for an aerial, I think I read somewhere you can get a kind of two in one aerial that will work with TV and FM, if I can find one of those, I might give it a look.


I hadn't looked at the Yamaha before, but will definitely investigate. I'm not totally stuck with mini systems, they are just easier to fit into the space I have. I could get something full width, but the only space I could fit it in would be on a stand placed under a table, which isn't exactly ideal :-). I'd do it though, if I thought it was worth it. Do you have any recommendations for newer tuners, if I was to go in this direction?


I'm also waiting to see what the Cambridge Audio Sonata is like. It could be a bit costly, but it is separates and conveniently sized.


Thanks for your help, much appreciated. You've given me plenty to think about.

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Re: Tuner advice


No problem. Let me have a think about other options and will come back to you.

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Re: Tuner advice


btw, if you have a TV point close by, it can sometimes work well as an FM aerial. Worth a try.

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Anonymous
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Re: Tuner advice

spiggy, you want a good FM tuner, OK? Been into FM tuners all my long life. Dont buy one thrown into a package, check out Tivoli audio Model 1, a fantastic piece off kit, wont blow your home away with volume, but sound quality on speech and music hard to beat, good looking too. If you into quality FM reception, look no further, at £100, its a bargain. Regards, Nokton


 

Anonymous
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Re: Tuner advice

Freeview, nothing beats it, believe me.

A strong signal, and processed through a decent amp, the sound is as good as it gets.

Check out BBC3 in concert.

Anonymous
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Re: Tuner advice

Nokton - TheÿTivoli audio Model 1 looks very interesting. Shame it's only mono, though I do see it can output stereo, will definitely look into that as a possible option. Thanks.

ÿtrevor79 - Totally agree about Freeview, when the signal gets really bad here, I do sometimes switch to it. I have the audio from an old freeview box plugged into the back of my current system. Only problem is, my favourite radio station, XFM Manchester, isn't available on Freeview.

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