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Kevin Stephens's picture
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FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

How good can FM get? I'm thinking of upgrading my OK but not brilliant tuner to get something to at least match sound quality of my excellent CD player - thinking of a second hand Musical Fidelity A5 tuner. Can anyone report on comparison of SQ between a top quality tuner and CD player?

I have a very good room mounted ariel, absolute faith in future of FM broadcasting (R3!!) and no desire to connect my computer to my hifi

matthewpiano's picture
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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

Try a Naim NAT 101 second hand.  On R3 with a good roof mounted aerial this will certainly challenge the sound of some very good CD players indeed.  Look fab too.

Rega RP3/Elys 2 - Graham Slee Gram Amp 1 - Rotel RCD965BX - Exposure 1010 amp - Dynaudio DM2/6 - Chord Co. Chameleon VEE3/Rumour 2 - Musical Fidelity V90-HPA - Sennheiser HD595

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

matthewpiano wrote:

Try a Naim NAT 101 second hand.  On R3 with a good roof mounted aerial this will certainly challenge the sound of some very good CD players indeed.  Look fab too.

Great advice; I remember it, and the even better NAT-01 (I think)......should certainly give a lot of fairly expensive CDPs a run for their money. It's a brilliant bit of kit.

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

I would say that the quality is going to be largely down to the broadcast quality, which varies greatly, particularly with the amount of compression used.

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

I used to have a Naim NAT 02 used with a Ron smith Aerial and it was very good but nowhere near as good as my Cd player with any station or signal , in fact not even remotely close to being as good!

I also had an old Sony ST 770 ES which on balance I think I preferred to the Naim tuner so price is no guarantee of better quality Smile

I bought the NAT 02 second hand at a good price but have now sold it ( at a small profit  Wink )  because I found that I hardly ever used it.

Sorry to be negative but this is my opinion and what my ears tell me Smile

Main system .

Electrocompaniet EMC 1 up , Monarchy Audio DIP, ECD 1 dac , EC4.8 preamp , 2x AW180 monoblock power amps , PMC Pb1i speakers .

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

I'd buy a streamer like a Squeezebox and listen to the online stream (320 Kb). It's exceedingly good quality. That and many others. The Linn stations are also top-notch.

There are now hundred of stations at high bit-rates. 

And you'd have no "need" to connect to your computer.

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

I'm sure some people considered that R3 live lunchtime concerts were the pinnacle of sound quality, despite the BW being restricted to 20-15kHz. I thought FM was going to be scrapped - am I wrong? Absolute faith sounds dangerous to me!

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

fr0g wrote:
I'd buy a streamer like a Squeezebox and listen to the online stream (320 Kb). It's exceedingly good quality. That and many others. The Linn stations are also top-notch.

There are now hundred of stations at high bit-rates.

Agreed. (I stream lots of 'live' radio content and iPlayer radio and record some from Freeview radio.)

However, I still love FM and - luckily - I can do the lot, either from TuneIn Radio Pro using AirPlay (from my iPhone), FM, DAB or Freeview (via optical connection to telly).

I am not wholly dependent on my internet connection for radio. (We even have a little wind-up portable radio if the mains fail!)

Really good FM tuners are so cheap you may as well get one for the duration.

"We are currently awaiting the loading of our complement of small lemon-soaked paper napkins for your comfort, refreshment and hygiene during the journey."

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

Talking of the Sony ST 770 ES or possibly the previous version (pre remote) - I have one in a cupboard somewhere still. I'd being willing to part with it. My radio listening is now through Freesat on my home stereo or TuneIn Radio on my iPhone.

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

busb wrote:
I'd being willing to part with it. 

But not here obviously, what with trading still being against the House Rules and everything...

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

Hence no price etc being mentioned!

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

busb wrote:
Hence no price etc being mentioned!

That doesn't matter, I've seen people modded before now for less than what you said.

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

Electro wrote:

I used to have a Naim NAT 02 used with a Ron smith Aerial and it was very good but nowhere near as good as my Cd player with any station or signal , in fact not even remotely close to being as good!

I also had an old Sony ST 770 ES which on balance I think I preferred to the Naim tuner so price is no guarantee of better quality Smile

I bought the NAT 02 second hand at a good price but have now sold it ( at a small profit  Wink )  because I found that I hardly ever used it.

Sorry to be negative but this is my opinion and what my ears tell me Smile

Your opinion is much more up to date than mine.

I haven't heard a Naim Tuner since the late 80s, where it didn't have such good CDPs to compare with (so maybe my memory is rose tinted).

There is also the fact that I heard the NAT-101 with the SNAPS  and  the NAT-01 /NAPST is a good step up again (cost £1000 in late 80s).....and still making good money today:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/NAIM-NAT-01-NAPST-tuner-Immaculate-Lotus340r-Hifi-/280846702954

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

A good FM tuner and good reception can easily equal CD if not best it.

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

R3 live broadcasts sound very good using my Myryad MT 100 or Quad FM-4, of course all commercial stations sound dreadful

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

New MF A5 tuner is on it's way to me :bounce:
I will report back answer to my OP in due course.....

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