What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Wed, 29 Apr 2009, 10:00am

Arcam T32

Tested at £600
100100
5

Best Hi-Fi Tuner, Awards 2010. Talented and engaging, this is a must-hear for tunerless midrange set-ups - and deals can often be had

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For

  • Handsome, well-made object with big display
  • locks solidly to signals
  • dynamic, widescreen sound

Against

  • A degree of care with system-matching is required

As Keats so nearly said, a radio of beauty is a joy forever. A good DAB/FM tuner can reward like little else, but a glance at this magazine's Buyer's Guide reveals a tragic paucity of radio tuners.

Arcam has always understood the value of radio, and its latest blockily handsome device includes a big, clear display, a big, clear remote control and DAB/FM/MW reception.

It's DAB+ compatible too, should that day ever dawn, and offers full iPod functionality via Arcam's rLead or rDock. There's also an RS232 interface included.

A rich, atmospheric performance
The standard of DAB broadcasts is wildly variable, of course, but given a fair quality of broadcast the T32 locks on determinedly and delivers a rich, atmospheric performance.

Voices are packed with character, and the differences in broadcast environments are made explicit.

Music radio benefits from snappy low-frequency presence, good dynamic ability and shining, chunky treble sounds.

These traits are apparent with FM broadcast too, and given a Radio 3-standard broadcast to deal with the T32 is a broad and authoritative performer.

The soundstage is big enough to allow a symphony orchestra room to flex its muscles, and the Arcam's dynamic poke and pudding-sweet tonality make for an invigorating listen.   

System-matching needed
Downsides are few. At the price it's not going to find its way into every system (although we have occasionally seen it on sale for less), and even if your set-up justifies the outlay, the T32 won't overly enjoy being partnered with a warm, rich amp'n'speakers combo.

But where it does fit snugly, the Arcam is as bracing a tuner as we've heard in a good while.    

See all our radio tuner Best Buys

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