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Old 02-22-2019, 10:43 PM
Clark2 Clark2 is offline
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Default REPRISE: Competitor to the MR88 (with HD)?

The original thread,

https://www.audioaficionado.org/showthread.php?t=29983

has gotten a bit long in the tooth. I'm a new member who has been avidly browsing this outstanding forum for a week or more. I have some new information and a similar question and would like an update, so I thought it worth starting a new thread for 2019.

I have a related problem to Weirdcuba's in the original thread. I want an excellent FM tuner that can reject the noise I'm currently getting in my ancient Yamaha CT-800 on otherwise excellent stations that have HD channels (apparently because the tuner, designed way before HD, cannot filter out the HD sidebands). If I could get my hands on a McIntosh MR88 (preferably used and significantly below $4000!), I'd probably buy it and be happy. I've beaten the bushes, however, and come up dry.

Main Question: Are there modern audiophile tuners out there that can eliminate HD "self noise" on analog and also receive the HD channel(s) causing that noise? To satisfy, such a tuner would have to both provide excellent sound and good selectivity and also allow a choice whether to listen to the analog or the HD channel on any given station. (It's clear from browsing this forum that there are several -- perhaps many -- pre-HD tuners that will do the former, and that could be a fallback if I cannot find one that will do both.)

New Information:

1) I followed up on Weirdcuba's report that Magnum Dynalab was working on something 3 years ago. Once again they are saying that they have a tuner in the works, to be released this spring, that will do all of this for a price below $2000. It's not clear where they are getting the HD decoder chips now that HD Radio (or whoever owns the IP this year) has discontinued all but automotive chips -- Silabs perhaps? -- but perhaps they will succeed. I'm on their mailing list for developments, but no details are currently available. Does anyone have any more insight into this option?

2) Maks mentioned on the old thread that DaySequerra had an entry in the field at that time. I followed up on this as well and learned that they are currently offering their M4.2Si for around $1400 (I think -- no quotes yet), which they claim does it all. Mike Pappas (VP for Business Development) tells me that they developed expertise using Texas Instruments chips for monitor radios to quality-control HD broadcasts around the country, and that their new model is based on these chips. Their specs are very scant, however. All I know is that their (now discontinued but probably related) M4 was reviewed very well in 2013. Does anyone have experience with this new tuner?

Are there other models currently in production (or available used) that I should look at besides the MR88? Any suggestions gratefully accepted. -- Clark2

Last edited by Masterlu; 02-23-2019 at 12:26 AM. Reason: Links to other Audio forums are not permitted.
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Old 02-23-2019, 12:26 AM
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Old 02-23-2019, 12:41 AM
rnrmf1971 rnrmf1971 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clark2 View Post
The original thread,

https://www.audioaficionado.org/showthread.php?t=29983

has gotten a bit long in the tooth. I'm a new member who has been avidly browsing this outstanding forum for a week or more. I have some new information and a similar question and would like an update, so I thought it worth starting a new thread for 2019.

I have a related problem to Weirdcuba's in the original thread. I want an excellent FM tuner that can reject the noise I'm currently getting in my ancient Yamaha CT-800 on otherwise excellent stations that have HD channels (apparently because the tuner, designed way before HD, cannot filter out the HD sidebands). If I could get my hands on a McIntosh MR88 (preferably used and significantly below $4000!), I'd probably buy it and be happy. I've beaten the bushes, however, and come up dry.

Main Question: Are there modern audiophile tuners out there that can eliminate HD "self noise" on analog and also receive the HD channel(s) causing that noise? To satisfy, such a tuner would have to both provide excellent sound and good selectivity and also allow a choice whether to listen to the analog or the HD channel on any given station. (It's clear from browsing this forum that there are several -- perhaps many -- pre-HD tuners that will do the former, and that could be a fallback if I cannot find one that will do both.)

New Information:

1) I followed up on Weirdcuba's report that Magnum Dynalab was working on something 3 years ago. Once again they are saying that they have a tuner in the works, to be released this spring, that will do all of this for a price below $2000. It's not clear where they are getting the HD decoder chips now that HD Radio (or whoever owns the IP this year) has discontinued all but automotive chips -- Silabs perhaps? -- but perhaps they will succeed. I'm on their mailing list for developments, but no details are currently available. Does anyone have any more insight into this option?

2) Maks mentioned on the old thread that DaySequerra had an entry in the field at that time. I followed up on this as well and learned that they are currently offering their M4.2Si for around $1400 (I think -- no quotes yet), which they claim does it all. Mike Pappas (VP for Business Development) tells me that they developed expertise using Texas Instruments chips for monitor radios to quality-control HD broadcasts around the country, and that their new model is based on these chips. Their specs are very scant, however. All I know is that their (now discontinued but probably related) M4 was reviewed very well in 2013. Does anyone have experience with this new tuner?

Are there other models currently in production (or available used) that I should look at besides the MR88? Any suggestions gratefully accepted. -- Clark2
I think there are only about 3 choices for new HD tuners.
The Day Sequerra you mention, the T&A multiplayer sacd/cd with an included HD tuner (and their new DAC), and the Sangean on Amazon.

The MR88 is out of production as far as I know. I had one and can't say I loved it. It seemed bright in my system. Reception was very good, however. Now I use the built in HD tuner in my Marantz 8802A processor and I think it's great. They don't put HD tuners in their latest processors for 2018/19, though - only the last generation.

New, I'd try the Day Sequerra. Used, an MR88 (maybe you'll have better luck than I did) or the old Rotel model that was an HD tuner.
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Last edited by rnrmf1971; 02-23-2019 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 02-23-2019, 02:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rnrmf1971 View Post
I think there are only about 3 choices for new HD tuners.
The Day Sequerra you mention, the T&A multiplayer sacd/cd with an included HD tuner (and their new DAC), and the Sangean on Amazon...
Thanks very much for the quick reply! I'll check into the Rotel. Do you recall the model?

Interesting you mention the Sangean. I suppose you mean the HDT-20? I've seen little to suggest that it rises to audiophile standards on either analog FM or HD, nor does it appear to give the user control over which is fed to the audio outputs. Have you used it? How is the sound quality? -- Clark2
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Old 02-23-2019, 04:18 AM
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Have you thought about investing in a good streaming device as opposed to torturing yourself with fm programming?
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Old 02-23-2019, 06:14 AM
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Magnum Dynalab gave up on the HD tuner. It was “under development” for a long time and now I don’t think they even say that. Their other tuners though are awesome in my experience. That said, it’s a declining medium for sure, so a streamer may be a more solid bet.
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Old 02-23-2019, 09:13 AM
Clark2 Clark2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macuser View Post
Have you thought about investing in a good streaming device as opposed to torturing yourself with fm programming?
I have not, in part because I'm a dinosaur, and in part because I came at this in the process of updating my ancient stereo system, which includes a tuner, of course. I'm not averse to streaming, just prejudiced that the source quality available is not up to audiophile standards. (I find Sirius/XM radio sound unacceptable, though I use it in the car.) I'm willing to be disillusioned...

I have two excellent FM classical-music stations in my area, WETA in DC and WGBH in Baltimore. The former has two HD channels, and I mentioned the effect that seems to have on my ancient tuner. The latter is 32 miles away (I don't think it has HD channels yet), and I'm in the process of installing a high-gain antenna in my attic in hopes of pulling it in with acceptable S/N.

I have good Wi-Fi in the house of course, but in addition to casual listening (for which those FM stations are great), I often listen critically to classical music (or blues or folk or bluegrass...), either over my ancient B&O Beovox M70 speakers or through my equally ancient Stax SR-5 "ear speakers." CDs are my preferred source material for critical listening (had to replace the CD player too), but I'd like to be able to enjoy those FM stations as well... -- Clark2
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Old 02-23-2019, 09:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weirdcuba View Post
Magnum Dynalab gave up on the HD tuner. It was “under development” for a long time and now I don’t think they even say that. Their other tuners though are awesome in my experience. That said, it’s a declining medium for sure, so a streamer may be a more solid bet.
I talked to Jim Richards, President of Magnum Dynalab, earlier this week, and he told me they were trying again with the goal of bringing out the MD-1FM DAB/DAB+ this spring. I think they were set back (as was McIntosh) by the withdrawal from the market of HD's audiophile chips but have found a work-around. I'm keeping my fingers crossed... -- Clark2
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Old 02-23-2019, 10:27 AM
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I hope this morning's reply to Macuser (once it gets through moderation) will clarify where I'm coming from. One key question was probably obscured by the details in my OP:

Is FM HD radio actually an audiophile medium (given quality source material)?

Clearly HD can provide lower noise than analog FM, but I've heard it said that HD does not sound as good as analog FM on a high-quality tuner. (1) I've never heard HD on an excellent home stereo system, only on my car radio, and (2) sufficiently good HD tuners may not be currently available to exploit its full potential. -- Clark2
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Old 02-23-2019, 10:37 AM
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As HD is pretty much anything but high fidelity, add any of the Sangean models with RCA outs to your system and have HD. You could then focus on a high quality FM tuner (with AM, if wanted) of which there are several new and many vintage available. I've gone the refurbished (recapped & aligned) vintage route, but may yet go for an Accuphase T-1100.

Clark2 - as you posted while I was typing, to answer your latest, go thru the old posts on the fmtuners@yahoogroups.com forum and read about the fidelity of HD radio and its implementation. It turned out to be nothing more than a marketing driven solution to a non-existent problem. Any number of the threads/posts on same are from broadcast engineers who were instrumental in the installation of the equipment for HD broadcasting and the problems with same. HD does not mean 'high definition' in the case of HD radio. It does not have the 'CD quality' sound that was initially stated and is nowhere near same. It is well accepted that a well done FM broadcast has considerably better fidelity than HD radio. That said, HD broadcasts are like FM broadcasts. Unless the engineer setting up and running the equipment does a good job its fidelity won't be as good as is possible (though never up to a good FM broadcast). I use HD only to be able to listen to jazz from WRTI during the day when their FM broadcast is classical and they are playing something that does not interest me.
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