Finally put up a nice antenna, now I need a good tuner to go with it...

premiumplus

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#1
I finally went out and invested in a nice big UHF/VHF/FM antenna and rotator, the biggest one that I could find around town.
150" boom, made by RCA. It's now up on my roof, about 25' above ground level, and I'm getting real strong signals from fairly distant stations, 35 to 40 miles away.
So...now I want to upgrade my tuner. I have a Pioneer TX-7500 that is fair, along with SX-1010 and SX-1250 receivers.
But I want to get something nice for the main system which is all separate components.
AM is optional, I would like features like signal strength and center tuning meters, preferably solid state, and $300 is the upper limit on it. I've got a guy that is local who can do alignment if I need it, and to go along with my other components probably something from the 1970's is in order. Thoughts?
 

fitz43

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#2
I finally went out and invested in a nice big UHF/VHF/FM antenna and rotator, the biggest one that I could find around town.
150" boom, made by RCA. It's now up on my roof, about 25' above ground level, and I'm getting real strong signals from fairly distant stations, 35 to 40 miles away.
So...now I want to upgrade my tuner. I have a Pioneer TX-7500 that is fair, along with SX-1010 and SX-1250 receivers.
But I want to get something nice for the main system which is all separate components.
AM is optional, I would like features like signal strength and center tuning meters, preferably solid state, and $300 is the upper limit on it. I've got a guy that is local who can do alignment if I need it, and to go along with my other components probably something from the 1970's is in order. Thoughts?
reading the info here:

http://fmtunerinfo.com/shootouts.html#L-02T

should keep you busy for awhile.
 

orange

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#4
I finally went out and invested in a nice big UHF/VHF/FM antenna and rotator, the biggest one that I could find around town.
150" boom, made by RCA. It's now up on my roof, about 25' above ground level, and I'm getting real strong signals from fairly distant stations, 35 to 40 miles away.
So...now I want to upgrade my tuner. I have a Pioneer TX-7500 that is fair, along with SX-1010 and SX-1250 receivers.
But I want to get something nice for the main system which is all separate components.
AM is optional, I would like features like signal strength and center tuning meters, preferably solid state, and $300 is the upper limit on it. I've got a guy that is local who can do alignment if I need it, and to go along with my other components probably something from the 1970's is in order. Thoughts?
FIRST, get on this site: http://radio-locator.com/ and find the coverage details in your area by station and city. Even if the format info or call letters aren't up to date you will see the distance of the transmitter from your city/ZIP and you can tell if the signal is strong or weak in your area with the little meter icon in the list (the legend below the list shows weak to strong). These listings are fairly accurate on signal strength and are based on technical data from the engineering data of the station and other factors. You can also find the predicted signal contours, Primary/Secondary or maybe even further by looking the station up on the FCC website (I haven't eaten yet today so I'm not that brilliant YET, look it up or I'll find it later).

If you want to get freaky with it, add a TV line amp and make sure it doesn't block FM or that can be switched on/off. I wouldn't recommend doing this when combining antenna and cable, use a switch between them as a) you need to introduce the amp after the switch and b) depending on the system there are three main ways they allocate the channel bandwidth and you may well create interference mixing the two.
 

orange

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#5
Your present tuner was pretty good for the time it was made (~1976 or '77) and still is. Study the site I linked to etc and see if you can get an idea of the directions the stations are coming in from and also try to avoid line of sight obstructions like tall structures and trees as much as you can, even if it means relocating the antenna. You aren't going to get everything you want 100% strong and clear/clean usually so base your antenna location and other factors on what you really want to get. I know, they'll go to a wuss format and leave you hanging someday but that's RADIO!
 

premiumplus

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#6
Thanks, guys...I've been reading the two sites you both mentioned, and I was hoping that someone here could help me boil it down to fewer choices. There's so many good tuners out there, and I'd like to hear some personal opinions here from guys that own the tuner in question. The tuner info site is great but there's almost too much information there! I used the radio station site to help me locate my antenna and I can receive even fringe stations with my Pioneer. It's noisy on the weaker stations, with some multipath distortion. Hoping that a little better tuner would be more selective, and give clearer audio on the weak stations.
 

laatsch55

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#7
I have a TX 8500 I I and a TX 9500 II. Both are good. I prefer the 9500.
 

Gepetto

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#8
Thanks, guys...I've been reading the two sites you both mentioned, and I was hoping that someone here could help me boil it down to fewer choices. There's so many good tuners out there, and I'd like to hear some personal opinions here from guys that own the tuner in question. The tuner info site is great but there's almost too much information there! I used the radio station site to help me locate my antenna and I can receive even fringe stations with my Pioneer. It's noisy on the weaker stations, with some multipath distortion. Hoping that a little better tuner would be more selective, and give clearer audio on the weak stations.
Undisputed king of the hill is the Yamaha T-85. I have been lusting after one for quite a while. You will get a cherry one for your budget.
 

orange

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#9
Well, you aren't going to get everything...but some amplification can help and 25 ft is good but remember that FM is LINE OF SIGHT and doesn't normally bounce off the layers of the atmosphere like AM. Antenna height, eliminating obstacles and multipath-it sounds like you are doing a pretty good job so far. But the reason FM towers are either high up, on tall buildings or on mountains is that they cannot get over the horizon.

You want a tuner with a good sensitivity figure (how well it can find a signal), capture ratio (FM tuners will lock on to one signal or the other, dependent on which is stronger-the strong ones are received and alternate weaker ones rejected) and alternate channel rejection that is high (helps when you are in an area with stations close to each other in frequency so that they won't 'bleed over' and capture the other or just cause a mess. Some tuners have less noise than others, others receive weaker signals better and the Tuner Guide reviewers use a benchmark based on an equivalency of 'gangs' (tuning capacitor plate sections)-even if the tuner is frequency synthesized. Gang ratings are great, but they don't tell you everything and there are 5-gang rated tuners that can suck, so to speak.

If you understand these things and study the basics as described on the FM Tuner Guide site it may not become less bewildering (due to the huge number of tuners on it) but you can make rational decisions about tuners you may find without specs even...you will know more just from this basic knowledge.

If you don't end up keeping the TX-7500, let me know first if you please. My area is blessed with really good reception and quality signals and Pioneer tuners are always welcome if I can afford them.
 
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premiumplus

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#10
Undisputed king of the hill is the Yamaha T-85. I have been lusting after one for quite a while. You will get a cherry one for your budget.
There's one for $249 with $35 shipping right now. Maybe I can do better than this one, three recently sold for $149 to $189.
Nice looking tuner!
 

orange

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#15
I have a friend in South Korea with a modded TX-5500 that might argue a little about that and the 1937 Coronado I sent her once is an ace on AM.
 

Lazarus Short

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#17
Two things come to mind:

Send your tuner to PunkerX (find on AK) for alignment and upgrade - I've heard good things...

Find a Realistic TM-1001 and install the White Oak mods.
 

orange

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#18
I had a TM-1001 and it needed no mods at all...glorious tuner.
 

premiumplus

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#19
Two things come to mind:

Send your tuner to PunkerX (find on AK) for alignment and upgrade - I've heard good things...

Find a Realistic TM-1001 and install the White Oak mods.
Yeah, Mike (PunkerX) is a real nice guy, and a very good tech. He lives a couple of miles from me, and I had him do the tuner in my SX- 1250 a couple of years ago. I do my own work, but I drew the line at tuners. I don't have the equipment or the experience for them, and like Clint Eastwood once famously said, "A man's GOT to know his limitations"!
Been researching the TM-1001 and I'm on the fence between it and the T-85.
 

Gepetto

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#20
Yeah, Mike (PunkerX) is a real nice guy, and a very good tech. He lives a couple of miles from me, and I had him do the tuner in my SX- 1250 a couple of years ago. I do my own work, but I drew the line at tuners. I don't have the equipment or the experience for them, and like Clint Eastwood once famously said, "A man's GOT to know his limitations"!
Been researching the TM-1001 and I'm on the fence between it and the T-85.
T-85 is in a different league
 
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