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Every time I sit down and listen to my Marantz network streaming player I think back on the horrible times I had trying to listen to classical music on FM radio.
Back then I lived in NJ and between three military bases. However the local classical stations were so compressed that they were rendered unlistenable. And the NYC stations, for such a world renowned city it sure had mediocre classical stations - oh I meant - station!
But if you were lucky enough to even get a NYC station in that would depend on if the "local??" illegal stations that the FCC didn't want to touch weren't on that day. Oh yeah, then there was a country and western station in Philadelphia that on occasion would decide to crank the power dial to death ray.
Boy I don't miss my tuners.
Just had this 125 tuner electrically restored at a local very reputable house,just got done installing the antenna, coax, FM splitter, etc. Did the finishing touches yesterday hooking up the 75 ohm transformers/coax etc.
So one leg of the splitter goes upstairs to my restored 2270. Picking up stations very nicely.
Now downstairs-same process-hooked up antenna and powered up the 125 tuner- excellent reception on the station that was already tuned in for a whole two seconds then... tuner reception goes dead, nothing across the whole dial. Arggggg.
Back to the restoration house! WTF
Airtime you got me into this, with your earlier posts about streaming, as an alternative to airwaves. After reading digital forum posts, bought PS Audio Nuwave DAC to try on the system I mainly listen to and found that although it doesn't sound as good as the local classical station via airwaves, the stations and services that stream at 192K are definitely listenable. Lower noise floor and all of the alternative programming are definite advantages of streaming. Piano is one area you really hear the advantages of airwaves.
One caveat about this, looking back I'm not sure I could say that about a lot of the tuners I have tried over the years. If my recollection is correct streaming beats a lot of them. Scott 310E is the tuner I used for the comparison. And I do believe that this classical station, KBAQ is particularly good. So there may be a lot of stations and environments where streaming would be a better choice.
In case someone is going to ask, largest Winegard dedicated FM antennae offered, mounted on the roof.
I am glad I did this, not just to resolve my curiosity, but as a listening alternative.
Did you try those stations I recommended. Especially the Classic FM90.7 from the Netherlands. Excellent sound quality and programing.
Yeah, once you get a taste of the entire worlds worth of music that is available to you, it's hard to go back to the limited repertoire of FM.
Also it can depend on your DAC or device you're streaming from. If you decide you really like streaming the eventually go for a Marantz NAx007 player. The best DAC in town.
Yes, thank-you, listening to 90.7 as I type this. I worked some in Nijmegen and accidentally found that on the dial while exploring and had forgotten all about it.
I have been using the digital forums, particularly Abe and others in the selection of the PS Audio DAC. One system is streaming only, outdoor etc. speakers, tried three or four DAC's when setting that up starting with M-Audio PCI card, but that had been years ago and apparently they have improved. I tried a couple of those before ordering the PS Audio for this system and that experience almost talked me out of pursuing it. Your and others postings kept me interested and glad I pursued it.
Do you have a subscription recommendation? Currently have tunein and Pandora.
Pandora if pretty compressed but I do listen to it on holidays and maybe for something special. But no I don't have any subscriptions. My Marantz just uses basically the vtuner.com selection.
go to vtuner.com and check out there selection of stations.
Once in a while I use my iphone's digital out to play things. But it's not as good as my Marantz.
FM is my primary source.
My local station (I95, Danbury, CT), has a great DJ at night (Zach Martin), who knows a ton of rock trivia and plays whatever he wants ...not a canned show.
They have a great acoustic-rock show on Sunday mornings when they play "unplugged" versions of just everyone's tunes you can imagine.
I listen to a few stations out of NYC as well, mostly Q104.3, for Ken Dashow.
reelsmith's axiom: Its going to be used equipment when I sell it, so it may as well be used equipment when I buy it.
Almost everyday. I just got done pulling about 75 feet of quad shielded coax and going to mount an FM antenna on the back side of my garage to feed my Marantz 2270 upstairs and my Marantz 510M, 3600, 125 combo in the basement. Mostly so I can get better reception for WPKN out of Bridgeport, CT about 40 miles from my house, I'm in a very finicky multipath zone. The radio station is non profit and one of the last surviving non profit stations in the area, other than WUUH (Hartford University), with great eclectic programming. Good news is the station is well publicly funded and is currently in the middle of a $75,000 donation drive for a new transmitter.
And WUWM public radio,
A Prairie Home Companion,I am often very pleasantly surprised at how good the music sounds on the Prairie.
I have a refurbished Magnum Dynalab Etude, that I traded my bottom of the line MD in for after it started drifting after having it for about 20 years.
I used to love listening to Prairie Home Companion. I used to come home and on Friday night at the end of a long work week, pour a little scotch, settle in and listen to it. Wow, that was truly relaxing.
Then they pulled the plug on it and changed the format to county western. And bad CW at that!!!
You can get it online, sometimes they stream the video too. I prefer the sound over the tuner, but it is kind of cool to see it at least once.
Garrison recently retired, Chris Thile is now the host. I miss Guy Noir and Life Of The Cowboys, but he has been getting a lot of good musical guests. Jack White was on.
I have heard the next day replay, we get it live on Saturday at 5pm and the replay Sunday at noon. I have been stopped in my tracks, a few times with female vocalists. I mean really impressive sound, better than you would expect from a tuner.
Check it out, also a lot on uTube.
I have purchased more tuners in the last 5 years than in the previous 40-
I listen to one or more of them daily-
I have a McIntosh MR-74 in the main 'house' system that I listen to in the morning and evening for news and music-
I have an MR-77 that is in the Vinyl rig system- that gets only a few hours each month
and a spare MR-74 that will be part of my bed-room system before the end of the month.
As for Stations-
Here in the Bay area there are a few options with great sound:
KPFA - news & music- especially late at night and weekends
KALW - News and Music - mostly evenings and late & weekends-
KPOO - College/alt
KBLX - UC Berkeley
KCSM - Jazz
KDFC - KUSC North - Classical
and once I head north:
KAWM - west Marin County -
KZYX - Mendocino Public Radio...
Still have my tuners and antennas because I am too lazy to sell them.
WHYY - NPR, BBC
WKDU - Mixed, alternative, anything etc.
WXPN - Adult album alt., Space, Doo Wop etc.
WRTI - Classical/Jazz
McIntosh MX110 Pre-Tuner
Rotel RT1080 RDS Tuner
Luxman R-351 Receiver
Every day like I'm an addict. Oh!
Atlanta Public radio in the morning commute, Rush @ Lunch, Public Radio Jazz.
"The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat" - Confucius
We have great terrestrial radio in the San Francisco/Bay Area and I wouldn't be without an analog tuner and my roof top antenna to enjoy it. Currently using a Yamaha T-1.
I listen to my tuners almost everyday, mostly tuned to WWOZ, New Orleans community station, with the occasional twist of the dial to the NPR station or WTUL, the Tulane University station. We have a new community station in town-WHIV (the unfortunate name a sign of the mission of promoting "promoting public health and a world without war)-which plays some great music along with public affairs, but the signal is poor (and/or the source materials are poor quality playlists on cell phones or the like.) I listen on a MR-78, which sounded amazing after a trip to Terry DeWick, but not has developed intermittent noise in one channel, or a Pioneer TX-9500II (which might sound even better than the Mac and is certainly a better value at current prices.) And I have a Marantz 20b off being repaired/aligned. So I am going to be pissed if analog radio goes off the air!
I listen to my tuner everyday.
Bay Area- plenty of stations.
I love it.
I can't be bothered. I live in an apartment building so it's just easier to stream what I want to hear.
Great sound & tuning - listen every day!
A rotored, roof-mounted Winegard Yagi feeds public-supported classical and jazz as well as community-college programming to my main-system McIntosh MR77 here in the Willamette Valley. I listen several hours a week. And as soon as I build a new audio rack, I'll install a second patiently waiting MR77 in my bedroom system.
Hi Jim, sounds like we're neighbors! I used to love listening to classical and jazz on my restored Dynaco FM3, but we moved from Tulsa back to Portland (Happy Valley) and because we're on the back side of a hill blocking the antenna farm, no signal here. :-(
Steve, sorry about the hill. I'm in Corvallis, and although I have to contend somewhat with hills, I'm situated about 300 feet above the valley floor and am able to pull in KMHD in Gresham and KWAX and KLCC in Eugene. So I guess I'm lucky.
A Scott LT 110B, Creek T43, Fisher 400, and Marantz 2230, all in regular use.
I admit that I listen to an FM tuner about 3-4 days per week. I have a station here in Tampa WMNF (Community Supported) that I enjoy immensely.
WMNF is playing in the living room now! Great variety of music.
Duane in Clearwater
I use mine all the time. Luckily I have a college station that sounds great and that I can pull it in. KALX Berkeley.
McIntosh MR-77. Unless I get stupid or go senile, they'll have to pry it from my cold, dead fingers.
Yep - Chicago area has a few stations; WDCB jazz, WFMT classical, WXRT rock. Decent material, but compressed to varying degrees (WXRT is much more compressed than it once was).
I listen on a Scott 355 tuner/pre. I live at the fringes of coverage, a good antenna in the attic and the Scott pull in stations that were once too noisy to listen to. I need to have it looked at tho, I have lost stations at the bottom of the dial, I think I have a capacitor failing. Tubes still test good.
doesn't help the fact we live btwn two military bases and cant get squat :(
I lived between THREE !!!! military bases. It wouldn't be so bad if is wasn't for those UFO's the government has been hiding.
No really three bases was a bit too much. The interference was overwhelming at times.
FM programming here SUCKS big time. Classic rock with all its limited playlists and constant repetition. Hip hop and pop rock drek. Mix in a lot of commercials and mindless yammering.
Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.
Radio is the pits in my area.
I'd get better entertainment riding up and down in an elevator, listening to what's being piped in.
Not every day; but I'm fortunate in living close to a good music station that takes some pains with their signal. My car radio is set to that station. We also have a jazz station and a couple of NPR.
FM can be very good. When we first moved to this area in 1972, I caught some live programs from the Oberlin Conservatory. Really fine sound. Sadly, they don't seem to collaborate with local stations anymore. It was a real eye opener concerning my system. Compared to other FM or to LP's; the sound was so much better on those live FM broadcasts. Live feeds are available from the Cleveland Orchestra; but it doesn't compare.
Anyhow, it told me my equipment was good enough, the problem was source material and maybe my phono gear. Even the FM tuner in my old Pioneer SX990 was good enough. So, using the occasional live broadcast from Oberlin, I tweaked the rest of the system to sound as close to that as I could get. First, was hours spent padding the RIAA equalization network in the phono preamp to get it as close as I could to the RIAA standard. Next was a capacitance switch box for cartridge loading, low capacitance interconnects, and a succession of cartridges and TT's.
Later, I got into CD's, and went 100% CD's when I moved to the condo. But I feel the biggest quality issue we face is still the variability of the quality in our sources. What do you use as a reference?
what is the problem with Cleveland Orchestra broadcasts, is it compression?
I'm not sure; but the broadcast sounds unlike being there. Might be partly compression; but more likely, the miking or the EQ. Oddly, recordings made there in Severance Hall sound right. The Hall has excellent acoustics, and the Cleveland orchestra is excellent.
Radio sucks in my area. The only decent programming is from a local college station, which is rather low-powered so it's hard to get a good signal at my home because of the mountains that tend to reflect the signal and bounce it around like a ping-pong ball, so I've been without a tuner for about thirty years.
One day last summer I happened to be browsing at our local GoodWill store and was surprised to see a Pioneer TX-6800 AM/FM tuner on the shelf with a quite low asking price of $9. I was able to plug in the power cord and see it light up and watch the tuning and the signal meters bounce around as I twiddled the dial so I took a chance and bought it.
It's not a high-end tuner, but for the $9. investment it does the job.
I now own a tuner after a thirty year absence, but radio in my area still sucks :-(
I'm fortunate to live where jazz and classical are broadcast much of the day on CBC Radio 2 ( Canadian Broadcast Company ) in French and English ( which do not have the same programs ).
The signal has transmitters all over Canada and I believe it is minimally compressed if at all ( there is a relatively wide dynamic range on classical music .)
I use an antenna in the attic and the sound, while not CD quality , is good enough for more than background music. The CBC is publicly financed which is fine with me as it allows a quality of sound and lack of commercials unavailable from the private sector.
I do on a regular basis. I get NPR out of Sacramento (KXPR 88.9 and KXSR 91.7). Classical most of the day. jazz from 7pm till 10pm weekdays. I really like At The Opera at 8 on Saturday nights.
I do miss the saturday afternoon opera on WQXR. I used to listen to that every saturday while I was woodworking. Special times when i could get them.
Sadly NJ became a waste land of FM. Now out here in AZ I can get a few pretty good stations.
Although admittedly that is for background music. I'm fortunate we have a wonderful college jazz station in San Diego (KSDS 88.3 if you'd like to look in the internet). There is also a good NPR station. Unfortunately (for my taste) classical is an issue. Our one local station I call Reader's Digest Classical because they only play popular movements, not the entire compositions. The other option is attempting a very good LA classical station but reception is spotty. Most other stations are preprogrammed pop/rock/country so I ignore those. As someone said elsewhere, who wants to hear "Stairway To Heaven" ten times a day?
"The piano ain't got no wrong notes." Thelonious Monk
I'm a tuner dinosaur listening to KBAQ (classical) as I answer this on a Scott 310E. On average listen to it 8 hours a day or so. Basically I got into this working, KBAQ always on. KBAQ will play something that I like, that sounds very, very good with this combination of equipment, and it just stops me in my tracks.
I have probably updated, tweaked and listened to a dozen tuners before settling on this one. I'm sure a lot has to do with personal taste, system synergy etc. At times I like it better than the CD players I have (Electrompaniet currently), depends a lot on what KBAQ is playing. Yes, vinyl sounds better, but that's a lot of record changes.
Streaming, I have a linux music server, have tried a few DAC's, and so far none that I like at all. I haven't heard a Marantz streamer, and I have been reading the digital forum believing that I am missing something, so I have a PS Audio Nuwave on its way. Will update this post in a few days after I try it.
I just compared PS Audio Nuwave DAC, same station KBAQ to Scott 310E tuner. It is better than the other DAC's I've tried but not close at all to the sound of the tuner. The one area it does beat the tuner is noise floor. I haven't given up, will try other stations, maybe it is their streaming rate. If anyone has a recommended station, please let me know.
All day every day. I am blessed with a great public radio station nearby with a strong signal and that cares about sound quality.
I use a Yamaha T-80 tuner totally re-capped with Blackgates, and it's sound quality comes close to my vinyl and digital sources to my ears.
Freak out...Far out...In out....
Having lived in southern CT when I started in this hobby I have fonder memories of the NY area stations.
When I got my first "real stereo system" or something other than a portable with detachable speakers or a Clairtone console, I had the Dynaco Pas-3X, Stereo 70, FM3 tuner, Bozak speakers, Miracord 50H turntable with a Shure V15 type 11 cartridge and a lower end Concord reel to reel deck. So that would have been in the later 1960's.
There was one very popular classical station from NY and I think it was WQXR? Whatever it was, it was the go to station for taping classical FM broadcasts and serious listening.
The serious had a Finco FM-4G FM yagi antenna with a rotor to capture FM signals in all directions.
Around that time I remember comparing two FM tuners to see if they both would pick up the same number of stations. Obviously one was the FM-3 but I don't remember what the other one was but probably a Scott or Fisher.
If I remember correctly they were almost equal give or take a few stations and the number of stations was staggering to me because I had never gone from station to station like that real slow.
Then I slowly phased out of FM and went exclusively to vinyl.
Fast forward to today and the only time I use the tuner in my "closet system" of a Pioneer SX-780 and NHT in wall speakers is when I'm puttering around the house or on the weekend when a local station has a jazz broadcast and I switch to my main system with a a Mac MR67 but it's not the enjoyable listening it was back when.
Like you Charles I'm transplanted to a different area and SC isn't a bastion of variety or stations.
On a side note, I remember when the World Trade center was built and I was working for the RCA Service Company at the time. The towers caused TV ghosting and FM multipath in the CT area on some stations.
I have 3 NAD 4155 tuners, two of which no longer have a working station memory. Despite those shortcomings it is the best tuner I have ever owned. I listen mostly to NPR stations and classical rock. I have two homes as I am a snowbird but in Michigan near Detroit there is many stations to choose from. In Florida less so but enough to get some stations clearly.
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