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Possible sleeper tuner found! B&K TS108!

38.118.25.194

Posted on July 30, 2012 at 09:52:09
Crazy Dave
Audiophile

Posts: 14321
Location: East Coast
Joined: October 4, 2001
I was in a local thrift store on Sunday, where I usually don't find much, but I check there because it is siamesed to another thrift store where I have been lucky. On the shelf was a very clean faceplate with B&K on it. I surmised quickly that it was a tuner. Just what I need! Another tuner!

I have been happy with the Yamaha T-80 that I have been using for a while, and I have a stack of tuners on deck. In my area, you can often run into some very good tuners for next to nothing in the thrift stores, so I have yielded to a few unbelievable deals.

I knew of B&K from their preamps and amps that Sam Telig liked a while back, but I new nothing of the tuners. I thought I'd look at it for grins, but I was not planning to buy it. I traced down an IEC cord and plugged it in. I noticed that this was one heavy tuner. It weighed more than some power amps. Then I was shocked (not literally!). In a concrete and steel building, it was locking in stations in stereo, with no antenna. I was hooked! I pried open my wallet and paid the $20 they were asking for it.

When I looked this thing up, I was even more surprised. According to the Tuner Information Center, it was the predecessor to the much more expensive Fanfare FT-1, differing only in convenience features. They had nothing but good things to say about it (except the ergonomics).

I am going to have to test it more, but I expect this tuner to kick my Yamaha T-80's rear. What do you guys think? Do I have a sleeper?

Dave

 

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Yes, a sleeper. Still and all, a good antenna won't hurt. ;-)!, posted on July 30, 2012 at 14:23:54
Timbo in Oz
Audiophile

Posts: 23221
Location: Canberra - in the ACT - SE Australia
Joined: January 30, 2002
It's possible some of the stations were available through a window or two.

It's also probably worth an alignment.

If you have a local station that does live acoustic music concerts you'll have a high-end analogue source.

You lucky bastard!




Warmest

Tim Bailey

Skeptical Measurer & Audio Scrounger


 

Don't hold me to this, posted on July 31, 2012 at 04:44:52
1973shovel
Audiophile

Posts: 9222
Location: Greenville SC
Joined: February 25, 2007
But it was my understanding, heard through the audio grapevine, that Fanfare and B&K share (or shared) manufacturing facilities. It would only make sense that if B&K wanted to issue a tuner in their name, that they look no further than their neighbor Marv Southcott, to produce one.

Assuming that's true, you likely have a Fanfare FM tuner in B&K clothing.

Like you, I don't need another tuner. But for $20, and knowing of the connection to Fanfare, I wouldn't have passed it up either. Since I already own a couple of Yamaha T-80 's, I'll be looking forward to your comparisons.

Congratulations. Enjoy it.



 

RE: Don't hold me to this, posted on July 31, 2012 at 07:44:30
Crazy Dave
Audiophile

Posts: 14321
Location: East Coast
Joined: October 4, 2001
It is more than likely a Fanfare. I actually like the T-80 quite a bit, but I suspect the B&K will be better. There is only one way to find out! Thanks!

Dave

 

RE: Yes, a sleeper. Still and all, a good antenna won't hurt. ;-)!, posted on July 31, 2012 at 08:33:55
Crazy Dave
Audiophile

Posts: 14321
Location: East Coast
Joined: October 4, 2001
Hi Tim,

The front of the store is glass, but this is a very big, warehouse style store. I have tried many tuners in this type of environment. Most can't get anything, let alone stereo.

I wasn't aware that you needed to align digital tuners. I thought they stayed pretty much in spec.

I have 3 good stations. All of them are National Public Radio. I do feel lucky!

I will be installing a small yagi in my attic. A tuner this good deserves a good antenna!

Dave

 

RE: Don't hold me to this, posted on July 31, 2012 at 10:58:40
Neff


 
The Fanfare should sound more refined than the T-80. The Fanfare is reported to be a liottle light in bass response. If you want Yamaha matching components anf that is cool plus a good sounding high performance Yamaha tuner, sell the Fanfare & buy a Yamaha T-85.

 

The MPX decoder?, posted on July 31, 2012 at 15:36:10
Timbo in Oz
Audiophile

Posts: 23221
Location: Canberra - in the ACT - SE Australia
Joined: January 30, 2002
It may not of course, but worth checking.

And the caps, and the output stage.

:-)
Warmest

Tim Bailey

Skeptical Measurer & Audio Scrounger


 

RE: Don't hold me to this, posted on August 1, 2012 at 07:46:51
Crazy Dave
Audiophile

Posts: 14321
Location: East Coast
Joined: October 4, 2001
The T-80 does look good with my Yamaha C-2x but they don't really match and nothing else matches in my system, so I won't worry about it. Actually, the B&K is a better looking piece and looks good with the C-2x. I'll go for sound. I think the Fanfare/B&K has the edge but I plan to do some serious listening over the weekend to make my final decision. My rack is too crowded, because I am also comparing my NAD CD player with a Marantz DV6600 universal player. The NAD is going to become a backup player. The thrift stores have been good to me!

Dave

 

RE: The MPX decoder?, posted on August 1, 2012 at 07:50:12
Crazy Dave
Audiophile

Posts: 14321
Location: East Coast
Joined: October 4, 2001
What would be the symptoms of an MPX decoder out of alignment?

A recap wouldn't hurt!

Dave

 

less stereo separtaion than the MPX circuit is capable of., posted on August 1, 2012 at 15:52:16
Timbo in Oz
Audiophile

Posts: 23221
Location: Canberra - in the ACT - SE Australia
Joined: January 30, 2002
IME a good way to tell is on an acoustic live broadcast miked in simple stereo, and if your T80 gives more hall sound then the new one needs adjusting. See * as well.

There's probably a separation adjustment.

Better caps will sound better, if it's getting close to 20yrs old the electros may need replacement. Bypassing the last new/still good electro PSU cap, at least, won't hurt. IME the higher the PSU storage, without stressing the PT, the better the sound. If the rails are regulated check that chip's operation, too.

The audio output stage, even if it uses a stereo chip, is worth tweaking, because the sound stands and falls there. Depends on the chip if to upgrade it. NB circuits can get a lot more out of 'underrated by 'philes chips'. Running it a bit warmer - more Class A - for example.

One definite benefit here can be getting good deep bass, given Neff's point about light bass. IF there's a 50Hz? (or lower) high-pass filter - wherever it is - ditch it. And, use a bigger (more uf) good-sounding coupling cap than is in there, in any case. * Deep bass is a factor in hall-sound.

IME of very good FM sound quality the bass can be a lot deeper than 50Hz.

My overall point is that you got the thing for so little and its potential is quite high. :-)!

How is it sounding already?


Warmest

Tim Bailey

Skeptical Measurer & Audio Scrounger


 

RE: less stereo separtaion than the MPX circuit is capable of., posted on August 2, 2012 at 08:20:07
Crazy Dave
Audiophile

Posts: 14321
Location: East Coast
Joined: October 4, 2001
Hi Tim,

Thanks for the advice!

It sound very good but I have only played around with it. I plan to seriously listen this weekend, when I have some time. I will also compare it in depth with the Yamaha on some good stations. Then I will get the top off. You never know when you buy equipment in thrift stores. Sometimes it is already modified, but usually it is better if it is not. There are a lot of hacks out there!


Dave

 

B&K TS108: First flogging! , posted on August 3, 2012 at 08:48:42
Crazy Dave
Audiophile

Posts: 14321
Location: East Coast
Joined: October 4, 2001
I had time to give it a real listen and comparison last night. I listened to WGMS, which is a public classical station in my area with a very good signal.

I still have a lot of respect for the Yamaha T-80. It is a very good tuner. However, everything that the Yamaha does well, the B&K seemed to do a little nicer. The B&K's image was a little sharper. It is a little smoother, which was also more noticeable in the announcer’s voice. It was also a little quieter. This station comes in strong and clear in my area, so I did not evaluate how well it did on weak stations. I live in the suburbs of DC, so there probably is multipath, but neither tuner seems to be bothered by it. In this situation, the Yamaha is very good, but the B&K is better.

After, I had a clear idea of the differences, switched to the B&K only and had a long, enjoyable listen. That is what it is really all about!

There are a few things I don't like about the B&K. The buttons and their labels are two small. I need glasses to work it. Scrolling the dial is painfully slow. You won't believe how slow until you have tried one. Lastly, I'd rather not have a black faceplate. It supposedly came in gold, but that is very rare. Since I am a thrift store scrounge, most of my equipment have a black faceplate. Beggars can't be choosers! Oh well!

Dave

 

RE: B&K TS108: First flogging! , posted on August 3, 2012 at 14:24:14
Neff


 
Tnx for report. Best $20 you spent? Or was it that girl in your youth.

 

RE: B&K TS108: First flogging! , posted on August 3, 2012 at 15:08:57
Crazy Dave
Audiophile

Posts: 14321
Location: East Coast
Joined: October 4, 2001
No, I didn't pay anything for that girl.. As far a audo gear, it is right up there with my best purchases. I think I have one sweet tuner here!

Dave

 

I think you mean..., posted on August 5, 2012 at 10:03:21
Neil49
Audiophile

Posts: 8830
Location: Northern Virginia
Joined: June 13, 2003
WETA (?)

 

RE: I think you mean..., posted on August 6, 2012 at 13:16:47
Crazy Dave
Audiophile

Posts: 14321
Location: East Coast
Joined: October 4, 2001
You are correct. It is WETA. WGMS is the now defunct commercial classical music station.

Dave

 

B&K TS108 - Weekend listening..., posted on August 7, 2012 at 10:15:01
Crazy Dave
Audiophile

Posts: 14321
Location: East Coast
Joined: October 4, 2001
I did a lot of listening this weekend. I had planned to try pulling in different stations and see how it performed. I started my listening sessions on WETA listening to classical, and that is where I stayed. They were playing some very good music, and I just kept getting sucked in. This think images like crazy and sounds very natural on everything from solo to full orchestra. The last tuner I can remember enjoying so much was a Tandberg at the store I worked at. I can't really compare objectively, since that was over 30 years ago, but I can say that this B&K is a very good tuner.

If I can tear myself away from the music long enough to test it more, I will let you guys know!

Dave

 

B&K TS108 tuner $50 no bids, posted on September 14, 2012 at 08:40:58
openmind
Audiophile

Posts: 164
Location: Phoenix
Joined: November 8, 2008
There's one on Ebay now, plus another with a Buy-it-now of $197.

 

RE: B&K TS108 tuner $50 no bids, posted on September 20, 2012 at 09:37:00
openmind
Audiophile

Posts: 164
Location: Phoenix
Joined: November 8, 2008
It didn't meet the reserve and is relisted starting at $125.

 

RE: Possible sleeper tuner found! B&K TS108! , posted on April 16, 2020 at 09:55:59
DanV
Audiophile

Posts: 1
Location: South East
Joined: April 16, 2020
Does anyone know how to operate the Secret Functions of this B&K TS108? It periodically switches to different modes. Accidental button pushing triggers it, and I have to unplug it to reset to FM tuner mode, etc.
The four most common hidden functions that materialized from the ether are AM radio, Signal Strength, an apparent multipath meter (Definitely not AM signal, but it probably has one), and sloth slow .25 tuning steps, rather than the snail slow .5 steps.
I would really like to know how to navigate through these features.
BTW, I have a really smooth to operate, beautiful, great sounding nine band, $1000 in 1979 Kenwood KT-917. Despite this ornary to operate, ugly, not terribly FM receptive B&K, FMTUNER INFO.COM actually rated the B&K slightly better in their big shootout. It does have a wee bit more punch in the bass.
Not even the AM band is in the manual!
DanV

 

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