Tuner questions


Bronze Member
Username: Stryvn

Post Number: 13
Registered: Dec-06
I am replacing an older Onkyo receiver with Rotel seperates. (RB 1070/RC 1070). I've been quoted a price of $500 for the tuner (RT 1080) less 10%.
Is there that much difference in tuners... Does a $300 tuner do the same thing with the same results as a $500 tuner? Is there something to be said for matching components? Is a tuner really only as good as the antenna behind it?

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 9677
Registered: May-04

"Is a tuner really only as good as the antenna behind it?'

Yes, but you have to have a good tuner before a good antenna is worth anything. Tuners are the component in your system that are very location sensitive when determining performance. Anyone who has played with an antenna knows a few feet in location can make a large difference in sound quality. The antenna is, in this case, somewhat like a phono cartridge in that it translates the original signal into useable information for the next circuit - the tuner. Unless the antenna works well the tuner will never perfrom to spec.

If you have no stations broadcasting a quality signal in your area, then a good tuner may be a waste. Not so the antenna, you should still have a decent antenna to give the tuner the best possible signal to work with. Here in Dallas the stations are generally mediocre with none broadcasting live performances on a regular schedule (other than Prairie Home Companion). Most of the stations here are designed for drive time with heavy compresssion and top 100 playlists. My McIntosh tube based tuner is quite a bit better than the tuners built into any receiver I've owned but it is not doing what it was meant to using Dallas stations. Never the less, I still have my FM coming from a roof top antenna.

Tuners are designed for varying situations with some designs meant for crowded inner city locations where selectivity is a premium. Others design for a crowded dial but with the ability to pull stations from a distance using very good sensitivity specs. Alternate channel rejection, signal to noise, low distortion and channel separation, mulitpath carrier rejection and so on are specs a designer puts into a tuner. Then the tuner is placed in an environment the designer cannot predict and some of the specs are wasted while others may be incorrect for the situation/location.

Only you can begin to predict what quality of tuner you might require. If the tuner is always used as background music, then you probably don't need a very expensive tuner and you should spend your money on a decent antenna. If you sit and listen to the tuner as another source similar to LP or CD, then you should have a better quality tuner and a better still antenna with a rotor. Whether you live in an urban area, inner city or outlying district will begin to determine what specs you should buy. One value aspect to separates is the ability to pick and choose what components do the best job for your situation. Unles you are hung up on looks, the tuner should match your needs and not your amplifier.

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