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Tuner/receiver

 
 
sumac
 
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2003 06:19 pm
Need to pickup a used tuner/receiver to pull in NPR and the better FM stations. Problem is that I have forgotten how to evaluate the power of the machine. Higher MHz? Higher amp numbers? What?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 1,566 • Replies: 5
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2003 07:01 pm
Well, actually, kinda sorta, none of the above. What matters with a tuner is its ability to receive and discriminate stations. The parameters for tuner value are sensitivity, signal-to-noise ratio, separation, and alternate-channel rejection. A tuner does not provide amplification; you can't listen to it without an amplifier and speakers.
A "Receiver" commonly is a combination of an Amplifier, Pre-Amplifier/Control Section, and a Tuner into a single component. The stuff you'd want to look at would be Power (Watts-per-channel), Signal-to-Noise Ratio, number and type of inputs, and whether you want just 2-channel stereo or multi-channel Home Theater functionality. In the simple 2-Channel Stereo Receiver segment, many perfectly serviceable offerings are available from all major mass-market brands in the well-under-$200 range. As for Power, frankly, unless your aim is to irritate the neighbors and influence landlords, anything around 35 to 50 Watts per channel will provide plenty of volume for normal listening ... and a rule of thumb is that your speakers, in a stereo-only rig, should be of roughly equal cost to not more than twice as much as your receiver; IE, a $200 receiver most likely cannot exploit the advantages of a pair of speakers which cost significantly more than $4-500/pr, and will likely prove suitable with a pair of well designed speakers of around the $100-$150/pr cost range. You might be well advised to look at what are known as "Executive Shelf Systems", which include everything, even decent speakers, along with a cassette recorder and/or CD player. and many very good ones fall into the $200-$350 price range ... about what you would spend for a decent receiver and pair of speakers alone. For primarily radio and music in an office or small room environment, they can be ideal. I'd be glad to post some links to some, if you wish. Unless you know the seller and the equipment, or are buying from a reputable brick-and-mortar, really-there adio/video dealer, I'd avoid buying "Used" electronics if you aren't into troubleshooting and twiddling. New stuff also comes with manuals ... often handy for folks who care about such things.

Of course, if money is no object, I can recommend a nice $2500 Tuner, which would work well with any good $2500-3500.00 pre-amp and just about any old $6000-7500 2-channel 500 Watt Amplifier, driving a $7,500-10,000/pr set of speakers Mr. Green
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sumac
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2003 07:20 pm
So what can I get for 30 bucks?
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Jul, 2003 09:53 pm
Oh ... $30? Well, I guess in that case you get a receiver and speakers at a garage sale ... but hook it up and try it out if at all possible before you buy it. Also, if you have a feed from a TV antenna handy around the house, it would be a good idea to connect the receiver to that. I can give you details, if you'd like, its really no big deal. It'd probably be a good idea to take an audio buff with you on your shopping trip ... on second thought, never mind. Nothing at a garage sale is likely to please an audio buff. Just get the seller to show you that it works, and how it works, before you hand over the cash.
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sumac
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2003 04:10 am
Thanks, timber. I forgot about the amplifier part of the deal, and will probably have to rig up a 'T' antenna somewhere, either inside or out the window. No TV antenna, no cable, had to spring for a small dish satellite, but have to pay neverending monthly charges to get the music channels. My portable radios, although decent, just have too many stations crammed on top of one another to separate them out well.

Yes, I will test things out well first.
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timberlandko
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Jul, 2003 10:19 am
Some of the old recievers from the '70s and 80s, from Denon, Kenwood, Pioneer, Yamaha, Onkyo, Sony, Sherwood, Sansui, all had excellent tuners, with excellent alternate channel rejection, which is what you need to separate out a dial cluttered with stations. Look for big, clunky, heavy things with manual tuning dials (most of which will also feature a tuning meter to help you narrow down on a particular station). A good clue to the unit's age is to check the power outlets on the back of the thing; if they are of the type which DOES NOT accommodate the more recent "One blade larger than the other" power plugs, it was built back in the days when FM was important enough to encourage good tuners.. As for the speakers, take a look at the cones; avoid any with crushed or dimpled dustcaps in their centers, and be particularly watchful for rotted or crumbling foam surrounding the cone. Good luck.
Oh, and if you're gonna use a "T" antenna, get the cross arms as high up as you can, and fiddle with the orientation of them ... you can often "Tune" them to favor a desired channel while rejecting undesired nearby channels just by aligning them east-west or north-south or somewhere in between. Cheap TV rabbit ears work well for FM, too, and often are easier to align to a favored station.
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