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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:56 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2016 12:47 pm
Posts: 117
Location: Leduc, AB, CA
You would be hard pressed to build a McIntosh system that was worth the effort and still have a shirt on your back. Their reputation was built on hype when there were few relatively competent companies out there. Marantz, Fisher and Scott clearly bested MacIntosh sound wise, save for the odd model. Value was never one of MacIntosh's strong points - they just looked good, but only if you custom built the right cabinet. They were the leaders in unfounded claims and hyperbole. Of course, Quad bested them all. Their weak point was their tuners, built for very small areas of reception and BBC coverage.

The best part of the MacIntosh line clearly were some of their tuners, but only a scant few. Marantz blew everyone out of the water with their Model 7, as I recall, with a built in oscilloscope and a $750 price tag, in the early sixties. You could buy a house for $5000 in those days! The saving grace for McIntosh was that they were built like tanks and quite reliable.

This pattern of hit and miss truly competent tuners extends across the Pacific. For every Japanese brand that has produced a great tuner, they have also produced far more not-so-great models. If you know which are which and can get your mitts on one of them and know who to contact when something goes wrong, you still may be making a risky choice.

Enter Magnum Dynalab. Canadian company focused on producing a product that works across one of the biggest countries in the world. Not just adjusting a few parameters from a small area focused design for the North American market; read USA. Even if you live in Toronto, you might live very far from some stations because the city is spread out over such a wide area. Of course, Toronto's citizens would know best. Lots of people are "fringers"; they only receive some of the stations in their area properly.

I own a Dynalab T-102 and it works flawlessly. Its parts are all top notch as are its design and engineering. No added costs from an importer taking a cut either. I've never heard or owned anything better. And like Bryston and Sonic Frontiers, great product support and available upgrades, with no cross border shipping and customs hassles required. I live about 40Km south of Edmonton and get flawless reception of every station around using their ST-2 FM Antenna. With Magnum Dynalab's repair and model to model upgrade program, there is no such thing as an old or worn out Magnum Dynalab tuner.

If you're looking to buy your first really great FM tuner, my experience with Magnum Dynalab tells me that any other choice is foolish at best. I'm not saying that lots of people out there don't have great results with their particular tuner model. What I will point out is that the hue and cry about the "problems" with FM are, in great part, problems with poor tuners, especially in Canada where open space is not our friend. FM is one of those areas where you can't get away with anything, even if you live very close to your favourite station. I listen to FM the same way I listen to vinyl, flac files and CD's - critically - because I can!. Sure you can use it for unattended background music, but, believe me, that's not what it was designed to do.

One can buy used, directly from Magnum Dynalab, and there are usually models available on CAM from $400 - $600. And you can trade up later without losing value. There may be one or two McIntosh tuners out there worth buying, but there are hundreds of Magnum Dynalab tuners that are much better "buys". Does one want hype or quality? From my vantage point - no contest!

It's such a tossup with tuners because the location of your home is often the most critical factor. You need a good antenna and a dealer who will let you audition at home. When I bought my tuner, the dealer said to listen to it for a week, and I could return it if I could not make it work. My T-102 blew away all of my previous fears and misconceptions about FM. I hope I've provided some valuable insight, albeit, replete with my biases. Best wishes!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:06 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 01, 2006 2:44 pm
Posts: 356
Location: Toronto
I own a stock original MD Etude and a Accuphase T-100. The Accuphase is the better tuner by far.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:50 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 07, 2004 4:18 pm
Posts: 2476
Location: GTA, ON, CA
Hi resolution audio streamers are killing the FM tuner market due to their convenience, easy access to 1,000's of radio stations, pod cast, plus their ability to access digital files on your computer. If you have wifi access, then you have access to music stations around the world without the need for elaborate directional antenas and clear point of view access.

I was a die hard FM tuner nut and owned a lot of very well respected tuners, but the convenience AND access to countless stations won me over. But then again, I listen primarily to FM/Internet to gain exposure to new music, not for critical listening.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:02 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:00 pm
Posts: 2917
Location: Rio Rancho, NM, US
I had an Accuphase T-101 for many years and it's one of the few pieces of gear that I really regret selling. It's FM only with no presets but those are the only downsides I can think of.

You should be able to find one for much less than your budgeted amount. With the money left over you could buy a high-quality Yagi rooftop antenna and then you'll be livin' large.

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