Discussion in 'Tuners' started by Superampman, Jan 8, 2018.
I don't see where you need to trade one for the other. They are not mutually exclusive.
No, they are not. I simply meant to say that I love radio, however much I may dislike what I find on it from time to time. I think there is a magic to be found there which today's Internet technology doesn't have for me, although I certainly appreciate it as well.
Station quality is important, so is the tuner. And DAC's have gotten better and continue to. My current experience is that some of the DAC's in the $500 - $1,000 range will sound better than the vast majority of tuners. But with a very good tuner and a good station, it will sound better than a DAC.
Am I the only one that loses internet connectivity on a regular basis? I will always have a tuner (or receiver). That being said, most broadcast FM is low quality (even non-commercial stations), and the medium itself has some pretty severe limitations. I have listened to some stations whose streams sounded better than their broadcast.
I use FM tuners for listening to podcasts and music transmitter from a second PC (which has an FM transmitter hooked to it.) I have multiband processing engaged on the signal, and it sounds great.
But if it weren't for that, I wouldn't use a tuner now. FM ain't worth a damn anymore.
When in doubt have both!
I'm headed the opposite direction after this year's fire season on the West Coast. I was in Oregon in late August, then the area 30 miles north of us was overtaken by some of the worst fires in living memory, until the Southern California fires managed to eclipse them. As the Wine Country fires were covered in the greatest detail in our local press, something jumped out at me - many people in the area lost phone and internet almost immediately, and it wasn't restored for days. When it finally became possible to get decent internet in our neighborhood, the down side was that our landline phone runs over our internet connection now.
Were something even mildly interesting to happen in our neck of the woods our house could easily wind up without network or cellular service, yet still have power.
So, I have a HAM license now and am well pleased that the old AVR in my office has a decent FM tuner. I only have about 90 minutes of backup battery capacity if I forget to shut down the other gear tied to the UPS but I have a small battery operated set for camping, and the HAM set has its own battery.
On the other hand, when everything's running normally, I listen to the BBC and WXRT over the internet, and watch the occasional concert from Berlin that way as well.
But, boy, while FM has gone downhill in many markets, shortwave listeners have it far worse. In the late 90s, Voice of America, Radio Netherlands, Deutsche Welle, the BBC, Radio Habana Cuba and the Australian national service were all easy to get. Nowadays, you can usually get Radio Habana during its window of operation, but rarely much of anything else aside from genuinely nutty religious broadcasting and Alex Jones. The big international operations have mostly moved their focus to internet radio. I think the Beeb still covers Africa and Asia.
I would also agree that it depends on your area. I personally like the "magic" of pulling in something from over the air and poking around the 88-92 band seeing if anything new/odd pops up. I also have a clock radio that has Internet radio and it's fun to tune in stations from all over the world on it. If you can pull in some good local stations I'd say a tuner is a must have.
In my area of northern Calif, there are plenty of good FM stations. Only a tuner allows me to quickly switch back and forth. It doesn't have to go through a DAC.
The death of shortwave broadcasting to North America is a small but nonetheless real tragedy in my life. Talk about magic. No internet connection (which everyone is correct to point out is usually the first thing to go out in any kind of emergency) can ever provide that kind of thrill...question for another thread perhaps: can shortwave sound good? I always had boomboxes w/shortwave band (an Akai PJ-11 in the mid 80's & a JVC something or other a few years later); fine for voice reception, not so good for music.
I have both: a high quality FM tuner and a Squeezebox Touch for listening to streaming radio. With the latter I listen to WFMU and more recently also KFJC as they have all sorts of weird & wonderful programming. The sound quality from their streams is excellent, particularly WFMU, although it depends on the programme and track that is playing. The streams are fed through the built-in DAC in a JVC AX-Z1010TN amp.
For FM I use a BW Broadcast RBRX Encore receiver.
Here's an example of why a tuner is so much fun: right now I'm listening to WTEB 89.3, a 100,000 watt NPR station in New Bern NC, a good 100 miles from my house. Normally this signal is so weak, when it reaches me at all, as to be unlistenable. Today, for whatever atmospheric reason, coming in loud and clear. In an hour, it may be gone, but that's part of the mystery that makes me happy to listen.
It's like vinyl records v. digital. Relative merits of each aside, the process, the romance, the ritual, and the tactile part understandably appeal to some people.
Being an old radio guy, I still get a rush out of the magic of voice and music traveling great distances over the ether. I like to see the dial glowing in a dark room. I like the feel of spinning a knob and the resultant pleasure of watching the dial pointer move. I like seeing the meter jump. It's magic to me. And like some who cling to vinyl and like pops and scratches, I can still get into static and fading and multipath distortion if I'm in the right mood.
The biggest problem with radio nowadays is the lack of decent source material. Or if you are a digital person, "content."
Chris Coyle, Radio Dork
There is something to be said for the old stalwart FM radio stations that air (primarily) Analog content ...
more and more rare as time passes and digital content via digital servers & streams take over the majority distributions ...
That'll be some good old tropospheric ducting (tropo) . I have long been into FM DXing and use a 9-element Yagi with a rotator (since October 2014). Between May 2006 and October 2014 I had a 5-elment Yagi fixed beaming east.
I have lots of recordings of DX, including tropo, E-skip and meteor scatter here:
Several tuners were used to make these recordings but the ones from May 2017 onwards were made using the RBRX Encore.
This is one of the reasons I love FM!
Yes. Some shortwave broadcasters, like China Radio International (via Radio Canada's transmitters) and Radio Exterior de España, transmit with 10 kHz audio bandwidth on shortwave, which is twice the norm. But ironically, the better the receiver you have, the less likely you'll be able to hear that full bandwidth -- most high-end communications receivers top out at 6 kHz bandwidth.
In the 1980s there was even a U.S. shortwave broadcaster that planned to transmit in AM Stereo (using the Kahn ISB system), although they never got on the air, and the whole thing was allegedly a scam: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/rec.radio.shortwave/8fTOeQyOcL0
I find that the audio engineers are not thinking very clearly when adding in digital internet. Most of the time they patch in after all the FM signal processing, so you HEAR IT! WETA is a prime example. Stream sucks. kills all the dynamics. For clean classical try BBC3. Watch that volume control too.
Getting off topic, but I'm surprised you can't get WBJC where you are. I know I used to be able to when I lived in Falls Church.
When your internet connection sucks and your wifi is problematic, flip on the tuner and relax.
I love the WLIR reference.
One of my favorites of my youth (side note, John Debella?, the LIR morning DJ is on a Philly station i get now.)
Back on topic,
You'd think being between NYC and Philly would give me a great selection but FM as a whole underwhelms me now.
There are good shows if you hit the right station at the right time of the day, but I rarely make that happen. I still keep a nice Sansui Tuner with a rooftop antenna in the attic , but it's almost never on.
I must be crazy because every now and then I run across an ad for an old mac tuner (Heather you're right , they're just cool)
Or a dynalab.
So far I've been able to talk myself out of it.
The pieces are nice!
The content available, not so much anymore.
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