• If you ever spot Spam (either in the forums, or received via forum direct message) please use the Report button at the bottom of each post to make sure a Moderator can handle it quickly. Thanks for your help in keeping things running smoothly!

Can somebody recommend a good used FM tuner (UK)

Status
Not open for further replies.

George

New member
Nov 20, 2014
21
0
0
Hi, I'm looking to buy a decent FM tuner. I live in a poor reception area and will be using an inside ribbon aerial and will probably have to listen in mono. I don't wish to spend too much as I will only use it to listen to Radio 2 occasionally but I do want it to sound good with good tight bass, good mids and the best highs that FM can achieve. Looking on EBay UK I see there are lots of FM tuners available at low cost but I need advice about what makes and models are good.

Thanks in advance.
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,232
4
19,195
If you can't use a decent roof aerial, and/or you live in a lousy FM reception area, then use internet radio (BBC iPlayer Radio) which will sound better than FM in mono from a ribbon aerial.

Google Chromecast Audio is £30 (or £15 from some shops like Currys right now) and has BBC iPlayer Radio.

A good aerial/good signal is 90 percent of the battle with FM. Literally. If I had £200 to spend then £180 would go on a roof aerial and £20 on ebay for a tuner.
 

George

New member
Nov 20, 2014
21
0
0
chebby said:
If you can't use a decent roof aerial, and/or you live in a lousy FM reception area, then use internet radio (BBC iPlayer Radio) which will sound better than FM in mono from a ribbon aerial.

Google Chromecast Audio is £30 (or £15 from some shops like Currys right now) and has BBC iPlayer Radio.

A good aerial/good signal is 90 percent of the battle with FM. Literally. If I had £200 to spend then £180 would go on a roof aerial and £20 on ebay for a tuner.
Is FM in mono so bad?
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,614
62
19,770
Like Chebby my advice would be to look elsewhere. Most of my radio listening these days is on Freeview via the Sky box, which is directly connected to the amp.

If you are set on a dedicated FM tuner then I can't recommend Denon TU260 enough. Really impressive sound quality and, unlike a lot of tuners, the Denon isn't quite as signal-reliant as most; they can be picked up for about a tenner upwards for decent examples.
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,232
4
19,195
plastic penguin said:
If you are set on a dedicated FM tuner then I can't recommend Denon TU260 enough. Really impressive sound quality and, unlike a lot of tuners, the Denon isn't quite as signal-reliant as most; they can be picked up for about a tenner upwards for decent examples.
No mono button.

With the poor reception the OP described (and only a ribbon aerial) a mono button is going to be important.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,614
62
19,770
chebby said:
plastic penguin said:
If you are set on a dedicated FM tuner then I can't recommend Denon TU260 enough. Really impressive sound quality and, unlike a lot of tuners, the Denon isn't quite as signal-reliant as most; they can be picked up for about a tenner upwards for decent examples.
No mono button.

With the poor reception the OP described (and only a ribbon aerial) a mono button is going to be important.
...but not imperative. As you know reception here is pants, and for the last few months I've been using an indoor ribbon aerial... it's fine. Not great. Fine with music and you only hear slight hissing on speech broadcasts, such as BBC Radio 4.

As the OP has mentioned his main station is BBC Radio 2, it shouldn't be a major issue.
 

George

New member
Nov 20, 2014
21
0
0
plastic penguin said:
Like Chebby my advice would be to look elsewhere. Most of my radio listening these days is on Freeview via the Sky box, which is directly connected to the amp.

If you are set on a dedicated FM tuner then I can't recommend Denon TU260 enough. Really impressive sound quality and, unlike a lot of tuners, the Denon isn't quite as signal-reliant as most; they can be picked up for about a tenner upwards for decent examples.
I have listened to Radio 2 from my freesat box into my hi-fi but I prefer it on FM even in mono. Let me just say that I currently have a cheap JVC all in one system plugged into my main hi-fi via the JVC's headphone socket to provide FM radio. I am thinking it would look nice with a 'proper' tuner and maybe some improvement in sound quality too?
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,614
62
19,770
George said:
plastic penguin said:
Like Chebby my advice would be to look elsewhere. Most of my radio listening these days is on Freeview via the Sky box, which is directly connected to the amp.

If you are set on a dedicated FM tuner then I can't recommend Denon TU260 enough. Really impressive sound quality and, unlike a lot of tuners, the Denon isn't quite as signal-reliant as most; they can be picked up for about a tenner upwards for decent examples.
I have listened to Radio 2 from my freesat box into my hi-fi but I prefer it on FM even in mono. Let me just say that I currently have a cheap JVC all in one system plugged into my main hi-fi via the JVC's headphone socket to provide FM radio. I am thinking it would look nice with a 'proper' tuner and maybe some improvement in sound quality too?
So you have the radio from the JVC going from the headphone socket. Is that right? If so, you're not making the most of the hi-fi. Headphone sockets are for headphones, and using them as a bridge between a tuner and amplifier is a waste. I tried it with TV headphone socket to amp, and the SQ was rubbish.
 

George

New member
Nov 20, 2014
21
0
0
chebby said:
plastic penguin said:
If you are set on a dedicated FM tuner then I can't recommend Denon TU260 enough. Really impressive sound quality and, unlike a lot of tuners, the Denon isn't quite as signal-reliant as most; they can be picked up for about a tenner upwards for decent examples.
No mono button.

With the poor reception the OP described (and only a ribbon aerial) a mono button is going to be important.
Really no mono button ???!!! I would have thought a mono button was an essential feature on any stereo FM tuner. Because the signal is not strong where I live I listen in mono it sounds better to me than having slightly distorted stereo. Also a dedicated aerial on the roof is out of the question for 3 good reasons.

1 I rent the house

2 Cost

3 There is a wooded hill with large trees behind the house and that is the direction where the radio signals are coming from.
 

George

New member
Nov 20, 2014
21
0
0
plastic penguin said:
George said:
plastic penguin said:
Like Chebby my advice would be to look elsewhere. Most of my radio listening these days is on Freeview via the Sky box, which is directly connected to the amp.

If you are set on a dedicated FM tuner then I can't recommend Denon TU260 enough. Really impressive sound quality and, unlike a lot of tuners, the Denon isn't quite as signal-reliant as most; they can be picked up for about a tenner upwards for decent examples.
I have listened to Radio 2 from my freesat box into my hi-fi but I prefer it on FM even in mono. Let me just say that I currently have a cheap JVC all in one system plugged into my main hi-fi via the JVC's headphone socket to provide FM radio. I am thinking it would look nice with a 'proper' tuner and maybe some improvement in sound quality too?
So you have the radio from the JVC going from the headphone socket.
Correct, looks like a proper tuner (with a mono button) would be a step up for my system.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,614
62
19,770
TBH, if you need a mono button so badly, I would look at the Freeview route. There's no signal issues.

If you don't have a PVR box then connect it directly to the TV either by audio connections or buy using a Dac.
 

George

New member
Nov 20, 2014
21
0
0
plastic penguin said:
TBH, if you need a mono button so badly, I would look at the Freeview route. There's no signal issues.

If you don't have a PVR box then connect it directly to the TV either by audio connections or buy using a Dac.
Freeview is also a problem here due to the hill and trees, so I have Freesat, I do prefer the sound of Radio 2 on FM even in mono than the sound of Radio 2 on Freesat, I will perhaps try live streaming Radio 2 from my Amazon fire tablet and compare with FM coming from the JVC micro system but to be honest simply switching on a radio/tuner is much quicker and easier than using a tablet anyway.

BTW is it common for FM tuners not to have mono buttons? If so how can I find out which models have this feature without spending hours online trying to find out?
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,232
4
19,195
George said:
Really no mono button ???!!! I would have thought a mono button was an essential feature on any stereo FM tuner. Because the signal is not strong where I live I listen in mono it sounds better to me than having slightly distorted stereo.
You are absolutely right. To my mind a mono button should be a feature on every FM tuner. Even excellent reception areas have more distant/marginal stations that are improved by switching to mono.

At least it gives you something with which to narrow down the field on ebay.

I have some sympathy for your love of FM. I recently - and totally unecessarily - bought an FM tuner to supplement my system despite excellent (arguably superior) performance from digital radio sources.

In my case it is a form of nostalgia for old-school radio technology and a willingness to - occasionally - submit my self to 'linear listening' where I don't have any choice over what comes next. (Unlike BBC iPlayer Radio or other apps where you 'cherry-pick'.)

Just like your's it's a somewhat 'perverse' choice, although I have excellent reception as the local transmitter is 'line of sight' from the top of our roof (on a clear day with binoculars) whereas you are severely restricted in getting in getting a signal at all.
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,232
4
19,195
George said:
BTW is it common for FM tuners not to have mono buttons?
More common than not.

George said:
If so how can I find out which models have this feature without spending hours online trying to find out?
You look harder and for longer. To me that might be fun. I suspect it won't be for you.

You'll be looking more carefully at all the fascia photos on ebay to find those mono buttons because sellers rarely mention mono (or the lack of it).
 

George

New member
Nov 20, 2014
21
0
0
chebby said:
George said:
BTW is it common for FM tuners not to have mono buttons?
More common than not.

George said:
If so how can I find out which models have this feature without spending hours online trying to find out?
You look harder and for longer. To me that might be fun. I suspect it won't be for you.

You'll be looking more carefully at all the fascia photos on ebay to find those mono buttons because sellers rarely mention mono (or the lack of it).
I am looking a some Nads on ebay right now, 412 and 402 models. They have mono buttons and I have read they sound good. Would these be OK with the weakish FM signal in my area? I have also read that the backlights fail in these tuners but as I will have it permenantly tuned to radio 2 that's not a deal breaker for me. Nad 412 or 402 good or bad choice?
 

George

New member
Nov 20, 2014
21
0
0
I have taken the plunge and bought a NAD 412 on EBay. I,m keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks for all the advice. I will let you know how I get on.

Cheers
 

George

New member
Nov 20, 2014
21
0
0
Also just bought a Marantz ST 4000 used on Ebay, only a budget tuner but has RDS and the couple of reviews of it that I could find said that FM on it was close to CD quality. Anyway I will keep the one I like best. I will let you know my verdict when they arrive.
 

George

New member
Nov 20, 2014
21
0
0
chebby said:
George said:
Really no mono button ???!!! I would have thought a mono button was an essential feature on any stereo FM tuner. Because the signal is not strong where I live I listen in mono it sounds better to me than having slightly distorted stereo.
You are absolutely right. To my mind a mono button should be a feature on every FM tuner. Even excellent reception areas have more distant/marginal stations that are improved by switching to mono.

At least it gives you something with which to narrow down the field on ebay.

I have some sympathy for your love of FM. I recently - and totally unecessarily - bought an FM tuner to supplement my system despite excellent (arguably superior) performance from digital radio sources.

In my case it is a form of nostalgia for old-school radio technology and a willingness to - occasionally - submit my self to 'linear listening' where I don't have any choice over what comes next. (Unlike BBC iPlayer Radio or other apps where you 'cherry-pick'.)

Just like your's it's a somewhat 'perverse' choice, although I have excellent reception as the local transmitter is 'line of sight' from the top of our roof (on a clear day with binoculars) whereas you are severely restricted in getting in getting a signal at all.
I only just noticed that Pro-ject tuner box. Looks interesting, does it have a mono mode? I looked at the specs and the frequency response say 20hz to 20khz??? Surely that can't be right. I thought 15khz was the highest sound FM is capable of? Not that it makes any difference to me, I doubt I can hear anything above 15hHz anyway.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,614
62
19,770
George said:
Also just bought a Marantz ST 4000 used on Ebay, only a budget tuner but has RDS and the couple of reviews of it that I could find said that FM on it was close to CD quality. Anyway I will keep the one I like best. I will let you know my verdict when they arrive.
Brave person. Buying two FM tuners when they are gradually being phased out shows enthusiasm.

Have to admit I have a strong bias towards Marantz tuners: I still have my 1970s Marantz in the attic. Fantastic sounding. Not heard the 4000 but have read some good feedback about the newer models.

Good luck.
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,232
4
19,195
George said:
I only just noticed that Pro-ject tuner box. Looks interesting, does it have a mono mode?
No mono switch (although it is specified as having auto mono reception*) but I live in an excellent reception area, so I don't see mono.

I'll play around with manual tuning later and see if I can make any distant station's low signal force it into mono.

* "Signal dependent mono to stereo blend" were the exact words.
 

George

New member
Nov 20, 2014
21
0
0
plastic penguin said:
George said:
Also just bought a Marantz ST 4000 used on Ebay, only a budget tuner but has RDS and the couple of reviews of it that I could find said that FM on it was close to CD quality. Anyway I will keep the one I like best. I will let you know my verdict when they arrive.
Brave person. Buying two FM tuners when they are gradually being phased out shows enthusiasm.

Have to admit I have a strong bias towards Marantz tuners: I still have my 1970s Marantz in the attic. Fantastic sounding. Not heard the 4000 but have read some good feedback about the newer models.

Good luck.
I must stop looking at tuners. Now looking at the Hitachi 5500 Mk2. *dash1* *DASH* *WALL*
 

George

New member
Nov 20, 2014
21
0
0
Update, I now have the Marantz ST 4000 tuner and it sounds great. There is more bass compared with the JVC micro system, the bass is tight and controlled too, the highs are better, the mids are spot on. I have not received the NAD yet but I think it will have to be seriously good to better the Marantz.
 

George

New member
Nov 20, 2014
21
0
0
I now have the NAD. The NAD sounds different. It is warmer, more natural sounding also has the useful blend button. The Marantz is clearer. The NAD is more pleasant to listen to. Reception is good on both. Which do I prefer? *scratch_one-s_head*
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,232
4
19,195
George said:
I now have the NAD. The NAD sounds different. It is warmer, more natural sounding also has the useful blend button. The Marantz is clearer. The NAD is more pleasant to listen to. Reception is good on both. Which do I prefer? *scratch_one-s_head*
The NAD of course. (If, as you say, it's more pleasant to listen to.)

I'm glad it's all worked out for you. Keep us posted. We don't get much FM chat.
 

George

New member
Nov 20, 2014
21
0
0
chebby said:
George said:
I now have the NAD. The NAD sounds different. It is warmer, more natural sounding also has the useful blend button. The Marantz is clearer. The NAD is more pleasant to listen to. Reception is good on both. Which do I prefer? *scratch_one-s_head*
The NAD of course. (If, as you say, it's more pleasant to listen to.)

I'm glad it's all worked out for you. Keep us posted. We don't get much FM chat.
I,m now thinking the Marantz is better. The NAD sounds very nice but a bit "muddy" . The Marantz sounds very good, in fact I did not realize FM could sound so good. The bass is excellent and tight. Good mids and the highs surprisingly good for FM radio.*biggrin*
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts