The AIG FM Tuner Project: Kenwood KT-8007

Kenwood KT-8007

“The Kenwood KT-8007 couldn’t be built today to the same standards of durability and quality at a price anywhere near what you might pay for this excellent example of one of the great Kenwoods of the 70s. To show you, I’ve opened it up and provided a picture of the beautifully shielded innards, sectioned for minimum RF interference in an age when the air around us was relatively free of electronic junk. It looks rather like the great Accuphase and top Sansui tuners inside…”

The AIG FM Tuner Project: The Luxman T-02 Digital Tuner

The Luxman T-02 Digital Tuner “The T-02 is a compact, slim digital tuner that doesn’t have the fancy Rosewood of other Lux’s, but does deliver in both IF performance and sonic quality, so much so that it almost changed my mind about digital FM tuners. According to, the T-02 (compact name, too) “is of a very high construction quality and has great features and performance”, and that “its CAT (computer analyzed tuning) system automatically adjusts reception parameters like the APR in Onkyo tuners like the T-9090 and 9090II does..”

The AIG FM Tuner Project: Luxman T-110U

Luxman T110-U Tuner“Luxman has an interesting history that has included ownership changes, and diversions in product direction that leave some of their high fidelity components much more memorable than others. The tuners I’ve looked at from this company, of which this is the first, are from a classic post-tube, solid state period, of which the T-110U is a fine minimalist, FM-only, example…”

The AIG FM Tuner Project: The Classic Accuphase T-100

Accuphase T-100 FM Tuner“The Accuphase T-100 was designed and produced by “Kensonic Laboratory, a company started by former Kenwood engineers to compete with the llikes of McIntosh. It has a 5-gang front end…[with] linear phase LC IF filters”, according to, who also note, “It has above average sensitivity for high end units and above average build quality in the discrete output stage, which results in great sound.” They also note that “it has excellent selectivity in stock form.”

The AIG FM Tuner Project: Kenwood KT-815

Kenwood KT-815

“One of the first Pulse Count Detector models from Kenwood, the KT-815 received favorable if slightly conflicting opinions from the web site: “In our panelist Eric’s side-by-side test, a modified 815 was the equal of the McIntosh MR 78 and MR 80 for sensitivity and selectivity, though the Macs sounded a bit better…”

The AIG FM Tuner Project: Sony ST-5150 - A Clean Classic!

Sony ST-5150“Here’s a Sony ST-5150, which comes from the same era as the legendary ST-5000FW and its successor, the amazing (and better) ST-5130. I own 3 of the latter, and contributing music editor Hy Sarick has one of the former, so I know how they all perform. How does the ST-5150 stack up in this company?“

The AIG FM Tuner Project: Marantz ST-400 AM/FM Tuner

Marantz ST-400I liked this tuner a lot right away, with its nice champagne face, and smooth Gyro-Touch flywheel tuning, to which is added an Auto Servo lock system that is disabled when you touch the thumbwheel tuning knob. And there’s that digital readout underneath the long, well-calibrated dial, and just about the smoothest tuning action this side of an expensive Kenwood…”

The AIG FM Tuner Project: McIntosh MX-113 AM/FM Tuner Preamplifier

mac-mx113-front-small.jpg“Hereby hangs a tale, of a tuner/preamp that was in pristine physical condition, as the photos show, but arrived after I bought it, with some operational imperfections, which I spent several hundred dollars fixing. These included an inoperative main volume control, and alignment and parts issues in the IF and stereo decoder sections. This is perhaps ironic, since Macs are known for their robustness electronically, but somewhat prone to such things as rust on the back and bottom…”

The AIG FM Tuner Project: Budget Sony 5000 Series

Sony 5000 Series Tuner“This stylish Sony had some similarities to the ST-5130 and -5000FW, but is a slightly later model, bearing more resemblance to such models as the ST-5950, but with a much simpler front panel…”

The AIG FM Tuner Project: Introduction

AIG FM Tuner Project
“I’ve been an FM radio listener almost all my life, and worked in it as a programmer and personality for close to half of my 60 years or so. In my teens I had a Blonder-Tongue tuner with a cranky dial cord that would receive the few Toronto stations up and running in the late 50s. These included CFRB-FM (later to become CKFM, which became the City’s highest rated FM voice in the 70s and early 80s, and where Audio Ideas, my radio show, began in November of 1973 and ran until 1986)…”

The AIG FM Tuner Project: Hitachi FT-4000

Hitachi FT-4000 FM Tuner
“This is a tuner that surprised in its sensitivity and selectivity after reviewing hundreds of tuners over the years. The Hitachi FT-4000, in good-to-excellent reception conditions, pulled in 50 stations on our 300-ohm Lindsay double-dipole antenna, and 52 on our small yagi high-mounted directional antenna on the tower, but its stereo sensitivity was somewhat below the better high end tuners (to come, about 40 models in all)…”

Anthem Statement D1 Surround Processor and P2 / P5 Home Theater Amplifiers

Anthem Statement D1

“The Statement D1 is among the most expensive home theatre processors in our experience, but offers just about every imaginable feature, as well as exceptional build quality. It will take much of this review just to outline its complement of capabilities. As their brochure claims, it is “nine high end components in one”: “preamplifier, 24-bit/192 kHz precision upsampler, analog-to-digital converter, digital-to-analog converter….”

Sunfire Theater Grand Processor II - Processor / Preamp/ Tuner

Sunfire Theater Grand II

“Visually identical to its predecessor and very handsome indeed, is the Sunfire Theater Grand Processor II. However, it’s not identical inside, with a streamlined circuit architecture that shortens signal paths and reduces the number of circuit boards. It’s also easier to use, with most operations performed in one setting of the remote control, that for Amp…”

Audio Refinement Complete System

Audio Refinement Complete System

“Giving the name “complete” to the components in this system of French origin and oriental manufacture reminds me of an old insult: “Everyone wants their life to be complete, and yours is, because you’re a complete (fill in appropriate word).” I suspect the word “complet” has different connotations in French, but I think the whole idea is to get you to buy the whole system…..”

Sunfire Theater Grand Tuner/Preamp/Processor

Sunfire Theater Grand surround decoder

“I thought it was the prettiest thing at CES last winter, and now it’s the prettiest thing in my home theatre room. The Sunfire Theater Grand (I’ve deferred to the American spelling because it’s a product name) has essentially the same chassis and finish of all Sunfire products, a brown burnished brushed aluminum case with rounded corners, with the same recessed window at centre front, and the addition of numerous pinpoint indicator lights, many of which are also control buttons…”

Myryad MI 120 Integrated Amplifier, MC 100 CD Player and MT 100 FM Tuner

Myryad MI 120 Integrated Amplifier

“Myryad Systems came together in the partnership of Chris Short, former owner and managing director of Mordaunt-Short, Chris Evans, a founder and director of Arcam, and David Evans, a veteran of NAD. The M Series components are their upscale line, and handsome they are, as well as very competitively priced for what they are….”

  Outside the Speakers

    Random Thoughts on the Music Mask
    NPR on Whether Audiophiles Still Exist
    Audiophile Grade Mics?
    CDs Sales Die, LP Sales Fly
    Some High End 'Phones from CES

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