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

      Date posted: November 6, 2007

Luxman T-02, front
Read the AIG FM Tuner Project Introduction

It seems like every day’s a Luxman day around here, since this is the second tuner in as many days. I didn’t quite plan it that way, but so it goes. 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 www.fmtunerinfo.com, 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 7-segment signal meter doubles as a multipath meter.” Another FMTI contributor finds the T-02’s selectivity “as good as any in the narrow mode” [italics mine]. As the T-530 model in Europe, it has been rated very highly over there in user forums compared to such names as ReVox and Restek.
Luxman T-02 Digital Tuner
Our tests more than confirmed the findings of users here or abroad in quite good reception conditions. The T-02 brought in 59 signals on our high 75-Ohm yagi antenna, and 60 with our Lindsay double dipole omni antenna, also on the tower, but lower. These were characterized by excellent sound quality, good stereo on most, and the tuner’s capture ratio clearly delineated stations, this best heard on the latter aerial. Using the IF button with the CAT one, weaker signals could be significantly improved, a great feature for DXers. To make the best of its reception possibilities, I’d recommend a good, high omni antenna, or a directional one with rotor. Myself, I hate fussing with rotors for FM.

Sonically, it came quite close to our reference, though not quite as close as the T-110U did. But the sound is very neutral and clean, with very low distortion, and few reception artifacts once the CAT has been put in the cradle, so to speak. In sum, this is the hottest and best sounding digital tuner in our now considerable experience. No matter how charmed I was by its features and performance I just couldn’t keep it. This example had a slightly dinged rear panel on the left side, but the front and top are fine.

I headlined it as one of the best digital tuners I’ve heard, but you can’t hear them all. This Luxman T-02 is now battling “Multipath Mountain” in Montreal, a Royal pain for the FM-loving locals. So far, so good, though the buyer still seeks a pint-sized directional antenna that fits on an apartment balcony, a near-impossible battle between the long (FM wavelengths) and the short.

Andrew Marshall

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