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  The AIG FM Tuner Project: Budget Sony 5000 Series

      Date posted: September 27, 2007

Read the AIG FM Tuner Project Introduction

Sony ST-5066 AM/FM Stereo TunerSony 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. It was in excellent physical condition, with perfect veneer case and totally unmarked front panel. The buttons at bottom control AM/FM, Mono/Stereo, Hi Blend, and AFC, with the power lever at left, and the tuning control at right. Rear outputs are provided for high and low level, even though there is no output level control as on the 5130.

In our tests with the 75 Ohm yagi antenna yielded 31 stations, most in good stereo, while the Lindsay double dipole bowtie omni antenna brought in 49 stations, with more in better stereo. This is the largest disparity I’ve found between the two antennas, and I can only explain by suggesting that the tuner’s capture ratio discriminates better among close-together signals with an omni, or, a 300 Ohm feed. The ST-5066 was more prone to multipath than some of our more expensive tuners, this more pronounced also with the directional yagi antenna. It did not offer Muting, so such things seemed more noticeable.

A centre tuning meter would have helped, too, but you take what you get. Compensating was the kind of IF and AFC auto operation that made stations pop in and out as I dialed, much like with the other 5000 series tuners. Sound quality was very respectable, with good stereo separation and nicely crisp, clean sound on the better signals.

I liked this tuner for what it was, and its excellent cosmetic condition and performance, especially suited to urban or suburban areas where there are lots of stations with relatively even signal strength among them. The ST-5066 was, I guess, the budget model that retained the essence of its better siblings, and I know the buyer is very happy to have it.

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