“Intended to compete with the Marantz 10B, the Sony ST-5000 was the first audio component widely distributed by Sony in the U.S. [It was] built like a tank, more like military gear (or McIntosh tuners) than later Japanese electronics…
“Our contributor Charles says that his ST-5000FW has a beautiful sound, and that “in the next room, it really seems like you have musicians in your house.” He also finds it “almost as good as my KT-7500 [for DXing]… in situations that try the adjacent channel selectivity of any tuner. That’s amazing performance for a 30-year-old unit with all LC filters and only one IF bandwidth.”
“The ST-5000 was Sony’s first tuner, aimed at a heavyweight (the Marantz 10B), and like McIntosh’s MR-55, Sony spared no expense. Later tuners may have had equal or better specs, but were certainly ‘made to a price’ whereas the 5000/5000F seem to have been built with more care.” Our contributor Glenn says that his recapped and aligned ST-5000FW “has the best sensitivity of any tuner I’ve owned and is a wonderful, smooth and sweet-sounding tuner.” And our contributor Al adds, “The ST-5000F is the best shielded tuner I have and one of the most attractive inside that I’ve seen.”
In our own tests, both realigned ST-5000s showed similar sensitivity and selectivity, with my friend’s bringing in 47 stations in generally good stereo on our tower 75-ohm yagi, and 51 on the double-dipole bowtie 300-ohm omni antenna. The one for sale here was a little better on the same winter afternoon, with 49 on the yagi, and 52 on the omni. Both preferred the 300-ohm antenna, and multipath was lower and separation greater, the resulting sound cleaner in most cases.
Because this is a true classic tuner and many readers will know it, I haven’t described its front and rear panel features, but briefly, the front panel has the black plastic Power vertical toggle at extreme left, the variable Muting control next right, with an off position counter-clockwise, and muting varied with clockwise rotation. The center horizontal 3-position toggle selects Mono, Auto, and Stereo only, left-to-right, and the knob to the right is quite a clever 3-position variable high-blend filter, which allows preservation of upper frequency response tailored to the signal quality; The very smooth flywheel tuning knob is at far right.
In sum, I love these Sony tuners, so well built, and superb performers that they are. The stations just pop in because of the automatic RF narrowing (also seen in the successor ST-5130 as one scans up and down the long dial. The ST-5000FW is a tuner that my longtime friend swears by for listening to the Met broadcasts on Saturdays, and he’ll be doing it again this weekend.
Table of contents for The AIG FM Tuner Project
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