Tuner choice

I know no one is interested in tuners given streaming etc and on and on, but I moved to a place with some excellent radio stations and I think having a tuner would work for me. I got one for free from my brother, a 70s vintage Dynaco kit and it seemed to warm up over time without any repairs etc. although the light is out and gauge doesn’t seem to work. Muting is not functioning but once on a station it brings in some pleasant sound.
On the other hand, I see old units on eBay that are low cost, some say tested, mint condition, etc. so would it be worth a couple hundred dollars to have a different tuner? Or is the Dynakit not a bad vintage tuner and if it’s working, I’d be smart to stick with it? Any suggestions for replacements worth the change?



Yes, decimal point issues in price. It seems with any collectible there are the big names that rightly fetch top prices. By their reputation the prices seem to inflate from there. Meanwhile, I think there are some less touted names that are a close second but at half the price. I try to find that sweet spot, but tuners are an odd commodity. The most expensive back in the day might have had cutting edge tech for that time, but it became standard or later improved on. It’s tough to disentangle the specs and prices without being an electrical engineer. 

Even so, the hunt is fun. 

It’s tough to disentangle the specs and prices without being an electrical engineer.

There exist some guides for us mortals as to what specs to think about. I consulted one or two a few years ago, google is your friend. Takes some patience.

The thing with tuners (and CD players) is that because there are moving parts and precision components, it may not be prudent to get one that is becoming tired, or you buy with the knowledge that it probably will need to be re-calibrated and so on - so it may be false economy and that might blunt the fun.

I saw this at the fmtunerinfo site reading (? struggling, actually) through the shootouts of vintage gear. Often they would say that a tuner being considered needs looking at for one reason or another. Yeah, they may have been state of the art at the time, but now they are quite tired.

Yeah, as always, the sweet spot is good - forget the elite and also the rubbish, leaving a good bunch in the middle. I use a yamaha, from the mid 80s. Its pretty good with great ability to pick up distant stations or weak reception, but sadly not analogue.



I decided to go for a Sansui TU-717. It had been refurbished so not a bargain, but the guy seemed to have good reviews and a reliable vintage piece of equipment seems sensible. I’ll report back about sound. I’m a little worried because there seems to be some disagreement about recapping tuners, like all things audiophile, but again, he seemed to know what he was doing. He said he did the following:

All the Electrolytic Capacitors were changed and all switches, RCA jacks, and fuse holders were cleaned with contact cleaner. 

So, here’s hoping,


@lynnj I’d appreciate it if you could provide your thoughts here on the Sansui TU-717 after you have had a sufficient listening honeymoon.

Because it is supposed to be very good. So it is understandable that you may have high expectations. I know I would.

I don’t pretend to know much about refurbishments except that what your technician did seems quite modest and prudent.

Yesterday I read on the fmtunerinfo website the refurbishment carried out on my model of tuner (Yamaha T-85) I was quite astonished. Wow. It was quite an overhaul and in my opinion something that only a committed specialist would be able to achieve, and perhaps only what a dedicated enthusiast would require.