what's a good fm tuner?

Mcintosh wants $5000 for the tuner that looks like crap.....white  lights, come on boys get with it! I got the ma8900 and a and CD player.....im looking at the Yamaha t-s500..........the older mc tuners look cool mr78......but looks like a nightmare waiting to happen, and expensive one at best. 
There's a  Magnum Dynalab MD 100 for sale near me on Craigslist for $600. The seller is a local audiophile in my area. His ad says it is "Certified", whatever that means.
you got a great $ on that, they went up a lot!   I dont play the radio a whole lot, mostly stream with my Bluesound 2i and play cd........thats why I was eyeing the Yamaha for $250.   t=s500.........I think the dynamic looks cooler though!
Tons of info on tuners here:   http://fmtunerinfo.com/

Sound quality is one issue, but reception is probably more important.  I have a Magnum Dynalab Etude, and while I love the sound, it doesn't pull in distant stations as well as my Onkyo T-9090 II.

Do you live in or near a metropolitan area or well outside one?  What are your plans for an antenna?

If you live a fair distance from the broadcast towers. how well the tuner handles distant stations (DX) will be important.  You'll do best getting a roof antenna.

fmfool.com and radio-locator.com can give you information on the distance to broadcast towers and signal strength.
That Yamaha will be fine for what you need! There is slim pickins’ on new tuners nowadays!
My favorite tuner (of the several on hand) is the Mitsubishi DA-F10. Measures well and sounds fine! Can only be found used - around $200. Alas, only two FM stations in my area worthy of listening to: WUSF 89.7 and WSMR 89.1/103.9. All the rest, commercial dreck!
Magnum Dynalab is probably your best new option. I'd seriously look at used vintage tuners and have it refreshed if needed. 

Sansui, Kenwood and Marantz are probably some of the best tuners every made. I'd look at that link above from the tuner information center and make an educated decision and buy vintage and have it recapped and aligned. 

I had my Sansui Tu 717 ( by no meens their best one  total upgraded and realigned ( paid $300 for the tuner and $400 for the updates). Now this tuner pulls in the NPR station in Seattle from Victoria BC about 80 miles away no problem and the sound is very good very musical and none fatiguing, better then the MD 90 I had prior. 

Another vote for Magnum Dynalb.

I have the entry-level tuner; however, it's fed signals from a seven-element yagi.   For distant signals, I use their Signal Sleuth to increase RF gain. I use Belden RG-6 cable from the yagi to the tuner (or the Signal Sleuth.) 

IMO, the antenna and cable you use are essential considerations. 
Another vote for the Sansui TU-717.  Excellent RF performance and very good audio sound quality.  Much better sound than my old Magnum Dynalab FT-101.
Kenwood did a business of radio before and after doing hifi. They made some of the best FM tuners to come out of Japan. Working on their better stuff was a dream rather than a nightmare. They seemed really serious about advancing the art, quite unlike today where a tuner is a bit of an afterthought.

If you're into DXing FM signals, Kenwood had switchable IF bandwidth to improve rejection from adjacent powerful signals. As many as 5 ganged variable capacitors for tuning. Dual RF gain stages; 5 stage crystal-controlled IF amplifiers and so on. If you want one of the best FM tuners made Kenwood probably is your first choice. I hate to say it as I have serviced a good number of Marantz 10Bs which are the best of the tube tuners but I'd take a top-end Kenwood in heartbeat over a 10b despite the difference in perceived value.

I used to own a Sumo "Charlie" It had pretty good sound quality but limited range.

I heartily recommend the Carver TX-11 FM tuner like the one that I've been using since I bought it new in the early 1980s. It has worked flawlessly all these years. I play it a few times each week. The fidelity is amazing (this is station-dependent of course). Philadelphia is about 45 miles away and I use an old Radio Shack FM antenna in my attic with no booster. I listen to classical and jazz and the audio is very hi fidelity especially with some of the Philadelphia Orchestra presentations on Sunday afternoons. 

I'm sure one can be found at a reasonable price on Ebay or Audiogon. Mine was around $500 new I believe, expensive at that time. 

A caveat - the tuner has a Carver-designed, switchable noise reduction circuit built in. I don't use it because it degrades the audio quality and the stereo imaging. It would probably work fine for speech. Also, it is FM only, no other bands.

Happy hunting!   Fred
This is the Mcintosh Model to get. They can still be found for a decent price. Forget those other models.


You will hear that "familiar sound" that will take you back more simple times. Nevermind the techie specs others will counter for some other brand. I've heard the Marantz 10B plenty of times, it's a more refined sound, but not THAT much.

Get a decent antennae setup, and sit back with a cold one.

You can find a nice aftermarket case for a reasonable price too. 

I found one one here, 4 years ago for $750, almost perfect chrome case, decent tubes, works flawless. 14 tubes of good ol analog sound.Even the DJ's sound good.
Yeah, the MR78 is a honey. I sent mine to Audio Classics for a Modafferi Mod some years ago. Updated, clean, and solid, but not cheap.

I also have an MD Etude. Musical, and I like the meters and digital readout. Very cool.

Unless you live far from the broadcast antennas, your reception antenna will be the more important element for getting signal. Some have built in signal boosters too.
the Magnum Dynalab md90 seems to have good feedback, but at $1400 this is awfully high for an entry level unit........I can get a fmj te2 arc tuner for $400 bucks......im not sure, never heard of this unit?
I have 2 McIntosh tuners, a MR85 digital tuner and a MR88 tuner with FM HD and XM radio. It looks the same as the MR87 but with the HD audio and XM. It looks perfect sitting one shelf above my MC302 amp. I have also owned a Magnum Dynalab Etude, a MD100 and a MD102. My Mac tuners bested all 3 of the Magnum Dynalabs.
The MD 90 isnt entry level in performance.... it's quite good.   They have been making them since 98 so they are easy to find used.   I paid $899 new when they first came out.   I ended up sending it in for service a few years ago.  I inquired about upgrading it and ended up just sending them a check for $700 and buying a Certified MD102 that looked brand new.   I couldnt pass it up and i'm glad I have it.  I'm in the Boston area and can pick up NH and RI stations....
I and another guy I bumped into spent our lives persuing fancypants tuners only to end up with relatively modest Mitsubishis, for their lively and enjoyable sound.

Mine is a riot.  The front panel looks like The End Of The World but you open it up and it's empty.  Just a little bitty circuit board mounted in the middle of all that air.
Post removed 
An old Nak or fisher studio standard, todays fm transmissions can be messed up by the hosts using compression mics and our sabc over modulating the fm signal, I live with this "pure" distortion every day until there is a blackout and all levels are set to default...I Hate it.