Carver tuners

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kingman
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Carver tuners

Post by kingman » Sat Dec 20, 2014 7:59 am

As I was riding to work yesterday, I hit the scan button on my car radio searching for Christmas music. I found several Christmas music stations along with a bunch of stations I cannot pick up with my home system. I saved several into my favorites and thought nothing about it...until this morning. Then the question popped in my head...are the much hyped tuners of yesteryear just hype. I know for a fact my car tuner will pick up stations better than any of my home tuners. Probably the best tuner I have is an old Phase Linear tuner which was a later model made by Pioneer. I have used all the antenna types including powered antenna, but reception is poor compared to my car unit. Anyone else with an opinion on these performance observations???
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radioeng2
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Re: Carver tuners

Post by radioeng2 » Sat Dec 20, 2014 10:17 am

The difference is largely the antenna Wayne.

The car has almost the perfect environment for reception. The metal groundplane around the antenna. The 19" metal rod for the antenna. A little way away from other noise sources other than the car itself.

Those powered home antenna's are mostly a joke. The plastic T dipole antenna (usually included with a new purchase) is far better if mounted correctly. What wife doesn't want a cheap looking clear plastic antenna held up by thumbtacks prominently on the wall? Even those will have a null to each side the direction the elements point, requiring re-adjustment if you happen to want reception 90 degrees different than pointed. That is of course an advantage in nulling a signal to get another that's at right angles.

I've used internally a Bic Beam Box Model 10 forever. It does decent though nothing like an external. It does allow you to without doing anything except changing the dials on the face null out some level of interference and minimize multipath.

Many car receivers are actually pretty good. Also, many "home stereos" are junk. Go into a Best Buy and most of what they have any more is plastic all in ones that are simple terrible performers. The best thing about them is that any strong signal can be found 4 or 5 places as you change the dial. What a joke! Now, I know those aren't what you're referring to.

Another thing coming our way slowly and unseen is the result of intense political pressure is all the slowing climbing amount of low power signals. They are granting licenses by the dozens that violate the long standing required spacing requirements that let FM receivers work as they do. If the FCC was technically based instead of political payback positions, this wouldn't be happening. If tuners were getting better instead of worse quality it'd be one thing, but they aren't. So the quality front end on your older rig is going to get more and more important.

Mark
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Re: Carver tuners

Post by OconeeOrange » Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:47 pm

It is the same here Wayne. My Jeep picks up radio better than my home gear (check out the Highlands station next time you are in the car). I have some Carver tuner things and others.

Like Mark said, the wires work best. I used to keep them on the floor behind the system and just tack them to the wall during Clemson football games.
Now most all the stations are on the internet and you get excellence audio anywhere over the World. Radio at home makes no sense these days. Computer is better than radio.

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Re: Carver tuners

Post by LVMAN777 » Sun Feb 15, 2015 12:25 am

AM RADIO ANTENNAS...(1/4 WAVE) ARE 250 FEET HIGH OR 1/2 WAVE AT 500 FEET (KOMO AM 1000)

AM CAR RADIO ANTENNA IS LONGER THAN MOST HOME ANTENNAS.....

AND HAS CAR BODY "GROUND PLANE" TO WORK AGAINST

"IT'S THE ANTENNA"

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Re: Carver tuners

Post by LVMAN777 » Sun Feb 15, 2015 12:34 am

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KAITO AN-200 FOR AM

"...Passive (no battery required) loop AM antenna
Enhances AM reception with frequency coverage from 520 KHz -1,510 KHz..."
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Re: Carver tuners

Post by radioeng2 » Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:49 am

Sadly, AM is all but dead at this point. The number of stations on the elder band that are in their final days is stunning. It can't go on as it exists now.

Man made noise has all but eliminated it's ability to be received. Computers, computer wiring, switch mode power supples everywhere in everything, noise from those being radiated from the AC lines attached, LED room lights, the dangerous Obama bulbs shoved up in fire starter ceiling fixures radiating noise up to FM broadcast band frequencies.

It's all but wiped out the senior band. Only a handful of the major stations are left in the black. Then the preachers and the mexicans pretty much are the other ones left. The mexican music will outlive the preachers but the next few years will see the pace of AM'ers going dark substantially accelerate. It's very sad.

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Re: Carver tuners

Post by Martin1970 » Sun Feb 15, 2015 9:12 am

Copper Cactus is pretty much game over for shitty FM reception.

Less than $50 & one of the easiest audio DIYs out there.

Mark's right though, once you have great reception, you may find that what's out there kinda sucks.

Fortunately, the Cactus enables me to pick up South Carolina ETV radio 50 miles away in Beaufort.
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Re: Carver tuners

Post by bob p » Sun Feb 15, 2015 5:54 pm

radioeng2 wrote:Sadly, AM is all but dead at this point. The number of stations on the elder band that are in their final days is stunning. It can't go on as it exists now.
...
Only a handful of the major stations are left in the black. ...
One thing that I have noticed is that the AM radio stations that are in the black are buying FM radio stations, and moving their programming to the FM band where man made noise isn't so much a problem.

Maybe I should take that back -- if you consider that some of the AM programming that is now being transmitted on FM consists of nothing but man made noise, we now have clear reception of the man-made noise content of AM radio on the FM band.

As an example of this, WLS 890 AM is currently broadcasting on 94.7 FM. Unfortunately, the content is nothing but the crappy voice content that WLS AM has been famous for for the past 40 years: dumbass disk jockies who think that they are exceptionally clever, but are too stupid to know that they are not, and who like to hear themselves talk so much that they talk over the programming instead of just playing the music.

That kind of content is why people left AM radio en masse to go to FM back in the 1970s. Back then, people wanted to get away from more than the static and hum of amplitude transmission -- many people went to FM because the FM stations had DJs who were smart enough to shut up and just play music. Not only was the medium of transmission much better on FM than it was on AM, the programming content was much better as well.

Mark is right -- we've got so much man-made noise out there that AM is failing as a mode of data transmission. The result is that the AM stations have no choice but to move to another band to carry on their business model. Unfortunately, the abhorrent content of stations like WLS 890 AM has metastasised to the FM band. It now lives at 94.7 FM, and like a cancer, it killed-off the previously good station that used to be there. Perhaps having an AM radio station that is healthily in-the-black isn't such a good thing after all.

FM isn't what it used to be, because now it's being invaded by some truly crappy AM radio stations who are fighting to survive. IMO some of them would be better off dead. I stopped listening to WLS AM as a pre-teen in 1970 because the content was such garbage. Now it has surfaced on one of the preset buttons in my car, replacing a radio station that used to be worth listening to. Aargh. I preferred FM radio in the days when you could use the "wonderbar" to scan for stations and not even hear the AM radio crap.
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Re: Carver tuners

Post by Robert R » Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:05 pm

I remember the very first days of FM - they were just like what I've been told the beginning of AM was like. In a (hyphenated) word, non-commercialized. The internet is going down same sickening route, of course. Mass marketing mania.

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Re: Carver tuners

Post by stereo_buff » Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:54 am

To return to Kingman's (and radioeng's follow-up) comment, home audio tuners are seemingly a pretty lame breed as far as sensitivity, compared to the car radio. Recently, while having several manufacturer/model tuners in my possession, I performed an informal shoot-out, utilizing the same antenna for each tuner, thereby cancelling out its relative contribution (good or bad) to the test. Included in the test were a Marantz FM 10B, Hitachi FT-440 (relatively scarce, but not a bad tuner), Carver TX-11, Marantz 110, and Kenwood KT-6500. By no means, a complete set of tuners, but enough to provide a cross-section for contemplation, in my opinion. FYI, my location suffers from exceptionally high multipath and geographic obstacles with most of the stations I listen to.

First off, the Marantz FM 10B sounded as glorious as the decades worth of accolades have eternally proclaimed, for both its sensitivity and sound quality. It became my de facto reference during the shoot-out.

Next, I substituted the Hitach FT-440, an all analog model. Its dial calibration was quite accurate (for an analog model), and its tuning sharp. However, its sensitivity was less than the 10B, but the sound quality, though not up to the quality of the 10B, was quite good.

Following the Hitachi, I substituted the Kenwood KT-6500. Its performance, in both its RF and audio performance were similar to the Hitachi, with perhaps slightly better sensitivity.

Next, I substituted the Carver TX-11, the only digital tuner in the group. I was blown away. The TX-11 had sensitivity on par or better than the 10B, and the engagement of its Asymmetrical Detector Multipath and Noise Reduction functions was like clearing away the clouds, yielding a sound quality that was very, very close to the 10B, almost CD like, with slightly better sensitivity than the 10B.

Replacing the TX-11 with the Marantz 110, the 110's tuning was quite drifty, sounding bad and with very poor sensitivity, even after performing a full alignment in accordance with the manufacturer's service manual.

Following the tuner shoot-out, I grabbed a handful of antennas (of various models and manufacture) I had lying around and did a brief comparison. Suffice it to say that, with the exception of my 'reference,' a Radio Shack Model No. 15-1833 (a former Stereophile Recommended Component), antenna performance was highly variable, and all were inferior, compared to the Radio Shack. That said, I'm sure there are other good antennas out there, but I suspect that there are many more poor ones.

This is all very interesting to me, perhaps to someone else too!

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Re: Carver tuners

Post by radioeng2 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:46 am

Very interesting. Thanks for taking the time to write that up and post it!

Tuners are like everything, be careful of chasing just one number. Several factors play into the end result and how much listening pleasure they bring.

As in your physical situation, an important factor would be how well they deal with multi-path. And in today's spectrum, how well they reject adjacent channels and deal with strong signals elsewhere (overload) without creating mixes become important.

A few years ago I stopped a big plastic boombox radio in a Best Buy. It didn't pickup anything less than a wall to wall strong signal. Yet on one strong signal, going down the dial I got the same station probably 5 or 6 times. Knowing the distances and signal levels well, it was nowhere close to being in the blanketing contour from that station and it shouldn't have been doing that at all. Likely, that's a bad example, yet the average consumer has several pieces of junk like that around.

The next breed of improvement in tuner topology has already been on the market for a while. That's the digitizing of the received spectrum and then manipulating that for better characteristics. The Sony F-1 HD tuner (that's already gone from the market due to chip unavailability) is probably the most known example. It was a less than $100 radio that now goes for three times that due to it's ability to pickup better by a large margin that even the best of the best previously outstanding receivers.

Same thing is going on the ham radio world where selectivity and sensitivity are the whole ball game. You hook the radio to a computer with those, and you can see the spectrum to know where to tune and then can manipulate for the best receivability all from the computer instead of the tuner.

This digital front end style unit should be showing up in more models in a more consumer oriented fashion before long. The ability to reject other signals will be much bigger in the future with the current FCC model of allowing signals in huge numbers that normal tuners can't deal with well. They've rejected good engineering and instead are bending solely to political pressures...same as in many other areas of government "help".

Mark
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Re: Carver tuners

Post by stereo_buff » Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:39 pm

I have one of those boom boxes now! And it was because of its exceptional sensitivity, along with poor selectivity, and poor adjacent channel and overload rejection, that I was able to, somewhat like KingMan's experience, discover a new, low-power, fringe radio station, subsequently discovering that only my TX-11 (and the boombox, of course!) can receive.

Similarly, having been frustrated in many attempts trying to help others out who needed an antenna for their tuner (I had a box full of various antennae lying around from garage sales, thrift stores, and personal gifts), finding all too often that a coat hanger may have worked better, in some instances, provided the catalyst for my informal antenna tests. The sensitivity tests were done using an FM Stereo Signal Generator, and though I can't attest to the current calibration accuracy of its attenuator output (the uncertainties at ~1 µV [-120 dBm] levels are quite large, so there's no point in arguing for this discussion), that should be moot in determining relative sensitivity, since the same source was common to all.

One thing that became apparent to me, Mark (if you'll allow me the liberty), is the difference in quality in the various audio output sections, beyond how great any given tuner's technical performance specifications may be otherwise. Listening to the Marantz 10B is, arguably, about as wonderful as FM listening can get (Sequerra Model 1 aficionados may disagree); it has a wondrous, tube output (line level) amplifier section that was built, and is sonically reminiscent of, such designs produced during the pinnacle of Saul Marantz' stewardship. When I substituted the Carver TX-11 (non-"A") for the 10B, I was immediately aware of the similar, warm sound the TX-11 shares with the 10B, with the technical performance of the "Asymmetrical Charge Coupled Detector" (ACCD) meeting, or, under some circumstances, actually beating the 10B. Bob owns a 10B and subsequently told me that when he designed the TX-11, the 10B performance was his 'milestone' for design achievement, and the model number, "11," was to suggest 'what follows a "10".' Sounds like, Bob, eh?

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Re: Carver tuners

Post by LVMAN777 » Sat Feb 28, 2015 2:57 am

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$8.99.....Radio Shack FM Antenna....."Half Wave Dipole"....cut for 88-108 MHZ

Same design is shipped with a $2000 plus Sunfire Ultimate Receiver
Carver Amazing Loudspeakers- Originals/Upgraded with 60 inch ribbons /crossovers
Sunfire 300x2 Amplifier
Sunfire Theater Grand III Preamp/Processor
Technics SL-DL1 Turntable with Grado Green Cartridge
Optima HD26 1080P DLP Projector
120 inch Motorized Projection Screen

Carver ALS III Speakers
Grado SR80 Headphones
Infinity Beta 20 Bookshelf Speakers

Apogee Caliper Speakers for Rebuilding

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