Sony XDR-F1HD AM/FM/HD Radio Tuner - Exceptional! - Page 2 - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #16 of 64 (permalink) Old 2010-03-19, 06:31 AM
 
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I hope Brian is subscribed because I'd prefer to have his reply help others too.

Question: I'm in Toronto, 3 miles to CN Tower (FM, TV analog, TV digital, etc.) and 80 miles to PBS FM-HD Buffalo antenna, all within a 10 degree arc, little Winegard 6000 antenna, and using that fabulous Sony tuner.

Is the Sony less susceptible to getting blasted by the strong local stations - as your review hints at? Or would it be helpful to have an FM bandpass filter (which was helpful in the past with FM-stereo and a big-gain yagi)?

If you'd recommend a bandpass filter, is there much difference between hooking up my ancient Finco 300-300 ohm outdoor filter and an indoor 75-75 ohm filter (aside from the big price difference)?

Sure is a fabulous tuner and also incredible is your full review write-up (and also thanks for all your antenna and other write-ups). Although "adaptive noise control" as found in the Sony is kind of an allergen to audiophiles, no question the Sony brings weak broadcast classical music into my house very acceptably.

Can't be long before other manufacturers will be using the Philips chipset that Sony is using. And adding needed user controls, fancy output modes, headphone jack, etc.

Thanks.
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post #17 of 64 (permalink) Old 2010-03-19, 02:25 PM
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Unfortunately Brian hasn't been seen or heard from here in a very long time so don't count on him replying. Regarding filters and other signal gear, the FM Radio band makes use of most of the exact same devices as the VHF-LO TV band since they are side-by-side on the spectrum.

I love this little Sony XDR-F1HD tuner, and it seems to slightly outperform the HD Radio tuner in my Onkyo 876 AVR too.
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post #18 of 64 (permalink) Old 2010-03-20, 12:15 AM
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Sony XDR-F1HD Photos (First 3 of 5)

I took these when mine arrived about 1 1/2 years ago:





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post #19 of 64 (permalink) Old 2010-03-20, 12:18 AM
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Sony XDR-F1HD Photos (Last 2 of 5)

The final 2 photos I took when mine arrived about 1 1/2 years ago:



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post #20 of 64 (permalink) Old 2010-03-20, 08:57 AM
 
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Nice pics. Artistic too!

Don't forget folks, you need to keep that nice FM dipole antenna (and esp. the downlead) aware from metal surfaces (it isn't that shielded RG stuff). For the downlead, some masking tape can help keep it say a cm from metal cabinets or the signal will get drained some.
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post #21 of 64 (permalink) Old 2010-03-20, 01:56 PM
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I think the XDR-F1HD's small size comes across in those photos but I neglected to put in one of the famous universal size comparison devices - a beer can.
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post #22 of 64 (permalink) Old 2010-04-26, 11:27 AM
 
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Here's some really bad news.

With warmer nights, I seem to be picking up Buffalo PBS HD better. But, each time the Sony determines it should shift into HD, there is a half-second of silence. This is really noxious to the ear esp. since the Sony was shifting pack and forth a few times a minute.

When it shifts back into FM-stereo, there is no pause. Not sure if there is also some kind of time-shift processing-latency happening.

I think some fix has been posted but the surgery is more than I'd like to perform (unlike the surgery to mono-ize FM-stereo which is trivial, of course). The Sony has switches for neither.

Although Sony is leading the pack using the new Philips chipset with their tuner, I am sure other brands will appear soon. And that they will have just a few more bells and whistles (like some control over threshold for HD grab or release or cycle time) that come pricey when offered by a fancy company like Sony.

Yes, other fixes exist like adding a switchable loss pad so that the Sony stays under the HD threshold... no fun.

Otherwise, the net-result sound is still amazing (both it's brute specs but even more the inaudible trick processing that delivers clean sound and great stereo).
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post #23 of 64 (permalink) Old 2010-08-21, 04:37 AM
 
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Hi Ben:

You have the Sony HD FM receiver like I do, but seek to find a model that can switch to analog when reception is not as good as you'd like? It turns out there is a way to do that, all you need to do cut a single line on the board and place a switch in it. K6STI describes how to do it here, under "Forced Analog Reception"

Sony XDR-F1HD AM/FM/HD Radio Tuner - Exceptional!

It seems like a fairly easy mod...I probably won't bother myself as I don't get much HD-FM way up here, but it may be a solution for others.

VA3SAJ

Last edited by stampeder; 2010-08-21 at 12:55 PM. Reason: fixed URL to our member k6sti's site
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post #24 of 64 (permalink) Old 2010-08-21, 11:13 AM
 
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While I am pretty confident about working on base-band audio, I have no means to tell if I've screwed up something with mysterious RFs running around in the box.

1. Would I be correct to summarize your opinion as "not a chance of screwing up" or would it be "if slightly ham-fisted, you might screw up" or......? Don't worry, I won't sue you if you prove wrong.

2. Would a smart owner pay Sony to re-align the tuner after receiving a new tuner from the post office, as we used to do? Or would the local service place make it worse? Or refuse if mods are done?

Much appreciated. Then I can also change the memory duration.

midtown Toronto, DB4e, 60ft RG6, 8dB distr amp
FM: Sony STSA-50ES, Wine.6065, 40ft RG6
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post #25 of 64 (permalink) Old 2010-08-21, 01:01 PM
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When k6sti (Brian) was still active at our site I mentioned to him that with my electronics background I was fairly sure I could make the mods okay, but he was quite cautious about the potential for not getting it right so I never bothered. Hearing that from him was important, as he was not trying to roll out a consumer-grade mod and wasn't suggesting it for experienced solderers either. I also asked him if a capacitor could be added to the power supply instead of his mods, and he felt that it wouldn't be workable.

A second solution to the XDR-F1HD's power-off problems would be a UPS, which might keep the tuner and a small audio amplifier operational for a half day or so during a power outage, and much longer if not running continuously. When simply unplugging/replugging the tuner one would do that with the UPS instead, keeping the tuner juiced up all the time.
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post #26 of 64 (permalink) Old 2010-08-23, 06:34 AM
 
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"... cautious about the potential for not getting it right..."

That's helpful guidance you are passing on from Brian, albeit no more specific than is possible when variable humans are involved. So that still leaves me wondering if I should gamble doing it, kind of like when Dirty Harry asks the perp, "Feeling lucky today?"

There are two mods I'd like to do. (1) HD-defeat, which involves cutting a trace in a non-RF location and inserting an SPST switch and (2) adding to the minute 20-minute memory evaporation time by adding in parallel a 1 F cap or a battery, again, which is a non-RF location and, at least for the battery back-up, can be connected to the visible top-side with test clips (I'm not sure if the cap can also be top-side connected with clips to the same places???).

I'll check with local Sony about re-alignment of the tuner - if their Canadian lab handles the HD tuner! That's my error backstop.

midtown Toronto, DB4e, 60ft RG6, 8dB distr amp
FM: Sony STSA-50ES, Wine.6065, 40ft RG6
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post #27 of 64 (permalink) Old 2010-08-25, 03:36 PM
 
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Checked with the Sony who said to check with their authorized service stealer on Yonge Street north of Lawrence.

Nice on the phone, but geez, never heard of no XDR-F1HD. I'm still waiting for a follow-up callback.

For sure, somebody somewhere can re-align it, even after I modify it. Any ideas about adventurous shops in Toronto?

midtown Toronto, DB4e, 60ft RG6, 8dB distr amp
FM: Sony STSA-50ES, Wine.6065, 40ft RG6
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post #28 of 64 (permalink) Old 2010-08-26, 02:06 PM
 
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This morning I visited the Sony authorized repair depot on Yonge Street north of Lawrence. Always good for my ego to meet a professional who knows no more about circuits and test gear than I do. On the other hand, and without joking, not always good for getting high-class service.

He said neither he nor anybody at the importer's Don Valley Parkway shop could do anything about alignment. This surprised me since Brian Beezley seems to be able to do great re-alignment of tuners with his gear. So in the repairman's view, you have to trust the tuning when it comes out of the box and don't do anything inside to change it.

midtown Toronto, DB4e, 60ft RG6, 8dB distr amp
FM: Sony STSA-50ES, Wine.6065, 40ft RG6
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post #29 of 64 (permalink) Old 2010-10-09, 04:52 PM
 
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So, I bravely proceeded to do mods on the Sony. Two are badly needed.

Mod 1. Retention of clock and station memory more than 15 minutes. There are three circuits on the web - start with Brian's review.

Mod 2. Lock-out HD and lock-in FM-stereo so that the tuner doesn't switch from one to the other. Since the HD-digital takes longer to work its way out of the broadcast station, there is a nasty silence and time-warp as the Sony tunes from one to the other and back. Seems PBS-Buffalo has added a time-delay, I think, so that there is a half-second silence, but no time-warp.

Easy enough to open the Sony box and free the circuit board; the tuner sensitive pieces are pretty protected from misalignment. But Mod 2 requires some fine trace cutting and mini-soldering and so I did only Mod 1 to start with.

My present reception of PBS-HD is rare so I can live without this mod until the next upgrade of my antenna (or their expected change to broadcast power... but they are still 80 mlles from Toronto, eh).

For Mod 1, you are simply paralleling a large capacitor with a super-large super-cap 1 farad, 3.5 v (for 20 hr storage, estimated) or with some little 3.6 v lithium batteries, like for cellphones.

Active Surplus on Queen Street Toronto has all these pieces. I soldered in a lithium battery (an assembly with solder lugs) in series with a 350 ohm resistor. Based on Hillel's write-up, should last a month or more. So far, fine overnight.

Sure nice not to lose the stations and clock every time the power goes off. Also, I can power-up the tuner from a power bar with the other gear... and not have the bright panel lamp shine all night!


Well, I have heard the HD a bit. Hard to make comparisons when the Sony FM-stereo is so good and I can make comparisons only when the signal is strong enough for HD to work. Better, but not vastly so compared to FM at its best. I read that the digital HD does get somewhat corrupted with great distances. anybody know?

midtown Toronto, DB4e, 60ft RG6, 8dB distr amp
FM: Sony STSA-50ES, Wine.6065, 40ft RG6
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post #30 of 64 (permalink) Old 2010-10-09, 08:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bentoronto View Post
I read that the digital HD does get somewhat corrupted with great distances. anybody know?
Ben,

I've had fine HD reception from Rochester when tropo enhances reception.

What is more daunting though is quantifying the relationship between analogue reception and digital reception. With a number of stations appearing to use separate antennas for each transmission method, the differences between the two at times seems to defy logic, unless the exact transmission pattern is known. Case in point. I've noticed traveling by GO Transit via the QEW between Hamilton and Toronto that at times, WTSS (102.5) will hammer in on analogue, but the HD part won't tweak, but at home, with the analogue much weaker, the HD comes in quite well most of the time, but this too changes day by day. In fact, on Friday, riding along Barton St. in Hamilton, I had WTSS in HD at times, and there wasn't any real tropo to speak of. My only guess is the HD part must have a null towards the north-west. Lately, my reception of WBFO HD (88.7) has also greatly improved since September. Still need a sweet spot to get it, but not as finicky as before, and with tropo, almost rock solid. So this raises an interesting question... Are the HD antenna's nulled-out towards Toronto? Or is their height different enough to cause these anomalies in reception?

I also found out the hand-held HD radio I have puts ALL the FM reception through a few second delay. This became apparent when my wife & I were listening to CBC radio 1 in Ottawa (FM feed, no HD) and my radio had a few second delay... Really spooked me at first, but now that explains why my radio might be better at the switchover to HD than the Sony.... You might want to compare standard FM reception with a plain FM radio and listen for a delay...

My favourite HD channels so far.... WBFO (NPR, 88.7) HD2 "The Border" and WTSS (102.5) HD2 - Delta Blues. Both great to listen to.

Cameron

DAB listener 12/2003-11/2011 (DAB Off-Air since 11/2011)
HD radio Listener since 06/2010
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