You know that nice Sony tuner that everybody bought for $80.... well, a used one just sold on eBay for us$207 (plus $8.50 shipping).
Sony has not been doing well in recent years. Can they be THAT stupid to terminate a model that people will pay 3X the price for when used?
I can't believe it.
Yes, model had some shortcomings. But for signals less than full strength, I never had better sound, right down to barely any signal power at all. And getting HD is a plus too.
Guess I'll have to schlep the tuner to Florida if I want to get the good music that NPR broadcasts on a secondary HD channel near our snowbird condo - can't pick it up with regular FM-stereo reception.
If Sony doesn't make any money on it (it also relies on an essential part from Philips too) then they won't do it. I wish they'd sell or license the specs though so that a knockoff could be manufactured.
Hang on to the tuner, even if you're tempted to sell it. As I said before, I live way north of you (about 100 km), and I'm just amazed by it...tonight I was tuning around, and got an HD lock on WXXI-FM from Rochester NY, about 220 km SE of me (I had to turn the Winegard SE to get it, but I was just amazed). I've never seen anything like this tuner. Nothing else can give me decent audio out of the Buffalo FM channels way up here in Barrie...and sometime digital HD locks too for the subchannels, at distances approaching 200 km. Just outstanding. If you sell it, you'll probably regret it someday.
Just changed from 4-element to 10-element monster antenna, Winegard 6065, about 9 feet long.
It made PBS worse with Sony. Instead of occasional moments of HD, now I have many minutes of popping into HD. And each switch offends my ears. There is also some kind of transition period during which voices are very echo'y. That's because different (and varying) time delays between analog and HD at the station and transmitter.
In Florida, I get honky-dory HD with the Sony with the included piece of wire antenna for 25 miles and, almost as constant, 50 miles.
I really have to wire an HD-defeat switch for use in Toronto. Recently, I have used an ancient Radio Shack in-line RF attenuator which cuts signal enough ot keep HD off. Prolly harmed the FM-stereo quality. With the big antenna, doesn't cut enough all the time to keep HD from popping in.
Any advice on wiring a defeat switch into the tiny PC board traces or other approaches appreciated.
I follow the Sony tuners on eBay. Now you can find units enhanced with underground mods like for cooling, retaining memory after power-outages of more than 15 minutes, and HD defeat... offered for us$350.
Regular ones for $250 or more.
Had reason to try out an old Kenwood Basic T1 digital tuner (quite old and maybe with other issues) in place of my Sony. Gawd, hard to believe how great PBS-Buffalo sounds on the Sony in FM-stereo... not sure how it sounds on the Kenwood since it squelched it 100% of the time.
Amazon has a used unit for $349 today... not bad since it sold new for $80.
My take is that there are hotter tuners, but the noise/audio processing of the Sony puts it ahead of others in listening to, say, a station that is weakish in Toronto like WNED 94.5 in Buffalo.
I "rolled the dice" hoping that with the Sony (recently tweaked too) and a 10-foot rooftop yagi, I could get Buffalo HD. Nope, at least with my installation in mid-Toronto. I currently do get very good FM-stereo with the Sony and that is very good.
Insider note: over the winter while in the US, I sent my Sony to RadioX where he re-aligned (he said the change needed was minor), added an HD defeat switch (a gift from heaven because the Sony toggles in and out of HD on most nights which sounds awful and drives me nuts), and reduced the excessive treble roll-off which did make the music a bit more HiFi bright...and which maybe makes the noise a touch worse... dunno).
In recent weeks with poor Buffalo reception, I've just kept the HD defeated and the Sony has delivered great or quite good sound (depending on the signal strength).
But that's what the Sony does well: it has smart signal processing. Why don't all tuners do that? As a HiFi guy, I am very hostile to MP3 and various lossy compression systems. But the Sony doesn't degrade the sound appreciably unless the the signal would simply be squelched on other tuners.
Sooo, you have a tall pole. You can use a directional antenna and rotate the pole by hand (after getting good bearings from the FM-fool website)... since the Sony signal strength meter is lousy).
I've spent a lot of time and money trying to get performance from the great Sony tuner. My guess is that the Sony will be wonderful with a moderate sized antenna and a super-long antenna (like the 10-footer on my roof) will not add much because earth curvature will bite into the signal before the Sony cries about diminishing signal strength.
When DXing, the Sony can be impressive in playing weak signals OK; but it is useless for sustained listening because it goes in and out of HD mode with a burp each time.
Bentoronto, the Ibiquity design for HD Radio really is a pain in the backside.
The chipset really should have had overrides to allow analogue only, auto and digital only modes. A true failure in my mind for an otherwise OK system.
Stations that are on HD2 and higher simply go silent, until the stream eventually crashes completely.
And a few weeks ago I was up in Caledon at a cottage and got WDCX and it's HD signal... The HD was on the fringe, but when it did come in, there was HD1, 2 and HD4?! Why it missed HD3 I don't know... Haven't had a chance to re-check it to see if that got corrected....
I had my Sony modified by RadioX to include an HD defeat switch (and indicator LED). This requires only cutting a trace and inserting a SPST switch. Of course, you need a really tiny soldering iron and preternaturally steady hands.
(He also did an alignment (really didn't need it, as it turns out) and tweaked the output to raise the treble (a complaint some tuner-mavens have about the Sony... but like with tube amps, prolly helps the sound).
Back to thread, for a camping setting, prolly almost as good as needed with be an old time twin-lead dipole stapled to a board (such as the pretty good dipole that comes with the Sony). And hand-aiming the board.
What do you know.... a very enormous tree in my line of sight to Buffalo, maybe 25 meters away, was just cut down. Maybe an Ash or maybe the devastation from this recent winter. Sad to see it go.
Seems my Ibiquity HD on WNED-FM 94.5 (and of course, their second Ibiquity channel, WBFO NPR) is now running like 95% OK (on mostly good nights). So listening for 3-4 days since the tree was cut down, I am able to get HD quite satisfactorily now and can leave my modified Sony set for HD, unlike the week before. Or, if you have a radio with no HD-defeat switch, you can get HD as well as I can... if you have a 10-foot Yagi.
Funny, I would have thought the tree was radio-transparent in the winter. But reception wasn't much different. Hence I didn't think the presence of the tree was a hindrance until now. Guess I was wrong.
That's great news to share since it also means the catchment area for Canadian HD stations could be more than 150 km in radius*. I hope this preliminary good reception continues.
BTW, I think the WNED engineers have tweaked their gear such that when listener radio shift between HD and FM-Stereo (and back again), the hiccough is less noticiable. I think this has to do with proper time delays set up at the broadcast studio.
*WNED has a low antenna and is obliged (by the CRTC and stations here) not to sent power in the direction of Canada
I didn't know there was a modified XDR-F1HD receiver; so I guess mine is a regular one which serves me well except when losing power all settings are lost. Also these receivers have gotten insanely expensive but they do work well.
Mine is a virgin one like Jaygeetee's and the complete loss of memory on power outage is really annoying - for that reason I would highly recommend a modded one. I think the mod takes care of the persistently-on LCD screen issue too. The performance is truly exceptional!
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