Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Followup to Marantz 2130 review

I posted this followup to my early review of Marantz 2130:

Thanks! By some stroke of good luck, my favorite station KPAC turned on full
power Saturday, first time in 6 months, just in time for some tuner rolling all

Contenders: Pioneer F-26, Marantz 2130, McIntosh MR78

F-26: Most transparent, most 3D imaging, neutral tone with slightly soft highs

Marantz 2130: Most pleasant, best at rejecting interference in widest wide,
quietest sounding, most musical and dynamic, slight midbass emphasis, softness
in mid highs but open in extreme highs.

MR78: Very clear sounding, uncolored, squeaky clean, but easily perturbed by
interference in wide causing grating sounds--same as with slight off-tuning.
Super narrow is a pin point.

MR78 had Modafferi Mod and alignment in 2001; F-26 rebuilt by ASL in 2011: 2130
aligned by Marantz authorized service in 2012. It still bugs me that wnen
Modafferi modded what was to become my MR78 he bragged (in the documentation)
about getting the adjacent selectivity up in wide mode...just the opposite of
what the tuner needs IMO.

I'm more and more impressed by the 2130. I think this is just below the top
tier of tuners like TU-X1 (by reputation and info, not tested by me) and better
than many acclaimed supertuners like Kenwood KT-8300 that I have some experience

Though it only has 5 gang air capacitor, the specs, even the RF specs, beat
KT-8300. I'm not sure if that's really true, but it does work better for me
primarily because of better quieting curve. RF specs are as good as L-02T and
audio specs fall just shy of L-02T mainly in separation, where the Marantz still
does an impressive 55dB at 1Khz and 50dB across the audio band. Stereo THD is
at 0.07%.

One thing that I think may be very special about the 2130 is how wide the wide
IF is, and maybe something about how it's tuned at the cutoff points, and
likewise the detector, in ways that are similar to 20B, which has similar sound
but much less sensitivity.

The 2130 wide is so wide that when you tune from one station to another 400Khz
away, with muting and lock disabled, it nevertheless snaps from one station to
the other with relatively small patch of noise in between. Slight off-tuning
has almost no effect, in fact you can be tuned more than 100Khz off and there's
still no splatter (though you've lost Stereo). Capture Ratio is specified as
0.8dB. I think this is why the Marantz shrugs off inteference better than the
others and always sounds dynamic, musical, and pleasant.

The narrow is nicely narrow, like other good tuners, but might be even more cool
if it were as narrow as MR78 super narrow. You can see images corresponding to
very weak stations on the scope, and that helps tune them in, but the lack of
ultimate selectivity keeps it from matching the MR78 in picking them up. The
Modafferi modded MR78 might also have more ultimate sensitivity even if not as
steep quieting. I'm now thinking a filter mod for the Marantz narrow might
indeed be a very good idea. But I don't want any changes to the wide IF.

For now, I'm keeping the transparent and 3D Pioneer in my living room for my
electrostatic speakers, but the Marantz is just the ticket for my Kitchen radio
shack which plays on good dynamic speakers. The MR78 goes back into the pile.
I've rarely had so much fun listening to FM.

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