There's music in the air. Literally. Radio is the original curated music streaming service and there's still plenty to tune in to. In fact, a good strong stereo FM signal can be quite high fidelity, so it can pay off to have a quality tuner, especially if you also seek ease of use and reliable reception. In that vein, McIntosh introduces the MR89 AM/FM tuner ($5500 USD).
McIntosh is no stranger to making awesome tuners. The Birmingham, New York-based company's latest harkens back to its iconic MR78 tuner, a device that earned its spot in the proverbial Audiophile Hall of Fame for its ability to discern between two very close (n frequency) FM signals, even if one was notably weaker. Fast forward to today and the airwaves are saturated, so radio lovers have a greater need than ever for a discerning tuner.
According to McIntosh, the new MR89 offers:
• Upgraded Stereo Blending and introduction of a “High Blend” option
• Softmute feature to reduce audio output of lower quality station input
• Highcut function to reduce high frequency and audio content
• FM Radio Broadcast Data System (RBDS) support to display station and music information
• Adjustable Seek function
• Ability to store 20+ preset stations for both AM/ FM
The MR89's advanced signal quality monitor displays signal, multipath, and noise levels to fine-tune AM or FM antenna placement—a McIntosh RAA2 AM antenna is included. The MR89 has balanced and unbalanced analog outputs, plus digital coax and optical outputs. The tuner's exclusive McIntosh RF circuitry can receive both strong FM signals from nearby stations and weaker FM signals with little to no noise.
Dual 60dB meters show the signal level from each channel's analog output. Meanwhile, the preamplifier, integrated amplifier, or other control device controls the volume. If you know how to read the meters, they offer an idea of the degree of stereo separation the reception affords you.
The MR89's black glass front panel, meters, knobs, and brushed aluminum end caps are housed in a polished stainless-steel chassis and sport the signature McIntosh look. The MR89 pairs well with amplifiers, turntables, CD players, home theater processors, room correction systems, loudspeakers, and other source components to create a comprehensive HiFi audio system.
Radio fans seeking the best tuner are in luck, it is shipping as of June 2022 (i.e. this month) in the US and Canada, with the rest of the world soon to follow.
I built a 15 watt transmitter back in the early '70s and re transmitted WOUR so my friends could get it. They were only a few thousand watts back then. They used to be adult contemporary until around 9PM then they had the forerunner show and played all the good stuff AM top 40 would not touch. I grew up with my mothers Fisher 800 console with a green tuning eye. I can still hear in my mind all the good stations from back then.
Such a shame. Syracuse was once an interesting radio market. WAER as a student music station. WOUR in Utica was home to some WAER rock music alumni. And WONO was a lovely classical station. As Oswego’s WRVO added translators, there was more NPR News programming available. And WCNY added folk and bluegrass programming to the local mix.
Just a side note my Mr66 is a lot of fun. I just did a complete restoration and the AM section is awesome. There are a few stations that sound way better than you would expect AM to sound. This tuner is flat to 12 khz. Most tuners die at 4-5 khz.
I own an Mr78 have a 16 element FM beam and live on a hill. All of this is worthless in Syracuse NY. There is nothing to listen to in this market or within a 150 mile radius. Thank you Clear Channel. Now I use an internet tuner and out of a few thousand stations there are some real gems.