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Possibly buying a tuner, have a few questions

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm looking into buying a tuner to enjoy some nice FM radio when I'm bored with my CDs. I don't want a receiver since I'm not planning on buying speakers any time soon, but can I use a tuner with my CD and headphone amp without disconnecting anything? Do tuners usually have like a passthrough connection so that I can do cd->tuner->headphone amp?

The specific tuner I'm looking at is the Marantz ST4000, mainly because it's cheap and it matches my cdp. If anyone has any experience with it please post what you think about it.
post #2 of 13
Do tuners usually have like a passthrough connection so that I can do cd->tuner->headphone amp?
I have 3 tuners (all vintage) and none of them have an input, thus no "pass through". They all have outputs, though. You would have to switch CDP and tuner going into the amp, or possibly purchase some type of signal switching device. Hope this helps.
post #3 of 13
What you need is a Pre-amp, like the musical Fidelity X-Pre, there's 4 inputs and one ouput to a power amp, in your case, it would be the headphone amp. Connect your CD player and Tuner to the Pre amp and connect the Pre amp to the headphone amp. All with phono leads.

Thats basically what I do, I connect my CD/DVD/Tuner to my marantz intergrated amp and output to speakers and my X-can. The output to my X-Can doesn't go through any of the amp's transformer circuit. I basically use the Marantz as a Pre amp for my headphones. That way I don't have to swap any cables around everytime I want to change from CD to tuner or DVD.

Oh, I have the Marantz ST6000 tuner, it's a great tuner as well as matching the rest of my setup. But one thing you have to remember, you don't get a remote with the tuner. The only way to control the tuner by remote is get a Marantz amp and use the D-Bus connection on the back. The System remote from the amp will sent the signal to the tuner through the D-Bus, hence you can control both the amp and the tuner with one remote. In my case the CD player as well.
post #4 of 13
A simple 2-to-1 "Y" adapter cord would be a quick fix , better would be a source selector swtch box.

either could be unplugged quickly
post #5 of 13
I don't think you should use y-adapters as a preamp as I believe they can cause some damage to your components... a preamp or selector box should be used...
post #6 of 13
Some Preamp even has a Phono socket, so you basically get another Headphone amp as a bonus. But quailty Preamp come at a price, but you do get what you pay for. You ideal Preamp should not add anything to the sound, it sould be neutral.

And choose well, it's like system matching, some Pre-amp work well better with some amp better then others, have a demo before you buy them. A good Pre-amp will last you for years to come.
post #7 of 13
Stay away from Y connectors!!

I would not recommend a switch box because most of them are not really made for HiFi applications.

You would really need a pre-amp.

Creek makes a nice one (OBH-12) that is passive in design (doesn't really add any sound of its own) but also has a remote volume control.

post #8 of 13
well I will not say a Y connector is the ideal but in a pinch will work until something better is available

as for switch boxes-a simple DPDT switch and three pairs of RCA jacks in a box is a perfect solution.

want high quality ?

Silver MIL-SPEC switch and Cardas RCA jacks assembled with silver wire.Other than hardwiring RCA cables of high quality directly to the switch it don't get better

post #9 of 13
Tuner + CD --> X-Pre-->X-Cans isn't the best idea. The X-Cans is essentialy an integrated amp,...you'd have the volume pot for both the X-Pre and the X-Can in the chain. Many/most preamps have an output that's not affected by the pre's volume (a tape output for example), but the minimalist X-Pre does not sport such luxuries.

The Creek passive pre suggested above would work, because it has a tape loop where you could put the X-Can (from tape out to X-Can input and then from the X-Can output jacks back to the preamps tape *in*). The Creek will take two sources, and it has a main out that could be used to drive a regular stereo amp at the same time.

Or, you could change the X-Cans for a preamp with headphone jack or a headphone amp that allowed more than one source (Sudgen, McCormack, HR Max, + ? ) ,...Melos sha, Audible Illusion L1, and Sonic Frontiers are just some of the pre's that would work. The Sonic Frontiers Line 1 would be a nice solution in that it's got tubes like the X-Cans, sounds as good (better) and uses the Headroom cross-feed circuit. In addition, you'd have a great remote and plenty of XLR and RCA in's and outs. The Melos might be found circa $400, the Line 1 $800 to $1100 (blow the budget ?)

You could try something like the (used $325/ $350 McCormack headphone amp) , which takes more than one source. Then you could ad a Musical Fidelity X-10D tubed buffer to the chain if you missed the tubish sound. Given that the X-Can's are going for $200+ used, the swap would cost you $150 ....less than adding the Creek (and the McCormack can, I think, drive a power amp as well)

Obvioulsy it's easier to solve the problem if money isn't an object (which it always is !) ,...but there's really only awkard or expensive ways around the fact that the X-Cans doesn't have 2 source inputs (which I would like to see on it).

As far as the tuner, ...I have a Marantz ST-17 ($350 used ?) and find it's very good (not as good as the Naim 01 I somewhat foolishly sold) ; it's ergonomicaly great and has full remote control and sounds good. But, I have not heard the 4000. I'd keep in mind that an antenna can make quite a difference, such that the 4000 + $100 invested in an outdoor antenna might well better a tuner that cost 4000+ $400 if used with a lesser antenna. Cambride Audio, Creek, Rega, NAD, Sony, Denon, Yamaha, Marantz ...all make nice tuners (and the list could be almost endless I'm guessing).

I agree with you that swapping interconnects would be a long term pain, ...but it might be OK for a short while (a year ?) ?

post #10 of 13
mcbiff: I've never seen a tuner with loop-through - you'd need a preceiver or receiver for that. I'd try a nice stereo receiver like the HK3470, because preceivers are usually quite expensive. Or you just take a tuner and a good switchbox (QED...).

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini
post #11 of 13
I would agree that a switch box would be the best solution other than switching cables back and forth manually. The Dynaco FM-5 is a tuner that has an extra switchable input. It also has a volume control that can be used or bypassed. It's an old design that is not as sensitive as the modern tuners, although it sounds decent. Another possiblility is the Creek passive preamp/DAC box, which allows you to switch from an analog input like a tuner to it's internal DAC for CD. This would be a good solution if you had an older CD player with a digital output, since you might be able to improve the CD sound as well. If you already have a good DAC stage in your CD player then it may not improve it and could make it worse.
post #12 of 13
Try vintage tube tuners for similar price but much better sound, esp if you are in city and weak signal is not an issue.
post #13 of 13

also considering a tuner

Mcbiff, I am essentially in the same situation as you are in.

However, I have the Creek OBH-14 passive preamp/DAC box that KurtW mentioned, so I do have a possible solution waiting. However, the Creek really only allows switching between one digital and one analog in. There is both an optical and digital input, and the optical takes over if both are present, so if you play your cards right, you can use it for 3 sources. The question is with the DAC of this unit. It is better than that in many older or less expensive CD players, but not if you have a really good CD player.
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