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Fanfare Electronics, Ltd. FT-1
15 Reviews
rating  4.4 of 5
Description: Analog FM tuner (IR remote; 8 presets; balanced O/Ps


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Reviews 1 - 5 (15 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by rajko a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: March 4, 2003

Bottom Line:   
There is not much that can be added to these mostly fine reviews, but I just wanted make a brief note about my experience. I have listened to this unit mostly in its balanced mode. The sound is glorious, and much better than I ever expected a tuner can sound. Recently I switched to single-ended interconnects and noticed a dramatic decrease in the quality of sound. If you want to dig out a full potential of this tuner, do yourself a favor and use balanced outputs.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by matt a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 23, 2000

Bottom Line:   
I've been into high-end audio for many years, however I've never bought or owned a high-end tuner. So I finally decided to give one a try since my system seemed incomplete without one, and because the DMX unit sucked, so many pops and clicks and half the stations didn't work all the time. I was impressed with the packaging of the unit and the owners manual was nicely laid out. The unit also looked nice and matched my Van Alstine gear and Parasound transport quite well.

Soundwise I don't know what to think of it. Its definately not as good as my Omega IV dac; however, that may be an unfair comparison for any tuner. The other problem is the antenna can make a huge difference. I'm using the FM-2G, but given my current location I can't really mount it that good. One night when I was fiddling around with it and the tuner did pull in quite well, to the point where the sound really got out of the speakers and into the soundstage. I haven't been able to get that again ever since I remounted the antenna more securely. Obviously, the dynamic range and the frequency extremes aren't as good as the Omega's but most music doesn't have information in those regions, i.e. 20hz or 18khz. However, the unit was rather musical when everything was in its favor. Since then I've got about 60% of that performance and am sticking with it since I'll be moving shortly anyhow. If I was in a more permanent location I would probably use a yagi style instead of the FM-2G.

Overall, I don't know how to rate the unit. I was never "wowed" with the unit, but I don't know how unrealistic my expectations are coupled with the limitations of the antenna placement and/or, possibly, the antenna itself. I'll give it a 4 rating though.

Associated equipment:

Audio by Van Alstine Omega IV DAC
Audio by Van Alstine Fet/Valve 350hc power amplifier
Audio by Van Alstine Fet/Valve SL preamplifier
Parasound CD/P 1000 transport
Biro Technologies L/1 loudspeakers
Stock interconnect cables
Kimber 4PR speaker cable
Good acoustic treatment
Sanus Natural Foundations Loudspeaker Stands
Salamander style audio rack

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Price Paid:    $1400.00

Purchased At:   Fanfare Direct

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Roger a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: October 3, 2000

Bottom Line:   
The Fanfare FT-1A FM tuner

I have been unable to get Audio Review to open a separate category for the Fanfare FT-1A tuner. So, like everyone else, I am placing this review in the Fanfare FT-1 category even though there is, in my opinion, a very marked improvement in the sound quality of the newer model Fanfare FT-1A tuner.

Although this is a review of the Fanfare FT-1A some history may be interesting. My move into a higher resolution audio system left me deficient in one area, namely an audiophile tuner. At the time I was using the tuner section of an NAD receiver with my other equipment which was all Linn (Kairn Preamp, Klout Amp & Karik/Numerik CD player. As the Linn Kremlin was just too expensive to even consider I managed to pick up Magnum Dynalab FT-101A second hand. I had the factory bring the unit up to specifications and certainly found a great improvement over the NAD receiver tuner section. I lived with the MD FT-101A for some time but yearned for remote control of the tuner. When Linn introduced their Kudos remote controlled tuner I immediately auditioned the unit at home over a weekend and found to my surprise and joy that the Kudos tuner performed as well as the FT-101A in all areas and was even superior in bringing in distant stations.

In my continued quest for audio excellence I auditioned a Fanfare FT-1. Using single ended interconnects, I found that whilst the FT-1 had slightly deeper bass, somewhat better soundstage and good ergonomics, the performance improvement did not justify the cost to move to the Fanfare tuner. Later on a review of the new Magnum Dynolab MD 102 tuner appeared which tempted me to audition this tuner and then make the purchase. I had hoped to be able to use the MD remote unit with the MD 102 but this was not possible as my review of the MD 102 explains in my review of the MD 102 in Audio Review.

My next move was to evaluate the new Fanfare FT-1A tuner, as I had liked the ergonomics of the previous model, the FT-1. This time I evaluated the Fanfare tuner using good quality balanced interconnects (Straight Wire Virtuoso) and found the Fanfare tuner to be more than just comparable to the MD 102. Actually I found the new FT-1A superior pulling in distant stations. Also, there was a definite elimination of background grunge that I would hear on the MD 102 when listening with my Stax Lambda Pro earspeakers or even more particularly with my Etymotic ear canal earphones (very highly recommended by the way). In no way was this elimination of grunge offset by any lack of high frequency detail. I also felt the FT-1A superior to the MD 102 in both soundstaging and bass response after a couple of weeks of use.

I cannot speak too highly of the Fanfare FT-1A tuner. It looks good, has all the remote control features repeated on the tuner itself and is incredible value, when compared with the MD-102. The reasonably large, clear display gives all the information anyone could require. The most important aspect is its great sound. Given a good station such as Canadian Broadcasting Corporation I have sometimes forgotten that I was actually listening to the FT-1A, rather than a familiar CD, until someone coughed in the audience! I have had the FT-1A for over a year now and appreciate it even more now as I have improved the resolution of my system with new loudspeaker cables (Analysis Plus Silver Oval Bi-Wire) and the new Krell KCT preamplifier.

A useful feature on the MD 102 that is not presently available on the FT-1A is an antenna switch for changing between two antennas. This is really not much of a negative (the only one I found), as I would have to go physically to the MD-102 to switch antennas anyway. Fortunately there are remote controlled, outboard antenna switches available at a very reasonable cost.
The following equipment was in use when I purchased the FT-1A:
Krell KRC-3 Preamp, Krell FPB-200 Amplifier, ProAc 3.8 Loudspeakers, Linn Karik / Numerik CD Player, Magnum Dynalab MD 102 Tuner, Stax Lambda Pro Headphones, Etymotic ER-4S Ear Canal Earphones, Furman IT-1220 Balanced Power Conditioner, Straight Wire Black Silc Loudspeaker Cables and Virtuoso Interconnects.

Equipment now in use is as follows:
Krell KCT Preamp, Krell FPB-200 Amplifier, B & W 803 Nautilus Loudspeakers, Meridian 508.24 CD Player, Fanfare FT-1A Tuner, Stax Lambda Pro Headphones, Etymotic ER-4S Ear Canal Earphones, Furman IT-1220 Balanced Power Conditioner, Analysis Plus Silver Oval Bi-Wire Loudspeaker Cables and Straight Wire Virtuoso Balanced Interconnects.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Randy a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: July 24, 2000

Bottom Line:   
You know, I love this AudioReview site. It's fun, it's effective, and sometimes it's downright fascinating. Take the Fanfare FT-1A Reference Analog FM Tuner/Monitor. I think it's wonderful. A five-star beauty. So now you know where I stand.

Eight previous reviewers say "five" stars, one says "four", one says "two" and one says "one". Lots of "hot", two "big chills" and no consensus at all in the middle. That's the fascinating part. Oh well, I'm with the "five" star club, that's for sure. Can't make sense of the low scores, but I guess it's important that they can vent them - 'tis a free country and that's what AudioReview.com is all about.

I live in Ottawa, Canada and listen to FM (and I mean a lot of FM) for one big reason. And that reason is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. More specifically their french and english FM stereo stations (wonderful classical in the evening, cool jazz after that, opera on the weekends, new age at midnight, and good old "Disk Drive" in the afternoon). The CBC broadcasts are wonderful in their quality and don't suffer from a lot of bizarre or bloated processing prior to broadcasting.

I have a good view of the broadcast tower, twenty miles away, so I am not going to talk about sensitivity or selectivity. I'd be wasting your time or lying.

I own both the Fanfare FT-1A and the Dynalab MD102. They are both remarkable units and I enjoy each one very much. They both have tricked visitors (with pretty good ears). All of a sudden a station break comes on and they ask, is that the radio!? Yes sir, it is CBC shining through some pretty cool circuitry.

Do I (personally) care if the tuner calls for manual rotary adjustment (MD-102) or a push button selection (FT-1A)? Not a bit. Do I think one is sexier that the other. No, they're just different and both very stiking. But what I do care about is the SOUND. And (given a good source) the Fanfare FT-1A is exquisite.

The bass out of the Fanfare FM tuner is wonderfully rich but tight and musical (Paradigm Servo 15); not the slightest resemblance to home video bass. Violins and other strings are luscious. Jazz percolates as well as Maxwell House, maybe better. I call the Fanfare a silly smile component. You know, the one you can't get off your face. Hard to believe that the FT-1A can deliver a real sense of sound stage and depth (depending, as ever, upon the source)!! But it does, ... I hear it every day.

One reviewer commented that the "scan" button zipped by too many stations. What I enjoyed far more was slowly working my way through the stations with the "tune" button and watching the tuner signal strength as I closed in on the supposed ideal frequency and then carefully selected the optimim IF band. Yes, I did get more stations this way, but I am not disappointed with the sensitivity logic that favoured the better stations when "scan" was used. If "scan" had offered up every rag-tag peripheral station, I would have found this problematic. In the end, I picked my favourite 8 stations, with the IF band of my choice, programmed them into the presets, and have been all set ever since.

By the way, I am using the Fanfare FM-2G omnidirectional whip antenna.

Thank you, Mr. Southcott for a wonderful product and for a value that's hard to beat.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Angelique a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: June 4, 2000

Bottom Line:   
We were looking for a Tuner and have come accross several units, among them the Magnum Dynalab Etude, some Sony, and an Arcam.

Technical specifications are very obscure to me and I never paid attention to them.

Musically, the FT1A was the first unit which impressed us in a consistent and coherent way, throughout the programs we used to listen to. The sound is sweet detailed and full of emotion: this tuner conveys classical music with emotion, when the performer does so! The ambiance of the studio or the club is well reproduced on jazz pieces!

The FT1A is not cheap, for sure, but a good system deserves a good CD as well as a good tuner: and at this price, the FT1A is the only one that provides us with real pleasure! So, if you are looking for a tuner, get this one for a trial before spending around $1000 - $2000!

In reference to one review below, the Tuner automatically picks up more stations than what we need (in the Washington Metro Area) with no interferences from other radio ...

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2000

Reviews 1 - 5 (15 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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