Magnum Dynalab MD-102 Tuners

4.43/5 (7 Reviews)


Product Description

Ananlog FM Tuner w Optional Remote


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Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

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

Date Reviewed: November 16, 2003

Bottom Line:   
Wooow. I don't know how else to describe the quality of the sound. I had the Etude for 2 years with a great satisfaction. Of course except the radio stations compressions.

Recently I had the Etude upgraded to MD102 T (Tube;6922s). The tuner was available after spending 3 days in the factory. The old tuner with a very nice sound was gone. In the past I kind of liked when the music from the Jazz FM radio station would put me to sleep. Sleep any longer is not a possibility. The 102T grabbed me by the collars pulled me right into the performance. I am not sure if I like sharing my living room with strangers. Presenters at the radio stations seem to have perched dead centre between the speakers.

I have a very revealing system made up of Vandersteen 3As paired with Bryston 7Bs. Front end is driven by a home made tube preamplifier running in pure Class A with 0 feedback ala ‘Nuance’. On the circuit path there is one Bartolucci transformer, one 5687 running at 30mA, one cathode bypass cap, one bias resistor and one resistor on a Shallco ladder attenuator controlling the input. B+ and the filament heaters are fully voltage regulated, solid state rectified, CLC filtered. Voltage regulation is provided by the pass tubes. PSU is a massively overrated unit weighing more than 70 pounds. The advantage is that there is only a slight hiss from the speakers (barely audible at 1 foot away from the speaker). When the preamp is at full volume with input selectors dialed into a non-existing device, measured voltage at the speaker is at 1.2mV. Wiring of the system is by JPS Labs superconductors and Mogami quads terminated by Neutrik balanced XLRs.

CD player is the renowned California Audio Labs CL20. Well, let me tell you folks, this tuner is so good that I can now hear the weaknesses of the CL20, I guess it is time to look for alternatives or may be after all I don’t need a CD player.

Sound is involving, life like with no weaknesses. Is there such a thing? Now that I have listened to the 102T, I am sure I have the right combination, without any reservations.

One caution folks, if you have a highly resolving system and would like to upgrade your tuner, be prepared for an additional expense, as you may no longer be impressed with your own CD player.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2003



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

Date Reviewed: January 18, 2001

Bottom Line:   
This and all the Magnum tuners are worth the investment and return gotten. The MD102 marks the most value, quality sound and highest selectivity and sensitivity of the tuners offered. This tuner offers all the best of the MD108 minus the tube output and higher price. The front end designs are all done in house, with several man hours put into each tuner made. This one has the five gang stage, three tuned frequencies, (the Etude has only two) The choice in tuner designs, one should know there preference to station location and how close you want near CD quality in sound. I recommend this unit highly for the money and performance, well built and service contacts excellent if needed.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999

Price Paid:    $2400.00

Purchased At:   Magnum Dynalab



Overall Rating:2
Value Rating:2
Submitted by Roger a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: August 26, 2000

Bottom Line:   
EQUIPMENT IN USE
Krell KRC-3 Preamp, Krell FPB-200 Amplifier, ProAc 3.8 Loudspeakers, Linn Karik / Numerik CD Player, Linn Kudos Tuner, Stax Lambda Pro Headphones and Etymotic ER-4S Ear Canal Earphones, Furman IT-1220 Balanced Power Conditioner.

Always in passionate pursuit of audio perfection, I happened upon an editorial review of the Magnum Dynalab MD-102 in a Canadian audio magazine. At the time, I was the fairly satisfied owner of a Linn "Kudos" tuner. However I was intrigued by the reviewer's description of the MD-102 and decided to audition it. I have to admit, at the time I was quite taken by aesthetics and the sound I perceived using my Etymotic ear canal earphones plugged into the high level RCA jacks. In any event, I decided to make the purchase.

Anxious to hear the difference between his older Magnum Dynalab tuner and the MD-102, a friend brought over his Etude. After setting them up so we could switch back and forth using the remote for my Krell KRC-3 preamp, we settled back for some A/B comparisons. To make a long and anguishing story very short, there were no discernable differences! As well, there were no discernable differences in its inability to capture weak stations such as WNED, which is only some 45 miles distant.

So, it seems all that had drawn me to the MD-102, was already available in the Etude .. no more, no less. As a result, the only notable differences left were that the MD-102 offered better aesthetics, balanced outputs and an antenna switch. In fact much of the display components seemed to be similar to that which had been used in the Etude.

The conclusion, as you must have already gathered, was that the Magnum Dynalab MD- 102 tuner, while it sounds wonderful, is not, in my opinion, any improvement over the Etude in terms of sound quality and ability to capture weak FM signals. At this point I was quite disappointed having spent a lot of money and ending up just getting a better looking tuner with balanced outputs and two switchable antenna connections. Also, I was missing the convenience of the remote controlled Linn Kudos tuner. Semi undaunted, I decided to try out Magnum Dynalab's very expensive remote control option. Initially this did not work due to a fault with the MD-102's remote option input socket. The factory fixed this and I was then able to evaluate the remote control for the MD-102.

In a nutshell the experience with the remote was a veritable disaster due to the remote codes of my Krell preamp interfering with the functions of the MD-102 remote unit. My Linn remote also interfered similarly so I assumed the MD-102 remote unit was using Philips (or similar) IR codes for some functions. At all times I used the recommended Magnum Dynalab remote setup. The most alarming experience was when the mute on my Krell preamp was actuated at reasonably high volume. The mute signal from the Krell or Linn remote would cause the MD-102 remote unit to change the station with a very loud and nerve wracking thump from my loudspeakers. I would think at really high volume settings woofers could be damaged. There were other IR signal problems which were irritating but not damaging to loudspeakers. Magnum Dynalab's comment about this problem was that they were aware of it but there was no suggestion that the problem was being corrected. Would be purchasers should be made aware that the Philips-type (or similar) IR signals may interfere with the Magnum Dynalab remote unit. It's not much fun to find this out after the purchase is made.

This whole episode made me realize that I had to have a remote controlled tuner with a sound quality of the MD-102 and hopefully better weak station reception. Therefore, my quest for audio perfection would have to continue.

Remembering that the Fanfare FT-1 had done rather well against the Kudos, I decided to audition the new Fanfare FT-1A against the MD-102, this time using the balanced outputs from both tuners. What happened after that I will save for a review of the Fanfare FT-1A. Suffice it to say I no longer own a MD-102.

As for how I would rate the MD-102, I don't agree with arbitrarily panning a product because it doesn't do everything that I want. As for the sound of the MD-102, I found it to be very good and I'd give it a "4". I would have given it a "5" if it had sounded any better than the Etude.

Based strictly on the figures published by Magnum Dynalab, there is no way it is that sensitive (24.0dBf for 50dB quieting in stereo). I'm aware now of a review done by Don Scott in Audiophile Voice where he says the (above) sensitivity figures published by M/D for the MD-102 are in error … that he found them to be closer to 35dBf. Yet the specs have not been changed in any of their ads or product information that I've noticed. Therefore I would give a "1" on that count.

Finally, the MD-102's optional remote control is affected by signals from other remote controls using Philips (or similar) IR codes, thereby causing a specific threat of damage to my speakers if M/D's recommended procedures are followed. For that they get a "0".

So, on those 3 counts, I guess (4+1+0) / 3 = 2 (rounded out).

As an addendum to this report, I would like to offer this about the first review submitted here by "Wallace". To say that the MD-102 "trounced" the Fanfare "on all counts" sounds more dismissive than analytically comparative. In his second review he questions the value of the FT-1A in comparison with the MD-102. I can't find anything in the text of Samir's review that says the Fanfare FT-1A is 1/2 the price of the MD-102. The fact is, with the MD-102 then costing $2,200 and adding the remote kit for $500 more, that makes a total of $2,700. Half of that is $1,350, which would be approximately the $1,395 for which Samir says he could buy the FT-1A. As for how the FT-1A and MD-102 compare, I disagree with his assessment of which models compare with which.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Samir a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: April 3, 2000

Bottom Line:   
The Fanfare FT-1A comes at $1395.00 remote included! Add the remote to the Magnum and the Fanfare comes cheaper than both Magnum... I am in the process of buying a Tuner and I selected the Etude and the Fanfare based on several review. I currently have the Fanfare at home for a 30-day trial and I ll try to get a Etude for a comparison, although I already had the chance to listen to it... After just 3 days I must say I am IMPRESSED by the Fanfare... More to come soon.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1995



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

Date Reviewed: March 30, 2000

Bottom Line:   
The MSRP on the Fanfare FT-1A as of Oct '99 Audio Annual Equipment Directory is $1495 Vs Magnum Dynalab MD-102 $2200.
I don't know how Samir came up with the Fanfare being 'half the price' of the MD-102.

The Fanfare is a very good tuner but belongs more in the class of a Magnum Dynalab Etude ($1350). After auditioning all 3 tuners in a high resolution system my opinion is that both Magnums outperform the Fanfare . . . 1 at $145 less and the other at $705 more. Take your pick. Either way you'll get greater clarity, selectivity and detail.

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   1999




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