Fanfare FM FTA-100 Tuners

Fanfare FM FTA-100 Tuners 


8 AM/FM presets XLR/RCA outputs


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[Aug 31, 2003]
Audio Enthusiast


My first impression upon delivery was that Fanfare is one high quality class-act. The Fanfare arrived in a very well packaged box, and included a 3-ring binder owner's manual, plus an attractive full-featured remote control complete with batteries. Another testament to the FTA-100’s quality was the transferable 3-year warranty, which to me indicated that this manufacturer had the confidence to add a longer time period than most vendors. In my opinion, the Fanfare tuner's strong black metal case is very well constructed and great at preventing RF from spewing into or out of this tuner. In fact, I could place the AM loop antenna on the top of the tuner and I would not get the VF display feeding noise back into the tuner. The rear apron of the tuner supplies both low and high level unbalanced audio outputs via two pair of very-impressive gold-plated RCA jacks in addition to the pair of XLR balanced outputs. Separate AM and FM antennas are connected to the unit via industry-standard “F” connectors. All this was topped-off with an attractive, machined faceplate, VF display and preset buttons. I was interested to see if the AMAX logo on the front of the Fanfare lived up to its promise of high quality wide-bandwidth AM – and deliver on its promise, it did. I tuned first to AM 630 - CFCO some 81 miles (130km) distant and after tuning the loop it sounded quite good. I then pushed the “WIDE” button which opened-up the bandwidth even further. Then the real icing on the cake came after


My only suggestion would be a future optional RDS text display.

In my opinion, this AM stereo tuner is the best on the market, and proof that high quality AMAX AM tuners such as this would render IBOC / HD radio a needless expense. The FTA-100 proved that well-engineered spectacular analog AM stereo audio is still being broadcast over a number of quality-minded AM stations, and can be fully appreciated when using an AMAX tuner of this caliber. In addition to the AM section, I’ve yet to hear another FM tuner with the winning combination of non-existent background noise while maintaining such a high FM sensitivity. The Fanfare FTA-100 tuner truly makes ‘listening to the radio’ fun again. "Following a thorough examination of its construction and being an engineer (electrical) one of whose hobbies is avid radio DXing, I was anxious to give the FTA100 a good workout." For my AM testing I connected a (Radio Shack) loop antenna, quite similar to the Terk AM loop antenna. For my FM testing, I utilized a standard FM dipole antenna. I had so much fun with the AM section of the Fanfare that I nearly forgot about the FM section! After tuning in several FM stations I was convinced that the FTA-100’s FM section is so crisp that it would serve well for both the studio as well as audiophiles. I was impressed on how well they filter out the SCA hash that you can hear on lesser-built tuners during quiet classical passages. When all 5 signal strength LEDs are illuminated, you are in for a real treat in terms of low-noise, high sensitivity and decent dynamic range on FM, as evidenced by a local classical musical station's broadcast of a live concert. The two-position bandwidth helps sort-out close-spaced fringe stations with ease. I have no complaints about the Fanfare FM section whatsoever. Another engineering observation was that even after several consecutive hours of use, there were no ‘warm spots’ on the case – to me a very important bonus if you are rack-mounting this baby. In addition, the FTA-100 unit I used powered-up in just milliseconds, and right on frequency as I detected no audible frequency drift. The specifications listed in their well-documented owner's manual all appear to be accurate, except I believe that Fanfare has been too modest with the incredible level of stereo separation you can receive from AM stereo stations on the FTA-100. Last but not least, the Fanfare FTA-100 has a unique 'Uniset' preset pushbutton system. In addition to presetting the receiving frequency, the unit also recalls your bandwidth and stereo settings - very nice. In summary, the Fanfare FTA-100 is a wonderful tuner with which to enjoy wide-bandwidth AM stations, especially the 300 or so broadcasting in stereo AM. The FM tuner performance makes the FTA-100 an easy recommendation for those looking to rebroadcast their on-air FM feed or to hear what they really sound like when they start adjusting their audio processing. I believe the Fanfare FTA-100 to be an overall great choice of an AMAX stereo/FM stereo tuner that can truly make "listening to the radio" enjoyable again. Let's hope that IBOC/HD radio can achieve the audio quality of the FTA-100 sometime down the road. In my opinion, Fanfare has come-up with a five-star tuner.

Similar Products Used:

Sony SRF-A100

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