With radio now available via Sky and Freeview, not to mention streaming onto a PC near you, the hi-fi tuner might seem an endangered species. Or maybe not: there’s no shortage of high-quality hi-fi tuners on the market.
Hybrid tunerThe NAD’s a hybrid tuner, with three aerial inputs – for FM, AM and DAB – and 40 presets for the analogue stations as well as favourite station memory on digital. Optical and electrical digital outputs are available from DAB, and there are analogue outputs from all bands, while the digital-to-analogue conversion used for DAB is based on that in NAD’s C521BEE and C542 CD players.
This tuner is is good – very good, in fact – with a decent outdoor aerial delivering plenty of signal. Pop and rock stations are their usual slightly hard-edged selves – compressed to the point of breathless excitement – but find a decent Radio 3 concert or Radio 2 music special, and you’ll enjoy what this tuner can do with its well-weighted bass, expressive midband and fine treble detailing.
Dodgier on DABThings are a bit ropier on DAB: not the tuner’s fault, but many stations now sound rather thin and artificial in digital form. Stick to FM for the quality stuff and DAB for non-FM stations – TalkSport and Radio 5 sound better on DAB than AM – and you’ll be fine.
In fact the NAD’s only real problem is the presence of rivals which do the same job for less. And with the money you save, you could buy a good FM aerial.