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Sony HD Radio Tuner Hits All Right Notes

I've written about HD radio tuners before. Models from Sangean, Rotel and DaySequerra range from $200 to $1,700 and all provide, to varying degrees, very good to excellent sound quality. The DaySequerra sounds the best to my ears. Then again, David Day makes all the professional HD tuners used by radio station engineers to monitor their signals.

That's why I was intrigued after hearing about this new Sony model. According to experts, this tuner measures better than just about any radio tuner ever made. Although very technical and thorough, read the test results from tuner expert Brian Beezley. I won't give away everything he says except for one quote: "The performance of the Sony XDR-F1HD on stereo FM is spectacular and unprecedented." He not even talking about how well it does with HD stations. He means the Sony's analog reception of stereo FM stations is amazing.

The box itself is small, compact and lightweight, almost in-dash car radio sized. There's an on-off switch on the front, next to the large display window. There are some buttons on the top, but it's easier to control everything from the included remote control. There are separate wire AM and FM antennas included in the box. RCA output jacks allow you to attach the XDR-F1HD to your stereo.

So we know how it measures, but how does it sound? Amazingly good in my system. Let me qualify that. It's not as good as the best, big-bucks FM tuners I've ever heard but extremely good nonetheless. On AM, the sound is excellent. AM HD makes all-news and all-talk stations sound fabulous.

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