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AM Stereo Tuner
Meduci PRO1K AM Stereo Tuner Review
What Is AM Stereo
Some of you who come to read this
review will already be familiar with
AM stereo broadcasting and require no further explanation. If this is
you, feel free to skip down to the rest of the
Now, for the rest of you who are
sitting there scratching your heads
(and you didn't think I could see that--hah!) and wondering what's
going on or if I really meant to say FM stereo broadcasting, let me explain.
There actually is such a thing as an AM stereo
radio broadcast. Like
its FM counterpart, broadcasting in stereo over AM was a retrofit to
existing technology. A number of standards were proposed, with entries
from Magnavox, Hazeltine, Motorola and others. At first, it is said
that the Magnavox system was selected as the national standard in the
US. Later, the FCC revisited this and subsequently selected the
Motorola system, known as C-Quam, to be the nationally utilized
standard in the US. Many AM stereo capable receivers were sold in the
1980s, with models produced for each type of system. Some would
support multiple standards, allowing the user to choose the method of
AM stereo broadcasting and assure proper decoding of the broadcast.
It's hard to say why AM stereo never
took off. Maybe it was the fact
that the programs most likely to benefit from the stereo reproduction
(music) were already on FM and had been for years. Perhaps the number
of standards put off consumers (for reasons of complexity) and
manufacturers (for reasons of cost). It could have been that the
technical limitations and perceptions of an AM radio station's audio
quality made potential listeners feel as though it wasn't worth the
bother trying to hear AM stereo.
It certainly wasn't for lack of
receivers. Many major names in radio
produced AM stereo capable receivers. RadioShack even offered a unit
for sale. Some were quite aggressively promoted.
the 1990s and onward, AM stereo broadcasting has kind of "flown
under the radar". A few AM radio stations still broadcast in stereo (pretty much
exclusively in C-QUAM, at least in the US) and receivers are still
available. Sometimes AM stereo broadcast decoding capability is
included in a modern radio--a few currently-produced or not-very-old
car radios have the needed technology. It's rumored that Sony was
producing an AM stereo capable portable radio up until a few years ago
and may still be selling it in Japan. Despite the mass market ignoring
AM stereo (not to be confused with a rock band having the same name)
broadcasting, it has a rather
devoted fan (very large
font alert!) base.
(I think I know the guy who runs that last one.)
My first taste of AM Stereo came when
I bought an old Sherwood
shaft-style in-dash AM/FM/cassette radio. It's this one, right here. (Picture snaked from here.)
I was looking to put it into
an old tractor radio cabinet and mount said cabinet to a lawn tractor.
(Quit looking at me like that.) Had I not also received the manual, I
probably would have remained unaware of AM stereo broadcasting. Yet the
manual discussed the set's capabilities at great length and offered
reasons why AM stereo broadcasting was sure to be the next big thing.
In particular, the manual cited the "fupp, fupp, fupp noise" (yes, it's
a direct quote) produced when too far away from an FM station and
stated that AM stereo would not suffer this problem. At the time,
many stations would trigger the AM Stereo reception indicator, but I
couldn't hear anything in stereo as I only had one speaker hooked up.
I never actually put the radio on the
lawn tractor, due to a lot of
technical difficulty and subsequent failure of the tape player in the
radio. I think it got pitched or recycled at some point.
What if you
want a truly new receiver, without having to buy a car, build a kit,
design a circuit yourself?
where the subject of this review comes in. A company by the name
of Meduci, LLC has produced two
AM stereo tuners. The first is their
AMX2000 tuner, which is now discontinued (and which I have also never
seen). The second and currently produced tuner is the PRO1K. This tuner
a one-trick pony, tuning only the standard AM broadcast band in 1
steps. Yet it does more than just play AM radio--not only does it
decode C-QUAM stereo broadcasting when tuned to a station using it, but
it also boasts a high audio frequency response (20Hz-15kHz) and
wide-band reception. Whether or not it can meet those specifications in
any practical use is a matter of some debate. The NRSC standards as
seemingly mandated by the FCC prohibit AM stations to broadcast audio
frequencies above 10 kHz. In a study, many
listeners seemed to prefer broadcasts where the high frequencies were
rolled off around 7.5 kHz.
modern AM receiver circuits are afterthoughts, tacked on by
that consumers can tune in a news broadcast or listen to a sportscast.
Fidelity is typically low, high audio frequencies are usually rolled
a crude means of filtering out high frequency noise and hash) and music
reproduction is poor. You can forget any special features--modern AM
radios most likely won't decode C-QUAM or do anything else that is
interesting. There are a few more interesting AM radios out there, such
as the venerable GE/RCA Superadio and the C. Crane radio. These offer
better performance, yet they do not play in stereo when receiving AM
broadcasts. Some other companies who specialize in high quality radios,
such as the Sangean company, are selling AM stereo capable radio
receivers. There are even rumored to be a few iPod docks and
mini-stereo systems with the capability to decode and receive AM stereo
The Meduci tuners aim to address all
of these problems. This review
aims to answer the question of just how well their PRO1K tuner did on
what is hopefully a practical evaluation. I
bought one of these tuners with my own money (all $185 worth, including
shipping!). I was not sure if it would be a good buy, and there were no
reviews of the unit that I could find. What little I did find suggested
no more than the existence of these tuners and that some people did in
fact have them. Those who had heard one generally said good things
It's now safe to say that
this review is complete. The movies of the Meduci tuner in action,
along with the pictures of the Sony radio to which it was compared are
now uploaded. Thank you for your patience.
This effort also solves the problem of no reviews. Now there is at
least one review.
It takes a few weeks to get your own
Meduci tuner. Each one is
supposedly hand built in the US from domestic and imported parts. I
believe that the Meduci business consists of only one person, a man by
the name of Jeff Deck. I placed my order around the second week of
November and got my tuner on the last weekend in November. It was
delivered via insured Priority Mail, with a signature required.
Opening the box revealed the PRO1K
tuner, serial number 7.
Assuming the serial numbers are sequential, this would explain the
paucity of reviews out there, as only five or six other people can
possibly have one of these tuners as of the date that mine was
Here's the front of the unit:
And here's the back:
The Meduci tuner does indeed have a
"homebrew" look to it. Let's not
judge it too closely just yet, as looks aren't everything. Curiously,
the openings for the row of connectors and power switch have been
"nibbled" out. I don't know why they simply couldn't have been drilled.
It would have looked a lot better and taken about the same amount of
time by my estimation.
bottom is covered with torn up or cut adhesive paper labels that
serve to conceal the points where the circuit board retaining bolts
protrude through the case. There are four stick-on rubber feet on the
bottom of the unit. Users are cautioned to place the unit on a stable
surface, so as to avoid upsetting the relatively low frequency of an
internal oscillator crystal.
Those who are paying extra careful
attention have no doubt noticed the
empty screw holes in the back. Which brings me to what's inside.
Serviceable Parts Inside
Oops. I guess this means I don't have
a warranty any more! (More on that later.)
The major functional parts visible
here are the variable capacitor, two
voltage regulators and a few ICs. Both voltage regulators are simple
types, one is a 7809 regulator and the other's type information is
obscured by the heatsink. It's probably much the same thing. Meduci
states that the dual voltage regulators provide additional isolation
between the signal circuits and frequency counter display that is
exclusive to the PRO1K. (The previous generation AMAX2000 tuner has no
display.) This is an analog tuner, not a digital one. All told, the
internal construction of the PRO1K tuner is a lot more professional
than the outside.
All of the ICs visible here are from
Sanyo. The smaller of the two is
an LA1245 AM electronic tuner, while the
large IC is Sanyo's
LC7265 "received frequency display for radio
receivers". In other
words, it is a single chip frequency counter supporting AM, FM, and LW
frequency indications. Interestingly, the previous generation AMX2000
tuner used an LA1247 in place of the LA1245.
The only obvious
difference between the two parts is that the LA1247 was made for use in
AM stereo receiver designs and offers somewhat better signal to noise
ratio performance as a result. Realistically, I'm not sure how much it
matters, as the two parts are functionally equivalent. Sanyo's
datasheets don't highlight any obvious performance differences and the
pinout is identical for the LA1245 and LA1247. Given that the
LA1245 is socketed, you could replace it with an LA1247 and see. Maybe
I will, if one such chip drops into my lap without undue efforts.
As for the front panel display, it is
a Lite-On LTC-5848G. This is a
four character green LED display, containing colons and a few decimal
points. Only three digits, part of the fourth and the "upper" decimal
point are used by the
PRO1K tuner. The remaining segments will never light.
As for the variable capacitor, it is
gang, 365 pF (picofarad) air variable capacitor of the type used in
crystal radio projects. The only notable difference is the inclusion of
an 8-to-1 reduction drive. I believe it is this exact part. Let me promise you now that more
will be said about this piece later. Oh yes, I will have a lot to say about it...
The AM stereo decoder along with a
clock crystal and some "other stuff"
will be found on the bottom of the board. Yes, it is a double-sided
board and the C-QUAM decoder IC (an MC13028
hundred and seventy-nine ACTIVE TRANSISTORS as repeatedly touted by the Meduci site)
is surface soldered on the back.
I'd have to say that the assembly
quality of the internals is top
notch. You can tell it's been hand-assembled, but not by much. Nearly
all of the soldering is incredibly neat and precise. The printboard has
a somewhat homemade look to it, but it's well made. Contrast this to
the rather rough exterior construction quality.
Meduci states that the PRO1K tuner
works best and was aligned with a
tuned loop antenna, such as the TERK/Audiovox AM Advantage or the good
old Select-A-Tenna. Since they recommend the TERK by name, it's the one
I bought. While I waited for it to arrive, I piddled with some other
antennas and connected them to the PRO1K tuner. These other antennas
were a generic AM loop connected with jumper wires to the PRO1K and a
Technics stereo receiver's AM loop antenna with an RCA plug on it.
Neither one produced great performance. In fact, the sensitivity of the
PRO1K tuner was pretty low with either of these antennas attached.
Connecting the AM Advantage antenna
made a huge difference. Meduci
includes a cable suitable for making a direct connection to your
tunable antenna, so be sure to use it and keep it handy. You will need
The only real drawback to the tunable
antenna is that you have to keep
adjusting it as you tune the Meduci set. This makes scanning the AM
band more tedious than normal.
Still, when you see the difference that the tuned loop makes once you
have it lined up to a station's frequency...it's not really such a pain
So How Does It
Before I can talk about that, I need
to tell you about my test setup. Bear with me here.
If you have spent any time viewing
other pages on this web site at all,
you'll notice that I have a lot of stuff going on. And I also have a
lot of physical stuff to support my activities. Some less visionary people may refer to this sort of behavior
These people are easy to identify, as their reaction may simply be
judged while I discuss (e.g.) the merits of having a small cutout
section of railroad track by demonstrating how its superior weight can
be used to keep boards against areas where animals are sneaking into a
yard house or how it may also be used to hold doors open or closed with
great certainty, even in gale-force winds.
Yes, it's funny how the word hoarding never comes up in a discussion when they need
that piece of railroad track to hold their basement door shut while
they hide from the whirling tornado that is bearing down on their home.
One of the things I have is another
AM stereo receiver in the form of
Sony's XR-A33 car radio. This features the ability to decode C-QUAM AM
alongside an FM stereo radio and cassette player. That's about all I
can tell you about it specification wise, as I do not have a manual and
was unable to find one on the web. I've been sitting on this thing for
a while, waiting for the perfect reason to use it and now I'd found it.
So I pulled it out of storage, still complete with the previous owner's
inept attempt at wiring it into his or her car dangling off the factory
wiring pigtail. At least that part was still there. Unfortunately,
there was no wiring map. I suspect that I picked this thing up from a
pile of otherwise unwanted items at a garage sale.
I had to take some careful guesses
and after a few false starts, I had
enough of the pinout correct that the set would power up and drive two
speakers. I verified that I had a left and right channel, and not some
stupid combination of two left or two right channels. Since my
regulated power supply was on the fritz, I tried the wall wart for a
Linksys router. While this was good enough for a go/no go test, it was
introducing a lot of noise into the Sony AM tuner. I finally powered
the Sony radio from a lawn tractor battery, which solved any problem of
power line interference.
Just as I suspected, publishing this article flushed my memory card
reader out of hiding in a day or two. So, without further ado, here are
the pictures of the Sony radio "contraption".
Here's a closer look:
With all of that done, I hooked up a
car radio antenna that I had lying
around and tested the set out. Both of the AM and FM tuners were
happily functional. Although it could have been a case of the unit not
liking the Kentucky Headhunters cassette that I tried to play, I think
it is safer to assume that the tape player was broken. It started to
play at a very uneven rate of speed, followed by tape spooling out of
the front of the unit. For this demonstration, it does not matter.
While I did try the tunable loop
antenna with the Sony set, it neither
improved or detracted from the performance. I would imagine that its
tuner is focused on dealing with the constant moving target of radio
reception in a mobile environment amidst hostile interference sources
like an ignition system and alternator, and therefore won't need any
help with reception in a nice, quiet environment. I think this page
might offer an explanation as to why I saw the behavior I did--as it
states that only less sensitive receivers will see a benefit from the
Meduci touts the audio fidelity and
frequency range of the PRO1K as one
of its selling points. Therefore, it is only fair to compare it with a
similar receiver. I think the Sony XR-A33 is fair competition. Sony
included selectable wide, narrow and forced monophonic reception
switches on the XR-A33. When set to the monophonic mode, the Sony set
off the high end audio from all AM stations, just like more common
receivers. Although they are
indicated as being used with stereo reception of an AM radio program
only, choosing the "narrow" or "wide" bandwidth settings improved the
audio quality of all AM stations. It's nothing short of impressive how
Sony crammed all of this configurability into a shaft-style car radio,
where space to put controls is at a premium.
It's also been suggested that the Sony XR-A33 radio is capable of
decoding all the major AM stereo systems that were in use. I don't know
how true this is, but I do know that Sony made an "all-in-one" decoder
chip for this purpose and that the XR-A33 will clearly decode and play
C-QUAM stereo, as indicated by its display:
I listened to the Sony and PRO1K for
several hours each. Several
stations that I can receive are broadcasting in C-QUAM, and one of
these plays classic country music. The others are both news/talk
To sum it up, the PRO1K tuner and
Sony XR-A33 radio were very
competitive when locked on to a C-QUAM AM stereo broadcast. Audio
quality from both (with the Sony set to the wide audio bandwidth
option) was basically identical between the units. I thought that the
PRO1K might have a little more stereo separation at times, but it
was a close run thing and almost indistinguishable when A/B
testing them. Of course, the Sony has its own audio amplifier built in,
while the PRO1K must be played into an amplifier. I used a JC Penney
MCS 2230 stereo to amplify the PRO1K's output.
Frankly, the audio clarity and
fidelity of the PRO1K, when it's tuned
to a station that is outputting clean audio, is startling. You might
know that you are listening to
AM from the little clicks and pops or
other noise, but you might not believe it. In my adventures, most
stations seemed to be outputting high quality audio with good tone.
Only one station had a very rolled
off signal that cut most of the
treble right out of the picture before I could ever receive it with any
I happened to catch a station from
Ontario, Canada that was benefitting
from "skip" or similar propagation behavior. Played through the PRO1K,
sounded sharp and clear, like it was right next door. I didn't have the
Sony radio set up at the same time, and the AM tuner in the Penney's
stereo receiver was basically deaf to the broadcast. For the time that
clear reception lasted, that station in Ontario sounded like it was
I also learned that my wireless router puts out a shedload of hashlike
interference when it is operating. So much for all the shielding inside
it, I guess.
The following files consist of recorded audio from the Meduci PRO1K AM
stereo tuner. All of them contain the same demonstration, carried out
across several stations on the AM dial. The only difference is the
quality level and resulting file size. Choose the file type that best
matches your connection speed, but be aware that the lower bitrate
files have lower apparent audio quality.
Your choices are: MP3 with a data rate of 96, 128, 192, 256 or 320 kilobits per second, an Ogg Vorbis file (if you are unwilling or unable to decode MP3 files on your system) and the original uncompressed 44kHz 16-bit PCM wave file. Please don't download the PCM wave file unless you must, as it will take a fair amount of time for this to complete. I
strongly recommend that you right-click (or control+click on most
Macintosh systems) so you may choose to download the file and listen to
it later, rather than trying to let your browser or media player
software "stream" the audio.
For those interested in the equipment used to capture these broadcasts,
here's a detailed rundown. I played the Meduci PRO1K tuner into a JC
Penney MCS 2230 all-in-one stereo system through the second AUX input.
From there, the output was recorded to a brand new TDK D90 normal bias
cassette tape using the built in recorder on the MCS 2230. I thought
about recording it directly into a computer to avoid any quality loss
from the cassette tape recording process, but I felt that could cause a
lot of distortion to be introduced from RF noise radiating from the
computer. No noise reduction processes were used. Playback was from a
Pioneer CT-W208R tape deck into a Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS sound
card's line input. From there, the signal was captured by Audacity
software and saved to the PCM wave format. A TERK AM Advantage tunable
loop antenna was directly connected to the Meduci tuner.
The following stations are featured on the recording, which is approximately six minutes long.
|Type Of Broadcast
|Unknown 750 kHz
|Monophonic (first music example)
(with notably rolled off high end
and HD simulcast)
(good stereo separation,
with some "flickering" to mono)
The closest (WILL-AM and WJBC AM) of these stations are approximately 30 miles away.
The rest are 50 or more miles away. I don't know where the unknown
station is located, as it never gave any identification.
Tab Patterson did a recording of an AM stereo station from
approximately 7 miles out using the PRO1K. This can presently be heard here.
There is a noticeable pitch shift toward the end of the recording I made, while the Statler Brothers are performing Hello Mary Lou.
I don't know what happened there, as all of the cassette decks involved
have newly installed drive belts. There is also a rather awkward
cutting in of the WIRL signal once again to capture their station ID.
Perhaps the best example of the stereo separation present in an AM
stereo broadcast happens around the point after WIRL-AM does their
station ID and the Ronnie Milsap song starts to play.
Despite what the ID3V2 tags indicate, the MP3 files all have different bit rates.
Thus Concludes the
Good News Portion of Our Broadcast
Okay, so the Meduci tuner sounds
pretty good. It has decent stereo separation.
Heck, it is one of a few modern tuners to decode AM stereo. What's not
to like? A few things, actually.
Sadly, some of these come close to being deal breakers. Let me tell you about each one.
and foremost...there is no means by which the end user can adjust
the audio bandwidth or force monophonic reception of an AM signal.
Meduci claims that this is not necessary, as the Motorola decoder
blends AM audio to monaural under "adverse reception conditions". It's
not clear when this would happen, or how smooth the transition would
be. Short of modifying the circuit, you can't do a thing about it. I'm
not sure the automatic blending can be disabled anyway, since it is
handled in the Motorola decoder IC. Meduci also does not follow the
NRSC guidelines for audio de-emphasis upon reception of the signal,
which may "skew" the audio due to no proper "de-emphasis" on the
iBiquity's HD Radio is used a by a
few AM stations and its
method of implementation infringes on the techniques used to produce AM
stereo. As such, a station broadcasting an HD Radio stream cannot also
broadcast in AM stereo. Well...I've heard HD Radio on AM stations and
it's nothing to get excited about. The audio is harsh, warbly and way
too bright. Reception is also hit and miss. This much is pointed out on
the Meduci web site, in an article that discusses why nobody cares
about HD Radio.
HD Radio carriers on an AM station
may cause false triggering of the
C-QUAM decoder. Meduci claims this is not likely to happen on the
what? It does. I left it tuned to an AM station broadcasting HD Radio
content alongside their analog broadcast and periodically the PRO1K
would switch its stereo indicator light on. There was also a marked
change in the audio. Despite the Sony radio's age, it never once false
triggered on the same station, or on a random sampling of others that
were also broadcasting with HD Radio.
When the Meduci tuner is locked onto
a good, strong C-QUAM station, it
seems to do very well. When it's not locked reliably or can't maintain
lock, I never noticed a gradual blend to mono. The stereo separation
(and usually the stereo reception indicator) both dropped like a stone.
Every time it happened while I was in the room, I noticed. It was
annoying, because it grabbed my attention. I am guilty of being
particularly attuned to things like this. It might bother other (dare I
say "more normal") people a lot less. I'm one of these people who
notices the blip in the background music playing at a restaurant.
The other thing I noticed in this
vein was a tendency for the stereo
broadcasts to have odd phase-shifting effects. Sitting there in front
of the thing, paying attention and listening to it, I wasn't as bothered by this behavior.
Yet when I was doing other things in the room, these sudden shifts in
the relationship between each channel were disconcerting in a way and
every time they happened.
All of these things are tolerable or
could be fixed. I'd even buy that
some of these are the way things are on the AM band, no matter the
quality of tuner you have. Even so, I never noticed the phase shift
problem on the Sony radio, and if the stereo lock was not reliable, I
could kill the stereo reception entirely (at the expense of audio
Yet there's the one really serious problem...let me tell you all about
Remember what I said above, that I
would have more to say about the variable capacitor used in the PRO1K
tuner? Here it is.
There were times when I noticed that
the readout on the frequency
counter was not moving in a nice, even progression up or down.
Sometimes it would jump a hundred or more kHz down while being tuned.
The other charming quirk that I noticed was extreme "condensation" of
the upper part of the AM band relative to the turning of the variable
Here's a series of video demonstrations, showing the tuning taking place at a reasonable rate on the low end of the dial, becoming condensed at the higher end of the dial and "jumping".
(For the best results, right or control-click these links and save the
files, as opposed to trying to "stream" them from this server. These
are MPEG movies, so you'll need an appropriate decoder on your system.)
Meduci puts it simply by stating that
the 8-to-1 reduction drive on the
tuner makes it possible to tune the "center" frequency of an AM station
without being a "safe crack". Were this true, I don't think you'd be seeing the behavior in the videos above.
I put it simply by stating that while
I do not know what they are smoking, I want some.
Up to about 1,000 kHz or so on the
dial, everything's fine. After that,
the spacing of frequencies becomes so close that you can barely turn
the tuning knob without sending the thing flying up or down the AM
band! Tens of kHz disappear before you know it. If you haven't, please go ahead and watch the videos above.
Pair this with the "jumpy" behavior
noted earlier and you have a
problem that makes this tuner no fun to use at all. It's difficult to
center a station toward the higher end of the band when the smallest
touch will send you flying several kilohertz the other way from what
you wanted. It's impossible when the one
station you want to tune seems to be in an area where the variable
capacitor is "fidgety" and wants to introduce a jump of a few hundred
kHz from where you are now. My unit did both, and did more of the
latter when my hand was resting on the case while turning the tuning
knob. Behavior of the variable capacitor is very jittery at each end of
the dial...making tuning the few stations at the extreme ends of the
dial a little annoying.
I wrote to Meduci with my concerns.
Surely there is no way a product
billed as a premium quality radio tuner can really behave in this
manner? I felt
there was a problem. My concerns were not valid according to Jeff Deck
of Meduci, who wrote to say the following:
the PRO1k is a manually-tuned AM receiver, rotating the tuning knob
becomes logarithmic, and not linear. As you tune your AM receiver
to higher frequencies, there is less physical distance between AM
stations, as the tuning knob is rotated clockwise. If you look at
virtually any manually-tuned AM radio with an analog dial scale, you
will notice that the actual space on the dial between upper frequencies
becomes “tighter” (say from 1,200kHz to 1,600kHz versus 600kHz to
1,000kHz). Even though we are talking about a difference of
400kHz, those numbers above approximately 1,000kHz are spaced closer
together on the dial. This is a characteristic of analog
capacitor/inductor tuned circuits. This is why there is a scale
bar on most tuning dials.
Your meduci PRO1k is correctly operating as designed, as the tuning
shaft is directly connected to an analog air dielectric variable tuning
capacitor with 8:1 reduction drive shaft mechanism. This feature
makes tuning higher frequencies easier, and requires less effort on
your part. This is an improvement over the now discontinued
AMX2000 tuner. PRO1k repair will not be necessary for this tuning
characteristic. Thank you for the question."
I wrote him back, stating that I felt
the tuning operation was unnecessarily difficult, expecting that he
would be a little more receptive to maybe having a second look. At that
time, I also inquired about a refund if I were to return the tuner.
That's when things started to go south. I was told again that my tuner
was certainly functioning correctly based on my description,
that an add-on for further reduction drive was available if I wanted to
pursue that route and that the return of finished Meduci tuners will
not be allowed. Credit is given for unbuilt tuners and that's it. (All
information accurate as of this writing in December 2010.)
To his credit, Mr. Deck was willing
to make an exception whereby he'd allow me to return the tuner.
Unfortunately, this offer was saddled with terms that made it
unrealistic and unattractive. I was also asked not to disclose any of
this to an online forum or make a public comment, behavior that I must
admit to finding slightly sleazy. Such tactics never work,
and as a product reviewer, I am compelled if not bound to tell the
truth about a product and my experiences with its maker. Even so, I'll
meet him halfway and won't disclose the full terms of the return offer.
It bothers me that the Meduci business is unwilling to step up to the
plate and simply address my concerns, choosing instead to say their
unquestionably working as designed. Uhm...whatever happened to "the customer is always right"? My hope is that they would at least
have been willing to look at it. I'd even pay shipping both ways!
I was also told that the Meduci tuner
is a rare item that will someday be collectible. Not that it matters if
it doesn't actually work.
I responded in turn, stating that I
was interested in knowing about the add-on reduction drive unit and
that I expected better from a company selling a premium product. Yep,
that's me. Little Mr. Personality. I was polite the entire time, but
I've never heard back from Mr. Deck or anyone else representing Meduci.
I don't expect that I will. The add-on drive for further reduction
appears to be here,
although I can't be sure of that. I can be sure that the tuner will
look rather ugly with that optional drive bolted on to the front.
While I suspect that opening a
dispute with PayPal over the operability of the tuner would get his
attention, I'm not sure that I want to escalate this into what may only
turn into a very negative experience. Besides, I think they'd make me
return the tuner as a condition of any settlement that was reached. I'm
not sure I want to do that. Perhaps I will investigate fixing it myself
by replacing the variable capacitor or examining the circuit to see and
attempt to resolve any shortcomings in the design that may be causing
these problems. There are certainly some options
(look for the 410pF variable capacitor). Or maybe I'll just design my
own tuner and be done with
it. I've never designed a complex electronic circuit before, but I'll
bet I could if I put my mind
to it and did my homework.
Let me make one thing clear: I don't
want anyone to engage in an act of "vigilante justice" toward Mr. Deck
or the Meduci business. I don't want anyone harassing them,
their web site or doing anything else that might cause trouble. So, you
know, please don't do that. Take this part of the review as a warning
only, because that's how it is meant. Think carefully before you buy
your own Meduci tuner and be aware that once it's been delivered, it is
(By the way, anyone from Meduci, LLC
that is reading this with the thought of making trouble or engaging in
legal sabre-rattling can just stuff it. The tuner that I purchased is
mine and that
means I can do whatever I please with it.
I can take it apart. I can shim a rattly table with it. I can listen to
it. I can jump up and down on it, and I can write a review about it.
Every part of this review is as accurate as I can make it and all of it
is based in fact.)
The audio quality of the Meduci PRO1K
tuner is very good. Build quality is so-so on the exterior and pretty
good internally. For the price of the unit, I'd really expect better
external build quality and a more professional finished look.
Meduci's customer service and
willingness to stand behind their product are lousy. On this basis
alone, I'd strongly suggest not doing business with them. If you're not
happy, I think it fair to say that they aren't going to take much
interest in making it right. I'd be delighted to be proved wrong. I'd
hope this review might prod them into doing a better job.
If you have a good, strong AM stereo
station broadcasting in your part of the world, the Meduci tuner might
be for you. At a price of $175 and shipping, though, I think it's a
tough sell. Especially since there are some good used AM stereo tuners
out there, along with new units produced by other companies.
Final rating: 30 %
Copyright © 2010 William
All Rights Reserved. Permission is granted to reproduce this material
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printing supply expenses) and no part of this material may be used in
creations that are illegal, dangerous or derogatory. Created November
11th, 2010--edited, updated and posted around mid December 2010.