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A trip to the past - the Scott LT-110 tuner
In 1963, H.H. Scott of Maynard, Massachusetts was firmly established as a manufacturer of mid- to high-end hi-fi components. At this time, many manufacturers, including Scott, Fisher, Harmon Kardon, etc., produced some of their components in kit form for those who preferred to build their own. Ironically, these kits were often more costly to produce than the factory-wired units.
The LT-110 is the kit form of the 350 FM stereo tuner. The front panel contains a volume control, a mono/stereo selector combined with the power switch, a tuning meter, a stereo tape jack, a noise filter, an automatic gain control, and the large, illuminated circular tuning dial that is a feature of all Scott tuners of this vintage. All Scott tuners utilized the "Dynaural Supression" system, but did not use automatic frequency control (AFC) to lock in stations. The LT-110 also features a "sonic monitor" which indicates when a station is broadcasting in stereo.
The following stats are from a review in the March 1963 issue of High Fidelity magazine: "The tuner was found to have a sensitivity of 2.1 microvolts at 98 MC, 2.25 microvolts at 90mc and 2.5 microvolts at 106mc. Maximum output signal level of 3.6 volts per channel in either stereo or mono operation. Frequency response was flat across the audio range remaining within + .4 and -1db from 28cps to 13 kc down only 2db at 20cps. The capture ration was 5.8db."
My standard reference tuner is a Macintosh MR71. I compared the LT-110 to the MR71 utilizing a vintage Fisher X101B amplifier and Klipsch Forte speakers. A Magnum Dynalab silver ribbon antenna was used with both tuners. Compared to the MR71, the LT-110 was clearly found wanting. It lacked the precision and presence offered by the Mac. It did not log as many stations, and only the strongest stations came close in sound quality. The LT-100ís soundstage was not as wide as the Macís, nor did it possess the same musical focus.
A much more interesting comparison was the one I made between the LT-110 and the factory-wired 350B. After many hours of A/B comparisons, I found that the kit version had a definite sonic advantage. The LT-110 was more engaging, and its soundstage was wider. Of course, the classic Scott 310E broadcast monitor tuner was far superior to either unit, and I even preferred it to the MR71. The 310E represented Scott's finest hour in FM tuner technology, and is a sought-after collector piece. Getting back to the LT-110, it has a warmth of soul, with reasonably extended highs, an excellent midrange, and round, full bass with a slight mid-bass hump. This unit is not at all fatiguing, and seems more musical than the 350B. I have been told that the LT-110 has several small electronic differences, which may account for its superior performance.
The 350B exhibited a small idiosyncracy involving the brass tuning knob. As I rotated the knob, I became part of the antenna system, with some strange sonic results. This did not occur with the plastic tuning dial on the LT-110. The Scott LT-110 is a wonderful example of FM technology that compares very favorably with more sophisticated tuners. If you run across one of these gems, don't pass it up.