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Notes on Dyna Tuners

02-26-2018 | By Robert H. Levi | Issue 96

News Alert for Dyna FM3 Tuner Owners

Recently, I bought a used Dynaco FM3 off Ebay with the tuning eye tube working fine for $80, an absolute must. After listening with a quality antenna, it was obvious that it needed alignment. Dyna's instructions for this were way out of my league, so this looked like the Dyna had turned into a science project.

History: The FM-3 was made in factory-wired and kit versions for $110 and $89, respectively. Production started in 1964 and lasted until the mid-70s. According to Tim de Paravicini, the great tube circuit designer, Dyna bought parts that worked well, sounded great, and were priced right. If Dyna had spent even a nickel less on parts, its products would have been long forgotten.

Before giving up, a miracle! On close reading of the manual's fine print, I found a short paragraph in the Dyna manual that revived the tuner and returned it to like-new sound quality and performance!

Dynaco assumed kit builders would not be able to align the turner, so they carefully aligned it when built using brand new tubes and locked down the adjustments. All you need to do is replace every tube with new fresh EH or JJ tubes and bingo: alignment is spot on!

For even better performance, break the bank and buy a pair of NOS Mullard 12AX7s for the output stage from Upscale Audio in LaVern, CA. They have plenty, and they test them stringently.

With fresh tubes and the Mullards on board, I compared the FM3 to a perfect McIntosh MR71 and heard very similar performance. The FM3 was 90% as full in the mids as the Mac, close on the lows, a bit less in the highs. The Dyna had amazing depth and huge sound stage performance, too. Both had musical and involving sound. Overall, definition was amazingly similar! Clever folks at Dyna. They are sorely missed.

Misconceptions about Dyna AF-6 AM/FM Tuners

I just pulled my 40-year-old Dynaco AF-6 Tuner out of storage and hooked it up. Surprise of surprises, it sounded and performed exceptionally. Going for super-cheap on eBay, this baby is smooth and musical with excellent depth and giant sound stage. I am using it with $3500 per meter Kimber 1036 Silver Select Interconnects...I do not want to miss a single bit of definition!

Though a tad thinner than the Mac MR71 and Dyna FM3, it is quieter than either, totally involving, and even-natured from lowest bass through highest highs. Performs way beyond any tuner I have heard that is digitized or full of IC chips. My Marantz ST-17 sounds like a toy compared to the AF-6! Impressive.

Those Misconceptions: 

1. The solid state Dyna Tuners are not great performers. BS, I say! We just had crap interconnects in the 1960's and 70's! We also did not understand the value of a good antenna like the M-D half wave indoor antenna for a just $125! 

2. If the "stereo" light is not working, you will not get stereo. BS, I say! Mine has not worked in 20 years and the stereo is magnificent, rich, open, and compelling. Even on the "wide" band stereo setting, imaging is spot on true.

Want a tuner that is trouble-free and very tube-like overall, but still solid state? Want low, low noise, but with all of those beautiful layers of goodness and elegance? I wholeheartedly recommend the Dyna FM5 or AF6, masterpieces of another era that kick butt today.