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Magnum Dynalab MD 109 SE FM Tuner

11-12-2018 | By Lawrence Blair | Issue 100

 Magnum Dynalab MD 109 SE FM Tuner

A tuner can deliver to the ardent music lover a huge selection of live and recorded music from a myriad of musical genres and can be educational and unwaveringly pleasurable invented in 1933 by engineer Edwin Armstrong, wide-band FM is used worldwide to provide high-fidelity sound over broadcast radio. FM broadcasting is capable of better sound quality than AM broadcasting, the chief competing radio broadcasting technology, so it is used for most music broadcasts. The term "FM band" describes the frequency band  which is dedicated to FM broadcasting.

The 109 Signature Edition is described and presented as their best made tuner. The tuner board is Magnum Dynalab’s the TRACC MKII audio has been under development for 10 years by Zdenko Zivkovic, it features Teflon By-pass caps, fully balanced output, on board trimmers so tubes can be matched as they are listened to, WBT RCAs,  new old stock Telefunken Ultra Premium tubes and a built to exceptional expectations substantial chassis.

I have some 55 radio stations local and offering reception to me, you can find yours too at www.radio-locator.com.

The Company

Magnum Dynalab came to market over 30 years ago, with the Signal Sleuth, designed to boost and stabilize FM signals which was launched in 1984 and eventually led to the introduction of what would become their core product line for many years analog FM tuners for the home market.

After success with the Signal Sleuth their first FM tuner the FT 101, was launched in September 1985. From these pure analog design fundamentals they have manufactured have 15 unique analog FM tuners over the past 25 years, including the Triode series, incorporating tube technology into the audio output stage of many of their products. To complement their lineup of analog tuners, Magnum Dynalab also began producing an assortment of both directional and omni-directional FM antennas. 

With more than 30 years of business development in specialty audio products they remain excited about the the analog and tuner future, as do I. For a subjective comparison and evaluation I used a Day-Sequerra FM Reference tuner and a McIntosh Laboratories MR-77 tuner (both of which I own) each were placed on a HRS isolation platform and used exclusively with the other associated equipment listed in the sidebar. By association and cooperative participation a local college radio broadcast station affiliated with the BBC and NPR (National Public Radio) agreed to broadcast George Harrison All Things Must Pass and A Concert for Bangladesh, on vinyl in their entirety so that I might compare each tuner, in my listening room, with the same antenna and my ears.

The Magnum-Dynalab performance is definitely on a par with the Day Sequerra—differences in audio quality between the two were very subtle, similar to the differences between two different meter lengths of top-quality audio cable. The tuners sounded very similar, with virtually no discernible differences in balance, dynamics, or tonal quality. On strong stations like Philadelphia WXPN the Magnum-Dynalab has better focus and sound-staging and presented a more three dimensional image. On medium-strength stations like WRTI from Temple University in Philadelphia I couldn't detect any actual differences. The transparency of both perfectionist level tuners was often scary.

The McIntosh tuner certainly presented quality FM radio, but as you can imagine from a vintage piece of electronics manufactured in 1977, it just sounded one dimensional and lacked involvement. Surprisingly, they have been advancements in electrical engineering over the past 40 years and it is noticeably audible.


...in 40 + years enjoying the specialty audio hobby, and most each of those years favoring FM and owning McIntosh, Day-Sequerra and a 1958 SABA alnico driver magnet vacuum tube driven table radio—what are  best described as the best-state-of-the-art-tuners. I never imagined that there might be literal perfection in the FM tuner category.  Is there a best analog tuner in this world of digital?

Yes there is and the Magnum Dynalab MD 190-SE (Signature) is it for me.

MD 190-SE Tuner

Retail: $11,500

Magnum Dynalab



  • All boards to be hand soldered
  • New Audio board featuring transparent 0.093 thick board, 100% gold plated traces inside and on the surface
  • Teflon by-pass caps
  • Premium grade Cryo-treated and matched Telefunken Black Diamond tubes with matched premium resistors
  • The new TRACC MKII audio control board that Zdenko Zivkovic has spent 10 years perfecting including fully balanced output of the audio board and optional DAC
  • Audio board trimmers that allow you to perfectly balance both channels
  • The sound will be optimized like a direct tube output
  • The new matching Power Supply with transparent 0.093 thick board with 100% gold