FM Stereo Tuner (1978-79)
Type: Mono/Stereo Tuner
Tuning Bands: FM
Tuning Scale: Digital
FM Tuning Range: 87.5 to 108 MHz
Distortion: 0.05% (FM)
Frequency response: 30Hz to 15kHz (FM)
Dimensions: 448 x 149 x 376mm
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Reviewed Sep 23rd, 2016 by PALUSE
The Aiwa AT-9700 is the third tuner in my system for long as 37 years! Oh yes, quite a long time.
In Portugal the broadcast quality never get me convinced, and in the modern times of digitalia formats with high levels of compression, even less.
Near 6 months ago i decided to do a face lift to the AT-9700.
I worked on the cover and power transformer shield paint. Also tweak the power supply with new rectifiers and capacitors. All power lines related to RF, IF and audio stages were improved with more generous energy reserves and high quality audio parts from Nichicon and Elna. The MPX decoder IC from Hitachi was served with Wima MKS caps and metal film 1% resistors at the filter stages, instead of the original electrolytic types and carbon type 5% resistors. Decoupling from PLL decoder to Low pass filters are with Silmic II and the opamps are OPA1611 with SIL adapter. The output capacitors were removed due the very low DC offset of this opamps. Two metal film match resistors are in the place. The RF front end gets cleaned, lubricated at the shaft and was installed a newer generation tetrode FET with less than half the noise of the original.
After more than 150 hours of burning time all i can say is that the sound is very smooth, with a large soundstage, powerfull bass, round mid band and decent sweet highs. The noise level when the interference/multipath is low, it's undetectable at high level listening. Only when i hit the volume hard at low level passages in classical music i can get the residual noise which get some low frequency in the mix too. Probably, the PLL IC noise level gets better than the broadcasted recording. RDP2 (Antena 2) is the best sounding station i can tune, but surely can't put the Aiwa in it's limits. The rest of the FM stations are mid to poor quality broadcast sound. I suspect the broadcast digital media used today. I remember in the 80's when the open reel recordings from other stations were used, i was sometimes blessed with very good broadcasted sound.
Nevertheless, the Aiwa AT-9700 in it's tweaked version is much better than i remember 6 months ago, and still serves as a good companion.