AM/FM radio is still going strong, and the McIntosh MR89 is here to prove it
McIntosh’s latest radio tuner brings AM/FM into new territory for the modern age.
There are countless ways to listen to curated music remotely in 2022. While digital streaming platforms, YouTube, internet radio, social media and increasingly vie for the ears of listeners, AM/FM radio is still very much holding its own. Even maverick Swedish developer Teenage Engineering has lovingly incorporated FM radio functionality into the recent OP-1 field, which features an onboard transmitter.
This is a fact not lost on expert New York-based audio company McIntosh, which has announced a brand new AM/FM tuner for 2022, the MR89.
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Promising to “maximise sound quality from AM/FM broadcasts,” the MR89 boasts McIntosh’s proprietary radio frequency circuitry to cater for both strong FM signals from nearby stations and weaker FM signals located further away, offering extremely low distortion.
It offers an “advanced signal quality monitor” to display the signal, multipath and noise levels of incoming RF signals, shipping with McIntosh’s RAA2 AM antenna and 20-foot cable. In other words, no more waving an aerial around the room to find that ‘sweet spot’.
There’s also a new Softmute function to reduce audio output while receiving low-quality signals or between-station static and noise.
On top of all of that, it features both digital and analogue outputs and two rather beautiful 60dB output meters.
“While there is no doubting the popularity and permanence of paid music streaming services,” says McIntosh, “there is still plenty of free music being broadcast over the air from thousands of traditional radio stations. And McIntosh has a long and distinguished history with radio and tuners.
“The McIntosh MR78 from the 1970s is considered by many to be one of the best – if not the best – tuners ever made. The MR89 AM/FM Tuner carries on with this tradition of tuner excellence by letting you enjoy the abundance of free music streaming over invisible airwaves.”
Radio maintains a regular listener base of around 45.5 million people in the UK, or just under 90% of the UK adult population. Of these, AM/FM radio listeners still account for 35.6%— an increase on the previous quarter’s 34.2%.
“Radio listening as a whole remains incredibly strong,” said Chief Executive of Radiocentre, Ian Moss. “Despite all the competition for people’s time and attention, audiences still keep choosing radio, which is a tribute to the choice and quality available across all platforms.”
The MR89 is available for pre-order now, expected to ship later this month at an RRP of £6800. It can receive FM frequencies of 87.5MHz – 108.0MHz (Europe); 88.1MHz – 107.9MHz (USA); and 76.0MHz – 108.0MHz (Japan). For AM reception, it can receive 531kHz – 1701kHz (Europe); 530kHz – 1700kHz (USA); and 531kHz – 1629kHz (Japan). For more information, visit mcintoshlabs.com.