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McIntosh MR89 AM/FM Tuner: Invisible Airwaves Crackle With Life

The McIntosh MR89 AM/FM Tuner is for radio listeners aiming to maximize their AM/FM terrestrial radio enjoyment.

McIntosh MR89 AM/FM Tuner Lifestyle

One of my most prized possessions as a kid was my Sansui TU-717 AM/FM Tuner; it was passed down to me as a Bar Mitzvah present when I inherited the family stereo as my father married up into a solid state McIntosh system from Bay Bloor Radio. I used it more than any other source and it was my window to the world of jazz, classical, news, sports radio, and comedy programs on Sunday evenings.

I always wanted a McIntosh AM/FM Tuner or something from Magnum Dynalab because radio meant that much to me; my father was on Canadian radio for over 25 years and I had my own show in college on WRGW 540AM in Washington D.C.

I almost fell out of a third floor window as a kid trying to hang an antenna because I found myself living in a home on a hill with perfect line of sight to the CN Tower and I had to get Dr. Demento to sound its best though my tuner and Celestion Ditton 33 MKII Loudspeakers.

Had my leg not caught on the back of my dresser, I probably would have fallen to my death on the stone driveway below or landed on my parents’ Jaguar.

I loved listening to the radio that much.

But AM/FM radio is kaput. Supposedly. Not for people like me.

The brand new $5,500 USD McIntosh MR89 AM/FM Tuner is their most advanced one ever; ironic considering the view that radio is dead.

McIntosh claims it incorporates a multitude of advancements to maximize radio listening, including adjustments to sensitivity, signal to noise ratio, harmonic distortion, channel selectivity, and stereo separation.

McIntosh MR89 AM/FM Tuner Angle

The MR89’s advanced signal quality monitor can display detailed signal, multipath, and noise levels of the incoming radio signals to help fine-tune optimal placement of the AM or FM antenna (their RAA2 AM antenna is included).

Additionally included are a pair of balanced and unbalanced analog outputs and digital coax and optical outputs to connect the MR89 to any home audio system. The tuner features exclusive McIntosh radio frequency (RF) circuitry that can receive both strong FM signals from nearby stations, avoiding overload or distortion that can plague lesser tuners, while also being able to tune in weaker FM signals with little to no noise.

McIntosh MR89 AM/FM Tuner Front
McIntosh MR89 AM/FM Tuner Rear

Features 

  • Upgraded Stereo Blending and introduction of a “High Blend” option
  • Softmute feature to reduce audio output of lower quality station input 
  • Highcut function to reduce high frequency and audio content 
  • FM Radio Broadcast Data System (RBDS) support to display station and music information 
  • Adjustable Seek function 
  • Ability to store 20+ preset stations for both AM/FM
McIntosh MR89 AM/FM Tuner Close-up

A pair of 60dB output meters show the signal level being delivered from the analog outputs of each channel, while the volume is controlled by the preamplifier, integrated amplifier, or other control device.

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The meters on the MR89 accurately portray the Left and Right channel audio output generated from the received station – depending on the program received, the meters are a good indication of the MR89’s quality stereo separation. AM and FM frequency reception for the MR89 varies by country (please find detailed frequency listing on the McIntosh website).

The MR89’s black glass front panel, meters, knobs, and brushed aluminum end caps are all housed in a stainless-steel chassis polished to a luxurious mirror finish that evokes the timeless McIntosh aesthetic.

The MR89 can be paired with a variety of amplifiers, turntables, CD players, home theater processors, room correction devices, speakers, and other source components to make a complete home audio system.

McIntosh MR89 AM/FM Tuner Angle

Price & Availability

Orders for the MR89 can now be placed with Authorized McIntosh dealers. Shipping is expected to begin in June 2022 to the United States and Canada, and to the rest of the world shortly thereafter. Suggested retail price (VAT, shipping and any customs duties related to current standards of individual countries are excluded): $5,500 USD.

McIntosh MR89 AM/FM Tuner Rear Angle
7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Mike Cornell

    June 15, 2022 at 2:15 pm

    Hi Ian….radio is still important to me too. Jazz-FM in Toronto as well as some CBC programing are staples for me. And I can relate to your antenna story….getting up on my folks roof to install a proper FM antenna so I could get a clean signal to record off and re-orienting that antenna toward Brampton so I could pick up the then miniscule signal of a fledgling CFNY-FM. (had to point it back to the CN Tower when they moved their signal there!)

  2. Robert Metzler

    June 15, 2022 at 10:16 pm

    Hello Ian, radio is still important to me also. Still have the GE transistor radio, that was a birthday present in 1980. I remember trying to make an antenna out of a broken umbrella in my bedroom, to boost reception in Philadelphia. Currently living in Erie PA, I get the best of both USA and Canadian radio. FM96 out of London ON is my go to station. Video killed the Radio Star, but video is almost gone, and radio is still here

  3. Steven O'Farrell

    June 16, 2022 at 12:33 am

    I listen to my 30 year old Rotel tuner every day, and have been a fan of radio since I was 12 years old. I would have loved to have had a Sansui tuner back when Sansui was in their heyday and this McIntosh tuner appears to be a classic in the making also. I will always have a stereo tuner as long as I have an amp, speakers and a pulse. Thanks for remembering that there are still people out there who appreciate how great of a sourse a tuner still is to this day!

  4. ORT

    June 16, 2022 at 2:35 am

    FM was a revelation in the 70s. Dr. Demento, the Electric Space Bridge and more made listening to FM so much more than AM. Alas, tis now nothing but babbling “DJs” going on about what they had for dinner or trying their best (worst) to “trick” some one into getting caught with their morals down on the air.

    Call it “Moral Limbo”, i.e., how low will they go?

    I no longer use any terrestrial tuner. Reception is horrid on FM and AM is nothing but Talk Radio, Mexican Stations and “Country” music. Since the death of El Rushbo AM does not even hold interest for my spousal unit. I speak neither Spanish nor “Hick-Hop” and so the other two staples of the AM dial are of no use for me, but the truth, the fugly, inexpensive truth is…

    …A simple AM/FM radio would more than suffice in the real world in which we all exist. If how ever, you live in “Farscape” then by your means, spend what you will on that which tunes in your hearts desire whilst broadcasting your ego’s folly to the world.

    At $5,500 the Mac MR89 should do just that.

    And yes, nearly all AM/FM stations are on the interwebs with crystal clear “reception”. If you truly like their fare then give them a preset on your internet tuner.

    And keep the AM/FM radio for those times when your WiFi goes wack and you want to relive the recent past. Me? I have a turntable and CD player for those moments. In fact, I need not wait for the WiFi to be down to rationalize an “excuse” or “reason” to cue up a licorice pizza or a silver disc.

    ORT

    • Patrick

      June 19, 2022 at 9:12 pm

      What a cynical pessimist….

    • Robert eifert

      June 21, 2022 at 1:06 pm

      ⁹My love of radio is centerd around my xm radio nowadays.
      This should not sway anyone intrested in this unit. If only i could have had this during Washington D C ‘s radio heyday. Would have been priced out of the market- but i can still dream.

      • Ian White

        June 22, 2022 at 1:35 am

        Robert,

        The Audiolab is excellent. I’ve run it for 3 years without issue.

        Ian

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