MD-109T Tube Tuner
MD-109T Tube Tuner
Primary highlights include an ultra stable power supply, a direct output Triode audio section and most importantly, the introduction of the World Source PlatformTM. The World Source PlatformTM represents the culmination of 2 years of internal development, and the commitment with which we have embraced the evolution of the multi-format audio source environment that we live in today. Designed to remain perpetually current, the MD 109 starts with receiving and delivering with sonic accuracy all terrestrial FM signals better than any FM tuner that we have ever developed. Beyond this, it is also upgradeable to accommodate digital audio from various sources, including satellite radio, CD, DVD and Internet Sources. Quite simply, the MD 109 serves as your source component for all future listening options and variables.
Future Ready for confidence
From its pedigree as the most competent FM tuner we have ever built, with seamless integration you can choose current options a la carte, or later expand the 109's capabilities to accommodate future digital sources.
Whether the 109 performs solely as an FM tuner in your listening room, or the World Source PlatformTM is employed via a secondary digital source signal, we believe the operation of a sophisticated piece should not stand in the way of listening.
The Touch-screen is a marvel of rather ingenious simplicity. The interface architecture is robust, accommodating and intuitive, and when not in active service, the overall luminance dips and bestows a little mood lighting until awakened. If one prefers a more tactile traditional approach however, precise station tuning is easy and deliberate by means of two prominent large dials. This same tactile sensation is also achieved at a distance by means of the IR remote. Designed well beyond function and convenience, the fit and feel of the MD 109 IR remote is one of positive precision, substance and style. Immediate, accurate and in complete control of all functions is accomplished from well beyond a pragmatic range.
During a demo, it's challenging to articulate the performance of the MD 109 without relying on the word 'perfect'. Ironically, you tend to concentrate on the artist's performance rather than the MD 109. This phenomenon is quite intentional. We respect that when an artist shares their craft it ultimately needs to be received with immaculate integrity. Our binding commitment to you is equal to our recognition to the efforts and fine works of performers. For music lovers, the pure sound entertainment experience has never been more diverse and bountiful. The MD 109 is a serious solution to a multi-format way of life and worthy of your consideration.
The Audio Selection
With delicate and fastidious detail, our Director of Design, Zdenko Zivkovic's purist philosophy has established a truly unique design that realizes zero influence on the original signal. Our major design differentiator is not insignificant to our knowledge, we are the world's only audio manufacturer to eliminate capacitors after the gain stage of the tubes. The inclusion of capacitors in any audio stage results in a variable impedance across the frequency range. That is, output impedances can vary anywhere between 10 and 20 times from high to low frequencies, putting additional stress on interconnects, and altering the tonal subtleties of the sound stage across the spectrum.
This unique design forms the backbone of our Triode Reference Audio Control Center (TRACC)TMtechnology, which is quite simply the most accomplished analog audio stage we have ever developed. In addition to its low impedance, it boasts a host of other impressive specifications:
- Signal to noise ratio > than 110 dB, the micro information from the original signal is maintained.
- Zero phase shift from 0.2 Hz to 200KHz
- Zero distortion variance from 0.2 Hz to 200KHz
- This demanding level of pristine signal movement requires a solid foundation. Double sided 0.093 thick printed circuit boards provide the base and minimize potentially damaging vibration. With isolation insured, individual components can perform as planned without unbridled influence from neighboring elements and activity. To maximize conductivity and insure that all micro-information is maintained, ceramic tube sockets and all circuit board contacts are generously gold plated. Special feet have been designed using Vibrapod Isolators to insure that the performance is not comprised from external vibration.
Without compromise, the MD 109 includes a collection of components supplied by world leaders Mundorf, WBT, Wima, Dale-Vishayand and Burr Brown. In the critical areas of the audio board before the tube stage we use the Mundorf Supreme/Silver/oil polypropylene dielectric capacitors and as the name indicates, high purity silver is used for the capacitor coating. The winding is impregnated with a special oil, and these features contribute to an even fuller and smoother tonal richness and diversity.
Along with their collective ability to move sound while maintaining the purity of the original signal, these components are highly regarded for extensive unwavering performance over the long haul. To minimize the stress on the tube and insure long tube life a special turn on circuit is incorporated that has a very slow rise time slope.
The Power Supply
In nature to his craft and passion, designer Zdenko Zivkovic concentrated much of his efforts on the ground plane. By creating a unique grounding loop that eliminates the inherent troubles with chassis grounding, all sources of impurities that originate with the ground plane are eliminated, once again leaving only the purity of the original signal. What you notice about the MD 109 is how free the sound is of any transients and mysterious high frequency noises. To insure that the audio signal is isolated all inputs and outputs are isolated from the chassis with a special insulator. The MD 109 power supply is free of ripple at 60 Hz, 120Hz and 180 Hz. The primary design criterion was to develop the cleanest, continuous source of DC power possible.
As you can appreciate, the importance of this stage cannot be understated. It feeds and allows all associated downstream components to perform at their highest level not withstanding the unpredictable demands placed on it by the dynamics of the music.
Throughout the history of high-fidelity innovation, power supply purity and management have proven to be one of the greatest challenges for designers. A solution without capitulating to compromise was needed. The MD109 power supply is free of ripple, transients and mysterious high frequency noises. By way of comparison, its level of purity is as close to a direct battery supply as imaginable. Finally, two custom designed Toroidal transformers are employed to provide pure power to the distinct sections of the tuner, one feeding the audio section, the other feeding the RF section and control section.
The R.F. Selection
Beyond personal preferences, tastes or subjective opinion, in order to justifiably crown the MD109 as 'The World's Best Tuner' we had to push the envelope well beyond the best-known standard, measurement and performance ability. The MD109's new eight stage Varactor tuned front end is unequaled in its ability to receive and replicate a pure FM signal. Featuring three stages of I.F. selection, you can opt for the setting that allows the most authentic, pure listening experience regardless of the reception environment, and conditions.
The automatic gain control feature insures that the tuner will optimize R.F. performance no matter the strength of the input signal. Quality, accountability and assuredness is why we design and produce our own front ends. Outsourcing this integral core would be, well... to be polite, rather inappropriate. This effort insures they meet our very rigid standards and specifications.
Furthermore, great care is taken in matching all critical components, especially the IF filters. An independent Toroidal power supply feeds this circuit and is designed to provide very stable voltages to all components. Ultimately, these particulars of dedication and uncompromising standards are not so our products will just test-out well in our lab, it's so they can perform in your listening room.
The Future Upgradeability:
The Digital Interface Board & Digital Modules
At the core of our World Source PlatformTM technology is our pioneering digital interface board that will allow the MD 109 the capability to accept future digital sources through one of its available inputs (TOSlink, Coaxial, Balanced and BNC). The high quality demands of our TRACCTM technology necessitated a Digital Interface Board that provided the same high level of performance.
Jointly developed with Archronix Corp, this unique circuit board uses two industry leading core components for the receiving and rendering of the digital signal, with the front end of the board driven by the CS8416 192kHz Digital Audio Receiver from CIRRUS Logic; capable of DVD Audio performance standards. And when combined with the Texas Instruments PCM1792, 200kHz current output Delta-Signma over-sampling DAC for audio rendering, the result is a perfectly clocked, incredibly accurate signal that is virtually jitter-free.
The MD-109 comes with the MX-350 remote, our latest universally programmable remote control featuring soft touch buttons and a crisp digital display fully customizable to its users' preferences.