Setting a Precedent

A big thanks to Arden, at Classical Audio Service for adding his magic touch and re-aligning/bench testing my pristine REL Precedent Mono FM Tuner.  He did a magnificent job.  If you have a vintage or modern audio component, that needs a bit of TLC, give Arden a call.  He’s one of the best in his field and infusing old school charm right back into the gear is what he does.  Arden did an equally impressive job on my Fisher 90X, Scott 335 MPX Module, Fisher 101R , Fisher R200, and  2 Marantz 10b’s.  All, now, in top form.

At over 50 years old, the sound of the REL Precedent is beyond reproach.  It’s quite unlike anything you have ever heard, especially with a quality FM broadcast.  The REL has a spooky holographic presence and releases the music from the airwaves simply better any other tuner I’ve heard, and I’ve heard a lot.  Did you know only a few hundred of these tuners were ever manufactured?  If that many.  Read a bit more about the REL here.

…enveloped in a textural and colorful palette of color…

12 thoughts on “Setting a Precedent

      1. Hi Matt, keep me posted. BTW did you catch the REL that’s on Audiogon? Can I have Jonathan negotiate the price and pick it up for me in NJ? LOL.

  1. My Rel, in unrestored condition (with exception of one cap change I did), plays 10 hours per day for the past year or so. Just amazing and a nice step above my 10B. Sunday night has become a special listening time with the REL tuning in Columbia University’s WKCR 89.9 Raag Aur Taal program. Always a sonic and muscial treat. Sunday mornings Amazing Grace program is another favorite as well as Morning Raga’s when I’m up early enough. The Rel has caused my LP and 78 collection to grow substantially. What better praise can one give. Rel + Shindo = bliss.

    1. Jonathan are you trying to drive up REL precedent prices? 😉 I agree, though, in comparison to the 10b. Actually, my restored 10b from Arden does sound great – but in comparison to the REL, it’s a bit less involving. I actually wish I could get Raag Aur Taal on the West Coast on something other than an internet feed, so I could enjoy some sweet tabla through the tuner.. but alas, listening to a stream internet feed will have to do for now…. Too bad REL didn’t make a Reel to Reel machine, eh?…..

      1. I just ran across your site! That is an absolutely gorgeous image of that REL Precedent tuner, by the way! I own one as well. However, my friend, John Atwood (One Electron), completely went through mine and aligned it a few years ago. I also happen to own a lot of very classic tuners in addition to the REL.

        The issue is how many Bay Area stations are worthy of owning a fine FM tuner these days. With few exceptions, I find that there is virtually total garbage on the air in my area.

        Lately, I have been archiving open reel tapes I recently came across, which are of rare live local FM broadcasts from the seventies. They contain many fine performances, mostly of rock bands. I just transferred one from May, 1977 from KSAN featuring Muddy Waters. Too bad that this rarely ever happens these days, that is, without such dreadful signal processing.

        Perhaps it is time to let go of my tuners. I have several great ones I am considering selling right now, since most of my time is spent engineering live classical recordings hereabouts. I have been an avid audiophile for more than forty years, however, so I do have some interesting perspective about local broadcasting history.

        I am curious about what Arden did to your 10-B however. My examples often exhibit the “spontaneous loss of detection” problem, which happens to quite a few 10-B tuners.

        Was your tuner dropping detection every so often, requiring you to twist the dail knob and re-tune the station? Did Arden replace the switching modules for you?

        Pleaae let me know!
        Continued good luck

        1. HI Richard, glad you found my website. Thanks for the words regarding the photos. 🙂 It is an extremely photogenic tuner, don’t you think?

          I certainly agree regarding the lack of good FM lately. Yes, with a few exceptions, there are few stations that I enjoy.

          Arden changed a few suspect tubes, fixed the alignment which was tinkered with years ago. The factory had failed to glue the tuning pointer to the dial string and as it had slipped its position and an amateurish attempt was made to realign the front end which failed as the pointer further slipped over the years. This was fixed. Loose hardware on the front end subchassis contributed to alignment instability was fixed. The first RF amplifier tube was weak causing the sensitivity to be about 6dB lower than spec and replaced. The coils were re-cemented to their stabilizer posts and front end alignment restored, sector alignment at 104 MHz was required. The left channel stereo opto-coupled switch was intermittent and was rebuilt with new components.

          Test Results were as follows when he was done:
          Sensitivity, mono, IHF 30dB: 90 MHz 2.2uV; 100 MHz 2.5uV; 106 MHz 2.6uV
          Total Harmonic Distortion, mono: L ch 0.12%; R ch 0.12%
          Total Harmonic Distortion, stereo: L ch 0.29%; R ch 0.28%
          Multiplex Separation: L ch 42dB; R ch 42dB

  2. Yes, why not? I already have one 🙂 My 10B is great, just a bit more mechanical than the Rel. I suppose once again we see how good transformers are for sound reproduction. As a friend once said “transformers are like a roller coaster for electrons, and they love it.”

  3. Nice REL, wish I had one. Do you listen 10hrs a day of MONO or have you connected an MPX to it? Which MPX is worthy of such a tuner?

    1. Hi Paul, Although vert rare, they show up on used web sites, perhaps once a year – just keep your eyes peeled. I listen in Mono with a splitter
      cable, so both speakers are active. I tried a Scott and fisher mpx unit, but preferred the mono output. Sounded too processed with the mpx unit. Even my marantz 10b, I listen to on mono.

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