Denon TU-850 FM Stereo Tuner


Image attribution: Earthshine eTrading Ltd. Used with permission.

Top notch audiophile/radiophile FM only tuner at the top of Denon's range in 1978-80 and styled to match the company's excellent PMA-850 integrated amplifier. It is a high-end Japanese heavyweight tuner (weighing more than most modern integrated amplifiers) that is very well engineered and capable of excellent performance (i.e. in the Sansui TU-717, Pioneer TX-9500, Trio/Kenwood KT-7500 and Sony ST-A6B class).
The TU-850 has a five gang variable tuning capacitor ("varicap") for good sensitivity. Budget FM tuners (and some mid-price) generally had three gang varicaps and higher performance designs could have anything from four to nine. Think of the number of varicap gangs as being analogous to the number of elements in a fixed outdoor FM aerial - the more you have then the better the sensitivity but the law of diminishing returns applies so six is not twice as good as three and nine will be only slightly better than five. Four is a lot better than three and two is probably inadequate - you get the idea! Remember, though that the number of gangs in a tuner's varicap is not the only thing that determines performance but it is one of the important factors. Don't assume, therefore, that "Tuner A" with a seven gang varicap is necessarily better than "Tuner B" with a five gang varicap.
The TU-850 has three meters: for center tuning, signal strength and multipath (I said it was a radiophile tuner!) but the signal strength and multipath meters can also be used as power meters for any amplifier (why Denon deemed it necessary to include this pointless gimmick on an otherwise very serious audiophile tuner is beyond me!).


Image attribution: Earthshine eTrading Ltd. Used with permission.


Image attribution: Earthshine eTrading Ltd. Used with permission.


Image attribution: Earthshine eTrading Ltd. Used with permission.


Image attribution: Earthshine eTrading Ltd. Used with permission.

Wavebands FM only
Number of FM gangs 5
Number of AM gangs N/A
Center Tune Indication Yes, Illuminated analogue meter
Signal Strength Meter Yes, Analogue (illuminated)
Multipath Meter Yes, Analogue (illuminated)
Switchable MPX filter No
FM IF Band Switch Yes: Wide/narrow
Illuminated analogue tuning dial Yes, drum type
Flywheel assisted tuning knob Yes
FM stereo 50dB quietening sensitivity No Data
Ultimate S/N Ratio No Data
FM capture ratio 84 dB mono (unweighted), 82 dB stereo (unweighted)
Width x Height x Depth (cm) 43.4 x 16.4 x 40.0
Weight (Kg) 11.0
When manufactured 1978 to 1980
UK new price 375 (in 1979, estimate)
eBay price guide (full working order and in good condition) 140 to 200
ClassicHiFi.info Rating
Rarity

 


Image attribution: Earthshine eTrading Ltd. Used with permission.


Image attribution: Earthshine eTrading Ltd. Used with permission.








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