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Magnum Dynalab's line of Internet Media Tuners starts with the MD 801, but this product is far from entry-level. Like the company's long-standing line of no-compromise FM tuners, the MD 801 is worthy of inclusion in any high-performance home audio system, and even whole-house installations. And with access not only to Internet radio, but also to an your existing collection of digital audio, the MD 801 is an exciting next step in the evolution of distributed audio.
"It makes Internet radio sound exceptionally good," reports HiFi+ magazine for February 2012. "In particular, there is a richness and depth to the sound that is often sorely lacking in other devices of a similar outlook."
The topography of the MD 801's 0.093"-thick gold plated printed circuit board ensures that the original signals are not compromised by any extraneous signals that are in the environment. Magnum Dynalab has also designed a special digital filtering system that further preserves the integrity of the incoming signal.
The MD 801 provides access to over 20,000 Internet Radio stations and podcasts via an onboard WiFi antenna or LAN. It also offers easy access to terrestrial FM and locally connected music collections in a variety of formats (including AAC, Real, MP3, FLAC and WMA).
Internet radio stations are neatly organized and searchable by various categories, including country of origin, genre, most popular, favorites. The touch screen display provides easy-to-read information on current track's metadata, genre, bit rate, codec, and sampling rate. Personal audio collections (attached via local network or USB flash stick/hard drive) are easy to navigate via artist name, album name, or genre. When connected to the Internet via your LAN, the software automatically connects to the host for the latest firmware updates.
With its high-quality 3/8"-thick faceplate, a stately 3.5" color touch screen, and a solid steel chassis, this tuner is built to last. The functional remote is also upgradeable to a metal encased touch screen remote (standard on the MD 809).
Like all Magnum Dynalab products, the MD 801 benefits from particular attention that has been paid to the grounding plane. The same unique grounding loop found in many of the company's top-end products is also designed into the MD 801. The result is a signal free of impurities that originate with the ground plane.
With its RCA analog outputs, the MD 801 will seamlessly integrate into any home audio system. The unit includes Toslink optical, coaxial digital, and USB inputs for digital media.
In developing its new line of Internet Media Tuners, Magnum Dynalab considered its many years in the FM tuner business. And with the introduction of various new technologies, including satellite radio and HD Radio, the company has taken a cautious approach to distributed audio. For years, Magnum Dynalab exclusively built terrestrial FM tuners, despite the myriad of alternatives being developed. But as the company's reputation for quality in FM developed, it also continued to experiment in the design lab.
It wasn't until 2004 that Magnum Dynalab took the first step towards embracing the various digital audio broadcasts permeating the industry. First with the World Source Platform in the MD 109, and later with the launch of its line of XM Satellite Radio Tuners, Magnum Dynalab developed expertise in D-to-A technology and was finally happy with the resultant signal and sound which it was able to achieve. This development led the company to experiment with other digitally distributed audio broadcasts and ultimately to a medium that offers the greatest potential for music lovers – the Internet. The result is the company's new line of Internet Media Tuners.
With the variety in signal quality distributed via Internet music stations, not all broadcasts will produce CD quality sound. But they are out there. And there are more and more all of the time. With advances in DAC design and a growing number of high quality broadcasts coming on-line, Magnum Dynalab is energized by the potential that Internet radio offers and excited about its new line of Internet Radio tuners.