Evolution 2 Tuner. AM/FM RDS
Brand: Creek
RRP: $750

One of the great strengths of Creek Audio through the years has been the ability to produce exceptional tuners. The Evolution 2 AM/FM Tuner carries on that tradition. Styled to complement the Evolution 2 range of integrated amplifier and CD player, and released in 2006, this tuner is the perfect match.

With today’s airwaves seemingly becoming even more crowded, coupled with the ever-increasing methods of accessing radio broadcasts, why would you purchase a dedicated tuner? The answer is quite simple – it is the only way to bring radio broadcasts magnificently to life. Separates do sound better and a stand-alone analogue tuner will provide a purer quality of sound.

Firstly, in a hi-fi context, most listening is undeniably FM, although this analogue tuner is not limited only to FM. Tune-in to your favourite station and you are instantly aware of the exceptional quality. Listening to it is addictive, and the idea that radio is purely a source of background music, carries no weight. The Evolution 2 Tuner is functional, versatile, high tech, yet simple.

The design objective for the Evolution 2 AM/FM Tuner was to develop a product that, regardless of price, could be a benchmark for both radio and audio performance. By using high quality components and sensible electronic design Creek has achieved its goal. The mixture of high technology and design simplicity has reduced the component count to a level previously thought impossible.

Whilst the majority of synthesised tuners today use buttons to tune-in stations and select pre-set station memory, the Evolution 2 RDS AM/FM Tuner uses a rotary tuning knob connected to a digital encoder to provide tuning and pre-set station selection in a way that makes this digital tuner operate and feel like an analogue tuner. To simplify its functionality, Creek’s engineers have reduced the number of local functions to a minimum, while maintaining all the necessary functionality. Front panel controlled functions include Rotary Tuning Mode, Rotary Pre-set Mode, Band Switching - AM/FM, Auto Scan tuning and Memory store. These, plus Mono, Stereo, Display Brightness and direct pre-set station number entry are also available via the SRC3 system remote control, that also serves the Evolution 2 amplifier and CD player. The Evolution 2 RDS AM/FM Tuner also has the ability to display the name and frequency of the station tuned using RDS (Radio Data System) on its blue vacuum fluorescent display.

To achieve high sensitivity and selectivity, the Evolution AM/FM Tuner uses a four tuned circuit FM radio front-end with J-FET RF amplification and mixer and is shielded from interference by a tin-plated metal can. A high-grade 10.7Mhz IF circuit and PLL stereo decoder process the signal.

A mixture of conventional and Surface Mount Technology is used together on a double-sided, plated through-hole, printed circuit board to provide a high level of interference suppression and help to achieve hi-fi levels of performance.

Station pre-sets are held in a non-volatile memory, similar to that of a PC computer, with up to a maximum of 80 memory locations available between FM and AM. A large sized blue vacuum fluorescent display makes it easy to read, and the intuitive system remote handset makes it easy to control the Tuner, Amp and CD player from one handset.

The open and dynamic sound of the Evolution 2 RDS AM/FM Tuner can be restricted by the quality of the aerial or antenna used. In addition, the distance from the station and the source quality from the chosen radio station will determine the absolute noise performance.