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DAB vs FM: the debate continues

Andy Clough

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Apr 27, 2004
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Excellent editorial in The Guardian today attacking the Government's decision to switch off FM radio by 2015. Read it here.
 

Andrew Everard

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May 30, 2007
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Andy Clough:Read it here.

...And then keep reading to see the most bizarre set of readers' comments you'll see this side of a five-star WHFSV Sony TV review...
 

John Duncan

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Jan 8, 2008
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Andrew Everard:
Andy Clough:Read it here.

...And then keep reading to see the most bizarre set of readers' comments you'll see this side of a five-star WHFSV Sony TV review...

Yes, some absolute genius in there. To paraphrase: "once you switch to digital, they'll know where you live and you'll get loads of junk mail". They probably think that TV stations know exactly how many people watch their programmes (as opposed to having a small sample of people - with a box in that you press a button saying "taking a poop" on it when you *** out - and multiplying by a million).

Oh and the use of the word 'wallah', which is always a good sign.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Unfortunately, I've just found out the hard way that DAB is an absolute farce.

Literally yesterday I bought a DAB/FM tuner mistakenly thinking that Classic FM would sound better on DAB than on FM. I turned to Google to find out why this wasn't the case, and within about 20 seconds, thanks to Wikipedia, I knew. Apparently, you need at least a bitrate of 256Kbps with the mp2 format that DAB uses for transparency, yet Classic FM broadcasts at 160Kbps and Jazz FM at 128Kbps!

What's the point of building all these transmitters, and wasting money on DAB, if it's so useless there isn't even enough bandwidth to broadcast a proper signal.

Classic FM on FM sounds a lot more natural and seems to carry more emotion in the music. (To my ears anyway.) And I'm not some analogue buff; the only other source component I own is a CD player, and my Amplifier is solid state.

Cheers, Marco.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Here's the link by the way: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Audio_Broadcasting#Sound_quality
 
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Anonymous

Guest
JohnDuncan:Andrew Everard:
Andy Clough:Read it here.

...And then keep reading to see the most bizarre set of readers' comments you'll see this side of a five-star WHFSV Sony TV review...

Yes, some absolute genius in there. To paraphrase: "once you switch to digital, they'll know where you live and you'll get loads of junk mail". They probably think that TV stations know exactly how many people watch their programmes (as opposed to having a small sample of people - with a box in that you press a button saying "taking a poop" on it when you *** out - and multiplying by a million).

Oh and the use of the word 'wallah', which is always a good sign.

Oh my God, I didn't realise that my Pure DAB radio had a built in transmitter and mic. I must learn how to disable it before my personal info. ends up on a Government CD which is lying around on a train..

As for the debate.. I am in two minds. If I listen to a stronger broadcast like Radio 1 then things sound good enough to me, but if I start scrolling then other not so wholesome sounding stations are found, with lower bitrates, which ain't good news. I knew where I was at least with FM as most stations on the dial sounded great and lively.

I guess there is some way to go before the deadline in 2015, and just hope they all sort it out in time.
 

rtweed

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Aug 19, 2009
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The daft thing is that they broadcast digital radio at better quality on Freeview than DAB. Of course there are fewer stations to choose from but to my knowledge they are all broadcast as 192k MP2 streams (see http://www.digitalradiotech.co.uk/digital_radio_samples.htm). The BBC channels actually sound very good through my Humax feeding my DAC
 
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Anonymous

Guest
How good is internet radio today? (The only station I ever listen to is R5, when I'm in the car and don't fancy any music.)

I'd have thought that's the future, maybe with analogue radio as a backup. Come to an agreement with the cellphone providers to supply basic services FOC, a "radio set" would a sim-less cellphone receiver, perhaps more upmarket sets would have improved bitrates if you pay a bit as a option, and utilise wifi and static BB. Infrastructures all there.

Problem with DAB is I don't think most radio listeners care enough for any improvement. 95+% of the general population want generic background noise. It's not like freeview where most people like the idea of more stations. hifi enthusiast's and tech heads alone can't support the platform, it must be embraced by the masses, and right now it doesn't offer them anything.
 

shado

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Aug 22, 2008
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DAB works fine in my Yamaha Receiver until I walk out into the Conservatory where the signal breaks up, and the sound is then awful. I find 76% signal strength is fine and anything less results in interference. I have a suspicion that weather also has an effect that really does surprise me as I thought DAB would be better than FM with reference to this.

Hearing this properly in a Gym at work, there is always an delay of maybe a second before it catches up eventually with the FM equivalent that is definately annoying.
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
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FM is 'better' in this respect because a weaker signal is often still perfectly listenable and degrades more 'gracefully' - whereas DAB justs hits a 'brick wall' when signal strength drops below a certain threshold.

Two possible solutions...

A professionally installed DAB roof aerial. (A diagonally oriented 1.5m half-length dipole will do both FM and DAB well - if you live in a good reception area - or just get a dedicated DAB 'folded-dipole' aerial if you don't want FM.)

Or...

Use the radio channels from your Skybox as the quality and bitrates are better than DAB. (Assuming the stations you listen to are on it.)
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Is there a definitive date when the UK will upgrade to DAB+?
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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getdownmonkeyman:Is there a definitive date when the UK will upgrade to DAB+?

There is no announced intention at all to upgrade to DAB+ in the UK.
 

shado

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Aug 22, 2008
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Thanks Chebby, now that my external TV aerial is redundant I may as well replace it with a DAB/FM Aerial next year. Any ideas ref price/manufacturer?
 
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Anonymous

Guest
So if you want the best radio sound from Sky do you need to connect it directly to an amp via digital in/ out or would going through a Dac be even better

and what happens if as in my case I have sky hooked up to an AVR for HD movie surround sound
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,232
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19,195
shado:Thanks Chebby, now that my external TV aerial is redundant I may as well replace it with a DAB/FM Aerial next year. Any ideas ref price/manufacturer?

Best to get the professionals on your roof (no pics of Bodie & Doyle please Andrew) and make sure the aerial installers are CAI accredited. (Find one here.)

Interesting information on this website which should hopefully prevent you from being 'fobbed off' with the ubiquitous (and dreaded) circular FM omni-directional aerials that actually reduce the FM signal and are useless for DAB!
 

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