Dumbed down DAB

wilco

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Seem to be short changed with Jazz FM which up till a few days ago was stereo albiet joint 128k. They have taken the decision to "go National" and are now 96k mono! Looks like using the internet is the way forward. Anyone in the Glasgow area had issues with this and the drop in signal strength?:mad:
 

mikegtar

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Matt Phillips on the Jazz FM website says that they changed to 80kbps mono because it sounds better than 128kbps stereo (see towards the bottom of this link http://www.jazzfm.com/2011/08/national/).

He also mentions that stereo is available on freesat or sky digital and they're looking at providing very high quality online streams.

It certainly looks like online radio is the way to go for hifi radio listening. I'll probaby wait a couple of years to see what other hifi products come onto the market before investing in a new "wireless wireless".
 

chebby

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Shouldn't they be calling it 'JazzDAB' or 'JazzNet' now it is no longer on FM ?

There are gazillions of Jazz stations out 'there' on the internet catering for all types of jazz. (Linn has one at 320K which isn't too bad depending on your taste.)

Almost anything sounds better than DAB so I would recommend streaming from the internet anyway.
 

mikegtar

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Yes I agree, Jazz FM is misleading. Not only because it's not on FM, but also because the listener would expect to hear a stereo broadcast from a station with 'FM' in it's name.

I look forward to buying an online radio tuner when the online radio streams and hifi streaming devices have settled enough for it to be quick and easy to use (e.g. I notice on the Gramophone forum that Andrew has struggled to get the Music Fidelity CLiC to play the Radio 3 HD stream).

In the meantime I've got the Bose DAB in the bedroom, Pure DAB in the kitchen and a couple of AM/FM tuners on the hifi systems. Obviously I can also listen on the computer, but I don't necessarily want to turn on the PC to listen to the radio.
 

MajorFubar

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DAB is a joke in this country, I don't waste my time with it.

If you are a Jazz FM listener like me, listen to it online. It's stereo and of acceptible quality.
 

chebby

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mikegtar said:
I look forward to buying an online radio tuner when the online radio streams and hifi streaming devices have settled enough for it to be quick and easy to use (e.g. I notice on the Gramophone forum that Andrew has struggled to get the Music Fidelity CLiC to play the Radio 3 HD stream).

Airport Express (£79) + iPod touch* (from £193) and Tunein Radio Pro app (for 69 pence) will do the whole job and is very quick and very easy.

No need to wait for anything to 'settle' and your computer does not need to be switched on. Everything is done from the iThing in your hand, wirelessly, via AirPlay.

I have no problem getting Radio 3 HD to play in 320K AAC. **

*Or an iPhone or an iPad.

** Yes I am sure the MF CLiC will sound wonderful when they have cracked all the glitches, but I prefer to source internet radio this way and it still sounds great to me (plus all the convenience).
 

wilco

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I read the reply from Matt on the Jazz (FM)? forum and replied back saying his engineer made a good attempt at up selling the move to National. Mono beats Stereo ?? The article more or less said that DAB had never been great and 80k Mono was a step up. Maybe good for a casual listen on Pure Evoke in kitchen. Does not do the music justice. Their strap line "Listen in colour" needs revised to black & white :)
 

MajorFubar

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Good question...I've just checked, and according to iplayer it's 64kbps/44.1kHz HE AAC, but if that's the case then it's a billion times better sounding than any 64kbps MP3 I've ever heard or created because I'd say it sounds more like a 128k MP3. It's also stereo.
 
A

Anonymous

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DAB is one of the biggest cons ever. Rubbish quality. And why do manufacturers keep pushing DAB+, its light years away here in UK. Some internet radio is quite acceptable but FM is the winner hands down.
 

chebby

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nick8858 said:
DAB is one of the biggest cons ever. Rubbish quality. And why do manufacturers keep pushing DAB+, its light years away here in UK. Some internet radio is quite acceptable but FM is the winner hands down.

Indeed. FM is the best of the lot (while it lasts). However, there are many stations that are simply not available on FM which is why DAB gets used more than it deserves.

At least internet radio is (generally) superior sounding to DAB even when bite rates are the same.

I am suprised (looking at your signature system) that you are still a fan of FM alongside the "Purely Digital Gear" :)
 
Permission to vent some anger?

The AV industry spends squillions on R&D in order to bring us the very best quality sounding equipment. In the main they get it get right. We've never had it so good.

So why, in that case, are we being deprived of high quality radio reproduction? The newer altenatives to FM are bloody hopeless! True, I've not heard radio streamed, DAB and Freeview is at very best adequate. When it comes to Freeview the BBC stations are OK, but commercial stations - because of the bitrate - is, quite frankly, horrible: It sounds gutless in the extreme, lacking any soul...

This is enough to make me want to sell the lot and just replace it with a portable jobbie. I've always loved radio: FM is far and away superior to any of the modern alternatives.

|( :wall:

Rant over.
 
A

Anonymous

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I am suprised (looking at your signature system) that you are still a fan of FM alongside the "Purely Digital Gear"
smile.png


Hah ha, well spotted. Used to have a DAB tuner but was very poor so don't bother with radio anymore. My brother has an excellent vintage Yamaha tuner which knocks spots off anything I have heard.
 
nick8858 said:
I am suprised (looking at your signature system) that you are still a fan of FM alongside the "Purely Digital Gear"
smile.png


Hah ha, well spotted. Used to have a DAB tuner but was very poor so don't bother with radio anymore. My brother has an excellent vintage Yamaha tuner which knocks spots off anything I have heard.

Is your post aimed at me? if so, I'm a huge fan of music, regardless of whether it's digital or analogue. My old tuner outstrips, SQ-wise, any modern equivilent.
 

chebby

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nick8858 said:
chebby said:
I am suprised (looking at your signature system) that you are still a fan of FM alongside the "Purely Digital Gear"
smile.png

Hah ha, well spotted. Used to have a DAB tuner but was very poor so don't bother with radio anymore. My brother has an excellent vintage Yamaha tuner which knocks spots off anything I have heard.

Aren't you tempted to get a decent used tuner from ebay for the remainder of the duration of FM broadcasting? (A few years yet.)

I once had a rather nifty Denon tuner that was in excellent condition and only cost about £20 or so.
 

dfa2124

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MajorFubar said:
Good question...I've just checked, and according to iplayer it's 64kbps/44.1kHz HE AAC, but if that's the case then it's a billion times better sounding than any 64kbps MP3 I've ever heard or created because I'd say it sounds more like a 128k MP3. It's also stereo.

There is a 128k AAC+ stream as well which should be double the quality of the Radioplayer stream. I can confirm that it does sound very good through the hi-fi system, and is streets ahead of DAB! However, the server for this stream has a limited capacity; it can't cope with more than about 50 listeners. Perhaps this is why there is no mention of it in the statement on Jazz FM's website.
 

MajorFubar

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Sounds like they need to push more resources at that then and maybe abandon DAB.

I'm really not sure what's supposed to be so great about DAB, nor why it's being pushed so strongly along with a constant threat to turn off VHF (and presumably AM). It's an answer to a question no-one asked. RDS VHF-FM seemed to be the peak of terrestrial radio technology imo, and DAB, or more accurately how we've implemented it in the UK, is a step backwards, certainly in SQ. Doesn't SQ matter anymore?
 

dfa2124

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MajorFubar said:
Sounds like they need to push more resources at that then and maybe abandon DAB.

I'm really not sure what's supposed to be so great about DAB, nor why it's being pushed so strongly along with a constant threat to turn off VHF (and presumably AM). It's an answer to a question no-one asked. RDS VHF-FM seemed to be the peak of terrestrial radio technology imo, and DAB, or more accurately how we've implemented it in the UK, is a step backwards, certainly in SQ. Doesn't SQ matter anymore?

Yes I also use a vintage Yamaha T-85 tuner for my main FM listening and on a good broadcast it sounds absolutely superb. It has a rare combination of high-end sonics with excellent DXing capabilities.

Mind you, the best internet streams, like Radio 3 and a couple of others, can also sound fantastic.
 

chebby

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MajorFubar said:
I'm really not sure what's supposed to be so great about DAB, nor why it's being pushed so strongly along with a constant threat to turn off VHF (and presumably AM).

It's about OFCOM/HM Gov. etc. selling off a large chunk of radio bandwidth for more money than it makes now.

MajorFubar said:
Doesn't SQ matter anymore?

As far as most politicians are concerned DAB must be superior because it is digital. They are mostly from an arts/humanities/classics/legal background which is why they thought delivering 2Mbps to every home in the UK by 2012 was a really razzle-dazzle, 'futuristic' target instead of a shameful admission that we have slipped massively behind everyone else and that even our ambitions suck!

They probably, truly, wouldn't understand the fuss even if anyone tried to explain it to them.

(How embarrasing it must have been for the representatives from Facebook, Blackberry and Twitter at Theresa May's 'riot summit' meeting - like something from the IT Crowd - when the assembled ministers finally realised the Internet wasn't in a box, in a room somewhere with a big 'off' switch!)

Then you have politicians like Don Foster MP who said... "I am unremittingly excited and optimistic about digital radio, and can't wait for a switchover date" (cheers Don, but I don't share the excitement) at the same time as admitting he hadn't considered why consumers might be confused about the differences between DAB and DAB+. (As reported by Clare Newsome here.)
 
This is the problem Politicians, they've got their noses stuffed do high up their own mains flexes, they have no idea about about 'Real World Listening', and how that influences ordinary folk like us.

I read Clare's blog and the talk is always about "Stats". Technical jargon is a way of them trying to bluff us all that "because it's modern, it has to be good" type of mentality. I can imagine Clare cringing at the waffle coming from their pretentious mouths (or keyboards).
 

wilco

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Agree with the comments about jargon after reading the JazzFM "engineers" explanation up sell on mono DAB. Really feel a Meldrew moment coming on

MajorFubar I am now using online even if it means short term having Lap top via USB. Last straw today was finding Smooth FM had gone missing. When autotuned back in it is now 112k joint stereo. Feel like starting a protest on Ofcom. This is going the opposite direction from the streaming world e.g. HDtracks 24/96k offerings.
 

Andrew17321

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Why worry about DAB? For quality listening it is a non-starter. Forget it.

There is a wonderful choice of high quality stations available over the internet (I use Sonos). For classical music there are great quality Dutch and Spanish stations, and Linn, of course. Also radio on Freesat is pretty good as well. Certainly better than than the FM I receive.

By the way, do you realise that what you receive on FM has been sent to the transmitter as a digital signal! I don't know what bit rate or compression methods they use. I would be interested to find out, if anyone knows this.

Andrew
 

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