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Which is best - FM, DAB or satellite

Xanderzdad

New member
Jun 25, 2008
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Hi

Since I have no means of testing this without paying for a decent aerial - which would sound best - assuming a decent aerial was used.

a. FM, b. DAB or c. listening to one of the radio channels on Sky HD

Sky HD is all I've got and sounds pretty good but my memory of having a tuner 20 years ago makes me think that FM can sound fantastic.

BTW I listen to radio 1 & 2 and local commercial radio mainly.

Thanks
 

Xanderzdad

New member
Jun 25, 2008
146
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Thanks Andy

Is the FM tuner in my Denon 2808 going to sound much better than the Sky HD radio? If so I might have to invest in a decent outdoor aerial.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Andy Clough:I'd say FM, Sky and DAB in that order.

sorry to nitpick andy, but is that ascending or descending quality order? I know DAB is supposed to be the bee's knees, but my experience (around south west of london) is that the signal strength and quality varies from non-existent to moderate, with stations not always being availble so FM is my favourite (with a 6ft internal aerial).

of course if cricket is what is being listened to, then its LW or Radio 5 live extra on the digital tv box.
 

Andy Clough

New member
Apr 27, 2004
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The order I gave was best to worst. Good quality FM transmissions will often sound better than DAB, so I agree with you FM is best. And living like you in SW London, DAB reception can be pretty poor at times with lots of signal break-up (happens all the time in my kitchen!). Don't get me started on DAB bitrates
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The BBC use Nicam to send audio to their FM transmitters.

Nicam is 14bit with a sampling rate of 32khz and a bit rate of ~700kbps, which is compounded to 10bit for transmission.

Sadly DAB uses very low bitrates and a rubbish codec.

Freeview/Sky offer higher bitrates and will sound fine through a good DAC.

Internet radio has the potential for high bitrates and good codecs, if we're lucky. I've found plenty of 320kbps classical stations. Again you need a good DAC; not just the headphone output of your laptop!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
a4quattro:
Freeview/Sky offer higher bitrates and will sound fine through a good DAC.

Strangely I have RCA connectors on the back of an older Panasonic CRT telly which has built in Freeview too - I plugged it into my Kandy after reading this and it sounds really good!

Outside of Radio 3 and what used to be on LW, DAB pretty much sucks. I have a small Roberts portable which is a well featured DAB / FM radio, sounds really good through headphones. The coolest thing about it though is that it does almost all the swish DAB style tuning stuff in FM too.
 

DistortedVision

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2008
147
3
18,595
Xanderzdad:

Hi

Since I have no means of testing this without paying for a decent aerial - which would sound best - assuming a decent aerial was used.

a. FM, b. DAB or c. listening to one of the radio channels on Sky HD

Sky HD is all I've got and sounds pretty good but my memory of having a tuner 20 years ago makes me think that FM can sound fantastic.

BTW I listen to radio 1 & 2 and local commercial radio mainly.

Thanks

I'd get a DAC to use with your Sky HD box like A4quattro suggested. The Cambridge Audio DacMagic is getting alot of attention. But I'd also recommend the TAG McLaren DAC20 which as you can see from my signature that I have in my system. They sell for £300 second hand.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Even with a rooftop aerial, I can never get a decent FM signal on most stations where I live so it's DAB all the way for me. I agree about the bitrates being low but nowadays I only ever listen on my portable Pure Evoke Flow so it's not much of an issue. Still, when DAB+ eventually arrives it should (hopefully) address the issues about sound quality.
 

Xanderzdad

New member
Jun 25, 2008
146
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0
Hi

Thanks for all the advice. I am intrigued about the use of a DAC though. Is this to bypass the DAC in my Denon 2808? Would it be that much better?

Thanks
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
hi andy is fm not due to be switched off like analouge tv soon, i may be wrong any info on this welcome thanks.
 

daveh75

Well-known member
Jul 31, 2008
564
3
18,895
dvdaudio:hi andy is fm not due to be switched off like analouge tv soon, i may be wrong any info on this welcome thanks.
there's no immediate plans for digital switchover of radio transmissions at present, think there is some info on the digital switch over website somewhere.

edit- here in fact
 

obithius

New member
Oct 6, 2008
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Some info on the switch to digital radio here.Don't hold your breath!

http://www.culture.gov.uk/reference_library/media_releases/5216.aspx

Chris
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I live on the West Coast of Canada; and have very limited DAB here. I have listened to satellite and was not the least bit impressed. Sounded ok at first; but they seem to be using a great deal of compression and it very quickly sounded very un-musical. I do listen to a lot of FM and in spite of it's limited frequency response etc. in my opinion is just sounds better - much more musical.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I have to say that I can't stand the sound of FM or DAB, which at it's best is slightly better IMO. We made the very best we could of both types and they were killed by the dealers. They weren't interested and wouldn't stock them, didn't have an aerial and so on, despite the fact that there was interest from customers then. Regardless, I don't like the sound of either compared to Internet radio, which is so much better that I wouldn't go back.

A friend made a direct digital recording of Murray Perahia playing Mozart at the Proms and I thought it barely good enough as background music. It is MP2 and nothing like as good as a 128K MP3 stream from say WGBH Boston, or the Prague or Budapest stations who sometimes use higher bitrates still.

Ash
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,232
4
19,195
Despite a few internet radio stations sounding pretty good (Radio Paradise at 192mbps MP3 through iTunes for instance) the good ones are an exception.

The point of internet radio is choice and not (generally) quality. It sounds quite tolerably good through our 'Pure Evoke Flow' kitchen radio but there are only a few internet streams that I would listen to through my DAC and hifi. I am quite 'Catholic' in my tastes of internet radio stations and have tried out hundreds before settling on some regular favourites.

IF the content of any local/national FM stations is to your taste (I enjoy BBC R2, R3 and R4 and Classic FM) and IF you have a good FM roof aerial - with at least reasonable reception in your area - then the quality is extraordinary, assuming you have a competent tuner. DAB comes nowhere near it especially through a hifi. (Even with a decent DAB roof aerial) generally the bit rates for DAB are lousy.

Bitrates and quality for Freeview/Cable radio are higher and sit between FM and DAB (or the best Internet radio stations) for quality.

So...

Internet radio:- Acceptable through a good tabletop radio like the Pure Evoke Flow. A few stations good enough to listen to through a good DAC & Hifi. Excellent choice. Good fun.

DAB Radio:- Barely tolerable even with a roof aerial. Not hifi. Variable choice depending on the area and the reception conditions. OK through table top radios.

FM:- Limited station choice (again depending on your area and reception). Good roof aerial vital even where reception is OK. Stunning quality possible through hifi with competent tuner.

Freeview/cable radio:- Higher bitrates than DAB (and most internet stations). Station choice limited. Sounds better through hifi than DAB. Not capable of that last little bit of 'magic' that a good live FM stereo performance can convey.
 

John Duncan

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2008
2,027
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19,695
chebby:I am quite 'Catholic' in my tastes of internet radio stations and have tried out hundreds before settling on some regular favourites.

Here's another one for you then. Video and podcasts also available.
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,232
4
19,195
JohnDuncan:chebby:I am quite 'Catholic' in my tastes of internet radio stations and have tried out hundreds before settling on some regular favourites.

Here's another one for you then. Video and podcasts also available.

Ah... 'Top Of The Popes'.
 

Gerrardasnails

Well-known member
Sep 6, 2007
295
1
18,890
Xanderzdad:
Hi

Thanks for all the advice. I am intrigued about the use of a DAC though. Is this to bypass the DAC in my Denon 2808? Would it be that much better?

Thanks

You can't, to my knowledge, send the FM reception from your Denon receiver, to your MF amp. Well, I can't with my receiver and amp. However, you can listen to the radio from Sky with your MF amp and by using a DAC, this will further more improve the quality. I listened without DAC and was impressed and just need to get round to buying an optical lead to make use of my spare input in my DacMagic.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
chebby:Despite a few internet radio stations sounding pretty good (Radio Paradise at 192mbps MP3 through iTunes for instance) the good ones are an exception.

The point of internet radio is choice and not (generally) quality. It sounds quite tolerably good through our 'Pure Evoke Flow' kitchen radio but there are only a few internet streams that I would listen to through my DAC and hifi. I am quite 'Catholic' in my tastes of internet radio stations and have tried out hundreds before settling on some regular favourites.

IF the content of any local/national FM stations is to your taste (I enjoy BBC R2, R3 and R4 and Classic FM) and IF you have a good FM roof aerial - with at least reasonable reception in your area - then the quality is extraordinary, assuming you have a competent tuner. DAB comes nowhere near it especially through a hifi. (Even with a decent DAB roof aerial) generally the bit rates for DAB are lousy.

Bitrates and quality for Freeview/Cable radio are higher and sit between FM and DAB (or the best Internet radio stations) for quality.

So...

Internet radio:- Acceptable through a good tabletop radio like the Pure Evoke Flow. A few stations good enough to listen to through a good DAC & Hifi. Excellent choice. Good fun.

DAB Radio:- Barely tolerable even with a roof aerial. Not hifi. Variable choice depending on the area and the reception conditions. OK through table top radios.

FM:- Limited station choice (again depending on your area and reception). Good roof aerial vital even where reception is OK. Stunning quality possible through hifi with competent tuner.

Freeview/cable radio:- Higher bitrates than DAB (and most internet stations). Station choice limited. Sounds better through hifi than DAB. Not capable of that last little bit of 'magic' that a good live FM stereo performance can convey.

If you have Sky or Freeview connected to your AV amp (assuming you're running one) then that's the way to go. Convenient and good quality sound into the bargain.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Just caught U2 "with or without you" on XFM, a song I used to listen to all the time.

I flicked from DAB to FM and the difference was night and day.

I'll be leaving my Pure 2-XT on FM for the foreseeable future.

I'd done this before, but not with a track I knew really well.

DAB was like hearing it in another room, FM much better
 

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