Analog versus Digital tuner

 

New member
Username: Occam

Post Number: 2
Registered: Jul-05
I read that digital FM tuners produce an unnoticable but ultimately "fatiguing" sound when used with an amp. Is there anything to this. All tuners these days are digital.
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 4486
Registered: May-04


The answer to your question is, no, a well designed and executed digital tuner will not produce listening fatigue any more than a well designed and executed analog tuner. The digital tuner is using an "digital" oscillator to lock its tuning to a certain frequency, there are no DAC's in your average digital tuner. (The signal enters the tuner as an analog signal and is passed through the gain stages as an analog signal.) This oscillator gives the tuner the ability to tune to very specific frequencies such as 98.70000000. In some situations the ability of an anaolg tuner to slightly de-tune off that center frequency (to 98.705) can be advantageous. This is something only an analog tuner can achieve since the digital tuner is set to key its synchronization with the oscillator. There are some advantages to both designs but the quality of a tuner is dependent on more factors than whether the designer chose analog or digital tuning.




 

New member
Username: Occam

Post Number: 6
Registered: Jul-05
Great! Do you know anything about the digital tuner in my NAD 7240PE in terms of quality. I have always read that the tuner in the 7020 was legendary.
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 4493
Registered: May-04


Any tuner is as good as the antenna that feeds it the signal.
 

Silver Member
Username: Diablo

Fylde Coast, England

Post Number: 161
Registered: Dec-04
I've never heard the 7020 tuner. They were supposed to be very good, but I have seen several reports that they drift off station - not sure I beleive it - that would be unusual. AM reception has been fairly reliable since the time that 'cat's whisker' sets went out of fashion. FM reception used to drift off at one time but the development of phase locked loops sorted that one out.

The signal which gets fed into a tuner is very important, of course, but the actual circuitry can have a big effect on the sound quality. The difference can be as much as between CD players.

Most of the more recent NADs have an excellent tuner.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3411
Registered: Dec-03
The thread title is "Analog versus Digital tuner".

neil mentions "digital FM tuners", but "FM" is analogue - can anyone help me understand this?

Also, "All tuners these days are digital."....?

I am lost, and cannot even guess what this means!

From Jan's post, the issue is the frequency control. But that does not make a "digital tuner" any more than a quartz-locked speed control on a turntable makes it a digital player. And it cannot make the sound tiring.

neil, are you thinking of "Digital Audio Broadcasting"?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Occam

Post Number: 26
Registered: Jul-05
What I meant was frequency control. How exactly does a digital oscillator work?
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 4558
Registered: May-04


A digital tuner works just like a digital clock. An oscillator, usually a quartz chip, vibrates at set frequencies and the tuner locks the frequency center to that oscillation frequency. That actual tuning is still done by way of altering the capacitance of the tuning circuit as it is in an analog tuner. There is no tuning device similar to what you find in an analog tuner, but the capacitance of the circuit is still the tuning method. The quartz oscillator is just there to lock the center frequency. There is no drift in a digital tuner as there is in an analog tuner when the capacitance changes from time and wear. 98.7000 will always be found at 98.7000 on a digital tuner.




 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3454
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks, neil.

Thanks also, Jan. That clears it up, for me.

Returning to neil's original post: 'I read that digital FM tuners produce an unnoticable but ultimately "fatiguing" sound...'

Is there anything in this? If it is just the frequency control that is digital, then it seems unlikely, to me, that there is any effect at all on the sound. That is why I thought neil might be thinking of a DAB receiver or similar.

 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 4563
Registered: May-04


John - I don't know exactly what the person meant when they told neil about digital tuners, so I can't really tell you what they might have been referring to, if anything. As I said in my first post, there are circumstances where a digital tuner can suffer in a very crowded field of FM signals . This situation occurs on the East Coast of the US where a very good antenna located in New York can pick up stations out of Boston. Multipath distortion can be a problem for digital tuners also. In either situation the digital tuner's inability to detune off the center frequency can lead to higher distortion numbers and bleed through of "spurious" signals. Either of those would cause listener fatigue. But, in 98% of all situations a digital tuner won't be faced with these problems.

The main reason so many digital tuners cause listening fatigue is they are either not connected to a very good antenna and therefore have higher noise and distortion numbers; or the digital tuner in your AV receiver was put in as an after thought and just isn't very good quality. In 25 years of selling audio, I can't remember more than a few times where someone asked to listen to the quality of the tuner in a receiver. So why should the manufacturers trade a decent tuner for less buttons and knobs?




 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3457
Registered: Dec-03
I see. Thanks!

I understand some more things now. My NAD receiver had different AM frequency steps for N. America and Europe. I think when "Digital tuners" auto-tune they hop between fixed frequencies and then decide to settle on ones they remember had big signals. You can always tune manually, but even there it is in fixed steps.

My current venerable tuner has analogue tuning. There is an "AFC" to compensate for a small drift, on pre-sets, as it warms up. Certainly the FM waveband is pretty crowded these days, but my old tuner copes just fine.

neil, - I wouldn't worry about it. Try the sound quality, with a good antenna. If there is distortion, the antenna may just be too large for your distance from the transmitter. Is this right, Jan...?
 

Silver Member
Username: Diablo

Fylde Coast, England

Post Number: 170
Registered: Dec-04
As regards "fatiguing" sound, in the UK many commercial FM stations try to be the loudest on the dial. They do this by using extreme compression. I don't know if they do this elsewhere.
This may sound okay on a portable radio but really bad on better equipment.
It sounds even worse when broadcast on genuine Digital audio broadcasting, especially when using a low bitrate.

 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3463
Registered: Dec-03
I agree completely, diablo.

That's what I was thinking - neil was getting confused with DAB.

However, I am forming the impression that "DAB" does not exist in the US. Or perhaps it has another name.

...?
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 4659
Registered: May-04


We have satellite radio which is a subscription service.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3491
Registered: Dec-03
Jan,

I have just followed diablo's link. It is very good, clear and informative.

diablo,

Thanks!

Over here, "DAB" is a term usually used in the context of terrestrial digital broadcasting, though satellite radio exists, too, and has been digital for five years or - in fact analogue satellite was switched off. Digital satellite is, in fact, very good, sound-wise, in my opinion. The HiFi mags here are fairly scathing about terrestrial digital. I have not heard it myself.

From diablo's Wikipedia link:-

"Typically, most music services are broadcast at 128 kbit/s joint stereo within the UK, and speech services at 80 kbit/s mono. The highest quality service is currently BBC Radio 3, which is usually transmitted at 192 kbit/s in true stereo."
....
Digital radio advocates claim that digital FM sound will be "CD quality", a claim that is certain to be challenged by audiophiles, and that digital AM will be "FM quality".


The latter is massively confusing, imho. Here is that term "CD quality" again - as if it is the reference; undoubtedly a legacy of the "perfect sound" propaganda.

For my money "FM quality" is higher than "CD quality".
 

Silver Member
Username: Diablo

Fylde Coast, England

Post Number: 183
Registered: Dec-04
John,
The digitalradiotech.co.uk site has a table of bitrates used for digital broadcasting in the UK.

Radio 3 is usually broadcast at 196kbps on DAB, satellite and Freeview. The other stations vary, but DAB is always the worst.

R3 DAB has an advantage, in that the listener can decide on the level of compression (none/half/full) that he/she prefers to use. All the others have the compression rate set by the broadcaster. I think that R3 DAB sounds better than the Freeview version, possibly because of this, though I have heard that they use better encoders. I always use FM for preference, though. :-)

Rgds,
diablo

p.s. The main BBC television channels on Freeview all have audio at 256kbps. I'm not sure why they don't apply the same standard for radio!
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3504
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks, diablo. We moved back here earlier this year and I have not yet caught up with these things. That web page seems to have the opposite view to yours:

digitalradiotech.co.uk advises people NOT to buy DAB hi-fi tuners or micro systems as the audio quality on DAB in the UK is very poor and much better audio quality is available on the digital radio stations carried on Freeview, digital satellite and cable.

So, DAB is still-born...?

I can vouch for satellite sound quality. Our problem, previously, was that the BBC switched satellites a few years ago, in order to give a smaller footprint and so prevent reception outside the UK. Now we're back, we don't need it, and a dish is forbidden, right now, anyway.

It is striking how many more stations there are, here, now: it is more like the US model of 20 years ago or so. I have not really sampled the new stations, yet: it is just good to have the old ones back. I have been contempleting "Freeview", but it is not really appetizing, except BBC 4, which you drew my attention to.
 

Silver Member
Username: Diablo

Fylde Coast, England

Post Number: 184
Registered: Dec-04
John,
I think I've hijacked this thread sufficiently by now to throw in another slightly off-topic post. The originator, neil, has shown that he is more than capable of starting another.

I wouldn't recommend the purchase of a DAB hi-fi tuner. If it were not convenient for me to use mine for the all-talking Radio 5, then it wouldn't get used for much at all nowadays - maybe a doorstop. When I bought it, nearly three years ago, it did have plus points against my 25 year old Pioneer FM tuner. The actual sound quality on R3 was not significantly different, but there was no interference and no hiss with DAB!
Having since obtained the NAD T753, I find that the FM tuner they incorporate sounds better than either, using the exact same aerial as the Pioneer, and has no interference or noticeable hiss.

I agree with nearly all of the info on the link I posted earlier. Especially such statements as "this is more proof that the UK's wish to be first with both digital TV and digital radio is about as mis-guided a policy as you can possibly get, because if we are stuck with 6 multiplexes on DTT and are stuck with the dreadful DAB system". I'm not entirely convinced that enhanced codecs of the more modern systems can provide better quality without introducing more artefacts.

Though I will stick with my statement that R3 on DAB sounds better than on Freeview. :-)

I'm pleased that I wasn't one of those who were persuaded to pay between £800 and £3500, which were the prices for the DAB sets available in the first few years of broadcasting. They were told it was the future of hi-fi radio!

Radio 3 on Freeview doesn't sound bad though. If you decide to reconsider your opinion on Freeview, then you should consider one of the many Dual tuner DVRs now available at fairly low cost. These capture the broadcasts in a lossless way, so the recording, television or radio, is as good as the signal when originally received. I wouldn't like to be without my Thomson for the timeshifting options I now have. Though if buying now, I would be looking at the Topfield.

Regards,
diablo
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3514
Registered: Dec-03
diablo,

Thanks. That is very informative. There are some quality manufacturers making DAB tuners, too. I imagine that they, too, were taken in by the hype. The FM performance of my NAD T760 seemed to be very good - I do not have it here, we do not have room for 5.1.

So I shall wait before joining "the switch to digital". I am suspicious of the whole thing, frankly. To judge from satellite broadcasting, there is no public service agenda at all, only "rights management" meaning charging people for decryption keys. Plus more stations. One could argue that we already have too many.

"The originator, neil, has shown that he is more than capable of starting another. "

Yes.

I look back on this one and there is a word missing, too.

Anyway, his post produced replies which cleared things up for me.

So thank you, diablo, Jan and neil.
 

Silver Member
Username: Thx_3417

Post Number: 896
Registered: May-05
Upload

John,

Don't know if you listen via "DAB" I know you like classic fm as I do as well.

Its nice to listen to "DAB" is?

Though I don't own one myself as of yet, the cost for "DAB" as dropped and being an addict listener to classic fm, I have two-ways to listen to it one is via the Kenwood's KRF-9050D THX select tuner, the other is via the internet, where it sounds just a little better with the S/N ratio being slightly higher.

Upload

But seeing its only 192Kbps, don't you all think that's a bit low, some DVD's though not many come with 192Kpbs is this a joke or what, but it's probably why the cost as dropped on them as very few people where buying them.

Unlike now there going like hot cakes?

So is there going to be an upgrade to high bit-rate so we can have 5.1 on the radio, well for classic music that's where it belongs, as it's more original sounding....
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3699
Registered: Dec-03
Andy,

Thanks. Diablo posted a very good link, above, here it is again: digitalradiotech.co.uk

I was considering DAB but I think I shall wait and see. Yes, the broadcasters have gone for low bandwidth in order to pack in more channels. Also, DAB seems to be unknown outside the UK. I doubt it has a future.

At the moment I get exellent analogue FM stereo. So much so it makes me want to phone up and ask them what players and discs they use to get such a good sound from CDs.

When I was investigating surround sound, and still thought it was wonderful, one of my 5.1 set-up tests was a Swedish Radio recording of clips from Stravinsky's Firebird Suite. This can be downloaded in both DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 from

http://www.sr.se/multikanal/english/e_index.stm

There are lots of "Wow" surround special effects demo files there, too. I got sick of The Firebird through trying to find a good sub-woofer setting. If I got it about right in DTS, the DD made bass drums and timps sound like the house was being demolished, or there was a pile-driver in the street.

Last night I heard a stereo FM live broadcast of The Firebird on Radio 3 and it was so much better than that recording in detail, resolution, ambience, everything- much more like being at a performance. I enjoyed it, for a change, despite thinking "Oh no, not again" when I saw it was scheduled.

That is a personal reaction, of course.

There have been experimental broadcasts in DTS 5.1 in some countries, including Sweden. I thin the Netherlands has one, too. You really need high-bandwidth digital, such as a satellite. And even there there are hardly any recievers. I think Nokia has just one, out of its entire range. And it is pricey, of course.

So multichannel radio is far out on the fringe: there are almost no broadcasts, and almost no receivers. Most radio listeners who want surround sound will be happy with Prologic working on a stereo feed, I am sure.

Whether this will change I have no idea. I suppose that if the record industry has some success with multichannel then broadcasters will follow.

The BBC did an experimental "broadcast" of Under Milk Wood in 5.1 last year but it was a joke, really: it was only "Broadcast" on the internet, and in a massively compressed format, I think WMP. Then they took the files away after a week.

As I said before, the BBC were at the forefront of audio technology, a long time ago, but no longer. I read (I am not that old!) that the first stereo broadcasts used radio for one channel, and a TV channel (I think the new BBC2) for the other, and in the middle of the night.

I think all broadcasting in UK has become "dumbed down", personally. I quite like Classic FM while driving.
 

Silver Member
Username: Thx_3417

Post Number: 945
Registered: May-05
Quote

There have been experimental broadcasts in DTS 5.1 in some countries, including Sweden. I thin the Netherlands has one, too. You really need high-bandwidth digital, such as a satellite. And even there, there are hardly any receivers. I think Nokia has just one, out of its entire range. And it is pricey, of course.
_________________________________________________

So Sweden, is broadcasting dts 5.1 radio?
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3713
Registered: Dec-03
The last I heard, they had done one or two test transmissions, that is all.
 

Silver Member
Username: Thx_3417

Post Number: 953
Registered: May-05
I see kinder like the NICAM tests in the late 1980's!

 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3716
Registered: Dec-03
Could be. What happened to NICAM stereo? Did it take over, as planned? As you will guess, I was on another planet at the time.
 

Silver Member
Username: Diablo

Fylde Coast, England

Post Number: 214
Registered: Dec-04
NICAM is still with us on analogue television broadcasts, in the UK at least.
I fed NICAM broadcasts into my surround system from VCR outputs since the system started. Quite a few programs had Dolby Prologic encoded into the stereo signal.
It was quite a good system, and still is, actually.

Regards,
diablo
 

Silver Member
Username: Thx_3417

Post Number: 979
Registered: May-05
diablo

Dolby Stereo encoding is always there in the final mix, with the matrixed surround still imbedded within the signal, and the playback of it on NICAM 725 is stunning when I first heard and felt with "Blade Runner" and "Dune" indispensable it was at the time, but now its just the norm, somehow I hate that word the norm, there I said it again, and hopefully the last time, so I haven't watched British TV I quite a while and leaver will again, nor do I want digital TV as well, just give me an ole Laserdisc or DVD to play and some "Classic FM" to relax to.

All You Ever Wanted to Know About NICAM but were Afraid to Ask"
http://tallyho.bc.nu/~steve/nicam.html
 

Silver Member
Username: Diablo

Fylde Coast, England

Post Number: 218
Registered: Dec-04
Andy,
Thanks for the link. I knew most of it already, but it has some good info which is new to me.

I'm wondering why you don't watch television. British tv has some very good stuff on it.

I've known a couple of people who have decided not to watch, or own, a television. Both of them, when put into an environment where there was a television, would watch piles of ploop, incessantly. Soaps, daytime TV - all the crappiest stuff imaginable. I guess they knew they were TV-holics.

I watch news, documentaries, some films (approx 2 per month) and some music stuff.

It's a very valuable resource, unless you are addicted to total crap. :-)

So, you don't watch TV. Can you explain more clearly?

 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3769
Registered: Dec-03
Having located the cable from our roof aerial/antenna and found it gives a good signal, I have invested in the cheapest available "Freeview" - terrestrial digital - receiver, and initial impressions are positive. Thanks to diablo especially for the recommendation. I will listen more carefully to analogue FM and digital "Freeview" radio at the weekend.
 

Silver Member
Username: Diablo

Fylde Coast, England

Post Number: 247
Registered: Dec-04
John,

I'm a little surprised that you went for the cheapest one! Was this perhaps an impulse buy at your local Tesco/Sainsbury's/Asda store, perhaps?

Have you had a chance to compare the respected Armstrong 600 series FM tuner to a mere £35 Freeview tuner over the weekend?

I'm interested to know the outcome.

I've done a new comparison between the FM tuner in my NAD T753 and my Thomson DHD4000 Freeview set. This time, I've used the analogue RCA outputs from the Thomson, which I can balance so that the volume is nearly identical when I switch between the two (not possible with digital output).

I used Radio 3 for the source material, of course.

I won't reveal the results until I've read your impressions though, in order to put you on the spot!

Best regards,
diablo
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3773
Registered: Dec-03
diablo,

Spot on. It was Tesco. It has RCA audio out. The more expensive one didn't.

I have changed too many things to do a straight comparison. There are two arial cables. I assumed the one that did not work for TV was for FM. But it gives weak signal with hiss. I will set up the old indoor telescopic and get my stronger signal back before I pronouce.

The other thing to say is that all my new sources generate RF that produces hiss on the Armstrong. It could be because it has a wooden case and is not shielded in any way I can detect. So I have to unplug TV, CD player, Freeview box and Airport Express before I get pristine FM, and that is forgetting about the signal strength.

This is genuine RF interference - I can confirm this with the Tivoli One FM radio receiver. That is the best recent purchase.

Give me some more time.

Considering Freeview Radio 3 on its own, there is a sort of harshness, especially on high notes, and also when the music gets loud. It could be me. It is bit like listening to MP3 files, there is something strange and ghost-like about it, rather than any quality one can name, like distortion or colouration.

The other thing I thought I noticed is that the Freeview box was hiss-free even when the original had hiss, for example some 1950s recordings on CD review last week. I wonder if it has some sort of hiss filter...? And what detrimental effect this might have on overall sound quality....?

Anyway, it pulls in all these darned TV channels, including 16:9 aspect ratio, so the family is happy. It is getting complicated to operate all this stuff. Also have little time. Missed all the Bob Dylan stuff last weekend, for example.

Anyway, it works. And was about £30....
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3774
Registered: Dec-03
Update: have moved FM tuner a few feet away from all other sources and reinstated good indoor aerial (correct spelling; I got confused with the font).

Stereo FM rules OK.

From diablo's link of July 29 I read that analogue radio transmissions are planned to continue in UK "well beyond" the planned TV "switch to digital" in 2012. Good. FM is still the reference source imho.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 4026
Registered: Dec-03
I wonder if previous contributors are still around...?

Trade-off.

FM: Great sound but crosstalk from other channels into Radio 3 at both its frequencies, both close to 91 MHz. Is it the tuner or the aerial? If the tuner, will getting the tuner serviced do anything, or is the FM band just overcrowed these days, making cross-talk inevitable? I do not hear the FM cross-talk on Tivoli table radio or in car.

Freeview (that is, digital terrestrial reception). Clean signal but lifeless and unconvincing sound. Is this the cheap receiver, or is it inherent in the medium? The sound is OK for TV, but often seems to drift out of synch with the video. Is this at source, or different buffering for A and V (cannot see why anyone would design a unit in that way).

Radio 3. Perhaps one has higher standards for music. FM broadcast last night of live concert of Mahler 2 recorded last week very real and convincing, except for the crosstalk from a neighbouring pop station (Audible during quiet bits) and the now universal R3 compression. The climaxes are anticipated and suppressed - and the quiet passages are turned up so you feel the performers have grown unnaturally in size. The BBC really should not do this. It is like a side effect of a drug. The whole sound from freeview was ghostly in contrast to FM, and the compression seemed even worse, if anything.

The general resolution on FM is still good, and preferred. But FM reception is vulnerable to interference from both my CD players, from TV, and from Freeview receiver. Also from WiFi if the base station is too close.
 

Silver Member
Username: Diablo

Fylde Coast, England

Post Number: 260
Registered: Dec-04
John,
I'm surprised that your freeview box goes out of synch. I've never had that problem on any of the four boxes I've used. Even the orginal Nokia 'On-Digital' box, purchased in 1999, when the processors were much slower, didn't have that problem.
It could possibly be an aerial problem, in that the circuit gets thrown into confusion if it gets a bad 'I-frame'.??

I recently heard a Radio 3 spokesman on the BBC complaints program 'Feedback'. Whilst he recognised the annoyance of some at the use of compression, he offered no hope - "Many people are listening on low quality equipment or portables and we need to give them priority".
That's fine during the daytime I suppose, but I suspect the majority of their audience are listening on fairly high quality stuff in the evening. Annoying!
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 4094
Registered: Dec-03
diablo,

Welcome back! I heard a "Feedback" saying much the same many years ago. The spokesman said they could not broadcast too low a signal because then the transmitters would shut down. I do not believe that.

If it is any consolation, the compression is worse on Classic FM. I had a rant about that here on Classic fm under "Radio".

I look forward to "Cd review" on Saturday morning on Radio 3. I do not think is compressed. But they really should not compress live performances, either.

I still thing there is something there on FM that is missing on Freeview. It could be my receiver and tuner, I suppose.
 

New member
Username: Recordingroomrick

Newark, NJ USA

Post Number: 1
Registered: Sep-06
As this post was originally about the timbre quality of a digitally tuned FM tuner versus a comparable quality "analog" tuned tuner here are the observations of a 40 years experienced high end salesman.

I remember when digital frequency synthesis eliminated the tuning section of FM tuners and simply replicated what frequency the tuner was to look for. It was very precise, and allowed for pushputton presetting of stations which tuned by hand analog tuners DID NOT HAVE.

But the tone was dull as crap because while analog tuning sections sensed the entire signal wave and you gathered it all including the edges and the middle, digital surgically went only for the middle slice of the signal. Perfect numerical tuning but it missed capturing the nuances of the music.

At least that is my non scientific explanation why the analog tuners sounded wonderful and the new synthesized tuners sounded bleached , flat and uninvolving.

If you don't believe me compare a modern analog Magnum Dynalab tuner to a modern FM synthesis tuner like say the Marantz Reference. The problem is still there and synthesis still sucks. But it has push buttons. Whoopie.

Add to that the abusive amount of compression the station management demands for better drive time penetration and you have a formula designed to drive serious listeners away from FM entirely. Did I mention the amount of commercial ads? And how commercial the FM MUSIC is today? It all sounds like cheese ads...

A better solution is to go XM with the Polk reference tuner hooked up to the Benchmark DAC for about $1500. This isn't as good as FM used to be but it is cleaner and more musical than most of what FM is today. I listen constantly to my similar setup (different DACs I had lying around). More variety and less commercial irritation.

I for one can't wait for more Internet radio stand alone units to hit the market. I have balanced connections running from my PC in the basement to my rack upstairs and I get one station at a time that way off the internet with preference for 128K bit rate and outboard DACs again making it all better timbre wise.

But as WiFi and detached tuners become better sorted and more plentiful I will look for a stand alone unit to allow remote selection of stations which is great when it doesn't come at a cost of worse sound.

Go buy a $200 analog tuner from the 70s is my recommendation.

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