FM Radio Transmission via iTunes, Satisfactory?

 

Bronze Member
Username: Lovegasoline

NYC

Post Number: 44
Registered: Jul-05
Searching for a used tuner is the next quest for this first timer's budget HiFi system (emphasis on [I]budget[/I]).
Coincidentally, another piece of hardware has inserted itself into my scene and begs to be better understood. It doesn't present itself as hi-fidelity, yet it boasts a staggering array of conveniences. I'm wondering if for the budget oriented novice of sound, a modicum of quality can be squeezed from this weird fruit.
Yup, I got a new Apple iBook. The 8yr old Mac is being replaced, and while this iBook represents Apple's current entry level of laptop technology, I'm discovering just how far out of the loop I've been anchored with that older laptop over the past years. I'm not (yet ) an owner of an iPod, but I can see the lure dangling and my mouth making chopping motions.
In any case, iTunes (v 4.7.1), which I'm just exploring, has Radio Streaming. The local non-commercial and freeform radio station, WFMU, which is the impetus behind a tuner purchase, is available in streamed audio at 128kbps and 32kbps. I have a DSL connection and the 128kbps seems to transmit well on my first encounter, though I did have a few buffering moments. If I plug a cable into the the iBook and connect it to the inputs of my amp, I get this FM station reproduced clearer, than for instance, on my boombox. Initially, it appears promising, though I haven't had a chance to judge the QUALITY of the audio...I'm still amazed at the apparent clarity of the signal over the temperamental boombox's reception.
What exactly is the state of streamed audio? On a bare bones budget hifi system, does it have a chance of giving an inexpensive AM/FM tuner a run for it's money?

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