HD Tuner?

 

Silver Member
Username: Hawk

Highlands Ranch, CO USA

Post Number: 844
Registered: Dec-03
Anyone aware of a new home audio tuner that receives and decodes HD radio? I have three stations in my area boasting they are now broadcasting in HiDef as well as analog (I hear this when listening to the car radio). So, I am curious if there is any product out there anyone is aware of.

Any comments welcome.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 4150
Registered: Dec-03
Hawk,

I was suprised by the lack of response, so looked up "HD Radio" and find several things, including HD Radio Buyer's Guide.

Digital radio over here in UK is being promoted strongly but most HiFi magazines and commentators are unimpressed. It look like we have separate systems. The standard "DAB" - Digital Audio Broadcasting - system here is mostly 128 kbps for stereo. In the US "....The digital in FM is broadcast at 96 kilobits per second, with a specialized CODEC compression technology designed for the system. That tests out to CD quality on FM." - Crutchfield - Interview with Robert Struble, President of iBiquity Digital.

I do not quite get this. FM is analogue, by definition. And I've always thought it was superior to CD, when correctly set up, and with a good tuner and antenna.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 1366
Registered: Sep-04
According to the BBC, the equivalent to FM quality is 224kbps. CD quality is around 256kbps.

DAB? Rubbish at the moment. In the UK, only BBC Radio 3 sends out a 256k signal, and that's not all the time. Most broadcasts are 128, which is to say worse than FM. In fact, our freeview TV tuners are pumping a higher average rate than the DAB broadcasts so your TV can be a better source than your DAB tuner. Ridiculous!

HD Radio is news to me, so if this happens I'll be well interested. There's also the question of DRM which is a digital system that is meant to give near-FM quality on AM frequencies.

Regards,
Frank.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 4160
Registered: Dec-03
Frank,

I am doubtful that "HD radio" is more than a marketing term.

"Freeview" is hopeless, too, in my opinion. I dread to think how bad DAB really is. I recently bought a Tivoli table radio, FM only. Gorgeous.

I have a conspiracy theory about the advocated "switch to digital", based on being dependent on satellite TV until 18 months ago, where the switch was made in about 2001. Better sound? No. Better anything? No. It can be encrypted, and a charge levied for reception. That's the object, in my provisional opinion. The BBC and other broadcasters know the licence fee is a political liability, and are planning for the future.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 4209
Registered: Dec-03
Any more on "HD radio"?

My FM stereo tuner is in for service, so I have had some days listening to digital terrestrial radio, on the same "Freeview" receiver we use for TV. The sound is so bad. I do wish we were not having this stuff foisted on us. Yet all the publicity says move to digital for better sound. It is nonsense, and cannot be the real motive; mark my words.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 4229
Registered: Dec-03
My FM tuner is back, good as new, and it brings a huge improvement in sound quality compared to digital terrestrial.
 

Gold Member
Username: Project6

Post Number: 8252
Registered: Dec-03
That's good news :-)
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 4251
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks, Berny. Amongst other things, the guy repleced two RF filters which has decreased cross talk between channels.

No-one from US seems to have much to say about digital radio - or is my mistake, not being familiar with the terminology....?

I am still trying to get my head around "digital FM". I cannot see how or why a digital signal needs to be frequency modulated.

And "HD" for 96 kbps...?!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Dscrobe

Reading, PA USA

Post Number: 25
Registered: Dec-05
This thread is the best I've read concerning HD radio and it helps for me to understand why HD is mostly marketed in car installations. The average driver (with all the external noise such as car motor hum) will be less concerned with poor sound quality (considering the 96 KBPS standard for HD) and more interested in the number of received stations. Consider the fact that digital radio will allow stations to multiplex songs on one carrier frequency. Then consider the stations you can barely pick up on analog, now can be picked up on HD with absence of static and hiss. I'm sure there are others like me who get a kick out of jumping to one station to another.
 

Silver Member
Username: Mvanmeter

KY USA

Post Number: 120
Registered: Jan-06
I'm not sure I would make a broad statement that HD Radio is "for car installations" only. Many users in areas with very crowded FM bands have found a good sensitive tuner like the Sangean HDT-1 and newer HDT-1x can lock on to stations that were hard to listen to due to front end overload from very powerful nearby high power stations.

Another forum you may want to visit is an HD Radio specific forum on AVS - good discussions on the pro's and con's of HD for stationary "at-home" use, as well as mobile.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?f=154
 

Bronze Member
Username: Dscrobe

Reading, PA USA

Post Number: 36
Registered: Dec-05
Martin, I would definitely agree that HD Radio has good selectivity. The music quality or the data bit stream is what has me concerned. As a compromise to this, I decided to try out the digital music that my cable company provides. It is called Music Choice. It has about fifty channels of commercial free music. The quality has sounded good. But I can tell that some channels sound crappier than others. What has really been annoying is that on all channels, I hear a fading of the music. It will get louder then softer, then over again. Not significant but enough to realize it.
 

Silver Member
Username: Mvanmeter

KY USA

Post Number: 125
Registered: Jan-06
hi daniel,
I would caution about using cable as a comparison for anything RF related. I have seen far too many terrible signal quality issues with multiple cable company installations, and they don't seem to care.

In a similar vein, my over-the-air reception of HDTV from local broadcasters has a higher signal quality than what is provided to a friend by the local cable company - I can only assume it is a combination of lossy compression and over amplification artifacts.

I must confess I have not made the jump to HD radio, but I'm very close. On the AVS forum, one poster had some recorded .wav files of broadcasts in the NYC area and they sounded extremely good - full range with absolutely no hiss or noise in the very quite sections, something that is hard to duplicate with analog FM. The overcrowding of the band with very powerful stations that splatter all across the band of any FM radio except those with the very highest grade front ends can make analog FM stereo very frustrating.

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