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Apart from Analogue, is the DT91 better than the DT81 ?

Discussion in 'Arcam Owners' Forum' started by Withdrawnmist, Mar 7, 2005.

  1. Withdrawnmist

    Withdrawnmist
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    Hi Hi Fi People,

    I have an Arcam DT81 DAB and it's ok actually... :smashin:

    Now I know the DT91 has an AM/FM jobby in it too, but is that the only difference apart from the price decrease too ?

    Has anyone actually upgraded from the DT81 to the 91 ?...it would be interesting to hear your opinions

    Ta
     
  2. Withdrawnmist

    Withdrawnmist
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    whoa !!..hold back everybody !!!..don't all answer at once !!!....it's ok...I now I'm, being cheeky in expecting a quick response....I suppose my query is too elite in that I don't expect anyone has actually upgraded from to DT81 to a DT91 yet !!....but I was hoping that someone may be able to confirm if there are any tech differences in the DAB sections between the two ?

    ta
     
  3. johnrm11

    johnrm11
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    I think it is a fair question, actually.

    I have seen a DT81 tuner sold recently for around £60 less than a DT91 (obviously both 2nd hand). I was surprised that the difference was so small and wondered if there was a reason. I know that the original new price of the DT81 was significantly more than the current new price of a 91. I assumed that was simply because the 81 was an early entrant in the DAB stakes and prices generally dropped a lot as DAB took off.

    Any comments, folks? Especially from the technical experts.... :)
     
  4. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin
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    My DT91 does not do AM, but I find its FM to be decent. As an FM tuner though, it's far too expensive. DAB has not been much of a hit (over here), and is due to be replaced by the completely incompatible DAB+ in 2008 (again, over here). For this reason, I can't think of any reason why you would want to replace a DT81 with a DT91 (at least, if you lived over here). I find myself using only the FM section of my DT91.

    Of course, it's possible that London is a place with absolutely fantastic support for DAB, with amazingly high bit rates and a long term commitment to DAB with no intention to switch to DAB+, but everything I've read about the UK's current state and future plans indicates otherwise.;)
     
  5. johnrm11

    johnrm11
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    Mark, You are right about the poor state of DAB in UK. I use my Arcam T61 FM tuner as my primary radio source. I have a Pure DAB tuner that I use (very occasionally) for DAB-only stations.

    However, I was thinking about adding a DT81 to 'piggy-back' with my T61 with a view to getting rid of my Pure DAB box. I expected the DT81 to be very cheap since it has long been discontinued. I was simply surprised that 2nd-hand DT81s are not cheap (currently around £180 - 290 in UK) and wondered if there was something special (over and above the DAB section in the DT91) that justified their retaining a high-ish price.

    I'm sure if anyone from Arcam reads this they can tell us...
     
  6. Mark.Yudkin

    Mark.Yudkin
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    The DT91 costs CHF1200 (that's GBP600!) list over here, so GBP180 for a DT81 seems not unreasonable to me. A T61 costs CHF700 (GBP350).

    I believe UK prices for Arcam equipment are significantly lower: the Swiss prices do not seem to have changed as the GBP has tumulted down. In any case, Arcam do not control or influence the price of second hand equipment - that is driven purely by the market.
     
  7. LPspinner

    LPspinner
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    HI guys:
    This is an Interesting thread, comparing the Arcam DT81 to the DT91 DAB tuner

    The DT81 if recall correctly, used a proprietary “in house” design developed by Arcam and its digital Technology partners. It was a highly regarded receiver and very capable both technically and sonically. Unfortunately the potential of DAB has been squandered by low bit rates and Ensembles cramming more programs rather than more quality into each channel. Subsequently high end receivers like the DT81 seem a waste of effort.

    The DT91 uses an off the shelf DAB tuner module designed by Radioscape. Inside the DT91 lives a Radioscape 200L DAB / FM stereo tuner module which Arcam have coupled to their own Digital to analogue converter based around a single Wolfson DAC chip. This is not an indictment on Arcam or the DT91 but rather, it is a sign if the times and a reflection on current manufacturing practices. The DT91 is still a very good DAB tuner and its FM performance betters many of the mid-priced FM tuners available today. The DT91 uses a special software defined FM tuner that digitizes the incoming FM signal and does all its FM demodulation and stereo decoding in the digital domain. Almost all other budget to mid-priced tuners (including the Arcam Diva T61 and the FMJ T31) use an off the shelf AM/FM tuner module from Kwang-Sung. It pretty much means that all modern FM tuners today are going to perform and sound very much the same.

    I use a DT91 and I purchased it based on its FM performance alone, it cost around $1400 Australian which makes it a pretty expensive tuner (the T61 sells for around $650 Aus). Here in Australia we have elected to implement the DAB+ format so like Mark Yudkin, my DT91’s DAB section is about to become obsolete. I am also hoping (but I’m not holding my breath) that Arcam will release an update kit to convert the DT91 to use the DAB+ standards when Radioscape make a DAB+ module available based on the RS200L footprint and logic protocols.

    Having said all of the above, if you have a DT81, use it and enjoy it as a very good DAB only tuner, the DT91 will give you very little more. The whole DAB system world wide will ultimately have to go DAB+ and this will make any existing DAB tuner redundant. To recommend or to purchase a current technology DAB tuner in light of this seems silly and wasteful.

    LPSPinner:
     
  8. johnrm11

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    Thanks, LPS. Very helpful. Just what I was looking for.
     
  9. LPspinner

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    Hi johnrm11

    Glad I could help:

    Like I said The DT91 still makes an excellent sounding FM tuner if your country does not have DAB or is using the DAB+ format. All the same, it is an awful lot of money to pay for what is basically an FM only tuner and only serious FM listeners would be willing to spend that kind of cash.

    It’s just a pity that the Whole DAB scene is such a mess at the moment.

    LPSPinner.
     

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