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DAB digital radio - the truth

Discussion in 'Music Streamers' started by mobily, Jan 5, 2004.

  1. mobily

    mobily
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    I am quite a heavy radio listener and decided to invest in a DAB digital radio due to their low price and easy hookup to an amp. However, I have read that digital radio is encoded in far less bitrate than it is in many other countries. The UK lags far behind countries such as France who encode in close to 200kbps. The following link shows this in a simple graphical format.

    http://www.digitalradiotech.co.uk/images/ave_bit_rate.jpg

    What also interests me about the whole digital radio phenomenon is that DAB is encoded to a lower bitrate than that of a freeview box. Surely a dedicated digital radio should provide a better sound than a freeview box!?

    For example:

    BBC Radio 1 (DAB = 128kbps) (Freeview = 192kbps)

    This is common across the board of all radio stations that are broadcast on DAB as well as Freeview. The only station that is encoded in 192kbps is Radio 3 whilst stations such as Virgin lag behind on 160kbps.

    Admittedly not all stations that are available on DAB are yet available on Freeview but surely this is just a matter of time and people may as well pay out £100 for a freeview box than the same amount of money for a DAB with poorer sound quality?

    I think that this proves we seem to have been shortchanged in this country. Although the sound quality of DAB is of high standard it would appear it could be so much better. I feel as though I have wasted my money buying a DAB as I shall be buying a freeview box very soon. I confidently predict that most if not all stations currently broadcasting on DAB will be available on Freeview.

    Although you can't carry a Freeview box around with you or in your car surely this will stunt the growth of DAB in the home when it could be so much higher.

    According to the website I have listed below, 98% of stereo stations broadcast in 128kbps meaning that there is muffled sound and poor top end response.

    I also quote from the website when they say that "Stations on DAB don't sound better than the same stations on Freeview or digital satellite". They also say that "FM with good reception sounds far better than DAB". Also DAB is not completely protected from interference. There is no his and crackle as they say in the adverts but the signal just drops out which sounds like someone is walking through mud.

    I often get the feeling that the benefits of DAB are spoonfed to us all on a daily basis whilst the negative aspects are brushed under the carpet.

    Sorry for the rant :mad:

    Kind regards,

    James

    Information taken from: http://www.digitalradiotech.co.uk/home.htm
     
  2. Stereo Steve

    Stereo Steve
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    I have a DAB radio in my car but the only reason I bother is so I can get Planet Rock and don't have to listen to the usual sell out, lightweight, MOR, piece of crap, all the same, cheesy, no balls, cynical, staffed by morons, softcock stations that we are force fed in this country. A trip to the States will show you what radio should be like.

    It's like, Ozzy Osbourne is really popular right now so do they play any of his old stuff? No, because they have small willies.

    I also agree with you about the quality. In the home, FM is better as you can set up a good arial and ensure a good signal. I use my sky box for other stations.
     
  3. RobDickinson

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    Its not just bitrate either.

    DAB is encoded in MP2, which is significantly poorer than mp3.

    DAB is the worst way to recieve digitsal radio in the UK , freview and sky are far better:(
     
  4. jaygreen

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    Thanks explains why Virgin and Capital sound so much better through Sky than my DAB. Thought my ariel wasn't up to the job !!!!
     
  5. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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  6. peterc

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    any one know any thing about DAB in the car out of interest now the subject has been brought up..? such as prices and wether DAB radios have FM and AM tuners as well as digital..?
     
  7. alfablue

    alfablue
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    I think the Blaupunkt Woodstock has DAB & AM & FM, and plays MP3 from CD-R or MMC card

    Amazing feartures for the price (currently £279 inc DAB arial at http://www.bluespot.co.uk/stock/woodstock.asp

    I don't know how it performs, but this looks like excellent value for what you get.

    I have a Kenwood "DAB ready" CD-Tuner, but the DAB accessory tuner box is another £250 on its own, so the Blaupunkt looks especially good. If I was in the market I would give it serious consideration, especially as I am a Radio 5 addict so would appreciate a DAB rather than AM reception.

    On the home front I dont feel much need for DAB, having a freeview box.
     
  8. Stereo Steve

    Stereo Steve
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    I have a Woodstock 53 in my car and it's a superb all in one solution. Sounds great too. I also put a JVC head unit in my wife's car as I managed to get a seperate JVC dab tuner for £100. Easy to install, the tuner uses the CD changer port and needs no power so it's just clipped under one of the seats.

    Both units have AM/FM/DAB and play CD/MP3 etc very well.

    Recommended.
     
  9. crater

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    I've just bought a Pure DAB tuner for my Hi-Fi system, the original tuner of which was bought 24 years ago this month. The difference in quality is VERY noticeable, and while it may not be the ultimate quality, my hearing isn't what it was 24 years ago either.
    Not only that, living in Rotherham, I couldn't get Jazz FM, which I now can, along with 38 other stations if I so choose.
    I'm very happy with the result.
    However, I'm not saying stop the criticism as voicing dissent may eventually persude the providers of the services to improve.
     
  10. Crocodile

    Crocodile
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    I have a Pioneer DEH-7500MP with a GEX-900 DAB tuner. I too only bought into DAB for Planet Rock & find the whole thing is thoroughly disappointing. While listening to the content of Planet Rock is infinately preferable to anything on FM, it could be so much better. It seems that the Planet Rock music library consists of a small collection of "Rocks Greatest Hits/Drivin'" type CDs. Consequently it's near impossible to listen for more than an hour without hearing Smoke On The Water, Layla or Paranoid! A station that claims to be broadcasting "the best classic rock from that last 40 years" seems to be limited to Saturday morning guitar shop classics. To make matters even worse they insist on playing 7" single ( remeber them?) versions.

    On the quality side I find that anything with a quiet passage is swamped with hiss that a cassette without Dolby would struggle to better! I have e-mailed Planet Rock on 3 occasions over the last 3 months but have yet to receive any response.


    For the shortcomings of the Pioneer hardware see my rant under the ICE section but my main gripe is the total disregard that Pioneer have paid to the implementation of DAB text. I would be interested to hear how other manufacturers handle this. Replies please to the ICE section here.
     
  11. peterc

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    well i just moved out of london to guildford, and couldn't get xfm (cool rock /indie station) any more, so got one othese units,
    http://www.nevada-radios.co.uk/perstel-review.html
    so i could use it in the house and car and must say i'm well impressed with it very good sound quality
     

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