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mnauta
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Joined: Nov 16 2006 - 1:16pm
HD Radio

Hi,

this is my first post! Here in Austin they keep advertising HD radio, where there are additional channels. Has anyone got one. I know Polk makes one , is NAD getting into this area also?

CECE
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Re: HD Radio

HD radio ? The CONTENT is still the same crap..Get Sirius, you will never listen to regular censored, controlled, BORING radio again...Sirius is the future.

mrlowry
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Joined: May 30 2006 - 1:37pm
Re: HD Radio

HD radio (as well as Sirius and XM) are based on crappy digital compression. When they say "CD quality" what they mean is that the average Joe on they mediocre stereo thinks that it sounds close to a CD. That isn't saying much. Our current FM standard is capable of extremely good sound if the radio station cares to utilize it, if you have a good antenna, and a good tuner.

Analog tuners are far superior to digital (or more accurately named Quartz lock loop) tuners. Why are analog tuner better? Here is a quote from Robert Harley's "Complete Guide to High-end Audio." "Analog tuners have lower noise, and also allow fine-tuning to find the center of a station. Synthesized tuners jump in discrete steps of at least 25kHz, precluding the precise degree of fine-tuning possible with an infinitely variable analog tuner."

In Chicago there is a classical radio station called WFMT and occasionally they will do live broadcasts of performances from their studios. When I have been fortunate enough to catch these performances they have been ear-opening experiences, offering better sound quality than ANY CD or record. When WFMT recently tested HD radio they deemed it unsuitable for their uses. Most commercial stations sound mediocre at best. Classical stations are another story. For classical listeners I would recommend going to a pawn shop and finding an older analog tuner. Check out www.fmtunerinfo.com for some guidance about what is worthy of consideration. Then pick up a Fanfare FM-G antenna. For less than $200 one should be able to experience a lot of free music at extremely good sound quality.

So how did the digital tuners get their foot hold in the market place? The mass-market manufactures pushed digital tuners because they were cheaper to manufacture and required less warranty service. People adopted them because of the conveniences (such as presets) that they offered over analog tuners but for shear sound quality nothing beats analog. It's just another example of the dumbing down of our society to the lowest common denominator.

The really sad thing is that with HD radio and it's "near CD quality" the standards of radio are about to sink even lower. Near CD quality? There are those of us who are striving to surpass the quality of CD and even others that believe the term "CD quality" is in itself an oxymoron. One of my favorite stations just started broadcasting in HD radio. I sincerely hope that they continue to keep high standards when it comes to their analog broadcast.

CECE
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Re: HD Radio

Content, what goods is high performance audio quality on FM nowadays, when the content is crap!!! i have a Magnumdynal "Etude" sounds great, too bad FM has beome such a pile of crap, why bothe? Clear Channel is tanking, The former stations Stern left all going into the toilet. Sirius music channels have it all, most in my car use, so who cares about the subtle differences in quality. Content.I'm sure some "autioPhile" marketeers will come up with a tube Sirius tuner for all the audiophlakes to latch onto. Usually if it doesn't sell to teh masses it struggles to survive. Niche products like top end audio stuff are becoming less and less relevant in the market. But once you hear some Legacy and AVA, how can you possibly listen to mass fi? i can't. But then contnet matters too.

deckeda
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Joined: Feb 1 2006 - 7:41pm
Re: HD Radio


Quote:
Hi,

this is my first post! Here in Austin they keep advertising HD radio, where there are additional channels. Has anyone got one. I know Polk makes one , is NAD getting into this area also?

Right now this is a chicken-or-egg thing. And it's been slow to hatch. You're probably wondering why there's a darth of HD radios and tuners, despite HD Radio being around for well over a year.

The reason is because radio stations have been paid (subsidized, whatever) to get HD broadcasting equipment by Ibiquity, the entity behind this idea of providing something you "didn't know you needed". It's all very convenient.

Meanwhile, the FCC says it's OK for stations to divide their existing station bandwidth up to squeeze in the HD signal. Take a wild guess what happens to FM and to AM when part of a given station's bandwidth now has to be shared with another signal.

HD has the advantage of being free to the listener. Like satellite, it will have clear reception within range and go dead out of range --- no gradual noise as with FM to allow you to at least finish listening to your song.

HD will never EVER sound as good as FM can because sound quality isn't one of the goals of its maker. In fact it uses lossy compression and about a 96kHz bit rate.

As for FM, it's heyday is long gone. The finest Fm tuners, and several more "average" tuners with lots of potential, were designed in the 1970s and to some extent the 1980s. This mirrors FM's popularity.

However, we still have eBay, and people who know how to tweak/modify/repair old tuners, and for now radio stations still broadcast FM and AM.

We also still have station managers and program directors who read their email and note where listener contributions come from ...

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