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  1. #1
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Angry Where is my HD radio?

    Just found out that over half of my local stations have HD feed and was wondering to myself where are the all the HD radios to receivers the signal?

    The only option we have as now to listen to HD feed is to buy an expensive HD tuner, a HD radio table top or in only couple of A/V receivers (such as Denon). I donít know why FCC donít make it mandatory for manufactures to include a HD tuners in their receivers. They did it for TVs.

    What is the hold up?

    (hdradio.com)
    Last edited by Smokey; 04-18-2008 at 06:04 PM.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Do a google on Sangean HD tuner. They have a new upgraded version with digital out and fixed a few bugs. It cost about $225.
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  3. #3
    Forum Regular elapsed's Avatar
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    Just a quick note.. HD Radio is *not* High Def. In fact its a proprietary technology, and stands for Hybrid Digital. The FM hybrid digital mode can carry approx 100, 112, 125, or 150 kbps of lossy data depending upon the Station Manager's power budget and/or desired range of signal.

    Compare this to roughly 1400 kbps CD quality, and you can see there is much level to be desired

    A number of issues are discussed here (scroll down to criticisms): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HD_Radio

  4. #4
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    HD radio, however sounds much better than std FM and AM radio sounds almost like FM.
    I've been very impressed with the sound.
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  5. #5
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Thanks everybody

    Personally have not listen to HD so canít comment on sound (although 125, or 150 kbps do not sound too promising). Two draw back FM has it compressed dynamic range and his noise. Granted noise in eliminated in HD, improvement in dynamic rage would the next step to make superior to FM and worth upgrading.

    And I hope the quality of HD tuner would not matter as much as quality of FM tuner does to get best sound.

    Blackraven, does sound of HD sound compressed to you?

  6. #6
    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    Depends on the tuner and the reception in your vicinity. We come back to the classic digital vs. analogue shootout. Problem is most people have never heard how excellent the sound is from a high quality analogue tuner receiving a clear signal. I don't have a great tuner right now, but when I receive 89.9 KCRW (out of Santa Monica College) and they broadcast bands as they play in the studio live the sound is amazing. Indeed its better and more true-to-life than any digitized signal can manage. Problem is, most listeners have to deal with multi-path interference which destroys sound-quality, and the HD signal sounds much more listenable. I have Sirius Satellite radio with my Dish Network which is essentially the same thing. Good quality sound, but not as good as high-quality analogue. I would love to see the broadcasters works on a system that maintains the analogue transmission, but improves it, and eliminates multi-path interference.

  7. #7
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    You're looking at the wrong markets Smoke ...

    HDRadio is going to sink or swim based on the format's ability to get into OEM car audio installations. Currently, the car companies offering HDRadio include BMW, Ford, Mercury, Hyundai, Mercedes, Mini, Scion, and Volvo. And you can bet that the HDRadio promoters are negotiating with the other car companies to get the format onto more OEM audio systems. Car audio is where most people listen to FM radio to begin with -- home audio is a nonentity as far as HDRadio goes.

    The broadcasters want HDRadio to succeed simply because it allows them to multicast their signals (thus boosting the value of their broadcast licenses), and better compete with satellite radio options. That's why they've been ahead of the curve in initiating HDRadio broadcasts and multicasts.

    Also, don't buy into any of the talk about "CD quality" audio with HDRadio. Aside from the lossy data compression, the audio signal beaming out to an FM transmitter almost always undergoes often heavy dynamic range compression. And most FM stations nowadays play their music off of digital servers, rather than CDs (again, doubtful that this playback is lossless). If HDRadio simply simulcasts the analog feed going to the FM transmitter, it won't be anywhere near CD quality.
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  8. #8
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by O'Shag
    Depends on the tuner and the reception in your vicinity. We come back to the classic digital vs. analogue shootout. Problem is most people have never heard how excellent the sound is from a high quality analogue tuner receiving a clear signal. I don't have a great tuner right now, but when I receive 89.9 KCRW (out of Santa Monica College) and they broadcast bands as they play in the studio live the sound is amazing.
    I agree with you there. I have Hitachi analog Tuner (FT-440) which looks like a tank and sound much sweater than integrated receiver tuner.

    But on the same note it might worth mentioning that no matter how much they improve FM, it is still inherently a Mid-Fi medium. And that is mostly due to its limited bandwidth (200khz) which can not be changed. That bandwidth only allow bandwidth allows for broadcasting a 15 kHz bandwidth audio signal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wooch
    Also, don't buy into any of the talk about "CD quality" audio with HDRadio. Aside from the lossy data compression, the audio signal beaming out to an FM transmitter almost always undergoes often heavy dynamic range compression. And most FM stations nowadays play their music off of digital servers, rather than CDs (again, doubtful that this playback is lossless). If HDRadio simply simulcasts the analog feed going to the FM transmitter, it won't be anywhere near CD quality.
    Until Elapsed mentioned it in his post, I thought HD stand for High Definition radio and was expecting a much higher quality sound than FM (like moving from NTSC TV to HDTV). But all this talk about low bit rate, compressed sound and lossy format for HD radio make it sound like it is going to be DOA (Drumstick On Arrival ) even before it takes off.

    May be I had my hopes too high
    Last edited by Smokey; 04-21-2008 at 02:51 PM.

  9. #9
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    HD radio sounds much better than std FM and has the benefit of many sub stations with various formats from one radio station. I dont think that its going to die. Its free with greater programming options. Its certainly worth it if you enjoy listening to radio. Even AM sounds much better and sounds about like std FM. If your looking for CD sound then forget about it.
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  10. #10
    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    I agree with you there. I have Hitachi analog Tuner (FT-440) which looks like a tank and sound much sweater than integrated receiver tuner.

    But on the same note it might worth mentioning that no matter how much they improve FM, it is still inherently a Mid-Fi medium. And that is mostly due to its limited bandwidth (200khz) which can not be changed. That bandwidth only allow bandwidth allows for broadcasting a 15 kHz bandwidth audio signal.



    Until Elapsed mentioned it in his post, I thought HD stand for High Definition radio and was expecting a much higher quality sound than FM (like moving from NTSC TV to HDTV). But all this talk about low bit rate, compressed sound and lossy format for HD radio make it sound like it is going to be DOA (Drumstick On Arrival ) even before it takes off.

    May be I had my hopes too high
    Smokey,

    thanks for the info regarding bandwidth. I didn't realize that. Clearly if there is such a limit in bandwidth (can that be changed?) then there is gong to be a limit to sound quality.

    BlackRaven is of course correct, and for the most part and for most listeners, the interference problem does ruin it. I do enjoy listening to Sirius, but sometimes I hear the limit in soundquality. I must admit that HD Radio seems interesting, because its essentially the same given the digital broadcasting technology, and more importantly - ITS FREE!! The broadcasters win, because they get advertising dollars.

  11. #11
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    CHECK OUT C.CRANE company, if its a radio they have it, especially SANGEAN.
    I used to connect my FM tuner to an TV antenna, the sound was quite good.
    To say that FM is limited because it "only" goes to 15 khz or so is silly, most can't hear
    too much past 13khz.
    The problem with FM is programming, most of it is crap, spaced between commercials.
    But proper FM, with a proper outdoor antenna, can sound quite good.
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  12. #12
    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    Am listening to Sirius while I work. Sirius First Wave (Richard Blade, Swedish Eagle, Freddie Snakeskin etc) for 80's music. Also Area 33 (trance etc),and 72 Classic Jazz -sound is very good, although a little short of CD quality. I think the HD radio is a good idea because its free, ands there are some great stations here in So Cal.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixelthis
    CHECK OUT C.CRANE company, if its a radio they have it, especially SANGEAN.
    I used to connect my FM tuner to an TV antenna, the sound was quite good.
    To say that FM is limited because it "only" goes to 15 khz or so is silly, most can't hear
    too much past 13khz.
    The problem with FM is programming, most of it is crap, spaced between commercials.
    But proper FM, with a proper outdoor antenna, can sound quite good.
    Very good point Pix. As I noted previously, I've heard some excellent sound quality from analogue broadcasts. I guess its very dependent on the quality of the material and of course on the lack of interference. We have an excellent Jazz station and some superb classical stations here in so Cal on FM radio. I think that an outdoor antenna is the only way to go to maximize signal quality.

  14. #14
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    I know nothing about HD radio, other than what I've read in this thread. I had assumed the HD stood for "high definition," but just learned here that that's not so.

    Like several other AR members, I've never considered FM a legitimate source for serious listening. It's not whether or not one is using a good outdoor antenna (or has one's tuner connected to cable), but the amount of signal processing an FM broadcast is subjected to. Almost all broadcasts are severely compressed, and often with what's known as "knife-edge" compression that's quite noticeable, and very annoying. dbx uses its patented "over-easy" compression, which is considerably less noticeable than that of the knife-edge variety, but it still a form of signal processing which, when used, degrades the original signal.

    I can't speak from experience with live broadcasts, as I've never had the opportunity to listen to one here in South Carolina, or in the Denver area where I used to live. I can only hope that such broadcasts sound better than the stuff that's pumped out over the air most of the time. Still, whether live or not, tons of signal processing is used: the best FM can ever hope to be is as good as the source, which, other than a live broadcast is often a pretty ordinary CD player, or 16" turntable with an old Stanton 680EL cartridge. Most of the AR members who've posted on the site have considerably better equipment than that in their homes.

    As it turns out my tuner (a Parsound T/DQ-1600) is a Stereophile Class-C recommendation. Big deal. I hardly ever listen to it, and nothing from it has ever sounded remotely close in fidelity to either my CD player or turntable. Now that I've replaced my older turntable with a Dual CS-5000, and equipped it with an Achromat platter mat, and replaced my CD player/converter with the Marantz SA-8001 SACD player, the disparity between them and my tuner is even more noticeable.

    Just my two cents, again.

  15. #15
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    FM was once considered every bit as much a HI-FI medium as anything else.
    BEFORE denon started with HT and quit with serious audio I bought their top of the
    line receiver, 598 bucks, 75 wpc, 1985 or 86.
    It had a quite serious tuner, with a special circuit for spurious channel rejection, etc.
    INSTEAD OF A "TUNER ON A CHIP it had its own sheilded box, and was made of discrete components.
    This was my last piece of serious gear before I got into HT, and all of the compromises it entails, anyway the sound was quite amazing .
    And I am used to living 50 miles from serious stations (except the local pbs) and when I travel I am amazed by how good FM can sound when the station is close.
    Now if they just put some programming on...
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  16. #16
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pixelthis
    FM was once considered every bit as much a HI-FI medium as anything else.
    Indeed. There was a time that some big city classical stations would do live broadcasts of concerts over FM with little signal twiddling. That was in the day of the Marantz 10B and McIntosh MR-74s, etc. Alas, the commercialization of radio and the evils of compression reign today.

    rw

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    The Mercury Theater on the air presents: "The War of the Worlds".

    Pix should remember the original broadcast.

  18. #18
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    some still do.

    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    Indeed. There was a time that some big city classical stations would do live broadcasts of concerts over FM with little signal twiddling.
    Check out WQXR in NYC. Some of the local college stations sometimes do intimate little live shows of local minstrels and sometimes better known guests as well.
    Last edited by markw; 04-24-2008 at 03:25 AM.

  19. #19
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I havent really thought about if digital radio sounds compressed because my expectations of radio are much lower than CD sound quality. Digital radio does sound very good and I enjoy listening to FM radio to hear old classic rock and roll and to see whats new in music. Also, with the availability of expanded sub stations on HD radio there is a whole world of new programming and formats becoming available.
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  20. #20
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Thanks Everybody.

    Quote Originally Posted by pixelthis
    To say that FM is limited because it "only" goes to 15 khz or so is silly, most can't hear too much past 13khz.
    Donít forget about harmonics

    Music are complex electronic waves that more likely have higher harmonics that go beyond 15 kHz or even 20 kHz, and FM limited bandwidth tend to filter out higher harmonics. That is why for high quality medium such as SACD, the noise filter (signal bandwidth) is set at 44 kHz instead of 22 kHz which is for CDs.

    Limited bandwidth (15 khz) also mean limited Dynamic Range and S/N ratio.

    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    I havent really thought about if digital radio sounds compressed because my expectations of radio are much lower than CD sound quality. Digital radio does sound very good and I enjoy listening to FM radio to hear old classic rock and roll and to see whats new in music.
    Are you using a HD tuner (Sangean??) hooked up to your system or a tabletop radio?

  21. #21
    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    HD does stand for High Definition, which in this instance is digitization of the broadcast signal.

    Emaidel, I don't quite agree with your point. I think you may be a bit too focused on the quality of the sound as opposed to the music itself. Granted analogue radio may be somewhat compromised in general, but I've heard it sound very engaging, which is more than I can say for some CDs I own. We have many excellent stations here in Los Angeles, including some of the finest classical stations such as KMozart and KUSC (Uni So Cal) and there are more. How about KJazz out of the Uni of Long Beach. I guarantee you they do not use a cheap CD player or TT, and furthermore, their broadcast equipment is likely better than most of our own gear. Did you know that Ed Meitner of EMM Labs supplies equipment to the better stations?

    I can easily become captivated by a wonderful piece of music on analogue radio, and don't find myself analizing the sound quality, because its good enough to get involved in the music.

    I would hate to see analogue radio disappear completely.
    Btw, I don't believe The live broadcasts on KCRW are compressed, but broadcast directly from the studio as the artists play. The sound is first rate I assure you.

  22. #22
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I dont have a sangean tuner but I've heard one at a local store and it sounds very good for a tuner. They hook up to your analog inputs of your receiver or if you have the HDT-1 version with the optical out it hooks into your digital input. Sangean also makes a table top stand alone HD radio, but most people opt for the tuner which hooks into your stereo.

    I've also listened to alot of Sirius HD radio and it sounds about like the Sangean. I'm planning on buying a Sangean HDT-1 tuner sometime this summer. The price has come down to about $200. I was waiting to see if they would come out with a 3rd version of the original HD tuner.
    Last edited by blackraven; 04-23-2008 at 05:24 PM.
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  23. #23
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Cool

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...ean-_-82720002


    For a lot of the "golden ears" on this board its easy to forget that sound doesnt have to
    always be the best, sometimes casual listening and ease of use is nice.
    A friend has sirius and, while lo-fi, it does have a wide choice and is good for riding down the road.
    You can also go to crutchfield's site, they charge more for the radio but there is more info about HDRADIO
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  24. #24
    Forum Regular pixelthis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    Just found out that over half of my local stations have HD feed and was wondering to myself where are the all the HD radios to receivers the signal?

    The only option we have as now to listen to HD feed is to buy an expensive HD tuner, a HD radio table top or in only couple of A/V receivers (such as Denon). I donít know why FCC donít make it mandatory for manufactures to include a HD tuners in their receivers. They did it for TVs.

    What is the hold up?

    (hdradio.com)

    Go to crutchfields site, they have answers to your questions.
    At newegg a sangean tuner is 179 bucks, hardly a bank breaker, but adding that
    to every receiver would be prohibitive.
    And this is a private project, the govt has nothing to do with it.
    probably the way HDTV should have been done
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  25. #25
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    But on the same note it might worth mentioning that no matter how much they improve FM, it is still inherently a Mid-Fi medium. And that is mostly due to its limited bandwidth (200khz) which can not be changed. That bandwidth only allow bandwidth allows for broadcasting a 15 kHz bandwidth audio signal.
    Not to mention the fact that broadcasters don't care much anymore about beaming out a quality signal. It's now all about maximizing volume, which means dynamic range compression and lots of it. For a lot of stations, the content doesn't even originate locally anymore -- the chatter and music get piped in from elsewhere, again with not a lot of concern for sound quality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    Until Elapsed mentioned it in his post, I thought HD stand for High Definition radio and was expecting a much higher quality sound than FM (like moving from NTSC TV to HDTV). But all this talk about low bit rate, compressed sound and lossy format for HD radio make it sound like it is going to be DOA (Drumstick On Arrival ) even before it takes off.
    Like I said, the market for HD Radio and actually radio in general, is all about the mobile listeners. They are the present and future. HD Radio will sink or swim depending on its success at penetrating the car audio market, and the OEM installations in particular. Compared to the home audio market, the mobile market moves more quickly, and most people change cars a lot more frequently than they change audio systems. The uptake on HD Radio will occur very quickly once the format finds its way into OEM car audio systems. At that time, some demand for home units might pick up as well.

    The home audio market for HD Radio is irrelevant in the big picture because people in general don't listen to as much radio at home as before. This is reflected in how audio equipment manufacturers treat tuners -- when was the last time you saw any receiver ad say anything about the AM/FM tuner, aside from mentioning that it's there? The quality of the FM tuner used to be a highly touted feature, but not anymore.

    With so many other options now available for home listening, I doubt that HD Radio will spur a FM renaissance. HD Radio is all about increasing the resale value of radio stations by increasing the number of feeds that can fit into a given market's airwaves, and trying to give consumers reason not to defect over to satellite radio.

    This is not really analogous to the digital TV transition, because HD Radio does not replace FM and there is no mandate in place for existing FM signals to switch off.
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