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BBC Radio 3 'HD' vs DAB

I have read on your site that the new HD internet broadcast on Radio 3 is less compressed than DAB. As I listen to this a lot should I abandon my DAB tuner and listen via the internet? If so how do I connect my system to the internet?

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Re: BBC Radio 3 'HD' vs DAB

At the moment you can only listen to the 320kbps 'HD' service via the BBC R3 website. So you'd need to connect a computer to the hi-fi system, using analogue or digital connections, or a USB cable, depending on the configuration of your computer and system.

Anonymous
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Re: BBC Radio 3 'HD' vs DAB

I've got the same decision to make, and I'm wondering if I'll just the lose the quality of the 320 kbps signal by the time I've made the above connections.

I'm a keen Radio 3 listener and would like the best quality I can get. I'm tempted to replace my Cambridge DAB 3000 with the Azur 650t, which has FM and DAB+ too. Is this likely to give a significant improvement, or should I be looking to internet radio as above?

Cheers

Anonymous
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Re: BBC Radio 3 'HD' vs DAB

I might even be able to stretch to the Arcam T32 if that would make the difference. I do have a good roof-mounted FM aerial from  old FM tuner days

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Re: BBC Radio 3 'HD' vs DAB

I reckon FM has at least a few years yet so make the best of it while it's there. This can be done with a Denon TU260L Mk II from ebay for about £20 - £30 and a good FM roof aerial.

If you haven't already got a decent FM roof aerial (and don't intend to get one) then you are unlikely to want a DAB roof aerial either. DAB needs all the help it can get. Even with strong reception it is no match for FM especially with Radio 3.

Better alternatives (than DAB) are the 320Kbps R3 stream from the internet or Freeview radio. Both benefit from the use of an external (or stand-alone) DAC as an upgrade to using RCA phono/3.5mm  analogue connections.

Don't spend money on DAB until/unless you really have to

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Re: BBC Radio 3 'HD' vs DAB

Isn't the BBC trying to pull another "HD TV" flanker on us? Given that a (not stunningly good quality) CD is 705kbs, surely 320kbs is nothing to shout about. It's just less poor than their existing stream...

The fact that the medium can't deliver better quality isn't a reason for trying to say that the best quality it can do is therefore "HD". Those non-What HiFi readers out there, who may know that the audio from a Blu-Ray disc is HD, may think they'll get the same from this new BBC stream. Wrong!

Anonymous
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Re: BBC Radio 3 'HD' vs DAB

Thank you for your reply Andrew. If the BBC is providing a better quality feed than DAB via the 'HD' feed on its R3 website then I agree I need to connect my computer to my hi-fi. The problem is they are in different rooms. Alternatively, does anyone make an internet radio I could connect to my hi-fi of sufficent quality to get the benefit of the 320kbps service?


From reading the forums I am getting the impression that DAB is of pretty poor quality compared to FM. It seems the industry may be guilty of hype in promoting DAB so vigorously. Which is now the best reception, FM or the new 320kbps internet stream? 

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Re: BBC Radio 3 'HD' vs DAB

Rather than buying an "internet radio" (good luck with that), you can at least see how the new HD feed sounds by buying a 3.5 to phono cable of sufficient length to reach from your computer to your hifi.You can get one from Maplins etc. By the sound of things, you may need to know that you connect this to the headphone socket of your PC. Whether you later choose a more expensive interconnect is up to you. This will do for now to see if the quality is higher than from DAB tuner.

 This piece of information (3.5 to phono cable) has been missing from the advice given so far but I think it is what you are looking for, since you did ask the question "how do I connect my hifi to the internet"...

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Re: BBC Radio 3 'HD' vs DAB
musicality:Thank you for your reply Andrew. If the BBC is providing a better quality feed than DAB via the 'HD' feed on its R3 website then I agree I need to connect my computer to my hi-fi. The problem is they are in different rooms. Alternatively, does anyone make an internet radio I could connect to my hi-fi of sufficent quality to get the benefit of the 320kbps service?

As far as I understand it, the service is only available via the BBC R3 website, and doesn't have a dedicated stream, so an internet radio isn't going to help much.

The best bet is going to be some form of wireless link between the computer and the hi-fi system: there are various systems available, either using a USB connection or taking a feed from the computer's headphone output.

musicality:From reading the forums I am getting the impression that DAB is of
pretty poor quality compared to FM. It seems the industry may be guilty
of hype in promoting DAB so vigorously. Which is now the best
reception, FM or the new 320kbps internet stream?

I'd still go for FM if you have decent reception and a reasonable tuner. The 320kbps 'HD' stream is after all only 'HD' by comparison with the lower bitrates of the main internet streams, and uses about a quarter of the bitrate of CD. True, it's better than 192kbps DAB, but that's about it.

 

Anonymous
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Re: BBC Radio 3 'HD' vs DAB

Sorry to barge in on this thread, but I've tried the idea above (connecting via headphone socket) and got a good sound from internet Radio 3. However, if I connect the power cable to the laptop, I get terrible interference. Would a USB connection cut this out?

If it does (forgive the ignorance), would a good solution be:

Buy a DAC like the Cambridge Dacmagic, connect the laptop to it by a USB cable and get 320 kbp radio 3

 and would this be better than any DAB tuner but perhaps not as good as a brilliant FM tuner in perfect conditions?

 

Hope I've got the hang of this!

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Re: BBC Radio 3 'HD' vs DAB

The USB connection probably wouldn't make any difference as it's an electrical connection, you'd need an optical connection to isolate the laptop from the amp.

Anonymous
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Re: BBC Radio 3 'HD' vs DAB

Have now got DACMagic - terrific results: much better than DAB on Radio 3! Have connected via USB with no problems (apart from long trailing wire!)

 Brilliant: new world of computer-based music. Just tried some Linn downloads.

One more question please: will my Rega Apollo CD player be improved by going via the DAC?

Thanks for the advice given.

 

 

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Re: BBC Radio 3 'HD' vs DAB

For those who say that the BBC Radio 3 HD stream isn't available on internet radios, that is mostly true. However, you can get it on the Logitech Squeezebox devices. There's an iPlayer plug-in and when the BBC reconfigured the streams so that the HD stream was made separate from the iPlayer one, a plug-in quickly became available.

 I'm planning to buy a Squeezebox Touch within the next few weeks and am looking forward to trying the HD stream on my hi-fi system.

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Re: BBC Radio 3 'HD' vs DAB
DaveLongson:

Have now got DACMagic - terrific results: much better than DAB on Radio 3! Have connected via USB with no problems (apart from long trailing wire!)

 Brilliant: new world of computer-based music. Just tried some Linn downloads.

One more question please: will my Rega Apollo CD player be improved by going via the DAC?

Thanks for the advice given.

 

 

I can't speak from experience, having not heard the Rega Apollo, but you can hear for yourself by spending a few pounds on an optical cable (e.g. about a tenner at Maplins, less elsewhere). I am guessing that there will be little difference, certainly not a major improvement simply going off the Apollo's price point and reputation.

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Re: BBC Radio 3 'HD' vs DAB
DaveLongson:One more question please: will my Rega Apollo CD player be improved by going via the DAC?

Did that comparison.

I thought it (the DacMagic) muddled and thickened the bass and ruined the timing. Sounded 'lumpen' and plodding compared to using the Apollo on it's own.

 

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Anonymous
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Re: BBC Radio 3 'HD' vs DAB

thanks for the advice

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