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Kevin Stephens's picture
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RE: FM tuner vs. CD SQ

Well my new tuner is breaking in nicely; apparently it had lain dormant in its box since being made and hence is still "new".   Radio 3 FM sounds incredible - mid range and detail is better and sweeter than my CD, maybe due in part to thermionic valves in the output stage.  . Borrowing the Chord Chorus 2 IC from my CD (in place of the old tuner's Cambridge ICs) further improved this. Bass not quite there yet but a google search indicates that this will come with burn in

Upsampled (192k) DAB is very good on Radio 6 but comparison of R3 FM with DAB proves the point that interpolation can't recover data that isn't in the transmission

I had considered streaming internet radio but this would have been a more expensive and at present I don't believe that this would match FM R3 (which I believe will still be there when I'm gone) broadcast quality.  R6 may have been a little better than upsampled DAB but (to me) R6 SQ less important - main benefit of R6 (and R3 too) is to discover new music to buy on CD (or eventually high resolution downloads)

 

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

manicm wrote:

A good FM tuner and good reception can easily equal CD if not best it.

Music broadcasts are largely from CDs , so it is unlikely that after being compressed in a studio and then sent across the airwaves, that it would sound better than CD.

Would it?

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

Overdose wrote:

manicm wrote:

A good FM tuner and good reception can easily equal CD if not best it.

Music broadcasts are largely from CDs , so it is unlikely that after being compressed in a studio and then sent across the airwaves, that it would sound better than CD.

Would it?

Not in a million years. Sounds like Chinese whispers regurgated as "truth"

I had a nice FM tuner setup years ago, installed proper antenna etc. It was very good. But taking R3 as a guide, the 320 Kbps internet stream beats it into a cocked hat for quality and consistency.

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

fr0g wrote:

Overdose wrote:

manicm wrote:

A good FM tuner and good reception can easily equal CD if not best it.

Music broadcasts are largely from CDs , so it is unlikely that after being compressed in a studio and then sent across the airwaves, that it would sound better than CD.

Would it?

Not in a million years. Sounds like Chinese whispers regurgated as "truth"

I had a nice FM tuner setup years ago, installed proper antenna etc. It was very good. But taking R3 as a guide, the 320 Kbps internet stream beats it into a cocked hat for quality and consistency.

And again, what God says is *croak* truth. Firstly Overdose, since when is playback 'compressed' over FM? You do realise that right up to the 90s dj's were still using vinyl? So why wouldn't FM broadcasts, assuming one has stable reception, not sound good?

My Arcam Solo Mini's FM tuner is a cracking tuner, crystal clear.

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

Do you actually know what compression is, regarding broadcasting?

It would seem that you are lacking a basic understanding and what on earth has the 90's got to do with anything? We're in the 21st century now. Dynamic compression is widely used, Classic FM and even BBC Radio 3 use it, but perhaps not in the evenings for Radio 3. Either way FM radio is very far from any guarantee of quality and if compression is being used, fidelity, if not quality, has already gone out of the window.

The best quality that you can hope for, is direct playback of your own media on your own system.

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

The BBC were sending 13 bit/13 channel PCM digital streams for TV and radio (via leased GPO telephone lines) to their transmitters from 1972 onwards.

So it is very likely that anything you have ever heard on BBC FM (VHF) was distributed to the transmitter in digital.

However, yes, FM (with a good roof aerial) is my favourite despite my frequent use of Freeview radio, internet radio and iPlayer radio via AirPlay (and the TuneIn Radio Pro app).

Yet again, it's not all about the digits or 'analogue vs digital' (a dubious debate in this instance) or anything other than what the listener prefers.

I have (and regularly use) all the options including DAB (DAB on the Vita R1 in the kitchen), FM, Freeview radio, internet radio and iPlayer radio. Freeview is particularly useful for  recording radio programmes on the Humax to listen to at a more convenient time.

FM still has the 'magic' that the others don't possess. This is my opinion, based on my daily experience, with my system. I also have lots of BBC Radio material purchased on BBC CDs (and ripped to iPlayer in everything from AIFF Lossless to 256K AAC VBR) so I have had the chance to compare. FM still wins - in terms of my enjoyment of the resultant sound - even if not in convenience.

Note that I am talking subjectively about my own enjoyment of/preference for FM and not measured properties, convenience, or anyone else's enjoyment.

"We are currently awaiting the loading of our complement of small lemon-soaked paper napkins for your comfort, refreshment and hygiene during the journey."

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

chebby wrote:

The BBC were sending 13 bit/13 channel PCM digital streams for TV and radio (via leased GPO telephone lines) to their transmitters from 1972 onwards.

So it is very likely that anything you have ever heard on BBC FM (VHF) was distributed to the transmitter in digital.

However, yes, FM (with a good roof aerial) is my favourite despite my frequent use of Freeview radio, internet radio and iPlayer radio via AirPlay (and the TuneIn Radio Pro app).

Yet again, it's not all about the digits or 'analogue vs digital' (a dubious debate in this instance) or anything other than what the listener prefers.

I have (and regularly use) all the options including DAB (DAB on the Vita R1 in the kitchen), FM, Freeview radio, internet radio and iPlayer radio. Freeview is particularly useful for  recording radio programmes on the Humax to listen to at a more convenient time.

FM still has the 'magic' that the others don't possess. This is my opinion, based on my daily experience, with my system. I also have lots of BBC Radio material purchased on BBC CDs (and ripped to iPlayer in everything from AIFF Lossless to 256K AAC VBR) so I have had the chance to compare. FM still wins - in terms of my enjoyment of the resultant sound - even if not in convenience.

Note that I am talking subjectively about my own enjoyment of/preference for FM and not measured properties, convenience, or anyone else's enjoyment.

Fair enough, if that is your preference, but my statements were in reply to...

 

manicm wrote:

"A good FM tuner and good reception can easily equal CD if not best it."

 

A flawed argument when broadcasting is largely from CD or CD derived playlists in WAV format. So a CD being played, compressed and sent via radio, received by a tuner and replayed on your system of choice is never going to sound better than the same CD played on your system directly, it'll be the same at best.

 

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

manicm wrote:

fr0g wrote:

Overdose wrote:

manicm wrote:

A good FM tuner and good reception can easily equal CD if not best it.

Music broadcasts are largely from CDs , so it is unlikely that after being compressed in a studio and then sent across the airwaves, that it would sound better than CD.

Would it?

Not in a million years. Sounds like Chinese whispers regurgated as "truth"

I had a nice FM tuner setup years ago, installed proper antenna etc. It was very good. But taking R3 as a guide, the 320 Kbps internet stream beats it into a cocked hat for quality and consistency.

And again, what God says is *croak* truth. Firstly Overdose, since when is playback 'compressed' over FM? You do realise that right up to the 90s dj's were still using vinyl? So why wouldn't FM broadcasts, assuming one has stable reception, not sound good?

My Arcam Solo Mini's FM tuner is a cracking tuner, crystal clear.

 

Not sure what the invisible sky genie has to do with anything, but you, my strange little fellow need to read what Overdose has said. Unless some magic sound elves are sprinkling mystical zappy dust over the radio waves as they wend there way to your little mini system then there is no way that the FM signal can be objectively *better* than the CD. It *is* possible that you subjectively prefer that format for whatever reason, just like the chebster seems to.

 

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

You'd better give up now Manic, otherwise you'll have the entire rank & file of [LINK REMOVED - house rules] lining up to 'educate' the living daylights out of you.

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

I'm very jealous that you can get a decent FM signal where you live! I know you don't want to go computer/wireless etc. but just in cast you're interested with regard to R3, we get a very good quality signal from our Revo Mondo Wifi radio adaptor at 323Kbps and above, and slightly better quality from connecting the laptop to the hifi and streaming from the R3 HD audio website. Both sound brilliant, and of CD quality at least. I thought maybe you should consider these sort of options if you're looking to improve your R3 broadcast quality.

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

whiskywheels wrote:

I'm very jealous that you can get a decent FM signal where you live! I know you don't want to go computer/wireless etc. but just in cast you're interested with regard to R3, we get a very good quality signal from our Revo Mondo Wifi radio adaptor at 323Kbps and above, and slightly better quality from connecting the laptop to the hifi and streaming from the R3 HD audio website. Both sound brilliant, and of CD quality at least. I thought maybe you should consider these sort of options if you're looking to improve your R3 broadcast quality.

[Pedantic mode on]

323Kbps is lossy and is not CD quality (1400Kbps), so is not going to be, in any way, better in quality than CD.

[Pedantic mode off]

High bit rate files are arguably indistinguishable from the original WAV files they were created from, so if you are streaming music at these bit rates and/or you have perfect reception and high enough quality equipment to receive an unmolested broadcast of a lossless file over FM, then the result might be close to or the equal of the CD, but never better. I would also add, that regardless of which tuner you use, it is not going to magically alter the laws of physics to change this fact (and it is a fact).

You might prefer the sound of the stream or broadcast, but that is another matter entirely.

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

chebby wrote:

You'd better give up now Manic, otherwise you'll have the entire rank & file of [LINK REMOVED - house rules] lining up to 'educate' the living daylights out of you.

 

Not the entire rank and file y'know...

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

I was chastened severely on Gramophone for suggesting that FM is CD quality. From a technical perspective its max is about 720k, but obviously many stations use lossy compression so the bitrates are often much less than this in practice.

Moderator: john.duncan.whf at gmail dot com

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

Oh, and another thing - stop fighting or I'll shut it down.

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RE: FM tuner vs. CD sound quality?

Who's fighting? Robust discussion at most (with a couple of digs maybe).

Smile

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