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Bought a Sony DAB radio - WOW!

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Up town , bored , went to Argos and spotted a half price Sony XDRS1 DAB radio, £70 , MD link - sold!

Got it home , extended arial and auto tuned - result 100% signal on all stations , result!

Plugged my RH10 into the optical out , recorded PCM from BBC 6 , Jim Noir live session and it sounds amazing, crystal clear.

This DAB really is great, it supports L band as well as the usual III band, 10 presets and FM, MW , LW. The sound out of the box was good but a little thin, i left it on all day when i was out and the bass now sounds deep and round. The optical out should be on all dabs.

Overall A+

Edited by doomlordis
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I've been using DAB for quite a few years, Started out with the classic Videologic DRX-601 and have now moved onto a Cambridge Audio Azur 640T.

I long for the day when Sony will build a Hi-MD deck, then I can have all the excellent editing features I have with my current SP deck, but with massive amounts of music on one disc!


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I've had the same model for about a year now, paid nearly double that though. Yeah nice kit, I waited for it to come out just because of the MD link/line in, can play the HiMD all round the house now. Out of all the recent developments in PC and audio hardware over the last few years DAB has had the biggest impact on my musical environment and with the right outputs and inputs works well with the recording capability of MD/HiMD.

Hey Doomlardis I also heard Jim Noir today, thought they were great

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How's the audio quality of the streams? I hear that DAB is broadcast in MP2 @ 128-192kbps, but I've heard lots of complaints from people living in the UK about it.

Here in the states, we're pretty much limited to XM/Sirius satelite radio (both of which use low-bitrate HE-AAC (AAC+SBR)), and the upcoming terrestrial (free) "HD" radio, which is supposed to use AAC+SBR @ 96kbps for FM channels. AAC+SBR sounds fake and grainy, like listening to the radio through dental braces, so I haven't quite bitten yet. It must be nice to capture free music onto Hi-MD, though!

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I've been heavily into DAB radios for about 2/3 years now and they're just great. Be aware that, in the UK, Pure Digital are bringing out their Evoke-3 stereo radio in February, which looks like the mother and father of all DAB radios. It records to SD card (up to 1 GB), has a pause feature (in case you get a phone call while you're listening to something), a digital out and digital in for recording to and playing from MD, and a host of other features. See here: Pure Evoke-3. OK, it costs £200 but sounds worth it.

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How's the audio quality of the streams? I hear that DAB is broadcast in MP2 @ 128-192kbps, but I've heard lots of complaints from people living in the UK about it ...

... It must be nice to capture free music onto Hi-MD, though!

Asking a question like that will almost inevitably end up in a "hot debate", if not a "flame war", and almost certainly go even further off topic ...

There are certainly issues with quality on DAB here in the UK, as the broadcasters, and the BBC in particular try to cram too many services into the available bandwidth, and, obviously, quality suffers as a result.

"Speech" channels go down as low as 64kB mono, and for my money (others will inevitably disagree!) it is the speech "fidelity" which suffers before the music. That is always going to be a very subjective appraisal ...

BBC Radio 3 (a PSB station), runs at 192kB/s and to my ears the music sounds great most of the time, but speech sounds noiticably less natural than on FM (I live in a strong FM signal reception area, so it is fully quieting).

Classic FM runs with less compression on DAB than on their FM service, and is "nicer" as a result, but the "loudness" of their commercials is such that it makes listening generally intolerable to me.

BBC Radio 4 often has to be transmitted in "mono only" at a fairly low bit rate due to limited bandwidth issues.

BBC Radio 5 live Sports Extra (THE channel for cricket fans) is a part-time channel and runs at a low bit rate, and after prolonged listening (cricket matches tend to be "prolonged!") the artefacts really start to grate.

However all that being said, one of the BEST features of DAB for me (and possibly the only way I can keep this "on topic") is that my DAB tuner has an optical output, if I feed that into my HiMD machine I can make "perfect" recordings off the radio and upload them to my PC for later enjoyment/editing/archiving.

What most folk over here tend to forget is that DAB was really designed for mobile reception, and in that area it is (in well served areas at any rate) THE medium of choice for vehicles.

And how many car DAB radios are there around?

Not a lot.

I rest my case!

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Am I right in saying that MP3 is the same as MP2 minus the sound you can't hear? Or did I make that up?

And if you removed these sounds before encoding them to MP2 would it be pretty much the same as MP3? If I'm right about them of course.

p.s. I also have the XDR-S1, there are a few bugs in the software though, I'll let you spot them for yourself! ;)

Edited by chriswyatt
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I was going to get a DAB a while ago but stepped back from the idea when I heard about the quality. The average bitrate is 128 (I believe) but with more and more stations wanting in on the act and with the bandwidth staying the same the quality is only going to go downhill. Before long most DAB stations in the UK will be 96kbps MP2. What's the point in that? I'll stick with FM as I prefer a little hiss to horrible, grating artifacts.

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