Re: FM versus DAB question
- From: tony sayer <tony@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 18 Dec 2010 09:58:09 +0000
So much of what we hear at home through our speakers, from whatever
source, is very heavily compressed and limited. This makes it realtively
easy to consume, but it is the aural equivalent of fast food. Of course,
the fact remains that a lot of people like this because years of
exposure to this kind of high-salt, sugary sound has conditioned their
Good processing in radio has its place, its horses for courses. There is
a difference twixt radio local listened to by people at work during the
day to a live Proms relay in the evening..
The introduction of an 'HD' Internet stream of BBC R3 is a welcome sign
that things can be changed for the better, not just because it is a
320kb/s AAC stream but because care and thought seem to have gone into
ensuring a higher degree of integrity throughout the whole audio chain.
Yes fine for those with good net connections .. pity for those without..
Don't really know why they couldn't up the rates on satellite. The
Germans and French can do it why cannot the BBC?..
And that's the crucial factor: audio integrity. There would be little
point in creating an 'HD' stream of most other stations unless you also
re-thought the practices which determine their entire engineering
operation. The phrase 'like seeing Barbara Cartland in a bikini' springs
unwelcomely to mind. (An unfortunate example of this was the recent HD
version of the BBC R2 Electric Prom featuring Elton John. Apologies to
those involved but this was not the best choice to demonstrate the
potential of a higher quality outlet stream.)
Finally, on a related point, many BBC local radio stations are
configured so that their DAB outlet is not subject to the processing
which is applied to their FM broadcast.
Why is this?. No one has ever given a good explanation as to the
In theory this is a good idea
but in practice the presenters habitually listen to the processed FM
output, not the output of the desk. This results in the DAB output
receiving a sound balance with levels which are all over the place,
because the presenter literally has no idea what they are doing. All
their crass balancing errors are swiftly corrected by the FM processor,
but this doesn't happen on DAB. This nonsensical approach is enough, on
its own, to give DAB a needlessly poor reputation. This, in my
experience, is the biggest complaint from DAB listeners who have good
reception, and they usually end up going back to FM because it doesn't
have this 'fault'. Radio presenters obviously can't listen to their DAB
platform because of the processing and propagation delays, but they
should listen to the output of their desks. If they require confirmation
that they are still on air, give 'em another set of meters to glance at.
Radio presenters, most all of them I've ever met, just lurve the sound
of their own voice as LOUD and as PROCESSED as possible..
They just hate listening to themselves as they are .. off desk;!...
Sorry this has been a long post, but as far as I'm concerned it's all
relevant to the question of the comparative performance of different
radio platforms, as posed by the OP.
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