The Sound of FM

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Polecat
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The Sound of FM

Post by Polecat » Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:18 am

I just put a 1970s tuner into my home hi-fi setup.

My first listen was a Live vinyl set and the thing that really hit me was the way it sounded. It was like I was listening to the records on my own decks.

Switching to the station's online feed revealed a flatter sound, lacking presence and enjoyment factor.

After that I found a Live concert on Radio 3. I almost never listen to Classical but this sparkled and I let it play during dinner. I swear it made the food taste better.

If, like me, you dumped your hi-fi tuner years ago, I'd recommend giving it a re-try. You can pick up a high end unit quite cheaply now and you won't regret it.

Also, when we think about the future of radio, remember FM isn't limited to 128 or 192kbps!




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bristolpirates
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Re: The Sound of FM

Post by bristolpirates » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:55 am

Was the vinyl set coming directly from the decks, into the compressor/limiter, through purely analog links to the rig? If not, then there would probably be a lossy digital stage in the link these days. That could be 320k, but most likely less.

Same with the classical. Didn't Albert say the BBC use digital links at 192k the other day?

I reckon what you are hearing is the sound of your tuner and the rest of your system, plus the difference in processing between the stream and the FM.

I totally agree though that the digital revolution for audio is a revolution of convenience and not one of sound quality.

Polecat
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Re: The Sound of FM

Post by Polecat » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:22 am

@bristolpirates

Maybe it was the tuner!

I listen to online radio all the time via an Echo into the hi-fi system. The Echo won't have the same quality components as the tuner so I could see that making a difference.

But compression/limiting would be the same online and FM, no? Same with digital mixing and processing.

I'd be disappointed to think the BBC uses 192kbps links on a Live broadcast. I'm sure Albert will confirm one way or the other.

Thought provoking. Thanks.



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fmuser877
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Re: The Sound of FM

Post by fmuser877 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:26 am

I found the sound on radio 1 on satellite quite poor dance anthems is much better playing over my HP laptop to my KEF Q1 speakers.

Polecat
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Re: RE: Re: The Sound of FM

Post by Polecat » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:26 pm

fmuser877 wrote:I found the sound on radio 1 on satellite quite poor dance anthems is much better playing over my HP laptop to my KEF Q1 speakers.
I'm not up to speed with national stations at all. Didn't know the Beeb broadcasts via Satellite....

Do you have an external soundcard or DAC in your setup?

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bristolpirates
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Re: The Sound of FM

Post by bristolpirates » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:57 pm

Polecat wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:22 am
But compression/limiting would be the same online and FM, no?
Not necessarily. It depends what station you are listening to I guess. As you said an all-vinyl set, I was assuming a pirate, but that might not be the case.

The stream could come into Winamp and through the Stereotool plug-in for compression and RDS to be added, before being microwaved off to the rig or something like that.

For legal stations, the compression might be roughly the same on FM and stream.

Polecat
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Re: The Sound of FM

Post by Polecat » Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:20 pm

@bristolpirates

Good point. I didn't think about software compression/limiting as I've never used it.

But wouldn't you put your online stream thro the software as well?

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fmuser877
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Re: RE: Re: The Sound of FM

Post by fmuser877 » Wed Jan 29, 2020 12:03 am

Polecat wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:26 pm
fmuser877 wrote:I found the sound on radio 1 on satellite quite poor dance anthems is much better playing over my HP laptop to my KEF Q1 speakers.
I'm not up to speed with national stations at all. Didn't know the Beeb broadcasts via Satellite....

Do you have an external soundcard or DAC in your setup?

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Only use a NAD 3020i oldscool amp connected to the laptop with my kev sub.

Polecat
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Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: The Sound of FM

Post by Polecat » Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:36 am

fmuser877 wrote:
Only use a NAD 3020i oldscool amp connected to the laptop with my kev sub.[/quote]

Nice setup. I'm a big fan of classic gear. If you get a chance to try out a DAC you may like it!

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