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View Full Version : HD Radio- Who's got it?


Old Busted Hotness
12-03-2011, 06:00 AM
Been thinking about getting an HD tuner. Alternative programs, digital signal, and one more gadget for the stack. Anyone have an HD tuner? How do you like it?

Warped Bezel
12-03-2011, 01:48 PM
I'd listen to one first. I don't equate them with all-digital television for example. AM or FM, the signal is hybrid and has several problems to contend with.

AM-The analog is limited to under 5kHz simply because the 'digital' part needs any bandwidth available above that. From accounts, and I have no confirmation but from my experiences during the Western US trial in 2002 (around Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada) nighttime HD AM was never a good idea. Skip would take the digital sideband with the rest and the nature of the signal would cause noise and even wipe out other signals at random depending on the reception area.

So only daytime HD AM is feasable. Even with the problems of platform motion (signal phasing errors made the balance perception move erratically) and falsing (a signal underneath a station but slightly out of phase can trigger a false pilot), the C-QuAM AM stereo system of old was better and Kahn-Hazeltine Independent Sideband AM stereo (Kahn ISB) is much better (and can carry digital AM stereo within the signal with no degradation of the standard signal--according to Mr. Kahn).

AM stereo (AMS) and HD are not happy hanging out in the same channel however, and HD tends to win that battle. HD sidebands can be found in adjacent channels, possibly rendering the RF you are tuning useless. This I found to be true in 2002. A nearly public radio AM at that time (730 AM) was required to protect signals in Las Vegas (740), Canada (what was/is? 730 CKLG) and others by nulling (changing pattern and power) to protect their nighttime signal (by longstanding laws and international treaties). This was so drastic a nulling that I couldn't get them 50 miles away, much less in stereo and the pilot information was lost less than 25 miles outside of the transmitter site (on Kuna Mora Road, just past KBOI-AM's site, between Boise and Kuna, Idaho).

That was a 5 kilowatt station and now a commercial newstalk they still have to go though that, without AMS. This is why they paired it with an FM.

Now to FM. Here's where the math terrorist organization, Al Jebra does their evil work.

You have a signal, FM (or AM even) blasting out your favorite oldie (My Ding A Ling in this case). Yeah! Now back in the daze all those (Platters) platters would be spinning out to entertain our alien interlopers just chillin' on the Moon while waiting for the dilithium rationing line to thin at 50 kilowatts and hoping Uncle Ed would run the big name those songs contest.

That 50 killer watts was all the juice you could turn loose so all of your swinging cats had a fair and equal shot to be heard in Kentucky!

FM got married to S. Tereo in 1961 while AM had an uncured case of Mono. AM cloned S. Tereo but was a bigamist with four or five S. Tereos until Bruce Williams and Sally Jessie Raphael got AM to talk it over. Dr. Don Rose couldn't save the S. Tereo clones nor could Alice Cooper though they lingered for 20 years. It's been overheard that small S. Tereo labs exist still in scattered places. NOBODY BELIEVES IT

At the turn of the century (the good one that wasn't crap) the evil Al Jebra operatives determined that it was time to strip AM and FM of their might and power.

The plan was to foist a so-called 'digital' audio on both. Engineers weren't sure. The megachains Al Jebra had been quietly amassing would see to it that the engineers would be placated and fall top hat, guy wire and monitor speaker.

Put more than one signal on it, like TV, said the Borg'd at NPR. Still AM was not left in that dance.

One day an engineer looked carefully at his calculations and a look of horror found him.

"Look at what the digital side is doing to the analog"!

Surely enough the others calculated the same thing. The digital part was robbing the analog of some of it's power and the signal isn't going out as far. Carrrier to noise ratios were worse.

The engineers took their concerns to Al Jebra and were told we shall just increase the carrier's power...

The story could go on but I have not created Dark Mall where the Al Jebra live.

Bottom lines

Digital will make the reception area smaller

Fringe will either require a much better antenna or you still might not receive the HD signals in some cases

HD radio has a built in fallback to analog. It is a few seconds in some cases to go back to HD and may leave your reception spotty. The two modes are NOT seamless and you will lose some programming.

Listen to any HD radio you can. If I'm not mistaken you have Illinois, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and one or two other states surrounding you. Find a new car dealer that offers HD ready car stereos and ask then if you might hear one.

If you like it, buy it but I wouldn't get it as a 'gadget'.

Old Busted Hotness
12-03-2011, 01:59 PM
I wasn't thinking mobile, and I'm not prepared to fend off a car salesman just to hear HD Radio *grin* I'm more interested in the side channels; my local NPR has 3 alternate HD streams (all classical, all folk, all news). And if the digital is stealing the analog side's quality, I might as well be able to hear it, right?

Warped Bezel
12-03-2011, 02:19 PM
I wasn't thinking mobile, and I'm not prepared to fend off a car salesman just to hear HD Radio *grin* I'm more interested in the side channels; my local NPR has 3 alternate HD streams (all classical, all folk, all news). And if the digital is stealing the analog side's quality, I might as well be able to hear it, right?

If you're in a static location, then a stationary listening, and probably from an in-store display will be fine. If you drive I'd think a test drive would be fine. One visit so some stray cats you'll never rock with again can't be deadly. You don't have to tell them why, just play the radio on NPR and remember that the third signal (HD3) will be the most challenged by moving around as it's going to be given the smallest virtual bandwidth (why it's not a music channel).

If you have the HD signals breaking up or not working well in traffic then consider that a sign. It will either get better or people will ignore it like most did quad.

stereorob
12-03-2011, 08:52 PM
HD radio is overrated. yes it dose sound a little better, but i HATE it. lemme tell ya why, remember what happened to our tvs a few years ago. the same thing could happen to our tuners.. *grin* and every HD radio set that is sold is one step closer to that horrible goal.

Warped Bezel
12-03-2011, 10:39 PM
I don't honestly believe many are sold nor is that figure increased by auto radios with the capability. The two or three companies that worked on, such as U.S. Digital and parts of the former Bell Labs etc that came together as IBIQUITY have had over twenty years to develop this peach, since the 80s since just a few years after I wrote the FCC and the man explained the the CD audio format couldn't work on an FM channel (no delusions about AM but I knew stereo was available)...

I don't think they've ever had a truly shelf-ready product.

DTV is actually a really decent product! It was tested in many more ways than just running TWO trials of a few days between WLW and WOR then two stations in the Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada area (all Clear Channel signals for the most part and the NV test made their KOA sound like heck).

DTV is all digital and if you examine the signal you cannot find a trace noting multiple signals...

Because it's only data stream of sideband and a carrier with instructions on how to assemble whatever structure was called for. All signals can be stereo, Dolby transfers as long as it was encoded in the source. In the San Francisco Bay/Alameda County area one station had TWELVE signals, including audio only services!

*Okay, no HD possible at that point and of course the signals looked wretched but it served many ethnicities that weren'r being served well. You can do it, just the same.

**I still really miss the old student run 730 KBSU. The Death Metal and Spanish/Old School soul beat the crap out of Trance music and Noam Chomsky. AM stereo was MADE for cassette recorded death metal*hippo**yesss**punk*

Old Busted Hotness
12-04-2011, 03:30 AM
You're right, there aren't may stand-alone tuners available, This is the one I'm looking at:

http://www.amazon.com/Sangean-HDT-1X-Radio-Component-Tuner/dp/B000R8KVJ0/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=I31Z0HTXVCE4S1&colid=F0N5QDP4GWS

It also pulls in regular AM and FM broadcasts, so if/when I upgrade my receiver to a pre-amp or integrated amp, I won't have to worry about getting a tuner.

Warped Bezel
12-04-2011, 04:02 AM
Okay, but one caveat. Try to find one locally and read reviews. I used to read a San Francisco Bay area broadcasting newsgroup and a few of them bought early models, especially Sangeans (maybe one of the few or only makers) and they related problems and remedies, whether in the Bay Area or Ohio (one or two ex-pats). Figure out if you need an external antenna or better one. Maintaining quality reception is even more crucial with HD radio.

Get a great price and figure it out.

Old Busted Hotness
12-04-2011, 06:43 AM
I just wish it came in silver *fit*

katana1100
12-04-2011, 05:57 PM
HD radio is overrated. yes it dose sound a little better, but i HATE it. lemme tell ya why, remember what happened to our tvs a few years ago. the same thing could happen to our tuners.. *grin* and every HD radio set that is sold is one step closer to that horrible goal.

I wouldn't worry about as HD radio is dead. Stations are not adding it, no one is promoting it and it is just a matter of time before the existing stations dump those Ibiquity boxes, maybe to store next to those dust covered Dolby FM encoders in the basement!
http://www.audiographics.com/agd/041511-1.htm

Warped Bezel
12-05-2011, 04:07 AM
I wouldn't worry about as HD radio is dead. Stations are not adding it, no one is promoting it and it is just a matter of time before the existing stations dump those Ibiquity boxes, maybe to store next to those dust covered Dolby FM encoders in the basement!
http://www.audiographics.com/agd/041511-1.htm

The reason THEY are gone is that the FCC pulled their type certification or such because they said is wasn't compatible with FM receivers in some way.

So who were the commissioners that allowed the AM stereo mess that 20 years later fostered HD radio at about the same time? *fit**fit**fit*

ke4mcl
12-05-2011, 08:25 AM
HD radio died due to greed.

broadcasters had to pay HUGE amounts of money to license the use of the encoders. i think HD radio would have been more successful if every broadcaster could afford it, not just the conglomerates.

what would i have done different?
instead of charging the huge sums that they did for licensing i would have done an airtime swap. the encoder is provided on a lease in exchange for 5-10 minutes of ad time per hour on the HD streams. this way even a little mom and pop station in the middle of arkansas can claim to have the latest and greatest without laying out on cent. this free ride into HD land would have guaranteed market saturation.

in exchange Ibiquity would have the power to say "we can run your ad on 1000's of stations across the country". who would be interested in an ad campaign that huge? think automakers, computer companies, insurance companies, etc.

ah hell, what do i know... i was just a pirate with a 27 watt station that managed to build up enough of a listening audience to get a multimillion dollar station to notice me and turn me in!

Kent T
01-14-2012, 06:52 AM
Only problem with that would be, you'd have 30 minutes of commercials in that hour by the time the station could stay afloat. And HD basically was a failure on AM (should never have been legalized and while we're at it get rid of NRSC and low bandwidth). On FM, it is a minority outside the biggies.

TerryLeBoombox
01-14-2012, 01:45 PM
What the hell is HD radio? Don't you guys have DAB or DAB+?


RutRoh, looks like you don't.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Audio_Broadcasting

Skywavebe
01-14-2012, 03:04 PM
I was involved in a HD setup at one of my stations. They had to buy all new transmitters and pretty much a whole new rack of equipment between (High Level combining) them. They paid about 2.5 million for the setup. I also bought a HD radio for my car- since then I don't work for that station so I guess maybe I will install it next spring. FM HD does not have to lose or even be too noticeable when they switch between Analog and HD. The reason that you can find that happening is due to sloppy Engineering. I used to align the two using a Sangean radio and headphones from my desk with a remote connection to the HD processor. When I was done there was no material lost in the switch. The Sangean radio was not a higher grade product- it used to lock up like a computer on a regular basis. The kind I bought was a desk model for the wife that was a Polk model.
As for the HD going away due to the boxes- that is not likely to happen as there are more channels to play more commercials on. No I don't like commercials either, but some of the non-com streams on HD for the station I worked at did not have commercials. The last I heard they were going to increase the injection ratio to a high amount that allowed for more coverage. Having broadcast in Addison IL with 34 KW going up the pipe, people were picking up the signal with reliable radios in Indiana.
Amazon and Crutchfield sold an antenna called a FM Reflect antenna that did a lot better job than the typical folded Dipole or T antenna. It seemed to be made of coax cable. It did work good and I used on on the 10th floor office to get the station 21 miles away. The thing that kills a medium is bad programming and too many commercials. Since I don't like what they play on radio these days and good material of your choice is available online, then why fool around with radio at all as it just throws commercials at you to wreck the listening experience. Use CD, or whatever you have to get away from those.
Radio is having a lot of trouble these days having lost advertising money due to the bad economy so many are selling out to Spanish, Russian and who knows what and they are talk formats. The market for radio is destined to shrink as greed and bad programming is the order from what I have seen. Oh well, I used to only turn on the radio once in a while anyway or to listen to a station I worked for. I am finishing up a radio studio under direction of another member here who has done a wonderful job. They will not know what a value he is until he is not around- but isn't that the way they treat Engineers. Kent T is another Radio guy here. I am just about out of it to stay.

Old Busted Hotness
01-14-2012, 03:29 PM
Well, my dad got me the tuner for Christmas. Got it set up in the basement man-cave, using the supplied T antenna tacked to the ceiling. House has aluminum siding, so reception in the basement is worse than usual.

The station I listen to (NPR) is 42 miles away. Normal FM only gets a stereo signal on a good day, using the Yamaha's tuner. The Sangean HD gets a nice clean signal all the time, although the HD4 stream is a little dicky sometimes. Overall I'm real happy with it.

I become an NPR convert every November when the Christmas music starts. Tried to go back to my old morning-talk-and-oldies channel and couldn't stand the commercials. So I ain't going back, sorry WMJI.

stereorob
01-14-2012, 05:53 PM
it will go the way of quad-fm, probubly. but i shure wish i could have experienced it. i was told there was a local station down here that brodcasted in quad back in the 70s, way before my time.

stripedcat99
02-11-2012, 03:56 PM
The only terrestrial stations worth listening to in this market (KCMO) are owned by the U. of Kansas (Lawrence) , U of MO- KC, and independent (KKFI- yes, with two K's). They play jazz and/or classical and/or other interesting segments and haven't fooled with the signal too much (compression). Beyond that, the good FM blowtorch signals are either All Commercials All The Time, or the religious bunch has bought them and taken them off the tax rolls (no offense intended, lol). XM is what I listen to mostly, or streaming from L.A. or somewhere else.

Its just a shame to only give these Marantz FM tuners a tiny bit of use...they just blow me away *fit*

What I really miss is the AMer in suburbia that carried Z-Rock "LOUD AND PROUD" .......LOL, those were the days!

BlazeES
02-11-2012, 06:02 PM
I tried it a couple of years back. As it turns out, internet radio offers WAY MORE in terms of the selection, quality and device compatibility.

At the time had I tried Polk and Denon clock radio type gizmos. It made AM stations sound like FM and FM sound like CD quality; problem is - the available stations are way limited in my area. The adoption rate never materialized in major markets. One cool aspect about it is the metadata broadcast capability where song title and artist info is displayed. Other than that it's a bust.

When asked about it I tell people, just go get a Gracenote Internet Radio box. You'll be inundated with an over abundance of content - more than anyone could take in, in one lifetime. It's super cool!

CottonSwab
02-24-2012, 08:00 PM
I am running the Sony HD tuner here and it is the quietest and most sensitive tuner I have. Every station is broadcasting HD here so I enjoy it. Far from dead I would say. *eyepop*

I like the sound its very clean, open and musical but we have some great carriers and programming too.

ferriteman
02-25-2012, 07:51 AM
What the hell is HD radio? Don't you guys have DAB or DAB+?


RutRoh, looks like you don't.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Audio_Broadcasting

HD radio stands for "hybrid digital". It does not stand for "high definition" as some like to assume it is the same as with TV broadcasting. It's basically a secondary signal attached to a main analogue signal that's in digital.

It (HD-FM) has inferior audio resolution compared to regular FM broadcasting. They introduced DAB here in Canada and it's basically a big flop, nobody wants it, it is more subject to signal problems (like fading) and is also inferior sound-wise to standard FM analogue.

Here's hoping that both DAB & HD FM die a complete death!