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Radio3 Fm versus Streaming

Discussion in 'audio' started by Bjork67, Apr 6, 2021.

  1. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    In a tricky area, Dec, I'd've thought at least a Ron Smith G23 would be your choice! (I actually had that beast after the '87 hurricane) :D

    No experience of this but I'm pretty sure you've got a choice example of good old-fashioned tuner there. One came up recently (here?) and I was tempted but who needs two good tuners apart from Dec? :)

    CARETAKER, this is generally an indication of the signal being too weak to fully load the input.
    Miss Ariel and the caretaker like this.
  2. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    Was this the HD feed? What sort of kit were you using? Dac etc?
  3. the caretaker

    the caretaker pfm Member

    No, it was the normal feed into dac magic? I think..using my main kit, quad 909 , AE1MK3s, MF htp pre amp..I used my denon to 260l tuner and as I said earlier, it just sounded right, on the denon fact the streamed radio sounded bit flat..even now playing the radio through my cyrus dac x+ and schiit eitr..I still prefer the denon 260l..maybe its a age thing? I remember good the old radio broadcasts could say the streamed radio is better sounding? Maybe? But fm radio has the odd crackle and interference..and i quite like that..I expect my qobuz hi res to be good..but fm radio, warts and all, I sort of prefer! So for me fm is better..streamed ' radio' is too my opinion..
    MikeMA and Nic Robinson like this.
  4. Dee-Kay

    Dee-Kay pfm Member

    For me, both have their strengths; for convenience the R3 HD stream on my ND5-XS is good enough for “casual” listening but if there’s something I want to listen to specifically, the Ron Smith G17 / NAT 02 just sounds more natural & musical.

    That said, both are switched off most of the time; the ND5 is handy to switch on for Radio Paradise where I’m more likely to discover something I want to buy or catch a BBC program at short notice. The 02 is not at its best from cold so planning is required for the best sound, which means it doesn’t get used much. Sad really but it seems equally wrong to have it powered on all the time for the occasional listen.
  5. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    I listen mainly to R4, using a Quad FM4 tuner.
    Occasionally I listen to R4 via streaming, though streaming is usually R4 Extra.

    I find the tuner better for long term listening.

    Perhaps it’s just me, but for a 3/4 of an hour radio play the FM4 is more relaxing to listen to.
    As for Radio 3, I must admit to never listening via streaming but I’ll give it ago sometime.
    Miss Ariel and the caretaker like this.
  6. slavedata

    slavedata pfm Member

    Well for me streaming Radio 3 has been a godsend. I live 60 miles from Sutton Coldfield and fitted a 5 element Antiference aerial on the roof. But at that range it is hit and miss with weather conditions to get full quieting in stereo and birdies would come and go. The 331kbps stream just works.
    Nic Robinson and MikeMA like this.
  7. MikeMA

    MikeMA pfm Member

    I have line of sight to my local relay transmitter in Hastings just over a mile away and get an excellent FM signal on QUAD FM3 and FM4 tuners via an 8 element loft aerial. I also pull in a strong signal from France and often listen to France Musique. For me listening to FM is a bit like listening to records: it just sound better than anything digital, warts and all. And yes I know much of the transmission chain is digital even for FM but it still sounds better, at least to my ears. As others have suggested, I think this is partly an age related nostalgia thing!
  8. slavedata

    slavedata pfm Member

    I can understand that with the signal strength you have in Hastings. When I lived down in Essex I used to love pulling in the French stations on FM. But the digital signal as well as broadcast certainly helps the BBC to fulfil its national coverage remit.
  9. Snufkin

    Snufkin pfm Member

    Like you I don't stream much and, like you, have an A&R T21. In my tuner experience I would rate the T21 as being nearly as good as a Naim NAT 101 but much more forgiving of a less than perfect aerial and has very useful presets. When I do stream, via an old mobile phone, it always sounds pretty good with a clean, almost sterile sound but the tuner, almost any tuner sounds warmer.
    Miss Ariel and Mike Reed like this.
  10. the caretaker

    the caretaker pfm Member

    I should add that streaming is brilliant in a lot of respects..just found FIP and you can even save tracks to a playlist I remember listening to FIP in the 70s when I lived in use to play rock then classical then jazz, alsorts! Then on the hour they had news? And some person blathering in French for about quarter of a hour! then back to the music....
  11. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    R3 FM can sound great. And it generally has a wider dynamic range than other FM stations. But to get the best from it you do need a good tuner and a decent signal level with minimal multipath. And as measurements show not all tuners are born equal. (Or at least they *used* to show this when magazines used to bother to fully review them!)
    The reality the BBC face is that during daytime the bulk of VHF listeners will be using a 'portable' radio for it, and not be sitting down to listen in a quiet enviroment. So they take that into account.

    TBH they assume these days that someone going for max quality will use the 320k stream. Which adds the 'listen again' feature so they can choose to sit and listen if they want to hear the wider range offerred. Bigger dynamic range, wider frequency range, lower distortion, higher channel separation, etc.
  12. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    I'm still hoping they will eventually go to flac sometime. If only for what I can describe as "user confidence" reasons. FWIW I did capture both flac and aac versions at the time to compare, and found they were pretty close by measurement, and my ears weren't good enough to notice any bothersome differences. So I've not lost sleep over their decision.
  13. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    All VHF broadcasts are "digital" as they use NICAM to feed the transmitters. :) This has a spec below that of Audio CD. But it sounds good because the BBC take care with what they send down the pipe.

    And internally, all the audio at the BBC goes via 48k/24bit LPCM as standard. For R3 it only becomes 'analogue' again once your tuner picks it up. (The 'exciters' at the FM TXs are now also digital.)

    I did some FM vs DAB comparisons back in early DAB days when it still used 256k rate. The FM was clearly 'warmer'. Particularly noticable on piano music with a 'signature' as you describe. I eventually decided it was the peak limiters on FM causing the 'sustain' after the initial hammer-strike peaks being at a higher level relative to the peak. Hard to say for sure because of other things FM Stereo does to audio. Sadly, now DAB has rather low rates, so not much point considering it for R3.
  14. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    I prefer a piano to sound like a piano, and a prom to sound like a prom! :)
    the caretaker likes this.
  15. the caretaker

    the caretaker pfm Member

    Agreed...I listen mostly to qobuz and I like it very much..I suppose fm is a bit like vinyl and cassette? I feel more connected to it? I'm nearly a old duffer (58) guess its a age thing! Nostalgia is wasted on the young lol, but when you get older- nostalgia just remind you how crap it is nowadays! :p
  16. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    My dodgy reception area is Edinburgh- I think the transmitter is north, across the Firth of Forth in Fife and there may be built obstacles in the path. The other issue is it’s a five storey listed building where there are already individual owner’s TV aerials on the chimney stacks and roof works are due to commence with inevitable collateral damage.

    You often see giant metal tumbleweed on city rooftops, consisting of decades of mangled aerials, masts and coax. No one cares what’s up their and the guy called to fit the new gear certainly doesn’t- he has no interest in lugging down all the junk left up there.

    I just had a recollection- the flat we used to live in 25 years ago is just round the corner and I had an FM antenna put up to feed my Meridian 504. I’ll take a walk round to see if the fitter’s work has stood the test of time.:)
    Miss Ariel likes this.
  17. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Lucky you, Mike, but not sure how your loft aerial (with reduced sensitivity) is aligned to both the Hastings transmitter and France Musique. Maybe it's a bit omnidirectional, but this is counter-intuitive. With my Ron Smith G23 high up overlooking Ramsgate in a large Victorian house, I used to pick up various French (or Belgian?) stations using the rotator; maybe one was France Musique (it WAS classical). I had a NAT 101 at that juncture, but later bought an 01, only to find that my G23 couldn't attach to anything robust enough in the 60's house I moved to, so I sold it. It was a beast though; still got 2 h/d rotators in my loft !
  18. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    I have a 4 element outside FM aerial approx. 15 miles from the transmitter.

    On the FM4 all stations have incredibly quiet backgrounds.
    On lesser tuners there were always low level ‘birdies’ on R3.

    I tried R3 on streaming and it’s very clean and open but a little lacking in warmth.
    TheDecameron and the caretaker like this.
  19. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Being an ignoramus (and also generally uninterested) in most things digital, I wonder if someone here, in steps of one syllable, as it were, itemise what I'd need for streaming quality radio signal into my system.

    I don't have a smart TV. My desktop computer in upstairs in the office; my system (valves pre. + mono's) is downstairs. I don't have a smartphone.

    Judging from above comments, a major difference between streaming and FM through the air is one of warmth rather than quality. Maybe 'listenability' and 'involvement factor' can be added here?
  20. MikeMA

    MikeMA pfm Member

    The alignment for France Musique is purely down to luck and geography. I live high up on a hill at the back of Hastings. The local transmitter is between me and the sea, so my aerial is pointing directly at France, roughly in the direction of Abbeville/Dieppe.
    Nic Robinson likes this.

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