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Radio3 Fm versus Streaming

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

  1. Snufkin

    Snufkin pfm Member

    I use a redundant smart phone (just buy a cheap one), linked to the wifi. Find BBC Sounds (stupid name) and a nice long cable (3m) with a mini jack at one end (that goes in the phone) and phono’s at the other.

    One of these but I seem to remember paying less than £3.00:
    the caretaker likes this.
  2. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    I’m pleased I’m not the only one to find the name ‘BBC Sounds’ annoying.
    But then I’m much less of a BBC ‘fan’ after what they did to Cliff Richard.
  3. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    I just use a computer with a USB DAC as the means to play digital material. Beyond that, it depends on what 'radio' 'streams' you want. I just use get-iplayer to fetch files from the BBC. Then play them. Don't really take an interest in other radio stations, so can't comment on them beyond knowing there are a lot about... and that sound quality will vary.

    TBH I'm puzzled that many people *don't* seem to have adopted a basic RPi setup as a player. Small and cheap. But maybe too 'tec' for many?
  4. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    I tend to call it "BBC Zounds!" as I'm not a fan. :-> I just use the schedules pages to find things and play them. That often leads off to webpages on podcasts. Indeed, get-iplayer routinely gets 'podcast versions' (i.e. longer than broadcast) when asked to get a radio programme.
  5. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Well, that sounds okay, as we have wifi here, but don't have ANY smartphone and wouldn't have a use for one. Feasible though, if that's all it needs (I/Cs are a given, of course).

    From Jim's reply (RPi; what's that in English?), your version seems the least faff.
  6. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    Raspberry Pi. That's the faff bit *if* you want a small cheap 'computer' to run the process.

    However I just use whatever linux box is in the room to play iPlayer files. Use a standard audio player (Audacity) but VLC also works fine if I want. The same can be done using Windows or Macs. Play via a USB DAC to get decent results. Ditto using a web browser and the BBC pages.

    Up to you if you want to use the BBC interface, which should be a doddle, or use get-iplayer. The latter can be fiddly to set up. But means you get the files and can then know what format/rate you've got. Matter of trade off between faff-level and flexibility.
  7. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Thanks Jim, but I fell at the first hurdle (Linux), so I'm obviously destined to continue listening to the source I was brought up with; it's pretty good, after all, so I don't think I'm missing anything. :)
  8. Miss Ariel

    Miss Ariel pfm Member

    Brilliant !

    I have heard the Naim NAT 101 years ago at the Cornflake Shop in London when the 101 was still in production.Thought it was superb from a sound and looks point of view.Also playing on Radio 3.
    The A@R Cambridge T21 I brought about 5 years ago in my local paper for £15.Thought it would sound nice.But firing it up in the main system with dedicated FM ariel on the roof I was astonished.
    And I thought of my distant memory of the 101 - It was that good.Mines in black by the way.Just a lovely tuner.
    I also have a NAD 4020 A for AM and a Creek 3040 also FM but the T21 is easily the best on FM.
    I think it was called the T21 because of the 21 LED's on the display.
    Best £15 I have ever spent :)
    Snufkin, Mike Reed and Martyn Miles like this.
  9. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    You Luddite, you
  10. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Correct, m'lud.
    I'd have a smashing time in those days. T.b.h., my brain is wired in analogue and even those wires are no longer directional.

    Ariel by name and antenna then? Think Ariel was a Roman (or Greek?) god; something like that, anyway. That T21 was an absolute bargain; in black, too!!!!!. Mine's a NAD; exc. s.q. on all stations, but that button up/down tuning is appalling; never know which way to go!
    Miss Ariel likes this.
  11. brab

    brab pfm Member

    I think I answered your more or less similar question a year or so back.

    Edit: It was Nov. 2018!
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
    Mike Reed likes this.
  12. Miss Ariel

    Miss Ariel pfm Member

    :D MIke....No Ariel is the name of our cat...Ariel was in greek mythology Lioness of the gods (I might be wrong on this )

    I must admit I don't listen to the T21 that much as work and evening constraints etc curtail it + I love playing an album or 2 of an evening,but when I do listen to the T21 it always sounds magic.
    My NAD 4020 A is beautiful to look at,theres a sort of valvey glow behind the frequency range (88 -108 ).
    Glad your enjoying your NAD tuner.Thats a serious downsize after your NAT 01,must have freed up some cash.And great your enjoying it as much !
  13. Snufkin

    Snufkin pfm Member

    For what it’s worth, I have had five tuners through my system(s) and still have four of them. I would rate them as follows:

    No 1 – NAT 101 – brilliant on the rare occasions my indoor aerial made it work but I couldn’t supply it with a good enough signal so, as lovely as it was, it was impractical for me so eventually it had to go.

    No 2 – JVC FX1010 – a superb Japanese tuner from the tail end of the golden age of Japanese Hi-Fi. Currently in my main system.

    No 3 – A&R T21 – just amazing, especially for what they are worth, and bloody close to the JVC but not quite as ‘full’ sounding. One day I would like to try the JVC and the A&R with a decent aerial. The A&R keeps me amused in the morning in my bedroom system.

    No 4 – A rather lovely Creek 3040 which is a good tuner but sounds a little brittle compared to the tuners mentioned above. Boxed but too good to let go.

    No 5 – Rega Radio. This is a competent tuner but sounds a little one dimensional compared to all the ones mentioned above. It’s a lovely looking tuner but it’s just not as good as the others and like the Creek, the Rega is sitting in its box but I might get it out and try it again some time.
    Miss Ariel likes this.
  14. Nic Robinson

    Nic Robinson Moderator

    Being also a resident of Sussex but, alas, the wrong side of the hill (!), I'm very jealous of your ability to get both R3 and France Musique on FM.
    the caretaker likes this.
  15. Ptah

    Ptah pfm Member

    Is the Sounds thing on my Smart TV going out in mp3? Can I get the iplayer 320kbps on the TV?
  16. John Phillips

    John Phillips pfm Member

    Long ago I became accustomed to the sound of R3 FM evening concerts using a Yamaha CT-1010 tuner and then a Quad FM4. The concerts certainly sounded good.

    Then, when DAB first came along at a good data rate, the "warmth" of FM from the longer sustain of notes and the "liveness" from more audible concert hall and audience ambience became clear. Enjoyment did not change at all but I decided I preferred the extra dynamic range of DAB. That was my preference but others described DAB as "cold".

    Leaving sonic preference aside, the quality of BBC engineering in capturing a concert has remained excellent for a very long time indeed, which IMHO ranks higher. So although I now prefer BBC R3 streaming it's not the most important aspect. And in recent times the assurance of a good evening concert has been a bright spot in days when I have been unable to pursue normal activities.
  17. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    You should be able to do the same things with Windows or a Mac.
  18. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    One of the nice things I like about the BBC iplayer material is that I can fetch a file and listen when and as I want. From sitting down in the evening in front of a good audio system to via a DAP and headphones whilst working in the kitchen. There the headphones help reduce external noises and let me play things my better half dislikes. :)

    FWIW I have three FM tuners. One in an Armstrong 626, another is a QUAD tuner, and the other a Yamaha CT-7000. Plus a decent radio (Tandberg) and a cheap-as-chips 'kit' one I bought from CPC/Farnell as an experiment. Although not in the same league as the 'real' tuners it is suprisingly good given a few tweaks and a decent speaker. Sort of kit I'd suggest to someone wanting to have a go at electronics. Easy start and easy to fiddle with. Cheap enough to break and try another. And sounds good enough to reward having had a go and feel you've made something. :)

    The Yamaha *mostly* works very well, but is plagued by the huge number of internal connectors that as time passes become intermittent. So in practice for daily use the 626 and QUAD get more time. But serious listening now tends to be via stream capture.
  19. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    Thanks Jim. I have Win 10 upstairs and was wondering if I could access radio on it and simply have a long I/C down to my pre. Alternatively commandeer my wife's laptop (downstairs) and run a shorter I/C from that. Mind you, there aren't many hours in the day when she's not using it.

    Just a thought. My (Virgin or Freeview) TV gets radio, though I wasn't impressed by the selection last time I idly skimmed through the channels. My TV is already fully connected to my hifi. Somehow doubt that BBC would be represented here; if so, at the least it would be an interesting comparison, as line level on the TV doesn't involve its own amplification.
  20. John Phillips

    John Phillips pfm Member

    I have not tried the specific products below to test their quality, but one way to try BBC radio streaming as simply and inexpensively as possible is to:
    • buy a ready-made wireless-only DAC/streamer like this one (€65 but note that it needs a separate power supply), which supports Airplay (v1) and connects to an existing stereo RCA input.
    • install BBC Sounds (with a BBC account) on the laptop, or on a new inexpensive tablet/smartphone.
    • tell BBC Sounds to send its output to the Airplay device.
    The purist will note that the 48 kHz BBC sampling rate gets resampled to 44.1 kHz because of the way Airplay (v1) works. But it's a good introduction and it sounds OK to me [1]. And if interested it's possible to later on add a music gateway/server like this one (125€ but again it needs a separate power supply) that will talk to the DAC/Streamer via a better protocol than Airplay (v1).

    [1] To test the above, I'm listening to the BBC R3 stream right now sourced from BBC Sounds on an iPhone. Although my Airplay DAC/streamer is home-built from a Raspberry Pi 3B+ running RoPieee XL software.
    Mike Reed likes this.

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