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VHF/FM radio ...

Discussion in 'audio' started by George J, May 2, 2019.

  1. mercalia

    mercalia pfm Member

    these days she would be in a bikini....
  2. mercalia

    mercalia pfm Member

    get rid of radio 1 & 2 then use the extra bandwidth for a higer bit rate for radio 3 dab
  3. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    Yes. People can find it at

    My impression is that the 'engineers' side at the BBC would like to do it. But the 'suits' feel any advantage isn't currently worth having to make changes.

    The irony for me is all the messing about devoted to " BBC !Zounds" instead.
  4. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    I guess they probably see it as pandering to a very few "hi fi geeks".... and would think that the percentage of listeners who would listen this way would be small enough to make them right...
  5. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    I actually prefer her as she is...
  6. Martyn Miles

    Martyn Miles pfm Member

    That ‘BBC Sounds’ drives me mad.
    The tedious advert just goes on and on...
  7. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    Dear Jim,

    Thanks for your linked essay. From the outside, it is easy to wonder what the thinking at the BBC is about lossless streaming, but clearly there is more to it than I had imagined.

    I suspect that VHF FM is going to be the best we shall get for a long time, and so let's hope that that they don't stop VHF before something as good comes along.

    Best wishes from George
  8. Stunsworth

    Stunsworth pfm Member

    I find the 320k internet stream superior to FM.
    March Audio likes this.
  9. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    March Audio likes this.
  10. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    I bet it measures better technically as well! I am not going to argue - pointless. I have a never seen a position changed on the internet as the result of an argument!!!

    Best wishes from George
  11. Del monaco

    Del monaco Del Monaco

    It’s nice to have silent backgrounds etc but much like dab I sometimes feel it takes the life out of the sound. Even 320 sounds compressed. Both sounds have flaws.
  12. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    Dear Del Monaco,

    You hit upon the precise point. If we measured the noise floor of DAB or 320 aac streaming I bet they would be better than VHF FM. If we measured the audible frequency I bet both would be wider than VHF FM. As yet there is no measurement for the visceral quality of a solo soprano, or the silky muted violin or the reedy bassoon! And so on. Measurements don't quite fathom the difference between music and a signal generator!

    I think that VHF FM broadcasting has a quality that makes a whole evening listening to a concert on Radio Three a lot more inviting than any streaming or DAB I have yet heard. Some may listen for wide bandwidth [of audible frequency], or silence from back-ground hiss. I am only drawn to these aspects if there is an obvious shortcoming in practice. But a flat lifeless quality is hardly inviting. I was listening to some Bach Organ music on the Troughline in the last few days, and I thought to myself it had drifted off station a bit. A quick twiddle showed that the electric organ blower was making a sizeable contribution! That I would call poor microphone technique at the first stage! I have never been aware of organ blower noise in real life!

    Its all for fun in any case so I hope this thread brings more pleasure than annoyance!

    Best wishes from George
    Last edited: May 7, 2019
    Del monaco likes this.
  13. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed pfm Member

    On your system, maybe, but surely this depends upon the tuner, not to mention aerial and various other synergistic factors.
    Stunsworth and Del monaco like this.
  14. Stunsworth

    Stunsworth pfm Member

    Sure, that's why I wrote 'I find...'.

    The last two tuners I've owned were a top of the range Pioneer F-91, and a Musical Fidelity A5 DAB/FM box. Both used with a rooftop 3 element aerial. I'm not saying that FM is bad, far from it, but I prefer the streamed feed (upsampled in Roon to DSD).
  15. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    FWIF the big advantage of mono for FM is that it gives both a lower noise floor *and* lower distortion than FM stereo. The 'hidden secret' about FM is the effect stereo MPXing has on HF distortion of stereo material. Few magazines ever really looked at this and - if anything - only ever did a mono 30% mod low-frequency check on tuner THD - usually using a sig gen that wasn't RF bandwidth limited so might understate the results!

    Speaking specifically about R3: I initially preferred VHF over 'digital' in the days when the BBC used 256k for R3. However as I repeatedly compared by ear and measurements i started to realise I'd become 'habituated' to the level of peak compression, etc, applied to VHF and absent from the digital version. In particular it gave a better 'sustain' to things like piano music. Made the results 'warmer'. As time passed I eventually came to decide that the 320k iPlayer were better. Long time since I've used my old CT7000, and even when using my Armstrong 626 I tend to feed it the iPlayer rather than use its own tuner.

    I still listen to FM indirectly, though. Been making digital transfers of my old recordings when I used the CT7000. Most recently the series of broadcasts in 1999 to celebrate the centenary of Sir John Barbirolli. Sounds good despite the nominal drawbacks. Much to enjoy. :)

    BTW Some of the old SJB recordings they played were mono - and sound lovely even over headphones as the direct/indirect balance is better than many 'overly close mic' stereo balancing of later years. You get the hear the hall as well as the instruments.
    March Audio likes this.
  16. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    Dear Jim,

    I have always preferred good mono quality to stereo, however good. Fascinating to learn that not only is the noise floor of Mono VHF lower [I can tell that by ear], but that distortion is also lower. I had not noticed that of itself as the presentation is sufficiently different to overshadow it for me, so I have learned something, and thanks for that.

    But it may go some way to explain why I have preferred mono since being ten years old [a long time ago now - hoho!]. The trouble with a digital stereo feed is getting it back into mono! I can do it with the MAC and iTunes as there is an accessibility option to play stereo as mono, which sums the channels before the MDAC that I use via USB connection.

    I remain content with mono VHF FM for as long it continues. Forever I hope!

    Best wishes from George

    PS: I have some wonderful tape recordings [live Radio Three relays of concerts] from VHF in the 1980s, which sound as well balanced and accurate as to instrumental timbre as commercial recordings of the era.
  17. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    IIRC it was about 1983-5 when the BBC got to adding any 'automated' level compression system to the chain. For R3 mainly for 'drive time' broadcasting. Before that it was all done by hand/skill and the main 'automatic' effect was the risk of crashing into the limiters. :)
  18. George J

    George J Herefordshire member

    Dear Jim,

    I knew that the dynamic level was `'automated" at some point. I just never knew when. I am learning all the time!

    Thanks from George
  19. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    Mono uses less FM channel bandwidth than the stereo L-R multiplex, so it is less affected by narrow IF filters and therefore by adjacent channels
  20. GML

    GML pfm Member

    I'm new to the world of FM tuners, but my recent purchase of a Rotel RT-850AL is giving so much pleasure. It's working surprisingly well using an indoor dipole antenna. This will mainly be used for Radio 3 live and recorded concerts. I've no previous experience of FM tuners and didn't want to spend the earth. Bearing that in mind a good friend (of this parish) pointed me toward the Rotel and I'm pleased he did. It seems incredible that for £12.50 (plus post) off the bay I was able to pick up a mint specimen in good working order. I rather like the look of the Quad FM4 and Meridian 504, but I suppose we're then getting into roof aerial territory.

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