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Absolute 80's going mono on DAB


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Old 04-05-2013, 15:38
kev
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Oh dear. Sounds like it's an off-air feed of a weak signal with something 200 kHz away bleeding over slightly, possibly Galaxy 105.8 from Emley Moor.
Probably Saga/Smooth on 105.7 as I believe it was off-air reception in Birmingham. (or maybe even a Birmingham pirate the other side - it was always hissy but the bleed through from another station came and went)
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Old 04-05-2013, 15:46
markelliott
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I haven't listened to anything on DAB for a few years. Last night I had a listen to a few stations on my sisters £150 Hitachi micro hifi system, as I was curious to hear how things sounded from these low bit rate mono music stations.

Absolute 80s and 90s (64kbps mono) sounded absolutely horrific - flat, boomy, no treble, like something off the AM band. Planet Rock and TeamRock (80kbps mono) sounded just as bad. It was immediately obvious how bad they sounded upon tuning in, but the difference when flicking between those and our local Heart station (128kbps j-stereo) on the Now Digital multiplex, was huge. It sounded like I had just removed cotton wool from my ears, the clarity was in a different league. Even Absolute Radio (112kbps j-stereo) sounded very poor compared to Heart.

Kiss is an existing local station on the FM band round here, which was available until a short while ago on Now Digital in 128kbps j-stereo and since it has moved to Digital One it has been reduced to 80kbps mono and sounds terrible. It's shocking how this can be allowed.

The stations on Digital One sound truly awful.
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Old 04-05-2013, 18:47
hanssolo
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Absolute 80s and 90s (64kbps mono) sounded absolutely horrific - flat, boomy, no treble, like something off the AM band.
Notice they responded to comments on the blog where they said they said they read them!
http://onegoldensquare.com/2013/04/c...-80s/#comments
But as most of DAB listening is done on small mono sets where the station is now just about listenable (now the levels and intermodulation distorton is fixed), and Absolute/TIML are under pressure to reduce costs and losses to survive as an independant group, sadly doubt if anything will change soon?
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Old 05-05-2013, 22:51
mfr
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I haven't listened to anything on DAB for a few years. Last night I had a listen to a few stations on my sisters £150 Hitachi micro hifi system, as I was curious to hear how things sounded from these low bit rate mono music stations.

Absolute 80s and 90s (64kbps mono) sounded absolutely horrific - flat, boomy, no treble, like something off the AM band. Planet Rock and TeamRock (80kbps mono) sounded just as bad. It was immediately obvious how bad they sounded upon tuning in, but the difference when flicking between those and our local Heart station (128kbps j-stereo) on the Now Digital multiplex, was huge. It sounded like I had just removed cotton wool from my ears, the clarity was in a different league. Even Absolute Radio (112kbps j-stereo) sounded very poor compared to Heart.

Kiss is an existing local station on the FM band round here, which was available until a short while ago on Now Digital in 128kbps j-stereo and since it has moved to Digital One it has been reduced to 80kbps mono and sounds terrible. It's shocking how this can be allowed.

The stations on Digital One sound truly awful.
That's a little strange.

I get the mono / stereo argument, but putting that aside, 80k mono should actually sound pretty crisp. Team Rock's audio in particular sounds like its been set up incredibly well.

64k for music is definitely pushing it audio quality wise but, given the losses being sustained by Absolute, the alternative is probably nothing at all.
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Old 05-05-2013, 23:18
Isambard Brunel
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You've never heard the "Your at Work Station", "The Home of the No Repeat Work Day" and all the other variants
Those aren't adverts for radio receivers, obviously.

On the subject of Absolute 80s, and having to keep costs down I had a pub expert thought yesterday...

I was flicking through the various Absolute stations last night and heard Pop Music by M on Absolute 70s. This used to be played almost daily on Absolute 80s but now not so much. I'm sure there were other records from the late 70s and early 90s that no longer get much airplay since Absolute 70s and 90s came along.

However, these songs fit in perfectly with the musical style of Absolute 80s, which is probably worse off for no longer playing them. So what about renaming the stations to move them away from specific decades? Absolute 80s could focus on pop music from the mid-late 70s right into the 90s and maybe the odd 00s track (Soulwax maybe?). I'd have no problem with one Absolute station playing Who Are You, Two Tribes and Ready to Go by Republica whilst avoiding dance music and prog rock.

Another station focused on synth, dance and other 'drum machine' electronic music centred around the 90s (without getting too underground) but with any relevant tracks from the 80s (Pacific State) and 00s (Kalvin Harris, Richard X) included. And then a classic rock station.

That would allow them to reduce the number of DAB stations, save money and perhaps make them stereo.
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Old 06-05-2013, 19:46
Crapital Fart
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Only just realised on D1 that Classic FM has gone from 160k to 128k and Jazz FM from 80k to 64k.
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Old 06-05-2013, 23:00
Colin_London
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Only just realised on D1 that Classic FM has gone from 160k to 128k and Jazz FM from 80k to 64k.
Do keep up

Jazz FM has been at 64kbps for a while now. The recent change was a reduction in Absolute 80s, Planet Rock and Classic FM.
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Old 06-05-2013, 23:07
Bollard
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Jazz FM has been at 64kbps for a while now.
It sounds a lot worse than 64k though...
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:54
scooby1970
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I'm quite intrigued by these arguments of mono sound quality. I was thinking of when I listen to the radio and how it really affects me, and to be honest it really hasn't.

In my bedroom I use my Rovio Axis to listen to DAB, it's got a mono speaker, but can be hooked up to a hifi. Through it's speaker, every station sounds really good, and as I'm always doing something else while listening to the radio, the mono/stereo effect does not relate as I am not sitting in any sweet-spot to really notice the stereo image.

When in work, we listen to various DAB stations, this time through a stereo Pure DAB radio, and again, because of all that is going on, stereo/mono doesn't matter, and the sound quality sounds perfectly acceptable, even on stations like Absolute 80's.

I think for a lot of people like myself, who do not have a sweet-spot for listening to a stereo broadcast, or even the time to just sit and listen to the radio while doing nothing else, then it really doesn't matter about mono or stereo.

As for sound quality, I really don't think it's as bad as some people are saying, it's perfectly fine for background music and if I want to listen to music specifically, then I just use my seperates Hi-Fi system and put in an SACD/CD etc and enjoy.

Honestly, for the average man in the street who is listening to the radio while doing other things, DAB is giving more choice, and choice is what really matters.

Mark
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Old 07-05-2013, 12:50
wns_195
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I don't mind music stations broadcasting in mono at 80 KBPS but lower than that it is noticeable and doesn't sound good.
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Old 07-05-2013, 16:46
jaffboy151
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I reluctantly agree with scooby1970 on the some of what he's saying, at work on our stereo set and at home on my mono set, now they've fixed the audio clipping It is exceptible if a bit scratchy, but in car I can not stand it for more then 1 song, which was my point in an earlier post, with the expansion of dab in car many people won't like this level of sound quality and find it a step too far, something which will only get worse as the MXR multiplex's close and stations squeezed into local mux's, so where's dab going?? In car listening wont take off much in at the present quality enviroment, this leave the mono kitchen radio market in which sales must be close to levelling off by now..
I also think thu should cut out the digital car radio ads they are playing on ab80's and others while the present state of things are in place, saying dab sounds like double cream in your carburettor amongst other quality claimes much be in breach of offcoms add rules if the majority of the platform is mono?

On a seperate note altogether:
Does anyone know why ab80s always cut out the instrumental bit in 'we build this city on rock n roll' ?
Anything to do with the American DJ's voice in the background?
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Old 09-05-2013, 20:25
Nick_G
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Found this stream which in theory will have the best quality for Absolute 80s. It depends how much processing and level compression has been applied:

http://icecast.timlradio.co.uk/absol....uk/a8flac.ogg

It's an 1100 kb/s FLAC stream. A whole world away from the DAB feed.
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Old 09-05-2013, 20:41
Isambard Brunel
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It's an 1100 kb/s FLAC stream. A whole world away from the DAB feed.
But unlike DAB, you have to worry about whether you can afford 14.6GB of data per month for every hour a day you listen to this stream. That can be a huge chunk out of your home broadband allowance, let alone your smartphone.

I can't imagine many employers putting up with many workers listening to this stream for several hours a day, or 'free' wi-fi in coffee bars and other places coping with it very well. Surely that's why there's still a very sensible need for proper digital radio and TV broadcasting systems, if only the sound quality measured up.
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Old 09-05-2013, 20:46
Nick_G
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But unlike DAB, you have to worry about whether you can afford 14.6GB of data per month for every hour a day you listen to this stream. That can be a huge chunk out of your home broadband allowance, let alone your smartphone.

I can't imagine many employers putting up with many workers listening to this stream for several hours a day, or 'free' wi-fi in coffee bars and other places coping with it very well. Surely that's why there's still a very sensible need for proper digital radio and TV broadcasting systems, if only the sound quality measured up.
I realise that but it is good that they are providing options like this for those who have the facilities to take advantage of them. Once multicasting becomes the norm then it'll be a lot easier to deliver this kind of quality via the net. It shows that Absolute Radio are forward-thinking.
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Old 09-05-2013, 21:04
bowland37
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Bye bye treble.
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Old 10-05-2013, 00:08
Alan Thew
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But unlike DAB, you have to worry about whether you can afford 14.6GB of data per month for every hour a day you listen to this stream. That can be a huge chunk out of your home broadband allowance, let alone your smartphone.

I can't imagine many employers putting up with many workers listening to this stream for several hours a day, or 'free' wi-fi in coffee bars and other places coping with it very well. Surely that's why there's still a very sensible need for proper digital radio and TV broadcasting systems, if only the sound quality measured up.
I realise that but it is good that they are providing options like this for those who have the facilities to take advantage of them. Once multicasting becomes the norm then it'll be a lot easier to deliver this kind of quality via the net. It shows that Absolute Radio are forward-thinking.
Hear, hear, Nick. (Although you must have missed my post #168 last week .) Obviously, Isambard, only an idiot is going to be seriously trying to listen to a FLAC stream on their smartphone in a noisy cafe. That in itself is no reason not to provide the stream and I applaud Absolute for doing so. There's only any point in it if you're hooked up to a decent hi-fi stereo system and paying attention, and that self-evidently means you're not sitting on the beach trying to get a 3G signal, or even in an office listening on headphones. Dismissing the value of the FLAC stream on the grounds that DAB is free to air is nonsensical. And if you're worried about your home broadband data cap, then listen to the OGG stream instead: it'll sound almost as good and still blow DAB out of the water.

The only other station I can recall doing this so far was a foreign (Czech maybe?) classical station; I don't know if that's still online. The Absolute FLAC streams have been listed on the website for some time but have not always been active when I've tried them in the past.
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Old 10-05-2013, 09:24
hanssolo
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Obviously, Isambard, only an idiot is going to be seriously trying to listen to a FLAC stream on their smartphone in a noisy cafe. That in itself is no reason not to provide the stream and I applaud Absolute for doing so. There's only any point in it if you're hooked up to a decent hi-fi stereo system and paying attention, and that self-evidently means you're not sitting on the beach trying to get a 3G signal, or even in an office listening on headphones. Dismissing the value of the FLAC stream on the grounds that DAB is free to air is nonsensical. And if you're worried about your home broadband data cap, then listen to the OGG stream instead: it'll sound almost as good and still blow DAB out of the water.
Also will cost Absolute a lot of money on servers and internet connections as ISPs seem to be struggling with getting multicasting working.
Allthough Ogg licences are free, it's still not as efficient as MPEG's AAC encoders, so I think stations will use AAC as default for internet use?
However DAB listening still outnumbers internet listening by about 3-5 times?
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Old 10-05-2013, 12:00
chris983
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Listening to absolute 80s on tunein radio app is shocking the sound quality is so bad so much so I downloaded the absolute radio app which is much better quality.
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Old 10-05-2013, 12:27
PhilH
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Listening to absolute 80s on tunein radio app is shocking the sound quality is so bad so much so I downloaded the absolute radio app which is much better quality.
TuneIn lets you choose from a number of available streams. If you go into the menu on the 'Now playing' screen the option's there.
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Old 10-05-2013, 20:46
jaffboy151
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TuneIn lets you choose from a number of available streams. If you go into the menu on the 'Now playing' screen the option's there.
Yes they changed some of there streams lately and my tunein defaulted to 32k mp3 which was total crap, 48k AAC+ stream will be good enough for most, higher is available on there as is a lower quality 24k AAC+ for those conscious of there mobile download limits which is amazing quality when you consider the bit rate involved, blows 64 & 80k mp2 mono on dab out the window..
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Old 10-05-2013, 21:40
Charlie
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The only other station I can recall doing this so far was a foreign (Czech maybe?) classical station; I don't know if that's still online.
Českż D-dur
http://amp.cesnet.cz:8000/cro-d-dur.flac

KEXP using PCM Codec @ around 1400 kb/s
mms://media-wm.cac.washington.edu/KEXP-Uncompressed
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:54
chris983
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TuneIn lets you choose from a number of available streams. If you go into the menu on the 'Now playing' screen the option's there.
Thanks for advice
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:54
Resonance
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TuneIn lets you choose from a number of available streams. If you go into the menu on the 'Now playing' screen the option's there.
Thanks for advice
Or if you long press the required station before you've started streaming it will give you the various stream options that you can start playing the station in.
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Old 11-05-2013, 23:35
Alan Thew
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Or if you long press the required station before you've started streaming it will give you the various stream options that you can start playing the station in.
Thanks, Resonance, that's very useful to know, as selecting the required stream the other way through the menus is a bit of a pain!
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Old 11-05-2013, 23:37
Alan Thew
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Thanks, Charlie, that'll be the one I was remembering.
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