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Absolute 80's going mono on DAB


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Old 16-04-2013, 07:54
Nick_G
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Notice the KT DB1000 you use was one of the early car sets when bit rates were 128k or more on the commercial music stations, might be the newer sets cope with the lower bit 112k and 64k commercial stations better?, but can't verify it?
May have cloth ears, but 64k music is listenable to me.
Possibly. I've seen plenty of moaning about DAB sound quality on comments pages, and that was before this new round of chops. In fact, Jazz FM's web page had quite a few complaints when the regional stereo service was replaced by the mono national service:

http://web.archive.org/web/201201231...1/08/national/

Some were happy to have the station but others weren't impressed by the apparent step backward in sound quality. No doubt that amounts to a loss of listeners.
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Old 16-04-2013, 08:09
hanssolo
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http://www.mediauk.com/radio/343337/...tening-figures
May 2011 Jazz had 495k, but going national on DAB mono increased this to 624k, by Sept 624k.
There may have been some churn as listeners say they will not listen in mono, but seems to be low.

But there is also a changing music policy to take into account, and it went from 80k to 64k, will be interesting to see how the station fares in May's rajar?
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Old 16-04-2013, 08:34
SouthCity
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Possibly. I've seen plenty of moaning about DAB sound quality on comments pages, and that was before this new round of chops. In fact, Jazz FM's web page had quite a few complaints when the regional stereo service was replaced by the mono national service:

http://web.archive.org/web/201201231...1/08/national/

Some were happy to have the station but others weren't impressed by the apparent step backward in sound quality. No doubt that amounts to a loss of listeners.
It's largely irrelevant if the station is making heavy losses though, as paying for the the regional 128k stereo streams as well as Digital 1 is simply unaffordable.

The only way to make the station commercially viable is to have a national presence on DAB at 64k, and make a high quality stereo stream available online for those that need it.
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Old 16-04-2013, 08:59
jaffboy151
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Notice the KT DB1000 you use was one of the early car sets when bit rates were 128k or more on the commercial music stations, might be the newer sets cope with the lower bit 112k and 64k commercial stations better?, but can't verify it?
May have cloth ears, but 64k music is listenable to me.
Ahh good spot.. I've changed my car set up to a ALPINE INE-W925R DAB radio now, must have forgot to change that on my profile..
I'm can see your point in regards to kitchen radios, I can tell the difference between ab80's & 90's on my kitchen radio but it is listenable as is Jazz but when I move incar 64k is dire and uncomfortable to listen to.. I'd go as far to say 80k mono is at the limit of what my ears can put up with incar excluding heat which seems to sound poor and warbles in and out a little like kerrang at on mxr wm ( must be the way Bauer set up there encoders) in car disregarding the fact it's mono sometimes free radio 80's at 80k is better to listen to them absolute 80's at 112k
Personally I can only put up with mono music for short periods incar before Turing it over or switching to another source, which was really my point in my earlier post, all this mono sound may not effect kitchen listening much but will inpact on the listening hours and take up of dab in cars. Which is a massive market for radio,
Sound quality things aside for the moment, the main issue to deal with is that in order for stations become financially viable they need to broadcast at around 64 - 80k data rate on dab this is not going to change if you roll out digital 2 or keep the mxr's going, take my 2 local mux's stoke and wolves, both very empty but still have mono stations on them..
Away forward needs to be found for stations to transmit in an exeptable sound quality at an exceptable cost, this cannot be done at in the present system and needs a format change to dab+
Ps Hanssolo the KT DB1000 was awful at processing 112k stereo, your spot on there,shame JVC stopped its support though with newer models and never bought out a replacement. In my opinion jvc make the best head units, but have very little dab range these days..
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Old 16-04-2013, 09:24
Bangers
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In my opinion jvc make the best head units, but have very little dab range these days..
JVC still have a few DAB head-units in their range. The difference is that in years gone by, they used to rely on the DAB add-on box, so there was a greater choice in head units, although these were no good for DAB without the add-on box.
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Old 16-04-2013, 09:27
tghe-retford
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Untill more DAB+ sets get sold it will be better for Abs 80s to go mono at 64k on D1 hoping that many listeners will stay for the music and not notice or mind too much it is mono? Notice there are no comments on the Absolute blog yet.

They are keeping the main Absolute station in stereo on DAB and extending it to Northern Ireland along with (mono) 80s and 90s, also with more DAB sets in cars, so it may not be long before Absolute starts to wind down mono AM which costs more to transmit than stereo DAB. Closing 1215 AM will save about 2-3m a year to finally help Absolute become profitable.

Then when Absolute is profitable, and more DAB+ sets are sold move towards gettting DAB+ stereo for the decades stations, or help pay for D2?
Also soon 3g/4g HD sound radio streaming will be more practical outside major cities, which might be the way to go?
The radio industry and the experts are all together when they say they don't want DAB+. The only way we'll see DAB+ introduced in the UK is if the Government force them to. As either a Labour or Tory Government is not keen on enforcing regulation on business, rather they remove "red tape" and allow the market to decide what is best, expect mono DAB to be the norm for the future. Should I start a sweepstake to get people to guess which music station will become the first to go 56kbps mono? I gave up on DAB, I now exclusively use Internet radio, even though it requires a subscription to a ISP/mobile phone provider, although you also get a lot more use out of an Internet connection.

Considering currently Classic FM is 128Kbps joint stereo in Northern Ireland until D1's launch there, I'm amazed they haven't dropped the bitrate in the rest of the UK to suit.

I just find it galling now that in order to get decent quality radio, you now have to pay a mobile phone company at least 10 a month for the privilege before you even start listening to a station, and in some places, there is still no usable signal on my Nexus 4 (predominately rural/forest areas). I just hope they don't start paywalling stations in order to make more money from those wanting decent quality radio.
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Old 16-04-2013, 09:51
Inkblot
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when I move incar 64k is dire and uncomfortable to listen to.. I'd go as far to say 80k mono is at the limit of what my ears can put up with incar ...
I can listen to 64k stations in the car but I find the lack of stereo on music disconcerting. French Radio London, which probably wouldn't exist if DAB were not available, plays a great selection of music and the audio is not unpleasant (though not hi-fi) at 64k; it's just that the sound is all located a few inches from my left ear (if you see what I mean) and in an enclosed space that sounds wrong. Mono works in the kitchen/bathroom/garden because you're not sitting still (or sitting at all).
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Old 16-04-2013, 10:55
kev
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Notice the KT DB1000 you use was one of the early car sets when bit rates were 128k or more on the commercial music stations, might be the newer sets cope with the lower bit 112k and 64k commercial stations better?, but can't verify it?
May have cloth ears, but 64k music is listenable to me.
I find it depends on the set - my DAB300S and JVC DB711 sound awful at 64k, the RD49 and AZ6000 sound fine, and the Pure Pocket DAB lies somewhere in between.

As for mono in car - I actually find the stereo disconcerting cause I've gotten so used to the down mixed mono you get on FM all the time!
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Old 16-04-2013, 19:11
noise747
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i listen to one station on Dab and that is BBC world service and then I change back to FM for classic FM or radio 4. Dab is a waste of space to be honest
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Old 16-04-2013, 20:02
Nick_G
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It's largely irrelevant if the station is making heavy losses though, as paying for the the regional 128k stereo streams as well as Digital 1 is simply unaffordable.

The only way to make the station commercially viable is to have a national presence on DAB at 64k, and make a high quality stereo stream available online for those that need it.
And this sums up what I've said before - there are too many costs and not enough benefits with DAB's implementation in the UK.
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Old 16-04-2013, 20:11
Gerry1
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I don't have any exact figures, but DAB+ seems to be about 2.5 times as efficient in bandwidth terms as DAB.

If broadcast costs are pro-rata then presumably a DAB stereo station could switch to DAB+ stereo and remain financially unchanged if 40% of its audience had DAB+ radios.

Similarly, perhaps an 80k mono DAB station could switch to 48k DAB+ stereo, pay 60% of the costs and keep 60% of its audience if stereo or 'must have' unique content made it proportionately more popular among those who could receive it.

So would the break point be when 40% of Band III radios can receive DAB+, and if so when will this be reached?

Of course, that's all a bit over-simplified, but does anyone have any figures?
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Old 16-04-2013, 22:17
hanssolo
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So would the break point be when 40% of Band III radios can receive DAB+, and if so when will this be reached?

Of course, that's all a bit over-simplified, but does anyone have any figures?
I remember seeing some figures in a Ofcom report
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/mar...-audio/uk-3.44
I remember seeing about 15 million DAB sets have been sold in total and from the link the figure is 1.9 million sets are sold per year. If all of the sets sold in 2011 and 2012 were DAB+ compatible then makes a total of 3.8 million (maybe slightly less as some will be not compatible old stock).
Which equals 25% so 40% will be reached maybe in a couple of years time assuming sales remain at the same level and perhaps some old sets are no longer in use.

If a confirmed radio DSO date is announced in October 2013 then sales of DAB (and internet) sets will increase as analogue sets are withdrawn from sale and your 40% DAB+ figure may be reached in less than 2 years making DAB+ viable in the UK.
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Old 17-04-2013, 00:29
Alan Thew
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I remember seeing about 15 million DAB sets have been sold in total and from the link the figure is 1.9 million sets are sold per year. If all of the sets sold in 2011 and 2012 were DAB+ compatible then makes a total of 3.8 million (maybe slightly less as some will be not compatible old stock).
Which equals 25% so 40% will be reached maybe in a couple of years time assuming sales remain at the same level and perhaps some old sets are no longer in use.
If 15 million sets have been sold in total, I think it highly unlikely anywhere near that many are still in use. I have two FM/AM radios that are around twenty years old and one that's around thirty, and all are basically working as good as new; but I've had three DAB radios and two of them died, one after about 18 months and one after about six weeks! And a relative with a DAB set that also lasted about a year and a half. Digital technology is complicated compared with simple analogue electronics, and cheaply made DAB radios are not going to last very long. (Although two of my dead DABs were not at all cheap Pures.)
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Old 17-04-2013, 07:42
hanssolo
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If 15 million sets have been sold in total, I think it highly unlikely anywhere near that many are still in use.
It's not easy to verify how many sets are no longer in use, but there are plenty of non DAB+ upgradable sets in use. Perhaps BBC and GCAP in hindsight should have waited for DAB+ before promoting DAB so much in the early 2000s? The BBC and Global are at least keeping good bit rates on DAB, it's unlikely they will promote DAB+ and a report suggests internet radio will be promoted alongside DAB (rather than go DAB+).
https://www.gov.uk/government/.../Ro..._platforms.pdf
Bauer, Absolute and GMG were strugling and reduced DAB stereo stations to mono to save transmission costs, but don't have the funds to promote DAB+, even if soon a large number of sets will be DAB+ upgradable?, so again with them the alternitive to changing DAB to DAB+ will probably be internet delivery?
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Old 17-04-2013, 09:26
Inkblot
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It's not easy to verify how many sets are no longer in use, but there are plenty of non DAB+ upgradable sets in use. Perhaps BBC and GCAP in hindsight should have waited for DAB+ before promoting DAB so much in the early 2000s? The BBC and Global are at least keeping good bit rates on DAB, it's unlikely they will promote DAB+ and a report suggests internet radio will be promoted alongside DAB (rather than go DAB+).
https://www.gov.uk/government/.../Ro..._platforms.pdf
Bauer, Absolute and GMG were strugling and reduced DAB stereo stations to mono to save transmission costs, but don't have the funds to promote DAB+, even if soon a large number of sets will be DAB+ upgradable?, so again with them the alternitive to changing DAB to DAB+ will probably be internet delivery?
My Pure Evoke 1 is still going strong, probably over 10 years old now and it's been used almost every day (including a few holidays in the UK). Of course it would be useless if the UK switched to DAB+ but it's earned its keep and buying a replacement wouldn't be a big deal. But then there's the Roberts Ecologic 3 upstairs, and the Roberts DAB clock radio, both newer than the Pure, both working fine, and neither compatible with DAB+. Realistically that would mean spending at least 250 just to switch one household from DAB to DAB+.

The other issue is that until recently you could expect to listen to the same source - FM - on a cheap portable radio, a car stereo and a higher-end home hi-fi system. With many stations only available at low bit rates on DAB and not on FM at all that's now impossible. Everyone is now advocating internet radio as the high quality option for home use (if not in-car yet), but most people will already be happy with their existing home stereo which does not have any means of receiving internet radio. How do we solve that problem without incurring major expenditure on new equipment?
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Old 17-04-2013, 10:10
hanssolo
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Everyone is now advocating internet radio as the high quality option for home use (if not in-car yet), but most people will already be happy with their existing home stereo which does not have any means of receiving internet radio. How do we solve that problem without incurring major expenditure on new equipment?
The main Absolute, BBC and Global stations are keeping DAB stereo suitable for home stereo, if you want more than mono on other stations buy a Revo Mondo or Pure Jungo internet adapter or similar (hopefully will reduce in price) or hook it up to a TV set top box?
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Old 17-04-2013, 10:23
Inkblot
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The main Absolute, BBC and Global stations are keeping DAB stereo suitable for home stereo, if you want more than mono on other stations buy a Revo Mondo or Pure Jungo internet adapter or similar (hopefully will reduce in price) or hook it up to a TV set top box?
Does the Pure Jongo stream internet radio? The Pure web site appears to say that it streams audio from an iOS or Android device, but not directly from the internet.
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Old 17-04-2013, 11:00
DigMorris
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My Pure Evoke 1 is still going strong, probably over 10 years old now and it's been used almost every day (including a few holidays in the UK). Of course it would be useless if the UK switched to DAB+ but it's earned its keep and buying a replacement wouldn't be a big deal. But then there's the Roberts Ecologic 3 upstairs, and the Roberts DAB clock radio, both newer than the Pure, both working fine, and neither compatible with DAB+. Realistically that would mean spending at least 250 just to switch one household from DAB to DAB+.
I wouldn't worry about it. Just like in other countries that have started a migration to DAB+ it is likely to happen in three phases. The first two of which will not negatively affect people such as you and me with DAB-only radios.

Phase 1 - New stations launch on DAB+ only. Existing DAB stations remain on DAB.

Phase 2 - Some existing stations launch a DAB+ service alongside their DAB service.

Phase 3 - Existing stations cease their DAB broadcasts and only broadcast in DAB+.

The first two phases have no negative impact for people with DAB-only radios. They still receive the same stations as they did before. They are just not benefitting from new stations or specific DAB+ benefits.

Germany has nearly finished this process in only three years but they had barely any installed base of DAB-only radios so could move fairly quickly. In the UK I expect the process to take considerably longer. It all depends on when Phase 1 starts, the longer that is postponed the more the installed base shifts towards DAB+ compatible/upgradeable and the quicker it can go without a negative impact on the radio listeners. In any case, I don't expect major stations to cease broadcasting in DAB before 2020, the commercial stations being the first (due to cost) and the BBC the last (due to public service obligations).
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Old 17-04-2013, 11:41
Johnyad
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I have defended DAB in this country to the hilt since it's launch, but no more. The low bit rates are now beyond a joke and I have now switched to internet radio which feeds from my i phone to hifi and gives me a choice of thousands of stations worldwide, with excellent sound quality.
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Old 17-04-2013, 12:00
SouthCity
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I have defended DAB in this country to the hilt since it's launch, but no more. The low bit rates are now beyond a joke and I have now switched to internet radio which feeds from my i phone to hifi and gives me a choice of thousands of stations worldwide, with excellent sound quality.
That's great if you can afford an iPhone, but not everyone can.

Internet radio will be part of a multiplatform future but on its own it isn't a replacement for FM. On Monday night in Boston the cellphone networks were closed down by the authorities, so FM/AM radio was the only way of getting information on what was happening for people who were out and about in the city.

In a situation like that you need broadcast radio.
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Old 17-04-2013, 12:15
DigMorris
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On Monday night in Boston the cellphone networks were closed down by the authorities, so FM/AM radio was the only way of getting information on what was happening for people who were out and about in the city.

In a situation like that you need broadcast radio.
Nitpick: that turned out to be one of the many incorrect reports around this tragedy. The networks weren't closed down, not by the authorities and not by the telcos. They simply collapsed under the pressure of everyone trying to call each other to see if they were safe.

Your point stands, though. Broadcast networks, by their very nature, don't suffer from peak demand issues.
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Old 17-04-2013, 12:36
hanssolo
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Germany has nearly finished this process in only three years but they had barely any installed base of DAB-only radios so could move fairly quickly. In the UK I expect the process to take considerably longer. It all depends on when Phase 1 starts, the longer that is postponed the more the installed base shifts towards DAB+ compatible/upgradeable and the quicker it can go without a negative impact on the radio listeners. In any case, I don't expect major stations to cease broadcasting in DAB before 2020, the commercial stations being the first (due to cost) and the BBC the last (due to public service obligations).
Not quite as they are still in phase 1 with Deutschlandfunk and Kulture ARE still in original DAB at 128k stereo (not in DAB+ like other stations yet)!
http://www.wohnort.org/DAB/germany.html
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Old 17-04-2013, 12:46
DigMorris
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Not quite as they are still in phase 1 with Deutschlandfunk and Kulture ARE still in original DAB at 128k stereo (not in DAB+ like other stations yet)!
http://www.wohnort.org/DAB/germany.html
Correct, that's why I wrote 'nearly'. I doubt these last two will still be DAB-only by the end of this year as almost all other relatively 'late movers' have already migrated. A DAB-only radio in Germany has been practically useless for quite some time now.
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Old 18-04-2013, 11:47
londonman
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I remember seeing some figures in a Ofcom report
http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/mar...-audio/uk-3.44
I remember seeing about 15 million DAB sets have been sold in total and from the link the figure is 1.9 million sets are sold per year. If all of the sets sold in 2011 and 2012 were DAB+ compatible then makes a total of 3.8 million (maybe slightly less as some will be not compatible old stock).
Which equals 25% so 40% will be reached maybe in a couple of years time assuming sales remain at the same level and perhaps some old sets are no longer in use.

If a confirmed radio DSO date is announced in October 2013 then sales of DAB (and internet) sets will increase as analogue sets are withdrawn from sale and your 40% DAB+ figure may be reached in less than 2 years making DAB+ viable in the UK.
But no-one has actually asked the question namely out of all those DAB sets how many are (a) actually being used for DAB (b) how many are stuck unused on the shelf and (c) how many are being used for FM only.

Reading this thread reminds me of what a stupid idea it will be to switch of the national FM transmission chain. The only reason is there in black and white.....to put money in the pockets of the commercial radio operators. Money from our pockets.
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Old 18-04-2013, 11:50
londonman
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...... How do we solve that problem without incurring major expenditure on new equipment?
You don't need to unless you really do want to listen to channels that are not currently available nationally on FM. But the truth of the matter is that, as survey after survey has shown, 90% of the radio listening population are perfectly happy with the available choice on FM of Radios 1-4 and Classic FM. So why change it?
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