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Absolute Mono

By Brian Winter
Posted 5 January 2015, 1.04pm est
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I thought I had posted this, but it has obviously gone somewhere. I read in radio Today that Absolute Radio is now broadcasting at 80 Kbps MONO. This surely cannot be good for DAB. It is a music station, and a reasonably good one at that. So why put it into mono? One can only hope this is a temporary thing, and that when Digital 2 comes onstream, that Absolute will go back to stereo.

Comments

2 years, 10 months ago

Brian, I was an early converter to DAB and I did think it was the best thing since sliced bread, but not any more. The DAB original flavour is not fit for purpose in today's radio world and if you want good quality sound, it is time to move on to internet radio, exclusively!
Although I am now in my 60s, I am not a dinosaur for I love BBC radio, but some of my favourite stations include Absolute Radio, Absolute 60s and 70s with good stereo separation at 128kbps stereo MP3. If you want classical music, Radio 3 sits around 320kbps stereo. Even DAB+ will probably never match the latter!
Coming back to DAB quality, even Classic FM was not spared, data bits slashed down to 128kbps stereo. You can only partially hear a full orchestral piece with data rates as low as 128k.
Personally, I have heard enough clap trap from DAB apologists about 'virtual mono', 'majority listening to only one speaker' and 'content is king' . The latter which is fact is being used as a smoke screen to detract people from the awful sound DAB currently offers.
The digital switchover date should only allow for the existence of DAB+ MP4. Why not do the switch over exclusive to DAB+ around 2020, when Freeview MP2 is phased out. There will be some tv and radio critics of the MP4 exclusion of digital radio and television around 2020. All I can say is ''tough tittie to them''..
Kind Regards..Willie

PRO2 years, 10 months ago

In an ideal world, DAB+ would be standard in the UK, but it isn't.

However, like Willie I use internet radio for 90% of my radio listening indoors with 10% DAB.

Vanilla DAB at 80k mono is fine for listening to Absolute 80s/90s since the recent upgrade to bitrates of both stations. The 48kbps mono stream of LBC London News is still preferable to 1152 AM, especially at night when it's swamped by continental stations here in south London.

2 years, 10 months ago

Martin, Up in Scotland just after the New Year season, my router did a wobble for around an hour & the internet channels on the radio dropped. I then switched over to the integrated DAB tuner & selected a couple of commercial radio stations. The sound quality was disappointing.
The one thing that angers me about DAB the most is the broken promise of delivering CD or near CD sound quality. The shine was stripped from the DAB technology before it had a chance to take off.
A real shame about DAB in the UK and here is hoping the same fate will not happen to DAB+ .
The argument of DAB audio quality dumbing down for a greater quantity of pop channels was lost a long time ago. It is time to move on to better things like URLs instead of frequencies..
Kind Regards..Willie Bone

2 years, 10 months ago

Martin, Up in Scotland just after the New Year season, my router did a wobble for around an hour & the internet channels on the radio dropped. I then switched over to the integrated DAB tuner & selected a couple of commercial radio stations. The sound quality was disappointing.
The one thing that angers me about DAB the most is the broken promise of delivering CD or near CD sound quality. The shine was stripped from the DAB technology before it had a chance to take off.
A real shame about DAB in the UK and here is hoping the same fate will not happen to DAB+ .
The argument of DAB audio quality dumbing down for a greater quantity of pop channels was lost a long time ago. It is time to move on to better things like URLs instead of frequencies..
Kind Regards..Willie Bone

2 years, 10 months ago

I think what we need to see is a set-top or portable Internet radio reciever which uses RadioPlayer as it's base interface. All you effectively need is basically an Android device in a box. I use RadioPlayer on my Android phone all the time for the car, as I'm not pepared to upgrade the stereo to DAB when I can get better quality sound with my existing tools.

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