A year and a half ago my friends Annie and Alison gave me an tabletop HD Radio that they had won, but didn’t need. Since then my bedroom has been filled with the pure shining goodness that is HD Radio. I’ve so fallen in love with HD Radio that I went out and bought an Add-on HD Radio for my car.
Recently my friend Linda asked me about my thoughts on my HD Radio, so I thought I’d share with the faithful daddyo readers, the information I passed along to Linda.
- The sound of musical stations is awesome! It does sound like you’re listening to a CD rather than a radio.
- The inclusion of a second broadcast stream (not all stations do it though) is wonderful. For instance, WDET used to be one of the best stations for music in the country. They had tons of in studio guests, and so they have a huge library of live music. They play a lot of it on WDET-2. And for instance, the Detroit soft jazz station has a second stream that plays real jazz. Likewise, the urban music station has a second stream that plays gospel. Unfortunately, Ann Arbor’s NPR news and information station,WUOM has only one stream. They are the only NPR station in the area that doesn’t have one. I wonder why.
- You get programming information on the LCD (again, WUOM doesn’t do this – once again I wonder why).
- If you are close enough to their signal, AM stations sound like FM Stations.
- This is the biggest issue for in-home use; in order get the signal digitally, most people need a very strong antenna. The antennas that come with the radio just don’t cut it. Since I have mine in my bedroom, I got a strong dipole antenna that mounts on the wall behind my bed. You can spend anywhere from $25 to $150 on a good antenna. Mine cost $25 though. Note that the antenna problem is not an issue in the car.
- When listening in the car, sometimes the HD-2 stations drop off completely when the signal is lost. This is not the case for the normal (HD-1) stations, since they are broadcasting in both analog and digital. When you lose the digital signal, it drops back to the normal non-HD stream, which still sounds just fine.
- FM talk stations (like WUOM) clearly sound better in HD, but it’s only with music that you can really get the full effect.
- In order to get a digital AM signal, you need to be close to the signal. I can only pickup two AM stations in HD.
- AM sounds static-y in general, lots more noise with my HD. Maybe it would sound better when driving nearer to the tower. I’ll have to try AM next time I’m in Detroit.