Re: Question for those who have HD radios

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Posted by John on November 04, 2012 at 22:10:33:

In Reply to: Question for those who have HD radios posted by Paul on November 02, 2012 at 17:12:40:

I bought a Sony XDRF1HD HD tuner last year when the tuner in our living room surround sound system quit. I didn't really have the dough to buy a whole new receiver, and I was able to buy one of the last XDRF1HD receivers for $80. Figured if I was going to get a stand-alone tuner, might as well get one with HD, and for $80, the XDRF1HD was a steal. It's a fantastic tuner, and it's a shame there's nothing like it on the market today.

It should tell you something that Sony doesn't sell an HD receiver anymore and apparently has no plans to do so again in the future. Radio Shack doesn't carry any HD receivers in store anymore. So Steve's comment that HD will someday supplant analog is laughable. Radio had its chance and blew it spectacularly. Unless NAB somehow convinces their friends in Congress to force car manufacturers and/or cell phone manufacturers to include HD receivers, HD radio looks a lot like AM stereo: going nowhere fast and appreciated only by radio nerds like us that frequent radio message boards.

I use the XDRF1HD to occasionally listen to WIBA-HD2 (modern rock, "Mad Radio"), but Clear Channel Madison is so lackadaisical about programming it and keeping it on the air (it can go weeks or months off the air) that I don't really bother much anymore. CC Madison: folks who will bother to seek out an HD radio stream would appreciate a decent alternative rock station like KTCL / KYSR, etc.) rather than the 90's alternative + 'JJO lite crap that is WIBA-HD2. Then again, CC Madison couldn't figure that out when they had Mad Radio on WMAD, so no shocker there.

I have also occasionally sampled the 24/7 classical format on WERN-HD2 and the Blues format on WMMM-HD2. I enjoy the occasional Blues concert, but an all Blues station just doesn't really do much for me.

Lastly, I have to say that the audio quality on HD radio is poor. There's a guy in Michigan who will mod your XDRF1HD so that you can force it into analog mode. Why would you want to do that? Well, you can hear when the radio switches to the HD signal and the analog sounds way better. The primary HD stream sounds like an online stream with decent bitrate (I'd put the quality slightly above SiriusXM radio's music channels). The secondary HD streams sound like online streams with low bit rate (slightly below SirusXM's music channels).

So, do I regret buying an HD radio? No. Would I recommend one to my friends and family? Certainly not.

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