Monday 27 March 2017

Not A Better Sound With DAB Technology in Norway

Public broadcaster admits DAB+ is not quality improvement. A widespread myth about DAB is now killed.
Recent arguments against DAB+ is that the sound quality not as good as FM. The magazine Stereo + has now tested the sound quality using professional equipment at the public broadcaster NRK. They tested DAB+ with different bit rates 24-128 kbps. With 128 kbps AAC  good results in relation to the reference CD quality 192 kbps MP2. However, noticeable difference in that which is most common in the DAB network 96 kbps AAC SBR with deterioration. It will also send 48 and 32 kbps, but it does not work for music.
NRK as well as its technician Bjørn Aarseth is completely candid that DAB+ is not intended for those who want the best sound either in your car or home stereo system This has never been the intention according to NRK. Nevertheless, it appears quite clear that DAB+ does not cover the need for those who are primarily concerned with sound quality. The DAB receiver you buy in order to bring the countryside cabin, will probably sound worse than your old FM radio.

But if you would listen to the music from NRK via the stereo system the choice is Internet radio with not the DAB+ bandwidth problems.This means that you receive using a higher bitrate, and thus higher quality. NRK broadcasts online reaches up to 320 kbps, which is superior to both FM and DAB +.

Read the full article in Stereo + (in Norwegian)

In the government proposalto the Parliament (No. 30 2006/07) it was stated that  listeners actual will get a significantly wider range of digital channels on DAB+  and the sound quality will be improved.

It is therefore not true that NRK say that it was not meant to DAB + to increase audio quality. In addition, the sound quality is one of the main motives when the DAB technologyin was developed in Munich in the 1980’s. The public broadcaster in Bayern wanted to supplement the FM radio to achieve even better - a HiFi experience - mainly in cars. But then it was planned that a smaller number of channels (4-6) would share a multiplex and thus provide a wide bandwidth per channel far beyond today's FM radio. Today prioritized quantity over quality in DAB networks with 16-24 channels per multiplex.

The past year in Norway there has been much criticism of the inadequate sound experience with DAB+ not only via stereo systems but also in cars. Such criticism is also on the agenda in other countries, including DAB's "mother country", the U.K. For example the music sounds too treble and sometimes associated with elements of the "glass breaking".

National FM channels are being closed on a rolling scheme county by county and this will be completed in December 2017. After this only local radio (commercial and community) will remain on FM.  - Neighbouring Finland and Sweden have no plans to replace FM with DAB+.

Watch video
BAD DAB in the U.K.

Also read
Start of FM Switch-off in Norway Reveals DAB Vulnerability

DAB Radio Sound Quality Inferior to FM
Perceived Audio Quality of Realistic FM and DAB+ Radio Broadcasting Systems ( Audio Engineering Society paper 2013)