: Made the move to HD Radio



Jesda
02-28-10, 09:30 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOman2F9G1M

I picked up a JVC KDHDR20 MP3-CD-HD head unit at Crutchfield for $99. That included a Saab wire harness worth $20. At Best Buy, they wanted $119 plus tax and had no harnesses in stock for my 900, nor did they carry them.

http://www.q45.org/cpg/albums/userpics/10001/normal_100_6296.jpg
I hate how modern head units look like laser light shows for toddlers. Fortunately, this one just has a few tastefully colored red buttons, a knob, and a clean one-color readout with sharp text and good lighting. Nothing dances around. The dimmer, unfortunately, is manual, but at the lowest setting its viewable even with the top down.

http://www.q45.org/cpg/albums/userpics/10001/normal_100_6292.jpg
Here's how it looks in the full dark.

http://www.q45.org/cpg/albums/userpics/10001/normal_100_6294.jpg
This guy came along.

http://www.q45.org/cpg/albums/userpics/10001/normal_100_6295.jpg
This is, of course, the remote. Due to a lack of preset buttons on the head unit, you have to hit Menu, then rotate the knob, then push the knob to select a preset station. With the remote, you can hit the up and down buttons to quickly scroll through presets. I fixed it to the top of the steering wheel hub with double-sided mounting tape for easy access while driving.

With HD, each major radio station has two or three digital substations. Some use them for deeper commercial-free formats, some duplicate their content, and some broadcast different formats entirely.

Example: 97.1 FM Talk has an HD2 adult contemporary/jazz station. 103.3 is an oldies station that uses HD2 for its traditional Solid Gold format that ranges from 1950 to 1965. 106.5 is like "Jack FM", playing all music from all eras, and uses its HD2 for more obscure songs. Some don't have substations.

Basically, my content has tripled. The tuner is very sensitive, rivaling some Delco radios from the 80s and 90s, so in addition to new HD content, I'm picking up stations I never knew existed. Unfortunately, 18 FM presets isn't enough for all of them.

The format is specific to the US, although various other digital audio broadcast formats exist in the world.

I was a huge proponent of XM since getting started with it in 2003, but like all good things, customer service dramatically worsened, prices increased, commercials were added, and audio quality on music channels was reduced, giving the bandwidth to expensive sports and talk contracts.

BONUS: HD radio sounds MUCH better than satellite. Once the tuner locks down the digital feed (it begins receiving in analog, then HD kicks in a few seconds later) the audio quality dramatically improves. Stereo separation widens, treble and bass move further out on the sound spectrum, and noise and hissing are eliminated.

BONUS 2: Somehow, it ended up using the EXACT same harness connector as the late 90s Blaukpunkt CD head unit I pulled out. All the wires matched up perfectly, so now I have an extra Saab wire harness. It even slid perfectly into the existing slot.

The only negative is that some of the smaller stations don't delay their digital feed. This causes the audio to "skip" or repeat for a second while it switches to and from digital mode. This tends to happen with stations that are far away or when sitting under a bridge in traffic.

For no cost other than the tuner, HD makes a stale format more competitive.

orconn
02-28-10, 11:46 AM
^^^ Newton says, "Will you quit playing ""How Much Is That Doggy in Window"" before I eat the remote!"

RightTurn
02-28-10, 04:24 PM
"Let's go to 5 Guise and get a cheezeburgr."

dirt_cheap_fleetwood
02-28-10, 04:45 PM
I have been thinking about getting the HD adapter for the radios in both my cars but haven't gotten around to dropping the extra $ on them yet. I do agree with you on newer aftermarket radios though. I looked around for quite a while when I replaced the radio in the Lincoln to find something that looks normal. I also don't like that most of them do away with a lot of buttons. I need individual buttons for my presets.

GizmoQ
02-28-10, 04:56 PM
Day late, dollar short. I got my HD Radio for my CarPC last month so it was up and running when we were in Chicago. I did a local station scan and it found 42 stations from the hotel parking lot. ~99% were HD with at least 2 subchannels most had 3.

St Louis is just a piss poor FM Radio market.

You're right about the sound though - almost CD quality, but the delay issue is extremely annoying. And many station in St Louis are squelched too high, i.e., under the bridge you lose the signal. Unfortunately, most HD stations don't transmit the full gamut of RDS data so we're missing a lot of information that is being transmitted on the analog signal.

dkozloski
02-28-10, 08:31 PM
It'll be at least 25 years before it makes it up here so I'm not worrying about it at the moment.

RightTurn
02-28-10, 08:36 PM
Moar Newton pics, pls. kthx.

Stingroo
02-28-10, 09:09 PM
Moar Newton pics, pls. kthx.

What she said.

gary88
02-28-10, 09:12 PM
HD radio = cool beans.

dkozloski
02-28-10, 10:12 PM
HD radio = cool beans.
Is that good or bad?

Night Wolf
02-28-10, 10:12 PM
Heh, I have that same exact remote, it came with the headunit I bought off CL for $40 that is still not fully installed in the 318i. I'm happy with the JVC. Like yours, it's a clean look. It plays MP3 CD's and has aux in, for the price and considering the fact that there was no radio in the car when i bought it, I'm thrilled! I did rewire the entire car tho, just like the 325i. I haven't fully installed the radio yet because I'm going to be installing a 13-button on board computer to replace the broken 6-button one, and the whole radio cage will have to come out. As it is now the radio mostly keeps to itself expect for hard launches.

I've been interested in HD Radio, I agree, the sound quality on XM is getting pathetic, and that's important to me. The JVC in the 318i is HD ready, The Pioneer in the 325i isn't, but for the cost of whatever adapter is needed, it'd probably just be cheaper to buy a new radio, tho I'm happy with what's in the cars now.

I really like iheartradio on the blackberry, allows me to listen to my favorite station - 933FLZ from Tampa/Clearwater, then I can hook the phone up to the car or Jeep via aux, sound quality is near-CD (much better then XM) Only problem is it buffers.... alot and sometimes is nearly impossible to listen to :( If it was a constant and steady stream, I'd be set.

http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e363/InoventionsEast/BMW92/Misc/046.jpg

Jesda
02-28-10, 11:49 PM
I've been interested in HD Radio, I agree, the sound quality on XM is getting pathetic, and that's important to me. The JVC in the 318i is HD ready, The Pioneer in the 325i isn't, but for the cost of whatever adapter is needed, it'd probably just be cheaper to buy a new radio, tho I'm happy with what's in the cars now.


Its definitely not a feature I'd go to the trouble of getting. Its really nice to have, but without HD I'd be satisfied with my MP3s and Blackberry. I suspect it will become a standard feature on $100+ head units in a year or so.


Day late, dollar short. I got my HD Radio for my CarPC last month so it was up and running when we were in Chicago. I did a local station scan and it found 42 stations from the hotel parking lot. ~99% were HD with at least 2 subchannels most had 3.

Thats right, I remember you mentioning that. Could be worse though -- in LA there's a station on every single frequency, and they're all horrible.

GizmoQ
03-01-10, 12:11 AM
I really like iheartradio on the blackberry, allows me to listen to my favorite station - 933FLZ from Tampa/Clearwater, then I can hook the phone up to the car or Jeep via aux, sound quality is near-CD (much better then XM) Only problem is it buffers.... alot and sometimes is nearly impossible to listen to :( If it was a constant and steady stream, I'd be set.

I feel ya! Most of the time when I'm on the road I listen to internet radio on my CarPC. Its internal cellular internet can't play >128 bitrate without a lotta buffering, but if I tether my phone I can get up to 320 bitrate with no buffering but the phone only gives me two hours till the battery dies. I love internet radio! Unlike XM, I get 289 CD quality reggae stations to choose from; yet like XM , I can listen to the same station all the way across the country.

thebigjimsho
03-01-10, 01:46 AM
HD Radio sounds nice. But the HD tuner I got that works with my Eclipse head unit doesn't give you the extra sub stations just the normal ones. And that skip that some stations have is very annoying.

If it comes with your radio, great. But as an add-on, meh...

MacMuse
03-02-10, 01:11 AM
... I love internet radio! Unlike XM, I get 289 CD quality reggae stations to choose from; yet like XM , I can listen to the same station all the way across the country.

I finally made my choice a few days ago. I went with a Live365.com subscription that gives me ad-free access to THOUSANDS of highly specialized Internet streams. My 'preset' list is already over 70 stations. No reggae (so far), but then I'm sure gizmoq doesn't have any of my favorites in his short list. Although I do have a couple tropical themed entries.

Yes, it all plays through their iPhone app. My data usage rates are going to skyrocket.