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Discussion Starter #1
I had an interesting discussion with a customer the other day. He had done an A-B comparison between an Arcam T-61 tuner and a Magnum Dynalab. His source was Shaw cable radio. He insisted that he heard a small but distinct improvement with the Maggie. He is an intelligent, thoughtful guy so while I was doubtful, I didn't argue.

The sticking point for me is that I had done the same test years ago with the same high end tuner and an inexpensive Yamaha digital tuner (I think it was the TX-492). Neither I nor my colleagues could reliably hear any difference on cable. With an antenna and OTA reception the gulf was vast. We used a blind test method and the results were uniform over several listeners.

The conclusion we drew was that bandwidth compression over cable made the better tuner a purely "I've got the jingle and I want it." kind of decision.

What do you folks think / know?
 

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Considering most people would just use the FM antenna bundled with their receiver, I'd be willing to best most would hear a noticeable improvement in sound quality by using cable FM.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Multi-path problems are huge in Vancouver. We've got a pretty hilly landscape so line of sight is poor. The dipole ribbon in the box a real crapshoot. It's mostly useless, hence the popularity of cable splitters and coax attachment to the RF input or, if the person is a radio enthusiast, a quality external antenna. Also, there is only one station (CBC) where the compression artifacts don't make the issue of sound quality moot.

Can anybody offer any info on the quality of a cable radio stream? (particularly Shaw's) I want to know if I'm full of it or if my customer has fallen prey to the placebo effect.
 

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Cable isn't just a massive antennae.

The plant is completly clean, and the only way FM channels get in is by bad connections/cheap splitters in your house, or by insertion in the headend.

The headend is where all the signals are received, demodulated and remodulated.

Just because the beat 94.5 is OTA on 94.5Mhz, the cable headend can remodulate to a different frequency which is likely, incase of leakage in by 94.5Mhz OTA on the same frequency which would case a slight to severe echo (does anyone know the term for this?).

That way if there is leakage in by 94.5Mhz on 94.5Mhz on cable FM, and the beat is already re-modulated to a different frequency, the 94.5Mhz leaking in will barely be heard/noticed.

These stations can be received locally OTA (rare/unreliable), by internet feeds, or by satellite feeds VIA Cancom.

They are obviously amplified though-out the city along with your Cable TV/Internet, pass though the same fiber nodes, etc.,. They are much better than anything you could get OTA, as if your house was installed professionaly with cable/splitters and you have a new drop (not more than 10yrs old), its safe to say you will be receiving the stations as they are receiving them in the headend.

Don't ever cheap out and buy splitters from walmart though to split your fm signal. Call Shaw and get it done properly. There splitters are high quality, with RFI isolation.
 

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What makes you think cable does "bandwidth compression"?

You can get high quality splitters from sources other than Shaw. Shaw usually does a good job, but you might be able to do it yourself for less.
 

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I don't know where you could a get splitter from, commercially, other than Shaw.

Anything sold at Radioshack, walmart, future shop, best buy, is junk and will cause problems.

Crack one open, then crack one open from Shaw. You will immeadiatly know what I am talking about.
 

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OTA HD FM easily bests Cable FM

nobsplease, have you had the pleasure of hearing HD FM radio stations OTA from SeaTac? I don't have a home tuner yet but I have one in my vehicle and can get quite a few stations most of the time. You will not get that kind of audio quality from Cable FM radio.

http://members.shaw.ca/nwbroadcasters/digitalradio.htm

No guarantees that you'd get those stations in your own home, but it depends where you are located.
 

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trainwalker said:
I don't know where you could a get splitter from, commercially, other than Shaw.
Keep in mind that OTA FM Radio reception uses essentially the same gear as OTA VHF Low TV reception since they are side-by-side in the spectrum. There is a lot of terrific info on high quality splitters and other signal gear here:

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=42428
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hey Sportsfan - I inferred the compression / degradation from listening sessions. The OTA signal was consistently better than the cable. Mebbe I'm delusional but I wasn't alone in that determination.

Stampeder - I've been waiting and hoping for some of the cheap ba****ds to open an HD stream. I just checked ibiquity.com again and saw the same pap about the CRTC allowing pursuant to blah blah. Still no listings.The higher models of Yamaha receivers include HD Radio tuning so I'll be on that one as soon as it's possible.

I don't necessarily want to hijack my own thread [but I will] but the consolidation and dumbing down of radio is just disgusting. I used to be engaged by the personalities and character of radio. Now it seems more and more that we have the bland leading the blonde. Bill Good. Jian Ghomeshi. Feh!
 

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OTA HD FM easily bests Cable FM
But that is not the subject of the post so you're really introducing a red herring
 

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Hey Sportsfan - I inferred the compression / degradation from listening sessions. The OTA signal was consistently better than the cable. Mebbe I'm delusional but I wasn't alone in that determination.
It might be degradation (but from what trainwalker wrote, it shouldn't be unless there are deficiencies in your installation), but unless Shaw has started digital transmission of OTA stations in Vancouver, I doubt they are compressing.
 
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