I'm not anti digital broadcasting - I have 4 Pure portables around the house and they're fine and I have digital fed into my main hifi via a Sky box - however, for serious listening (e.g. Radio 3 concert, Radio 4 drama) I go to my ARCAM 8 FM tuner (old model I know but it still sounds fine to me).
To me, the digital sound is clear but flat and I can hear more "air" around instruments and perceive a greater sense of depth via the FM tuner. I'm wondering if this is just me believing that FM is the better medium and therefore hearing what I want to or is there something in this? If so, what is being done to ensure that FM broadcasting continues? I'm worried that the Government will sell off the FM waveband to some contractors for profit without thought taking the bigger picture and the needs of serious listeners into account.
There again, if digital is superior, as some say it is am I worrying about nothing?
No, it could actually be as good or better but given a certain amount of bandwidth, broadcasters would rather have two stations at low quality than one station at high quality. This has led to pressure from commercial broadcasters towards being allowed to use lower bitrates.
DAB was originally conceptualised as a media operating at much higher bitrates. If you scan through, you'll notice that there are music stations broadcasting in mono and commonly as low as 80k. MP2 is actually not that 'lossy' so given bandwidth, it can be pretty good.
Even Ofcom has now said that quality is too low. I think in actual fact, we're going to be looking at the internet for the delivery of high quality audio streams although this has been hampered by the RIAA recently. DAB+ has a lot of potential but you're going to have to buy a new radio to get it.
Roger, you're actually better off with an old FM radio than a new one. Analogue tuning circuits tend to sound better than the majority of the current generation of radios. There aren't many areas of hifi where the high end is principally available (albeit second hand) at below £150.