Any indoor FM antennas worth a darn?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by head_unit, Aug 30, 2017.

  1. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Los Angeles CA USA
    "Powered by Dirac" is quite interesting. Impulse response correction is really the way to go, within limits like anything else.
  2. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Not a valid excuse. I've never run into an audio issue using Flash but even then, they offer streaming through iTunes, Winamp, Android & iPhone apps.

    Think at this point you just want to complain... :angel:

    All things (i.e SQ) being equal,...

    Free solution > everything else.
  3. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Los Angeles CA USA
    I am behind some hills between me and Long Beach. I have not actually tried an antenna in a long time with this thing, wanted ideas first. Any car I drive around here has a hard time with KKJZ.
  4. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Los Angeles CA USA
    Generally I'm streaming them via my MacBook Air-is there an alternative to their Flash stream?
    Well, on the heels of that, how do you stream them through iTunes? iTunes used to have those cool radio selections, you could find stuff from Africa, then it went away during some "upgrade." But I'm willing to try again.

    iPhone app...that's a kind of different animal, but I could plug that into the main stereo so also a good idea.

    As for complaining-about Adobe, h&ll yeah! JEEZ so many updates, I think they are trying to compete with Kind Of Blue reissues/remasterings. And each browser freaks out. I don't get how their tech is so problematic but ah well.

    And since no one has mentioned The Beatles yet in this thread, let me throw in the gratuitous phrase "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Flash Update." [now I'm trying to write Adobe lyrics to the tune of "Hey Bulldog" but it's not coming to me. Weirdly, that song is showing up often on SiriusXM Hits 1]
  5. Lord Hawthorne

    Lord Hawthorne Currently Untitled

    Portland, Oregon
    A dipole works well if the intended station is perpendicular to the wall you mount the dipole on, but that usually is not the case. A rotatable Yagi in the attic (or roof) is best. The BIC beam box is the best concealed in-room antenna.
  6. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Seattle, WA
    Totally agree. These are the best indoor antennas I've ever used.
  7. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    East TN
    The terrain is your big issue. If you had line of sight without those hills, your odds would be way better of dependable reception.
  8. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    I've used Chrome, FireFox, Internet Explorer, Opera,... none of them ever experienced Flash issues. We had a MacBook at work (I'm not a fan of Apple products!) and never had a single Flas-related issue in any of the installed browsers there. As for the updates, you can disable them which is what I do in my browsers as well. The reason for the updates is due to security as Adobe came under fire a couple of years ago due to massive gaping security holes left by Flash but the chances of actually being affected on a Mac are next to nil so feel free to disable the udpates.

    iPhone is pretty easy as well but really, you should easily be able to stream through iTunes by clicking on the appropriate link on that station's website.
  9. Bubbamike

    Bubbamike Forum Resident

    Open ITunes on a Mac. On top of the left column is home icon, next to it are 3 dots. Click on the dots. A drop down menu appears, at the bottom of the drop down is Internet Radio. Click on it and away you go.
    head_unit likes this.
  10. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Not necessarily. I think too many audiophiles have either forgotten or have never known how good analog over-the-air FM broadcasts can sound. With most stations streaming online at 128Kbps, FM over the air being basically equivalent to the quality of a 720Kbps stream (or better in a few cases) is vastly superior.

    The gotchas are distance from the transmitter, how well someone's FM tuner is aligned, the quality of the tuner design in the first place, and the need for a good antenna. Anybody can make a quarter-wave or half-wave dipole with a couple of lengths of 300 ohm twinlead and a pair of small spade connectors.

    Good antennas are available from Terk (on Amazon) and from Magnum Dynalab.

    In Toronto, I've got a huge selection of radio stations - Jazz FM 91.1 and Classical FM 96.3 in particular. Great signals, great sound, and remarkably superior to any streaming stations.
    snowman872 likes this.
  11. Balthazar

    Balthazar Well-Known Member

    Out of curiosity, what's the source of the 720Kbps estimation? I ask because I had come across this another point when this question came up and I have never seen anything to indicate otherwise.

    What bitrate is needed to sound like analog FM? « Engineering Radio

    And the referenced study.

  12. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Portland, OR, USA
    FM radio at it's best has limited high end (filtered carrier at 17KHz), noise, and poor stereo. Digital audio, even psychoacoustically-coded lossy formats, can have perfect stereo separation and 0 noise with highs out to the limits of the best listener. As most radio stations have turned to automation and digital libraries, you are getting a digitized and probably MP3 or AAC audio file anyway.
    anorak2 likes this.
  13. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    I no longer have the IEEE reference. My own challenge to the original reference was a weeks-long attempt to determine for myself how high the quality of a digital music file had to be to beat a top quality FM signal (again referencing the Jazz FM91.1 and Classical FM96.3 broadcast signals in Toronto when either station is transmitting from either analog sources or high res digital sources). For most material, I needed FLAC files at 720Kbps or higher to best the FM signal. Jazz FM91.1 in Toronto spins a lot of CDs and a lot of LPs. Great station.

    The robo-stations in Toronto fared worse. They're using digital sources, typically heavily compressed MP3 files that go through the stations' ADCs for analog broadcast (no DAB in Canada anyway). The signals are awful. They can easily be outclassed by 256Kbps stream at home. That kind of FM doesn't actually qualify as music broadcasting to me. It's just terrible - loud, compressed garbage.
  14. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Chicago metro, USA
    The one in the attic.
    PhilBiker likes this.
  15. rpd

    rpd Forum Resident

    This one is quite good
    William Kucharski and djost like this.
  16. GuildX700

    GuildX700 Forum Resident

    I've got an RCA powered one in my basement system that can pickup unbelievable with my Adcom GFT 555II
  17. Erun

    Erun New Member

    Costa Mesa CA
    I am in a very similar situation as you but coming at the KJAZ transmitter from the south, receiving with
    the Denon 1700 which I think has the exact same tuner in it as your receiver.
    Some facts:
    1. KJAZ actually now has nothing to do with Long Beach except at the FCC.
    It is operated by Mt. Wilson Broadcasters, and shares a studio with their other stations.
    Your issue and mine is all about picking up a signal from Mt. Wilson and we are both about the
    same distance from it, with my location being Costa Mesa, in a single story house.
    2. I have tested various types of antennas over the years, inside and out, in order to get KJAZ as clear as possible
    and I am now using a telescoping rabbit ears set from an old TV.
    This antenna in a V shape pointing down works really well when placed at the thoroughly tested, best horizontal and vertical position.
    3. I suggest that unless you have some old rabbit ears, you make an antenna, as someone previously posted, out of some good copper speaker wire starting with 16 gauge wire and hook one end to a matching transformer. Using wire in a T or V shape, you can experiment with the length of each leg and tape it in the best horizontal/vertical position to get as clear a KJAZ signal as possible.
    4. Concerning the streaming vs. over-the-air receiving KJAZ debate:
    The fact is that KJAZ streams at the lowest bit-rate anyone streams at now days. KJAZ is poor.
    Over at the AVS forum they will tell you a bit-rate that low means a lot of the music is just not there in the stream, especially at the high end.
    I have done extensive AB tests using my Denon's streaming capabilities and my upside down rabbit ears antenna.
    There is considerably more upper-mid and approaching high-range frequencies in the KJAZ analog signal than there is in the streaming signal. I much prefer the over-the-air signal even though it contains more noise.

    I hope this helps.
    head_unit likes this.
  18. Balthazar

    Balthazar Well-Known Member

    To confirm what Erun said, I listened to the stream of KJAZ briefly, just on my phone. I don't know if I got a bad recording or if it was representative of their usual stream, but it did seem pretty lackluster. I've never been much of a radio listener, but this thread has inspired me. I may try the Yamaha T-S500, as an accompanying piece to my AS801 and CDS300. I won't be using anything more than a desktop antenna, but I'll give it a try. Worst case scenario, I remain disinterested in broadcast radio and I return it to Crutchfield before 60 days are out.
    head_unit likes this.
  19. rodentdog

    rodentdog Forum Resident

    I have 2 BIC Beam Boxes. Work great.
    head_unit likes this.
  20. Edwin Hawley

    Edwin Hawley Forum Resident

    Okobojo, SD
    I use RCA rabbit ears with my Fisher 500. It cost 7 bucks on ebay.
    head_unit likes this.
  21. Bubbamike

    Bubbamike Forum Resident

    And now its changed again. Now Internet Radio is back in the sidebar with 12.7. Sigh.
  22. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker member number 666

    Northern VA, USA
    LOL the moving target that is the iTunes UI.
  23. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker member number 666

    Northern VA, USA
    That's what I have a Channel Master VHF antenna in the attic. Does that count as "indoor"?
    avanti1960 likes this.
  24. RiCat

    RiCat Forum Resident

    CT, USA
    I live in mostly a rural section of New England. There is no off the air signal worth a crap here. The point being if the signal is not there no matter what the antennae you won't get it. You can not upscale the source quality with the antennae only take advantage of what is there to listen to. Now if what you want is to play with seeing if you can get some distant station then indoor just won't cut it. Go rooftop or mini tower. If what you want is listenable to very good quality then think about going to internet radio.
    anorak2 and PhilBiker like this.
  25. jmobrien68

    jmobrien68 Forum Resident

    Toms River, NJ
    I recently purchased a Bic Beam Box FM8 off ebay. I was able to find an old 300 ohm twin-lead FM antenna cable in a box of wires so I used that to make the connection between the Beam Box and my Marantz receiver. So far I'm a bit disappointed... it did improve the reception of some local stations, but even these stations are not coming in as strong as I thought they would and I thought it would help me pull in a bit more bigger market stations. I remember when I was a kid I was able to pull in NYC (WPLJ, WNEW) and Philly (WYSP, WMMR) stations from my location on the Jersey Shore with my Pioneer receiver and a standard twin-lead FM antenna.
    Are there any tips or tricks that might help me maximize the effectiveness of the Beam Box? Since I can't run to Radio Shack anymore and talk to someone about it, is there a better way to connect the Box to the receiver as opposed to the thin wire of the stripped 300 ohm antenna (e.g. speaker wire)? Would positioning of the Box improve the signal (e.g. run a long wire and put it near a window)?

    Not interested in internet streams... once in a while I just like to go back and take advantage of a vintage receiver and see what's up around the dial... especially during the holiday season.

    Any tips or tricks would be much appreciated.

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