Sony XDR-F1HD Technical Review - Page 10 - AVS Forum
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post #271 of 359 Old 06-23-2009, 03:23 PM
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Just a question here.

I think I'll probably get this receiver but I'm new to receivers . I understand I can hook up a different antenna but I'm at a loss trying to find speakers for this.

The vast majority of speakers I see either have a stereo headphone line in or something with ipods.

What speakers would work with this?
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post #272 of 359 Old 06-23-2009, 03:41 PM
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Since the Sony is a Tuner it's intended to be connected to the Tuner input on your stereo amplifier, the one in your home music system that you use to play records, tapes, CDs and DVDs with. Since you kids today probably don't have stereo amplifiers you can use the Aux. input on your boom box or any amplified speaker system. I prefer a 2.1 system with a nice sub-woofer for good sound. You can often pick up a Boston Digital BA735 2.1 amplified speaker cheap at thrift stores. They came with a lot of Gateway computers but have good sound. Not all of them have analog inputs though, just digital, and the Sony doesn't have a digital audio output so watch out for that. You'll also need to get an RCA to mini-phone plug stereo cable that you can find at any electronics store.
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post #273 of 359 Old 06-23-2009, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by stevec50 View Post

Since you kids today probably don't have stereo amplifiers you can use the Aux. input on your boom box or any amplified speaker system.

What is this "boom box" thing of which you speak?
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post #274 of 359 Old 07-16-2009, 03:49 PM
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The August 2009 issue of AudioXpress magazine has a 2 page review of the Sony XDR-F1HD tuner. It was written by the very technical David A. Rich.

Kevin
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post #275 of 359 Old 07-16-2009, 04:03 PM
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The price as dropped to $79 at some authorized dealers so I think that may mean it is soon to be discontinued and replaced with an XDRF2HD, or something along those lines. I wish there was a better signal strength metering, volume control, and a headphone jack so this may be worth holding out for for me. Anyone heard of anything in the future?

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there is no concept of "accounting for taste". We don't "pick" the level of bass any more than we get to pick the ending of a play. High fidelity is an unbiased, neutral, exact copy (or "reproduction") of the original source's tonal balance, timing, dynamics, etc..

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post #276 of 359 Old 07-16-2009, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post

The price as dropped to $79 at some authorized dealers so I think that may mean it is soon to be discontinued and replaced with an XDRF2HD, or something along those lines. I wish there was a better signal strength metering, volume control, and a headphone jack so this may be worth holding out for for me. Anyone heard of anything in the future?

Throw in forced analog, and optical out, and I'm sold.
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post #277 of 359 Old 07-16-2009, 05:39 PM
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Yes, forced analog, I forgot that one too.

Optical out is nice only in that optical digital transmission isn't susceptible to extraneous hum and noise from EMI and RFI fields, however I think we have an example here with compressed digital HD Radio that's analogous to Sony's minidisc format (digitally compressed and not CD equiv.). Since the signal never was PCM stereo 44.1k/16 bit in the first place, the few units on the market that do have a digital out (Sangean?) are really just taking the analog decoded signal and internally re-digitizing it for you through an extra stage of A to D which you later have to convert back through D to A in your stereo system. That's two extra unnecessary stages of conversion that potentially can degrade the S/N ratio a few dB, for example.

Yes I'm aware that only higher end units have digital out but my contention is that it is for marketability and not better sound quality. The signal is not being kept in the digital domain the whole length to your stereo as would be with a CD player's digital out.

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there is no concept of "accounting for taste". We don't "pick" the level of bass any more than we get to pick the ending of a play. High fidelity is an unbiased, neutral, exact copy (or "reproduction") of the original source's tonal balance, timing, dynamics, etc..

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post #278 of 359 Old 07-16-2009, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m. Zillch View Post

the price as dropped to $79 at some authorized dealers so i think that may mean it is soon to be discontinued and replaced with an xdrf2hd, or something along those lines. I wish there was a better signal strength metering, volume control, and a headphone jack so this may be worth holding out for for me. Anyone heard of anything in the future?

xdrf2hd?
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post #279 of 359 Old 07-16-2009, 05:48 PM
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^ It was a stab in the dark as to what the new version will be called.

After working in retail for many years I can tell you that price drops are often indicative of an imminent new model.

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there is no concept of "accounting for taste". We don't "pick" the level of bass any more than we get to pick the ending of a play. High fidelity is an unbiased, neutral, exact copy (or "reproduction") of the original source's tonal balance, timing, dynamics, etc..

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post #280 of 359 Old 07-17-2009, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post

Since the signal never was PCM stereo 44.1k/16 bit in the first place, the few units on the market that do have a digital out (Sangean?) are really just taking the analog decoded signal and internally re-digitizing it for you through an extra stage of A to D which you later have to convert back through D to A in your stereo system. That's two extra unnecessary stages of conversion that potentially can degrade the S/N ratio a few dB, for example.

In theory it's possible to decode and process the audio entirely digitally without converting it back to analog. Even the analog FM receivers decode the signal digitally these days although I'm not sure of AM receivers.

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post #281 of 359 Old 07-17-2009, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post

^ It was a stab in the dark as to what the new version will be called.

After working in retail for many years I can tell you that price drops are often indicative of an imminent new model.

true to a point. reminds me PS 2 dropped in price again but there's no PS 4...

most electronics drop in price. The only sole exception I can think of was the Coleco Adam and that was probably some marketing screw up...
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post #282 of 359 Old 07-17-2009, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scowl View Post

In theory it's possible to decode and process the audio entirely digitally without converting it back to analog. Even the analog FM receivers decode the signal digitally these days although I'm not sure of AM receivers.

In theory, perhaps, but I still see no benefit in converting the HDC codec signal, or whatever they call it with HD Radio, into 44.1/16 bit stereo PCM first, then transmitting it over to the receiver where it then has to be converted from PCM to analog and is then amplified. This is also why iPods and MP3 players also don't have SPDIF outs. The signal never was SPDIF in the product from the get go; it was some other codec, so why convert from one codec to another unnecessarily prior to the needed step of converting to analog? [unless, like Sangean, you are bending to market demand, the same reason why many loudspeakers offer "bi-wiring" capability, which is completely useless.]

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there is no concept of "accounting for taste". We don't "pick" the level of bass any more than we get to pick the ending of a play. High fidelity is an unbiased, neutral, exact copy (or "reproduction") of the original source's tonal balance, timing, dynamics, etc..

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post #283 of 359 Old 07-17-2009, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post

In theory, perhaps, but I still see no benefit in converting the HDC codec signal, or whatever they call it with HD Radio, into 44.1/16 bit stereo PCM first, then transmitting it over to the receiver where it then has to be converted from PCM to analog and is then amplified. This is also why iPods and MP3 players also don't have SPDIF outs. The signal never was SPDIF in the product from the get go; it was some other codec, so why convert from one codec to another unnecessarily prior to the needed step of converting to analog? [unless, like Sangean, you are bending to market demand, the same reason why many loudspeakers offer "bi-wiring" capability, which is completely useless.]

(1) With the analog outputs, you're at the mercy of whatever god-awful DACs they've put in your HD Radio.

(2) PCM is lossless. As long as you maintain the sample rate and bit depth, there's no quality change whatsoever in converting from a PCM-based lossy codec to PCM itself.

(3) The analog trip from the radio to the receiver is fraught with peril. It's generally better to stay digital as long as you can.

(4) Once the analog gets to your receiver, if you're using Audyssey or some other such room EQ program, it's just going to convert it back to digital anyway, thus giving you two unnecessary conversions that DO cause significant quality loss.

(5) SPDIF isn't a codec. It's an interface.
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post #284 of 359 Old 07-18-2009, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by narkspud View Post

(1) With the analog outputs, you're at the mercy of whatever god-awful DACs they've put in your HD Radio.

Well it gets rave reviews.

(2) PCM is lossless. As long as you maintain the sample rate and bit depth, there's no quality change whatsoever in converting from a PCM-based lossy codec to PCM itself.

So converting from one codec to another is lossless no matter how many times you do it, D to D is always perfect. Nope, not buying it. Nor do I beleive the signal is kept in the digital domain as you claim.

(3) The analog trip from the radio to the receiver is fraught with peril.

Stop scaring the electrons! I give them adequate shielding and they do just fine where I live.

It's generally better to stay digital as long as you can.

Even better would be if HDC was transmitted to the receiver itself, not that I know of any that can decode it, though.

I'd need to see a circuit diagram to believe that the Sangean HD Radio keeps the signal in the digital domain entirely as you all claim before spitting out its digital out. As I said earlier I suspect it takes the decoded HDC signal, analog, and just re-digitizes it for you with a "whatever god-awful" A to D.


(4) Once the analog gets to your receiver, if you're using Audyssey or some other such room EQ program, it's just going to convert it back to digital anyway, thus giving you two unnecessary conversions that DO cause significant quality loss.

Am I the only one left that listens to stereo in "pure direct" analog stereo? Yes, only one stage of D to A, done, then only amplification and only two speakers (or headphones).

(5) SPDIF isn't a codec. It's an interface.

SPIDIF is a digital audio Format, hence the "F" (and can be used to describe a digital audio transmission line) and PCM is indeed a "codec". [read page 2]

---

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there is no concept of "accounting for taste". We don't "pick" the level of bass any more than we get to pick the ending of a play. High fidelity is an unbiased, neutral, exact copy (or "reproduction") of the original source's tonal balance, timing, dynamics, etc..

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post #285 of 359 Old 07-18-2009, 03:58 PM
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Mine is hooked up through the front analog input of my Onkyo 777. I usually run it in stereo mode that also included the sub, in direct mode my sub is disabled so I don't use that one much.
All I can say is it sounds way better then the built in tuner, whether in analog FM mode or HD so I don't care how it gets in as long as it works well. It would be nice to have a digital out and all the extra bells and whistles the fancier tuners have, but it works so well and was so much cheaper I can live without them.
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post #286 of 359 Old 07-18-2009, 08:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post

So converting from one codec to another is lossless no matter how many times you do it, D to D is always perfect.

That's not even close to what I said.

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As I said earlier I suspect it takes the decoded HDC signal, analog, and just re-digitizes it for you with a "whatever god-awful" A to D.

Why would it do that? What sort of 9th circle of hell audio engineering would that be?

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PCM is indeed a "codec".

Never said it wasn't.
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post #287 of 359 Old 07-19-2009, 11:01 AM
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Why would it do that?

Cost.

People want digital outs on their portable MP3 players and iPod docks too, which are analogous compressed audio products that (for the most part) nobody stores music on in 44.1/16 bit PCM form, so what's the cheapest way to do this? Re-digitize the analog decoded MP3 sound with a dirt cheap A to D, and bingo, the public gets their "better sounding" digital out. I wish it weren't this way, of course.

The same thing happened on Laser Disk machines regarding video outs. The public clamored to have the newer and better S-video jacks instead of the low life composite video RCA jacks. Thing is, the signal on the LD itself is a composite signal where the luminance and chromanance are combined from the get go so there's no way to access them separately which is what makes s-video better with much less dot crawl and moire patterns. If the two are combined anywhere along the line the benefits of keeping them separate, as they are on S-VHS tapes, is lost. Manufactures solution? Put in a cheap comb filter which splits the luminance from the chromanance and give the customers their s-video jack. Hardly any customers were privy to the fact that for the best possible image the composite signal should be used, not the s-video jack, with a high quality external 3D digital comb filter instead.

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there is no concept of "accounting for taste". We don't "pick" the level of bass any more than we get to pick the ending of a play. High fidelity is an unbiased, neutral, exact copy (or "reproduction") of the original source's tonal balance, timing, dynamics, etc..

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post #288 of 359 Old 07-19-2009, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post

what's the cheapest way to do this? Re-digitize the analog decoded MP3 sound with a dirt cheap A to D, and bingo, the public gets their "better sounding" digital out. I wish it weren't this way, of course.

So you're saying that adding an internal ADC / DAC pair is cheaper than just doing the conversion mathematically? I don't think you quite have a handle on how digital audio works.

The S outputs on Laserdisc players have nothing whatsoever to do with audio or with HD Radio.
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post #289 of 359 Old 07-19-2009, 09:57 PM
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So you're saying that adding an internal ADC / DAC pair is cheaper than just doing the conversion mathematically?

Adding a pair? No the only thing additional to a normal XDRF1HD is an internal split where half of the analog signal goes to the regular analog outs and the other half goes to a cheap A to D to make a digtal signal for your digital out. [Which is said in some reviews of the Sangean HD radio to cause some spurious RFI/birdies problems, BTW]. I once bought an A to D at Radio shack for $19 so I know at a parts cost level they must be dirt cheap. Also how multi hundred dollar units like Rotel and Sangean do it doesn't necessarily reflect how Sony might do it on a $79 product.

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I don't think you quite have a handle on how digital audio works.

I don't think you quite have a handle on how manufacturers like to do things as cheaply as possible. Since there's no such thing as an XDRF1HD with digital out we can only speculate as to how they'd do it. You seem to think they would prioritize sound quality, I think they would prioritize cost. Both our scenarios involve added parts. Either your HDC to PCM digital format converter or my A to D. Neither of us has "evidence" as to which they'd use since it is a mythical product so this conversation is futile.

I'm out.

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The S outputs on Laserdisc players have nothing whatsoever to do with audio or with HD Radio.

Perhaps I didn't make my point well: Better jacks on gear do not automatically mean better performance, it could, like in my example of laser disk, just reflect the manufacturers' awareness that there is a market demand for it. Also true with bi-wiring posts on speakers which are useless. A high end speaker maker confided this to me once admitting that they had to bend to market pressure and supply them even though they knew it was quite stupid.

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there is no concept of "accounting for taste". We don't "pick" the level of bass any more than we get to pick the ending of a play. High fidelity is an unbiased, neutral, exact copy (or "reproduction") of the original source's tonal balance, timing, dynamics, etc..

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post #290 of 359 Old 07-20-2009, 08:20 AM
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all this talk about inputs and outputs also reminds me of early game systems. One reason why early game systems looked poor was they only had RF hookups rather than svideo or composite. By the time it hit the late 80's early 90's things were changed. People have created mods to give older systems composite or svideo and it looks cleaner. It isn't upscaling the resolution but any excess noise that was visible is eliminated.

To note I'm not totally happy with mp3 in terms of the formats quality. I think Ogg vorbis is a bit better but there's not many players that use it. It also can have the same quality but at a smaller size...

Sometimes it's just odd of what we end up listening to or watching given the technology. I have a hdtv set and yet there's some content that looks horrid...some of the religious channels just show syndicated stuff that looks like it was filmed in the 80's. Some of the on demand content is personal videos of people that tends to be even older than that.

They'll always be a quality vs content argument.
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post #291 of 359 Old 07-30-2009, 07:36 PM
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The Sony XDR-F1HD is the first tuner in my large collection of tuners that can receive local classical station KPAC without getting a high frequency noise and birdie (like a whistle). I have several other tuners that are not supposed to be affected by unusual subcarriers (including Yamaha T-85 and TX-1000, Onkyo 9090 Mk II, and Sony 730ES) but still are, to one degree or another, only the XDR-F1HD truly fixes the problem. Signal strength is around 60dBF, and adjacent signals do not appear to be part of the problem. Getting rid of this birdie makes it much more enjoyable to listen to this great station, even if, in stock form, the XDR-F1HD sounds a bit dull in the top end, possibly due to about 2dB extra HF rolloff at 15Khz (which can be fixed by removing the capacitors of the crude anti-aliasing filter).

So, for me, this is a keeper. I cut out the top of the case for better ventilation so I can keep it running all the time. I plan to cut out the antialiasing capacitors for flatter HF response, add an HD defeat switch, and add 1.5nF to the backup capacitor for longer storage. One question I have is whether there is a transistor or IC output device that can be bypassed if feeding into a high impedance input. Is a schematic for this Sony available?

I'm not so impressed by HD. On one local college station, the analog feed is head and shoulders above the HD. Though the station is somewhat weak, on a Yamaha TX-1000 it sounds very dynamic and punchy. On the Sony XDR-F1HD, the HD feed sounds soft and compressed to a noiseless 10dB dynamic range. That is, it stays at about -10dB all that time, never gettting louder or softer. I'd love to hear how the XDR-F1HD sounds on that station with the HD defeated.

I don't see much of a case for HD radio. Analog FM radio sounds great (only limited by overcompression and other artifacts from the station) within local range. Outside the local range, analog FM degrades, but with great setup or location you can still get stations hundreds of miles away. For local reception, HD adds little or nothing (or worse). For DX, HD simply doesn't work. So who needs it?

And while the XDR-F1HD generally sounds better on all pure analog, I don't particularly like the automatic muting on super DX stations. On one deep DX station, the Sony sounds very lifeless but a Kenwood KT-8300 sounds punchy, primarily because the Kenwood just lets it all out.
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post #292 of 359 Old 07-31-2009, 11:25 AM
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the major arguements with hd I'd say would be first the text, improved audio and then any subchannels.

Yes under RDS there is some text but it just isn't the same. it's nice don't get me wrong but it's like someone with ADD is just learning to type. I notice a slign change in quality easily the biggest difference is classical music..

Much of it really depends on how much the stations do with it. If someone just turns on hd with no text info it's meaning less. But if someone has a few sub channels with text then it can add up
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post #293 of 359 Old 07-31-2009, 03:28 PM
 
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great thread thanks for all the information
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post #294 of 359 Old 08-05-2009, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scowl View Post

In theory it's possible to decode and process the audio entirely digitally without converting it back to analog. Even the analog FM receivers decode the signal digitally these days although I'm not sure of AM receivers.

Perhaps.. but, SFAIK, ordinary air just does not have the bandwidth to support the digital steps at the bit boundaries. I'm afraid you have to go analog sometime, unless you skip the air altogether and use those new Sony brain-jacks.
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post #295 of 359 Old 08-05-2009, 11:00 AM
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Perhaps.. but, SFAIK, ordinary air just does not have the bandwidth to support the digital steps at the bit boundaries. I'm afraid you have to go analog sometime, unless you skip the air altogether and use those new Sony brain-jacks.

Amazingly there are even digital amplifiers! I have a Panasonic receiver with a digital amplifier that puts out a 100 watts and hardly generates any heat. It's kind of like a switching power supply.

Now we just have to digitize those speakers. I guess they need to use stepper motors with 65536 steps, one for each 16 bit value.

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post #296 of 359 Old 10-28-2009, 02:47 PM
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Bought one of these because it was listed in the latest Absolute Sound as a great budget tuner AND the glowing reviews on this site. I love mighty budget components (own an Oppo BD-83 too), and even though I've been perfectly happy with my old Pioneer F9 tuner, I couldn't resist it for eighty-five no tax dollars delivered. Heck, having almost any tuner with a remote is worth that!

This is a fine sounding tuner. In the SF Bay area I mostly listen to (and am a member of) KCSM 91.1 - a 24/7 jazz station. No complaints on the sound quality of this little dynamo. It gets a stronger signal than the F9 and projects a wider sound stage.

On AM there are several HD stations, which don't sound that much different than regular stations to me. The noise blanking on this unit is far superior to the F9 which just tends to let it all hang out. Overall, it's much easier to listen to a ball game on this unit.

Overall, very pleased with this diminutive little tuner. I'll hack it up during Christmas vacation and add a battery for memory retention. I'd prefer to pay a hundred dollars and have that "feature" built in. Don't miss direct entry at all with 40 presets available.

Now what to do with that trusty F9...
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post #297 of 359 Old 02-11-2010, 07:45 AM
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Just recently got this unit via Amazon Marketplace, and with free shipping and a small gift cert, brought the total cost to $62. Best $62 I've ever spent.

It way outperforms my Denon 2809CI receiver. I have it connected to a rooftop 1/2 wave omni dipole, and pick up everything in the Cleveland metro area very cleanly. The hi def stations are very quiet and I don't get any switching back and forth between analog and hi def. I can routinely pick up FM stations 60 miles away cleanly.

AM performance is so-so using a simple Ratshack loop. For some reason, the SQ isn't up to par on AM, but at night I've been able to DX stations as far away at NO.

I may end up sending it out for a forced mono mod for FM DX'ing, but otherwise I'm very happy with this item. There was a very slight electronic smell when I first plugged it in, but having read about this unit running warm I had added some stick on feet to raise the unit about 3/8" of an inch, and it seems to run cool enough.
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post #298 of 359 Old 02-11-2010, 08:14 AM
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Well it's great to hear folks can still find this unit. I wonder if they even still make it or if they are planning a newer version maybe with some of the extra bells and whistles this one doesn't have. I still use mine just about every day and it still sounds great and still runs a bit hot
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post #299 of 359 Old 02-11-2010, 01:23 PM
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Very little new HD Radio equipment on the market; the XDR-F1HD is still available and remains the best tuner bargain.

RadioX offers new versions of their upgrades to further improve the sound quality:

http://www.radioxtuners.com/
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post #300 of 359 Old 02-11-2010, 04:32 PM
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I discovered something about the F1HD's signal bars. There's a pirate radio station in town with audio that's often clipping because most of the time it's just an MP3 player on autopilot (like an HD-2 station) and no one's monitoring it.

Whenever the audio clips, the bars actually drop. I wonder if it thinks it's the result of multipath or something.

NOW: my post on AVS Forum.
NEXT: someone else's post on AVS Forum.
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