Time to replace my HD Radio? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 06-10-2012, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi - I love HD Radio. I live/work about 20 miles outside of Boston, and am able to get a number of stations (well, most of the time), thanks to my 2008 Dual XHD6425 and the OEM 33" cowl antenna on my '95 Corolla. I suspect that if I moved the radio to a car with an in-dash antenna my reception would drop significantly. Alternately, it would really be nice to put an end to the frequent dropouts.

So I was wondering - if I bought an after-market 2012 HD Radio - (or, as I am considering, a new car with HD Radio, like a Subaru), would my reception noticeably improve? Or did the technology already mature and we're all waiting on higher transmit power?

Thanks!
/j
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post #2 of 12 Old 06-11-2012, 05:08 AM
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I live about 15-20 miles (as the crow flies) from most of the radio transmitters in Philadelphia. My 2012 Subaru Impreza with stock HD Radio & Antenna does a pretty good job of picking up HD Radio where I am. If I start heading away from the towers, things can get a little spotty, but that's usually in areas where I'm heading "downhill" -- this area is very hilly.

My previous Subaru (a 2005 Legacy) had the stuck-on-glass style antenna. My new Impreza has the little stubby stick on the roof. I have not yet taken the time to research possible antenna alternatives, but I know there are some out there that I could put in place of the stick if I wanted to. Coming up with alternatives for the on-glass in my Legacy was a nightmare.
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post #3 of 12 Old 06-12-2012, 01:41 AM
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What you haven't mentioned is in which direction from Boston you are.

Boston FM stations have two main transmitter locations. The "Newton-Needham Tower Complex" off of 128, and the intercity FMs (PRU, 1 Financial)

If you are 20 miles south-southeast of Boston, the Newton Needham HDs drop out a lot. If you are southwest, you get terrain blocked by Blue Hills.

With that said, I replaced my JVC KDR-HD1 with a Pioneer DEH-4400 HD, and so far the only disappointment I have is the broadcast audio quality is not as good.
What I found is, the tuner works excellent. Better than the JVC. And the Pioneer I bought at BestBuy for under $120. The Pioneer is really sensitive/selective with a sensitive HD and RDS detection. YMMV.

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post #4 of 12 Old 06-12-2012, 08:23 PM
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Good to hear that the Pioneer works well, as I am looking for recommendations on a good tuner. I have the first JVC car model that came out about 6 years ago, and I am wanting to upgrade for a more sensitive tuner. Also considering Kenwood, but sounds like that Pioneer may be a good choice. Now if just more stations would increase their power a bit.
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post #5 of 12 Old 06-18-2012, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry for the response delay - I didn't get notified as to addl responses.

I live/work/play in the Marlboro/Concord/Framingham/Hudson area. 20 -25 mi west of boston. For example when I head up 495 from 290 to 2, I have to switch back to AM because the FM HD feed for WBZ (98.5HD3) isn't strong enough. I would buy the Pioneer if it's really better. what kind of antenna do you have?
/j
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post #6 of 12 Old 06-21-2012, 12:38 AM
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I am using my car's stock antenna, which is, ironically, junk. It's not tight to the metal frame, so there is that, plus I am using an antenna adaptor to feed it.

--Mike Fitzpatrick
Broadcast Engineer

Put your boots on folks, it's getting pretty deep in here!
Note: opinions and advice given here are mine and mine only.
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post #7 of 12 Old 07-08-2012, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
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So after surfing the web, I'm temped to buy the well-recommended DEH-4400HD and see if it improves my HD performance, but what bothers me is this - my 2008 DualXHD6425 claims Usable sensitivity of 8.5dBf compared to the DEH-4400HD's 9dBf. So is my dropout rate really going to decrease?

On one hand - Crutchfield will ship me one at virtually no risk (it even looks like the rear-connector is the same, so I can just plug one out and the other in), but - I mean, - is it really going to be any better?

On the other other hand - I test drove a new Subaru Impreza yesterday - out 25-30 miles from the towers where my Dual usually drops out -and it was rock solid - Any idea what tuner THEY use??

Thanks
/j
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post #8 of 12 Old 07-10-2012, 12:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffw_00 View Post

(it even looks like the rear-connector is the same, so I can just plug one out and the other in)
Even though they may in fact be the same connector, I would not just swap them until you confirm that the same signals are in the same pins. I had a pair of stereos that were like this (maybe many brands are using a common connector now?), but left versus right were reversed between the two units. Most (but not all) stereos also use a standardized color code for the various signals and speaker outputs, so that might help figure out if the wiring matches.

Chris

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post #9 of 12 Old 07-13-2012, 11:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffw_00 View Post

On the other other hand - I test drove a new Subaru Impreza yesterday - out 25-30 miles from the towers where my Dual usually drops out -and it was rock solid - Any idea what tuner THEY use??
Thanks
/j

It's either Pioneer or, perhaps, Fujitsu. - at least according to a quick search on the forums on nasioc.com. With the Nav system, right? I have that one myself, and the HD Radio is decent, tho the Nav itself leaves me wanting more compared to my old TomTom.

BTW, if you're thinking about the Impreza, I love mine - fuel economy is awesome, car's fun to drive, and I had a someone larger-than-average woman riding in the backseat describe it as "roomy". (c:
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post #10 of 12 Old 07-14-2012, 07:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks - Impreza is the first car I've driven that -could- replace my Corolla to my satisfaction. the only minus, I thought, was that the CVT always felt like it was in lowish gear (i.e., without my foot on the gas it felt like it slowed the car). THe model I drove did not have a navi system, but I suspect the radio is the same.

/j
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post #11 of 12 Old 07-14-2012, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffw_00 View Post

Thanks - Impreza is the first car I've driven that -could- replace my Corolla to my satisfaction. the only minus, I thought, was that the CVT always felt like it was in lowish gear (i.e., without my foot on the gas it felt like it slowed the car). THe model I drove did not have a navi system, but I suspect the radio is the same.
/j

That's a gripe I've got that I've been learning to work around -- the CVT likes to "downshift" when you take your foot off the gas. It seems the assumption is "if you're not accelerating, you must want to slow down", tho there's some nuance to that. i've gotten used to it, and found that a combination of hitting the right paddle-shifter to pick a high gear or putting my foot "slightly" on the gas pedal to hint "hey, I don't wanna slow down, I wanna coast" seems to work. Subaru's followed up with a couple general "How do you like your new car?" surveys, so I've had opportunities to provide feedback on the matter. ;-}
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post #12 of 12 Old 07-14-2012, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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interesting... thanks!
/j
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