Is there such a thing as a reasonably price HD receiver? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 15 Old 09-04-2015, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Is there such a thing as a reasonably price HD receiver?

I want an HD receiver that I can hook up to my new Denon receiver. Is there such a thing? The Denon was a gift, so I wasn't able to pick one that had HD radio. Is there something cheapish that I can buy and hook up to it so I can pick up HD radio?

For whatever it's worth, I have no experience at all with HD radio, but I'd love to have CD quality sound come out of my Boston Acoustics.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 15 Old 09-14-2015, 12:55 PM
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There are three tuners that I know of:

Sony Sony XDR-F1HD
Sangaen HDT-1 and 1x (x has digital outs)
Auvio (was distributed by Radio Shack, has digital out, seems a clone of the Sangean)

None are available new unless you get lucky.

---

Some recievers had add-in modules you could buy.

Overall, for whatever reason, HDRadio at home has essentially disappeared.

I have two Sony's and an Auvio here. Watch the used markets, Amazon, eBay, etc.

---

It's not "CD quality". It's pretty good, though. I'm listening right now.

HDRadio is Hybrid Digital, not High Definition. Hybrid since the signal is tacked-on to the existing analog carrier.
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post #3 of 15 Old 09-26-2015, 01:15 PM
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The Sony models had the best sensitivity and very good tuners. There was also an Insignia model at Best Buy that had optical out similar to the Sangean. But regretably these models are no longer manufactured unless found on eBay or somewhere.

Currently there is an HD table radio from Sparc Radio on Amazon for $149. I believe it can be used as an external tuner and connected to speakers or a receiver with a 3.5mm cable.
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post #4 of 15 Old 08-01-2016, 01:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRT Guy View Post
For whatever it's worth, I have no experience at all with HD radio, but I'd love to have CD quality sound...
You are in for bitter disappointment. HD Radio is "CD quality" in the same sense MP3 is "CD quality". On one station that I frequent, the FM actually has more clarity than the highly-compressed HD stream. Particularly with the high-frequencies, which the digital compression just destroys.

Last edited by kitti; 08-01-2016 at 01:39 PM. Reason: clarified plurality
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post #5 of 15 Old 08-04-2016, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitti View Post
You are in for bitter disappointment. HD Radio is "CD quality" in the same sense MP3 is "CD quality". On one station that I frequent, the FM actually has more clarity than the highly-compressed HD stream. Particularly with the high-frequencies, which the digital compression just destroys.
Depends on the facility. In Detroit, the HDs are noticeably superior to the analog counterparts. In Tampa, there's a classical HD that's absolutely delicious to listen to. Don't assume your experience with one station applies to all stations. It certainly does not.

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post #6 of 15 Old 08-05-2016, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kitti View Post
You are in for bitter disappointment. HD Radio is "CD quality" in the same sense MP3 is "CD quality". On one station that I frequent, the FM actually has more clarity than the highly-compressed HD stream. Particularly with the high-frequencies, which the digital compression just destroys.
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Depends on the facility. In Detroit, the HDs are noticeably superior to the analog counterparts. In Tampa, there's a classical HD that's absolutely delicious to listen to. Don't assume your experience with one station applies to all stations. It certainly does not.
I know, and I don't assume that at all. Most of the HD Radio stations I listen to are way better than the analog. Like I said, there's only one that I listen to that has worse HD than analog (C89.5, Seattle). I've even reached out to the station engineer to let him/her know what I was experiencing; I never heard back.

But even the great HD stations are far from "CD quality". CD is, by definition, 44.1kHz/16b stereo PCM with zero compression. HD Radio doesn't come close. That's what I was trying to say, that if one expects CD quality from HD Radio, they will be disappointed. I know I was! Especially given (back to the OP) the high price of most HD receivers, I expected a much better.
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post #7 of 15 Old 08-05-2016, 01:49 PM
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If you're expecting consumers to measure bitrates and resolutions to determine "CD Quality," then, yeah, there are going to be differences. But the phrase is "CD Quality" ..not "CD Exact." I know if I visit a restaurant that states "international quality," I'm not going to be disappointed to learn they only have domestic locations. I've been on cruises that offer "resort-quality accommodations." I did not get mad that part of my cruise didn't include a stay in a resort. At the same time, I was way impressed with the experience. A cruise is not a resort, but they can offer "resort-quality accommodations" most will say live up to the promise. With that in mind, I think the term "CD Quality" isn't meant to deliver the exact bitrates of CDs, but a similar experience of listening to one. (A well-engineered CD, that is. I've heard a lot of CDs mastered with crappy gear. A LOT.)

In my experience, I think all well-engineered stations deliver on the "CD Quality" promise. Remember, consumers think the commercial mp3's they get from iTunes are CD-quality. And they're quite happy with that. And, assuming a station isn't using commercial MP3s as a source, an HD Radio audio quality way exceeds those mp3s. I've yet to meet a single person who has taken a ride with me in my truck and listened to the difference when a station transitions from analog to digital. I get a "WOW!!" every time. Oddly, the biggest wow comes when I switch between XM and HD Radio. They're expecting little difference at all. Granted, the Detroit HD Radio stations are tightly engineered and deliver a sound experience meant to impress the automotive industry. But I've listened extensively to stations in Cincinnati, Atlanta, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Orlando and Tampa. I have to say, most of those (not all) have a sound quality the human ear cannot discern from a CD of the same music. Which meets the "CD Quality" promise. Especially classical stations which tend to employ far less compression.

Here's a friendly offer: Let's meet up in Tampa. Let's drive around in my Silverado. You'll be blindfolded so you can't tell when I'm playing a CD or the local Classical station. I'll flip from CD to XM to HD. If you can guess correctly every single time, then I'll be happy to accept your expertise and experience over mine. And buy dinner.
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post #8 of 15 Old 08-05-2016, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDon View Post
If you're expecting consumers to measure bitrates and resolutions to determine "CD Quality," then, yeah, there are going to be differences. But the phrase is "CD Quality" ..not "CD Exact." I know if I visit a restaurant that states "international quality," I'm not going to be disappointed to learn they only have domestic locations. I've been on cruises that offer "resort-quality accommodations." I did not get mad that part of my cruise didn't include a stay in a resort. At the same time, I was way impressed with the experience. A cruise is not a resort, but they can offer "resort-quality accommodations" most will say live up to the promise. With that in mind, I think the term "CD Quality" isn't meant to deliver the exact bitrates of CDs, but a similar experience of listening to one. (A well-engineered CD, that is. I've heard a lot of CDs mastered with crappy gear. A LOT.)

In my experience, I think all well-engineered stations deliver on the "CD Quality" promise. Remember, consumers think the commercial mp3's they get from iTunes are CD-quality. And they're quite happy with that. And, assuming a station isn't using commercial MP3s as a source, an HD Radio audio quality way exceeds those mp3s. I've yet to meet a single person who has taken a ride with me in my truck and listened to the difference when a station transitions from analog to digital. I get a "WOW!!" every time. Oddly, the biggest wow comes when I switch between XM and HD Radio. They're expecting little difference at all. Granted, the Detroit HD Radio stations are tightly engineered and deliver a sound experience meant to impress the automotive industry. But I've listened extensively to stations in Cincinnati, Atlanta, Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Orlando and Tampa. I have to say, most of those (not all) have a sound quality the human ear cannot discern from a CD of the same music. Which meets the "CD Quality" promise. Especially classical stations which tend to employ far less compression.

Here's a friendly offer: Let's meet up in Tampa. Let's drive around in my Silverado. You'll be blindfolded so you can't tell when I'm playing a CD or the local Classical station. I'll flip from CD to XM to HD. If you can guess correctly every single time, then I'll be happy to accept your expertise and experience over mine. And buy dinner.
I like your points. I think your are correct, it just comes down to interpretation.

I'm a pretty literal person, so I suppose that's where I get hung up on the CD quality that HD Radio advertises.
Seattle culture is very tech-heavy; nobody I know (besides, maybe, Grandma) regards iTunes as CD quality. Once smartphones could easily play music and had data plans to support it, everybody I knew that had XM ditched it due to the incredibly low quality.

Cars, and especially trucks, are a horrible listening environment, by the way. My sedan has 10 individually crossovered speakers (not including subs), with dedicated amps and DSPed to "match the car". But it is still a car, there's only so much you can hear in a car. My HD Radio in the car sounds (except for my one poopoo station) pretty darn good. Listening in a car, there's a decent chance I'd end up buying you dinner

It's when I listen to HD Radio at home on the real speaker system that the digital compression shines its balding scalp.

I knew from the get-go that HD Radio only supports 150kbps in hybrid-digital mode, and is split among up to 2 further substations, and is using an antiquated proprietary audio compression codec. I wasn't very disappointed, but I attribute that to knowing ahead of time that "CD quality" was their marketing claim, and not at all reality.

I suppose the cities that you frequent might have better HD broadcasts than Seattle's. That might close the gap a little, but I still think most of the people on AVS Forum are going to be critical enough to easily tell the difference between CD and HD on a decent listening setup.

I think we are really on the same page, it's just my literal interpretation of CD quality doesn't translate to reality.

Relevant to the OP: I'm also a pretty cheap thrifty person, so I always look at the value in things. And for the price of HD receivers, I was hopeful to get more. ATSC receivers (totally different, I know, but for ballpark-comparisons sake) are under $40 and do a whole lot more "receiving" than just highly-compressed digital 2ch audio.

PS I'd love to get in a stranger's car, blindfolded, and see where I end up.
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post #9 of 15 Old 08-07-2016, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by tylerSC View Post
The Sony models had the best sensitivity and very good tuners. There was also an Insignia model at Best Buy that had optical out similar to the Sangean. But regretably these models are no longer manufactured unless found on eBay or somewhere.

Currently there is an HD table radio from Sparc Radio on Amazon for $149. I believe it can be used as an external tuner and connected to speakers or a receiver with a 3.5mm cable.
To update the original topic, Sangean is now releasing a new HD Radio component tuner as well as a table radio as HD receivers. Glad to see some new affordable options in addition to the Sparc radios.
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post #10 of 15 Old 03-12-2017, 04:14 PM
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Day Sequerra has the M4.2 SI (which is excellent) and McIntosh has the MR88 (which I have not heard). Both are available new. The Day Sequerra unit is about $1k (probably not within the range that the OP would call "affordable" and the Mac is in the $5k range, I believe, and is also probably "outside" the affordable range for most.
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post #11 of 15 Old 11-28-2017, 08:36 PM
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i have been using HD radio for the last 6 months, in my new to me truck with a SQ system.
here in chitcago we have WDRV 97.1 HD2, and i really like it, sometimes LOVE it. its classic rock deep cuts.
anyway, their Hd 1&2 broadcasts are NOTICEABLY better than analog. dare i say CD quality. though i know they are not .

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post #12 of 15 Old 11-30-2017, 03:01 AM
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A reasonable price - is a complicated meaning. Any manufacturer could explain why their prices are reasonable

I think Sony HD receiver will be the best in all aspects.
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post #13 of 15 Old 01-30-2018, 11:18 AM
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post #14 of 15 Old 04-12-2018, 08:05 PM
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Something flaked out on the onboard HD radio tuner in my Denon 4311. I looked long and hard for a component tuner with HD.

Wound up with going with standard tuner.....tried two before I got a good one.

The first was an older analog Denon and it sounded amazing. Better than anything I had heard from the HD tuner in the 4311, however it didn't live very long. Now using a newer Denon digital tuner that sounds as good or maybe a little better than the onboard tuner.

One of my cars has a JVC deck with HD tuner. While I can tell the "difference" between the two I can't say it is better and with several of the stations in this area the HD is worse.

FWIW HD promises more variety and better quality. I don't feel it delivers on the quality (at least where I live) and the variety is totally eclipsed at home by internet radio and streaming services.
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post #15 of 15 Old 04-13-2018, 12:49 AM
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AFAIK There's only one HD Radio component tuner in production now, the Sangean HDT-20. That's probably the best way to add HD Radio to your AVR at this point. It's inexpensive and I suspect it performs as well as any of the alternatives. Collectively, there really aren't that many HD Radio models out there, let alone component tuners, and none of them are (or were) perfect, not even the Sony.

I own Sangean's previous component tuner model, the HDT-1X, which isn't bad but has its quirks. That tuner was an update of the original Sangean HDT-1, and IIRC Sangean collected a lot of feedback from users on this forum via AVS forum member, and former Sangean employee, Master Theseus, to refine its design. I should think the HDT-20 is an improvement over that model with its next generation tuner chip and better sensitivity.

In general though, development of HD Radio hardware seems to have stalled. There's so much covergence now, with smart speakers, bluetooth speakers, casting, Internet radio and streaming services in addition to terrestrial radio, but practically none of the HD Radios on the market support any of that, at least not the in-home models. Some of the car tuners do, but it's because the manufacturers know drivers want the streaming technology and digital connectivity. HD radio is almost like a bonus thrown in, mainly because the car makers cut a deal with Ibiquity/DTS/Tessera/Whoever-It-Is-Today.
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