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Why does my FM radio sound better then my CD player?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
It seems that my cheapy "fixup.net" Sony SRF-59 upgraded fm radio sounds a whole lot richer then my portable CD player's line-out to a CMoy amp. You would think that the CD quality would be better the all the signal coming off the air. Why is that? Just wondering... FYI, this is while listening through headphones.
post #2 of 22
Your CD player sucks, plain and simple.

There's no other logical explination. A CD should sound significantly better than a radio station, and if it doesn't, your rig has major issues
post #3 of 22
I think maybe the radio station's prossessing of the sound and the rolled off treble of the signal might make FM more pleasing than cheaper digital. I too find radio more enjoyable a lot of times.
post #4 of 22
Nah, his CD player sucks. Get yourself a decent player. You'll be glad you did.
post #5 of 22
Try the CD in a nonportable CDP or a DVDP.

If it's still worse than FM, then you prefer the rolled off treble etc.

If it's better than FM, get a better PCDP. Take into account though, that no PCDP will equal a stationary CDP, but it should be better than FM.
post #6 of 22
This is total conjecture, but might inspire some discussion of how stereo-FM affects the sound.

Doesn't FM Stereo use some sort of hack/workaround to get stereo in a medium that was originally designed as mono? Kinda like the "joint setereo" of MP3s. Maybe the processing that's used to accomplish that softens up the sound and adds a sense of stereoness (artificial soundstage/crossfade) that can give it an effect that might sound pleasing, but at the expense of some fidelity. Maybe kinda along the lines of some of the games DSP plugins, SRS, etc. do.
post #7 of 22
The SRF-59 and SRF-49 are both phenomenal FM radios, especially after the Fixup mods. I can definitely believe that you would prefer this sound over most <$350 full-size CD players. The SRF radios have a really nice analog sound, very similar to the sound of a vintage tube amp. On the other hand, lower cost CD players tend to sound brighter, more sterile, and less natural. This is a good sign that you would enjoy the sound of a tubed headphone amplifier. They have such a great analog sound. If you were to hook your CDP or PCDP up to an MG Head, for example, I think you'd prefer it to the SRF-59.

The SRF-49 is probably the best buy in all of audio. It sounds phenomenal, the battery lasts for weeks, it can be modded inexpensively, and it drives both low and high impedance headphones very well without an amp. All this for less than $20! I love mine; it's probably the last thing I'd ever sell.
post #8 of 22
I have a SRF-84 and agree that these Sony radios are very nice sounding, and could very well sound better than the line out of your CD player. Modern CD portables tend to sound thin and dull.

If you upgraded to a nicer CD player, however, I think you'd enjoy that more than the radio.
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
This is a good sign that you would enjoy the sound of a tubed headphone amplifier. They have such a great analog sound.
Yes, I do love the tube sound. When CDs first started coming out I refused to jump on the bandwagon and kept on buying vinyl records. I still would today but they getting harder to find. Anyway, I glad to hear that someone else agrees that these FM radios do sound good. But, I guess I need to start looking into getting another portable CD player. Any recommendations on where to start? All I need is a basic player, no bells or whistles required.
post #10 of 22
I agree with Wodgy 100%! The sound of Fixup's modded SONY radios do have the sweetness of tube amps. It's really amazing!

Fixup is a tech genius! My modded SONY SFR-S84 and my SFR-59 are excellent, 1st class radios. When my friends listen to these tiny radios, they can NOT believe the excellence of the sound. I, of course, enjoy looking at their stunned faces. He, he!

Check it out...

post #11 of 22
In most cases FM broadcast starts out as a 256k MP2 (though at times it is an actual CD), then goes back and forth between digital and analog several times through various pieces of equipment before it even reaches the transmitter site.

At the transmitter site, it usually goes through an alarming amount of processing, usually across multiple bands. The resulting analog signal has a dynamic range of about 6dB (hahaha), that is what gets sent up the tower and across the countryside.

If the station is using a newer Orban multiband processor, the sample rate is 32kHz... newer Omnia processors have a 192kHz sample rate (I think). FM bandwidth used to be 50Hz to 15kHz... but I think now the FCC actually allows 35Hz to 17kHz--though a lot of stations don't exercise this newfound capability.

If you look at the modulation levels of most popular FM stations, you'll see that it pretty much stays parked at 100%, with a plus/minus 5% swing depending on program material. It is amazing that it even sounds like music anymore.

This is done so that the station seems as loud as possible without exceeding the FCC's regulation regarding modulation level... It is thought by radio execs that a louder station will be more appealing to the casual listener.
post #12 of 22
IIRC the FM has a roll off at 15KHz, and maybe they use a lot of compression, so there is no way a CD player sounds worst, unless the CDplayer really and plainly sucks......
post #13 of 22
.. you know i dont consider my modded srf-59 to be that good at all... firstly i cannot hear a difference between my modded srf59 and my two unmodded srf-83's... and neither can anyone else i ask to compare them. ok i *might* be able to head a difference being a tiny bit more at either frequency extremes with my ms1's, but i not enough to be sure, nothing significant anyway. note i did check the '59 and it is modded it has a couple of panasonic fc's in there for example.

the main issue i have though - is that all three of these radios have some kind of high frequency distortion or treble grainyness or something like that (only effects vocals). it isnt immediately noticable, and even then only with maybe 20% of all songs (not station dependent though), but still it annoys me a lot, it means i cant listen to this radio with my ms1's without getting distracted, i would rather listen to it out of the cheap ksc-35's which having much less treble the effect is much less pronounced so i barely notice it.

other than this distortion though, the radios are pretty good, a little muddy and undefined - lack of detail but pretty good for a radio, has a full frequency response (for a radio) rather than going from 100hz to 5k like a lot of cheap radios

but overall im pretty dissapointed with this radio, cause when i got it i was expecting it to be a significant step up from the srf-83, when xin describes the difference as "good", and "excellent" on his little comparison table.

thing is i cant beleive that noone has commented on this distortion/grainyness before, am i just a freak or are my 3 radios micraculously all defective in some way, i have never heard this on any of my other equiptment, nor on any of my other radios/tuners listening to the same stations.
post #14 of 22
Radios are things that you throw around with. Why bother modding a radio at all
post #15 of 22
Maybe it is because your radio is analog
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