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Radios, Quality, the Internet

25 settembre 2003

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I have always been an avid listener of Internet radios since my favourite music is very specialized (early or “soul” reggae, dub, and some jazz+r&b), and very unlikely to be broadcasted over the air, especially in Italy where I live.

Last night I had a further example of the power of Internet radios. Perugia, which is one of the Italian soccer teams I try to follow, was playing an away match vs Dundee FC. I was at my home office, which has no tv, so I looked up the Dundee FC site on Google, followed the link and connected to their local radio station live broadcast of the match (which I only half-managed to follow due to my unfamiliarty with the Scottish accent).

What struck me is that the above procedure involved almost no conscious thinking on my part. My interest about the match match was followed a few seconds later by a live commentary streaming out of my speakers.

So, coincidences being the stuff life is mostly made of, this morning I was not surprised to find in my aggregator a new entry on Tim Bray’s blog on Radio, pointing to Doc Searls’ The Continuing Death of Radio as Usual.

Doc Searls makes a few interesting points, lamenting the low quality of radio receivers (AM in cars, FM at home), the slow death of over-the-air broadcasting, and IP broadcasting as the future of the Radio.

Not that it matters to anyone, but I agree with everything he writes, except his statement that There’s almost no way to get a good AM radio anymore, even if you want one.

If you don’t need to integrate a radio receiver with fancy stuff like a home theatre, or distribute its audio signal throughout a house, there are plenty of excellent radios out there. They are also pretty cheap, have better audio quality than most expensive stereo equipment available on the market, are superbly good looking, and will keep their value well. The picture above should give you a clear idea of what I’m saying.

It shows a Grundig 60s console stereo set, including AM and FM radio, an equalizer, a superb antenna, four speakers, and a turntable. All integrated into a handmade wood piece of furniture. We bought a similar one from the late 50s a few months ago for less than 300 euro, and its tuning and sound qualities are excellent. Of course, sound quality is no surprise since radios from this period use tube amplifiers.