DAB stands for Digital Audio Broadcasting. It is a digital radio service which is broadcast from a network of transmitters spread across the UK.
Compared to FM radio where you have to know the frequency of the station you want and tune to it, DAB digital radio allows you to search for stations by name, by music genre, and by content type (for News, Education, Foreign Languages etc).
The DAB radio digital format means far superior sound quality to the FM system, along with a huge selection of stations that were previously just not possible on analog transmission.
DAB Radio With Bluetooth
As an added benefit, many DAB radios include Bluetooth connectivity to allow wireless streaming of audio from devices such as smartphones and tablets. This basically turns your digital radio into a Bluetooth speaker, for listening to your stored music, or your favourite playlists from online services such as Spotify or YouTube music.
A DAB radio with Bluetooth provides you the best way to enjoy all of your digital music, be it from a live broadcast or your chosen stored format.
DAB Digital Radio Features
DAB radios all feature a display screen which provides information about the stations available, and once selected, will show data on the songs playing, the presenter or DJ, phone numbers for call in shows etc. This is similar to the RDS system of FM services, but is more advanced in DAB and doubles the available length of message data.
Unlike FM radio stations which are limited to a single station per frequency (Kiss 100.00FM for example), one of the big benefits of DAB radio is its ability to allow multiple stations or channels in a set frequency or allocated bandwidth, which allows popular stations such as Absolute Radio to have dedicated decade channels alongside their main station (Absolute 70’s, Absolute 80s etc) providing a much more refined choice for the listener.
DAB+ was released in 2007, and is an enhanced version of the DAB encoding technology. It’s transmission is more efficient than DAB, therefore enabling more radio stations to be broadcast within the same amount of frequency allocation.
Unlike the MP2 codec used by standard DAB transmissions, DAB+ is based on the AAC lossless codec popularised by Apple's iPod. It's more advanced compression and error correction means a much higher quality signal is possible than before.
DAB+ uses exactly the same broadcast technology and transmitters as DAB, it just converts the audio to digital in a different way and therefore requires sets with the DAB+ reception capability.
Where traditional FM radio is analogue transmission and reception, the digital technology used for DAB radio allows broadcasters to package together several radio stations; which is known as multiplexing. These multiplexed radio stations are broadcast on single frequency networks, which is an efficient way to provide lots more radio stations using fewer radio frequencies.
DAB vs DAB+
Due to the difference in the audio codec being used, DAB is not forward compatible with DAB+, which means that older DAB-only units are not able to receive DAB+ broadcasts. However, broadcasters can mix DAB and DAB+ programs inside the same transmission to help make a progressive transition over to DAB+.
The majority of digital radio broadcasts will continue on the older DAB format for the foreseeable future so as not to force users to upgrade. DAB+ systems are backwards compatible with DAB, so can be introduced alongside current DAB services, and existing DAB radios will continue to receive all the DAB stations broadcasting.
DAB Radio Sound Quality
The transfer from traditional analogue transmission used in AM and FM broadcasting to a fully digital system brings many benefits as mentioned above, but one of the major enhancements to the format is the end of hissing on stations in poor reception areas, and to the sound quality overall.
The DAB radio reception system allows for fantastic detail and depth of sound, with CD quality to all your favourite stations giving radio a new lease of life in this digital era of streaming and downloads.
Portable DAB Radio
Digital radio sounds great on portable radios, with its clear reception and high quality audio being ideally suited for tabletop radio designs that are always popular for use in kitchens and conservatories, or for sitting outdoors on a nice day.
With battery power and extendable aerials for great reception, a portable DAB radio can be taken wherever you go, letting you enjoy their huge selection of channels in any location, both indoors and outdoors.