Choosing Between DAB and FM

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Choosing Between DAB and FM

Two of the most frequently asked questions among radio listeners is whether DAB is really any better than FM and what are the major differences between the two. Of course many people make a selection according to their tastes, and if they do not see a problem with what they already have, they usually stick with it. Although this is by no means detrimental to the radio listener, there are important differences between DAB and FM.

It is often just the fact that people do not realise the benefits of one type over another. Choosing the right DAB or FM radio is much easier when more is understood about them. DAB and FM radios can be purchased at electronic stores, retail department stores, and online on eBay. Understanding what DAB and FM is the first step in the process of making a decision on which may be best for the listener. Also knowing the differences between the two types may change the minds of some people as well as help them choose the right radio receiver for optimum listening results.

Broadcasting Overview

For those people who might not already know, DAB and FM refer to the way stations broadcast radio in order to reach the listening public. Broadcasting started with Edward Howard Armstrong who was a Major in World War I when he first used a transmitter from the top of the Empire State Building to transmit a radio signal. His first patents were issued on December 26, 1933. He continued working on techniques to improve the signal quality until it was perfected enough to start his own radio station and began broadcasting on July 18, 1939. This is how FM radio began, and over time it has changed dramatically.

What is FM?

"FM" stands for "Frequency Modulation". The programme matter that is broadcasted determines the frequency of the radio station. FM radio station frequencies run from 88 to 108 MHz. Translated into radio stations, this means 88.1 to 107.9. Since the radio broadcasting frequencies need to be at least 200 MHz apart to keep from interfering with each other, the number of radio stations that transmit in FM are limited. FM radio signals are unable to be broadcasted over long distances; therefore, when someone travels outside of a certain FM broadcast area, the radio is no longer able to pick up the frequency and transmit it to the listeners. Although this may be a downfall to FM radio, it is also beneficial because it allows separate regions to have their own radio station broadcasts, so more variety is also offered.

What is DAB?

"DAB" stands for "Digital Audio Broadcasting". DAB allows radio broadcasting stations to transmit their signals by way of digital technology. There are several advantages to this type of radio broadcasting transmission. DAB broadcasting does not have the same MHz limitations as far as the amount of distance one radio stations needs to be from another in order to reduce interference. What this means for a person who can tune in to these broadcast stations is that there are a lot more radio station channels to choose from.

Major Differences Between DAB and FM broadcasting

One of the perks that comes along with being able to access DAB broadcasting is that unlike traditional FM radio broadcasting where you have to remember the radio station frequency to tune in, DAB lists radio stations by their names in alphabetical order. In addition, there are extra features, such as radio stations that can only be accessed from DAB radio receivers, which offers even a wider range of radio stations to the listener.

FM Limitations

Although there have been major advances in FM broadcasting technology over the years, one of the issues that remains with this type of broadcasting is its limitations in how the signals are transmitted. Basically, an FM radio station can be received within the range of a person’s sight. This is because the frequencies that are transmitted cannot bend as other types of frequencies are able to. This does not mean that these radio stations cannot be accessed permanently if out of sight. It just means that a person may need to have a longer antenna in order to be able to continue to access them.

DAB Limitations

DAB radio is not perfect though. Even though FM broadcasts are an older method of receiving radio station broadcast signals, they still tend to come in much clearer than DAB signals on many occasions because of the fact that DAB transmits on a smaller range of frequencies. Another area where DAB radio broadcasting differentiates from FM broadcasting is that not all people have access to this type of radio programming. Where a person lives largely depends on whether they are able to utilise this technology or not, so it is helpful to know if DAB radio is available to the listeners before they go out and invest in a DAB radio receiver.

How to Choose the Right Receiver

For people who decide that they prefer an FM receiver over a DAB receiver or maybe do not have the DAB option, there are many options available to them that can help increase their listening pleasure. There are many things besides distance that can interfere with the quality of sound that an FM radio is able to pick up. Physical structures often can get in the way of a radio picking up broadcasts. Inclement weather may also be a factor in being able to access some or all radio stations as well. Although there is no miracle FM radio that can pick up every broadcast all the time, there is something that can be done to help these situations.

What to Look for in a Radio

One of the first things that should be considered is the FM radio that is being used by the listener. Choosing the right radio can make a big difference in what radio stations are able to be accessed by the listener. One of the most frustrating things that FM radio listeners deal with is always trying to tune the radio into the proper channel, especially if they enjoy hopping around from station to station. Choosing a radio that has the capability of presetting radio stations is often helpful in eliminating this frustration. In addition, having a radio that has a digital tuner can help a listener get to a preferred station much easier than trying to tune in by hand. Buying a radio that has a good antenna is also an essential factor in getting improved radio reception. Many times it is not necessary to buy a new radio if an external radio antenna can be adapted to fit the unit. Antenna amplifiers are often worth the extra expense if the radio itself is in good condition.

Radio Modes

It is also helpful to look for a radio that has a variety of modes such as "mono" or "narrow" I.F. bandwidth. Mono modes help to reduce radio station static and other noise thereby improving the clarity of sound that is received. Narrow I.F. bandwidths modes can help to reduce the chance of the receiver picking up other stations that might interfere with the one being listened to.

DAB Radios

Radios that are able to pick up DAB stations offer a lot more versatility than their FM radio counterparts, including the ability to pick up internet radio broadcasts. Not only are these radios easier to find a favourite station on and receive more channels regardless of listening area, many of these types of radios also have the capability to record radio station broadcasts when the listener needs to be elsewhere, something an FM radio receiver cannot do. The radio station broadcast is saved to a memory card, allowing the listener to be able to retrieve the broadcast at a time that is more convenient.

Versatile Radios

And finally, for those people who are still unable to decide which type of receiver they like better, there are radios that offer both the functionality and versatility of choosing between FM and DAB stations. The combination of FM and DAB radios are more expensive than other types of radios, but for the avid listener, it may be worth spending the extra money for. There are even portable FM DAB radios, so music never needs to get left behind.

Buying FM or DAB Radios on eBay

There is nothing like turning on a radio and being able to tune into a great radio station to make a day more enjoyable and go by faster when needed. There are a variety of radios that have FM or DAB capability, and many that include both options. Purchasing your next radio on eBay is the perfect way to find what you are looking for. You can use the search query box on the eBay homepage to find what you need, or perform queries from the top of any other eBay page. There are also advance search option features available if you want to make your search even faster.

Finding the right seller is easy as well. This online marketplace has a large variety of sellers, so the selection range for finding the right receiver is great. Before purchasing any item from a seller, it is important to take a look at the seller feedback information. Here, a history will be provided on how that seller has performed previous transactions with other customers so you can find the right one for your needs.


Having a great radio, whether it is an FM receiver, a DAB receiver, or a combination of both technologies, is always a pleasant experience. There are so many brands of radios, and not all radios offer the same features or value. That is why it is important to choose the right one the first time.

Choosing the right radio receiver is a much easier task when the buyer understands the difference between FM and DAB receivers. In order to know which radio is the right one for the person intended, understanding the features and limitations between the different models is important as well. The way the signal is broadcasted between the two types of receivers makes a big difference in what radio stations can be accessed, and how far away they can be accessed from. Finding a radio that has various capabilities or even finding a better antenna for an existing radio can greatly increase the pleasure and reduce the frustration of the listener.

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