I'm back in the UK for a couple of days and on turning on my DAB radio this evening, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that BBC Radio 3 is being broadcast at 192 kbps again. A few months ago, the BBC dropped Radio 3 to 160 kbps to make room for a 24/7 looping trail
for Radio 5 Sports Extra.
While 160 kbps was just about bearable, I really enjoyed listening to this evening's edition of Mixing It. So much so that I just purchased some music from the wonderful Joanna Newsom on iTunes which was played on the show.
Of course, even at 192 kbps, UK DAB, which uses MP2 encoding, is not hi-fi and much worse than a strong FM signal received by a good tuner. Apparently some limited UK trials of DAB with AAC+ encoding have taken place. AAC+ based DAB at 128 kbps would provide very acceptable, audio quality – similar to CD quality for most listeners. Unfortunately, it is not yet clear when AAC+ will be rolled out in the UK, if ever.