Posted by: Crowe | January 9, 2007

HD Radio in Indy

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Before I got my truck, I had a Jeep Wrangler and put a Sony CDX-MP40 head unit in it. That was a great little MP3 playin’ stereo, but it had to let it go with the Jeep. (Unfortunately, it and the new Sony xPlod speakers were part of the deal)

For months and months I’d been driving my truck around with an old factory stereo in the dash. (If you have an MP3 player for 3 years and suddenly go without, it is really tough to adapt! All of the CDs I carried around were collections of albums in MP3 format!). For my birthday this year, my wonderful wife bought me a *NEW* stereo for my truck. It was a tough choice for me to decide what brand/ model to get, but I settled on the JVC KD-HDR1, and I’m glad I did. Its a great stereo and even makes the 10 year old speakers in my truck sound good. What I truly love though is my new, expanded list of listening options.

*HDRadio.com has a lot of of listings by city, but I found nearly double the ones listed for Indianapolis just by scanning around)

1. MP3/ WMA playback – plays CDs, CD-Rs, and CD-RWs (including discs loaded with MP3 and WMA music files)

2. SAT Radio – satellite radio-ready (tuner, antenna, and XM or SIRIUS service subscription required)

3. HD RadioHD Radio tuner built in (Hybrid Digital, Not Hi-Def)

4. Multicasting – receives multicasting content (station identifer, freq., artist/ title/ genre, can act like RDS)

5. Power – built-in MOSFET amplifier (20 watts RMS/50 peak x 4 channels)

You have to truly understand it to appreciate it, but the HD signal makes AM sound as good as FM/ FM sound like CD Quality/ HD is, well, digital. It sounds great. My favorite part though is discovering the multicast staions! Several stations broadcast 2-3 streams over the same frequency. For example, here in Indy, WZPL 99.5 plays rock/pop. They have an HD channel (HD1) that plays the same broadcast in digital and a second offering on HD2 that is 24 hour comedy.

The only downfall, so far, is when a station fades. If the primary HD station fades, it just reverts back to the same broadcast in analog until the signal increases enough to try HD again. If you are listening to a multicast broadcast, there is no analog backup. The sound fades out and returns when there is signal. (also, if I set WZPL-HD2 as a preset, only the WZPL part [frequency] sets. Everytime I start my truck it tunes to HD1 – rock/ pop until I aquire an HD signal and manually change to HD2)

These things are really minor, and I love my stereo. If only I had an iPod…anyone have an extra to donate? (My stereo has an iPod interface as well and controls it as a CD changer.)
Get a list of the HD offerings in YOUR city! 

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