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      10-05-2012, 10:01 AM   #1
speedf
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DAB to FM fallback?

Given that DAB seems to be growing in popularity and does give better quality, I decided to purchase the DAB option for my F30.

However I've had problems where, if there is no DAB signal, the audio just stops (i.e. no FM fallback), even if the option in the DAB system to enable or disable FM fallback is enabled.

After having my car back into the dealers for a while for investigation, they seem to now be suggesting that actually the DAB doesn't have FM fallback. Just wondered whether any other owners had seen the FM fallback working and, if fallback isn't a function, to warn those who might be looking to purchase the DAB option.
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      10-05-2012, 10:34 AM   #2
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I had DAB that came on my old E90 330d that I bought 2nd hand. Never used it as it kept dropping the signal when driving along. I cant see the point of it if you cant get a signal.

I ended up just running on normal radio any time I switched the radio.

Can you not just switch it to FM if it drops out?
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      10-05-2012, 11:13 AM   #3
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The UK isn't set up for DAB unless all you do is drive in a city. Just ain't worth the bother. You can stream radio via 3G on your phone more reliably than you can listen to DAB on a long journey
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      10-05-2012, 01:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaestroAl View Post
The UK isn't set up for DAB unless all you do is drive in a city. Just ain't worth the bother. You can stream radio via 3G on your phone more reliably than you can listen to DAB on a long journey
Damn and Blast! What do I do now. I drive in the city mostly but when I leave it am I buggered? Can't be. It must have FM fallback. What happens when I go to France or Germany? Have they got DAB? Good excuse to cancel my order or get a further discount!
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      10-05-2012, 02:10 PM   #5
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I believe Europe uses a completely different digital radio system. A bit like Betamax Vs VHS. And yes, it's crap in the countryside. "Normal" radio gets a bit hissy but you can still hear it. DAB gets choppy an s u c 't r t p p ly.
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      10-05-2012, 02:45 PM   #6
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But is there FM fallback with the system?
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      10-05-2012, 06:05 PM   #7
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But surely DAB will imrpove in time, they are discontinuing FM/AM with digital switchover right?
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      10-05-2012, 06:26 PM   #8
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No doubt. Dem Guv'ment said the switch-over would be 2015 but they also said that DAB would have to be available to 90$ of the population and cover all major roads before that could happen.

It will happen, no doubt, but we're not there yet
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      10-06-2012, 01:48 AM   #9
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I had DAB in my last 2 beemers and also have it in my current A4 quattro.

My experience is that in northern England you only loose it in fairly remote places such as the top of the Scotch Corner to Penrith road but in Scotland when you get north of Edinburgh or Glasgow it's pretty patchy.

One of the good points of the Audi is that it auto drops to FM if you loose the DAB. This didn't happen on my E90 325d but I would have hoped BMW would have got the F30 up to date with this technology.
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      10-06-2012, 03:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F30AM View Post
But is there FM fallback with the system?
Well, I guess there is supposed to be, since there is an option in the system where you can enable or disable fallback to FM in the case of loosing DAB. However, at per my post at the beginning of the thread, even with this option enabled, if I loose DAB it doesn't automatically give you the FM version. Hope to speak to dealer again next week, but at the moment they seem to be indicating that this function doesn't actually work!
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      12-20-2012, 01:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedf View Post
Well, I guess there is supposed to be, since there is an option in the system where you can enable or disable fallback to FM in the case of loosing DAB. However, at per my post at the beginning of the thread, even with this option enabled, if I loose DAB it doesn't automatically give you the FM version. Hope to speak to dealer again next week, but at the moment they seem to be indicating that this function doesn't actually work!
So, BMW now have a final answer for me. Quote "the DAB radio does switch from a DAB to FM radio station when the DAB signal is lost on non-BBC stations".
Hmmmm. Personally, I don't believe this since I've never observed the radio switching from DAB to FM on any station - non-BBC or otherwise. I know it's not a "signal strength" issues, as two other cars with DAB fall-back to FM quite happily in the locations where my BMW doesn't. As suspected I don't believe the BMW actually has this functionality. Very disappointed and feeling let down by BMW - who assured me this feature was present before I bought the car.
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      12-20-2012, 04:01 AM   #12
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I experienced it on the X5 all the time (on non-BBC stations as said). I've not had the F31 long enough yet to experience it, and normally listen to BBC anyway.

What I will say is that the auto switch is very annoying! It jumps back/forth a couple of seconds when it switches, it is not seamless. In a poor signal area that gets very annoying.
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      12-20-2012, 07:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
I experienced it on the X5 all the time (on non-BBC stations as said). I've not had the F31 long enough yet to experience it, and normally listen to BBC anyway.

What I will say is that the auto switch is very annoying! It jumps back/forth a couple of seconds when it switches, it is not seamless. In a poor signal area that gets very annoying.
What I don't understand is why it should be limited to non-BBC stations. Other cars seem to cope with BBC stations, so why shouldn't the Beemer? Appreciate the switch can be annoying, but there is an option to have the fallback switched off (but that would need it to be working fully in the first case!)
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      12-20-2012, 08:52 AM   #14
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The DAB is Mercedes doesn't either for BBC stations so it isn't specific to BMW.
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      12-20-2012, 09:22 AM   #15
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I'm told reason is there is a significant delay in transmission between BBC Digital and BBC FM, so would be annoying to keep jumping to what you were listening to 5 seconds ago.

Local stations broadcast both signals together, so are more likely to be sync'd.

My personal thoughts on the DAB are positive, I can't get KISS100 where I live on FM, but just about pick it up on DAB. Like with any regional stations when you put obstructions between you and the broadcast antenna you will get signal loss. It is more annoying on digital as you get complete signal breakdown as opposed to 'static' but can still hear the signal faintly on an analogue broadcast.

Maybe my expectations were brought down by reports of crap DAB, but I haven't experienced signal loss once when listening to Radio 1 DAB, so I'm a happy customer......so far
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      12-20-2012, 01:59 PM   #16
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Just to offer another angle on this topic. DAB is great, but it's principle benefit is being able to pick up more (many more) stations.

There's a general belief that DAB is superior in sound quality, but the reality is that DAB is behind FM by some margin. You could say that DAB is to radio what MP3 is to music - i.e. it adds convenience and brings more music to more people (wonderful), but the sound quality suffers through a good system.

DAB could sound good, but the amount of bandwidth allocated to channels and stations when it was first setup leave it lagging good FM stations by miles. For a lot of people, MP3 is just fine (and most have never heard good or even modest hi-fi). Likewise, most will be happy with DAB, but it's worth knowing that it's a compromise in sound quality terms.

How much you hear of this is down to how good your tuner, amp and speakers are, but a good in-car system would show up the difference and a moderate home hi-fi would be night and day. On a big home rig, DAB sounds thin and one-dimensional, with no depth & richness.

The benefit you do get sound-wise from DAB is that it's more resilient to noise. So, given an average to weak signal, DAB will play you little or no perceived noise or hiss compared to FM. But when you have an average to good FM signal, the potential sound quality is way better. The difference is less noticeable on poppy stations like Radio 1, but it's vast on stations like Radio 4 and Radio 3.

Anyway, just sharing this in case it affects your thinking on DAB vs. FM. You're not buying better sound quality - just more stations.
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      12-20-2012, 03:55 PM   #17
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I've had DAB in E60 and F10 and always found the signal good for reception. Can't comment of fallback as I listen to BBC.

I've got the full 16 speaker option in my F10 and find the audio is much better on FM - presumably due to the compression used for DAB

To test,try programming the same station (1xDAB, 1x FM) to 2 of the " one touch programable" buttons and flick between them during any song.
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      12-21-2012, 02:09 AM   #18
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In my old E90 (2011) DAB fell bck to FM when out of DAB signal. Havent tried my F30 yet as i havent got it yet
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      12-21-2012, 02:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jyoung69 View Post
In my old E90 (2011) DAB fell bck to FM when out of DAB signal. Havent tried my F30 yet as i havent got it yet
I mostly drive in London, but now I wish I had not bothered with DAB and optioned something else instead.
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      12-21-2012, 03:57 PM   #20
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I've had DAB on my last 4 cars and the coverage is getting better. BBC is the best coverage as some of the other stations arnt on all transmitters. I realy only listen to Absolute radio around Glasgow and If I go futher then its USB or Internet Radio is used for Absolute.. sorry hate radio 1..
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      12-21-2012, 05:25 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaestroAl View Post
The UK isn't set up for DAB unless all you do is drive in a city. Just ain't worth the bother. You can stream radio via 3G on your phone more reliably than you can listen to DAB on a long journey
The UK is set up for DAB - I've been using DAB in my current vehicle since 2008 - bothe BBC and Commercial radio - UK wide. Moreover if the radio station is Digital and you ghave set up a FM station then it will falback from DAB station to the FM station...recheck how you save or set the stations up.
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      12-21-2012, 05:30 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaestroAl View Post
The UK isn't set up for DAB unless all you do is drive in a city. Just ain't worth the bother. You can stream radio via 3G on your phone more reliably than you can listen to DAB on a long journey
The UK is set up for DAB - I've been using DAB in my current vehicle since 2008 - bothe BBC and Commercial radio - UK wide. Moreover if the radio station is Digital and you have set up a FM station then it will falback from DAB station to the FM station...recheck how you save or set the stations up.

Getting a little techie...DAB transmission use a higher frequency than FM so they may not propergate as far...thus potentially having slightly less range.
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