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Improved AM in Subaru

The technical side of broadcasting. Think IBOC is a sham? Talk about it here! How about HDTV? Post DX reports here as well.
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Turkeytop
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Improved AM in Subaru

Post by Turkeytop » Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:30 pm

Subaru Makes a Positive Move on AM

Could it be that car radio makers are starting to take a second look at performance on AM?

Larry Langford
Mar 28, 2018

My 2013 Subaru was in the shop for extended work. The dealership gave me a 2018 loaner with a Harmon Kardon sound system.

Of course, the first thing I did was turn on the AM radio to see just how bad it was.

I was knocked out of my socks to hear what sounded like FM! The radio has quality features like HD Radio but the station I was listening to was AM analog, yet it sounded simply amazing. I tuned up and down the dial and noticed the secret to the great sound.

The Subaru/Harmon Kardon premium radio was equipped with an automatic bandwidth control. The stronger the AM station the wider the bandwidth.

I got out my field strength meter and did some driving around. It seems the change point from narrow to wide is about the 2 millivolt level. This matched rather well with what is termed “local” AM radio. My ear tells me the wideband mode must be good to about 6.5 kHz with the narrow mode rolling off fast at the more traditional 3 kHz or less.

Local AM stations transmitting music sounded so good they could compete head to head with FM if radios with bandwidth control radios were more commonplace.
https://www.radioworld.com/columns-and- ... move-on-am

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Big Signal
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Location: Southeast Michigan

Re: Improved AM in Subaru

Post by Big Signal » Sun Apr 08, 2018 8:47 pm

My 2005 Ford Escape had the Mach 300 audio system and it did the same thing with local AM signals, AM stereo sounded even better on WJR when they were running the C-QUAM system.
It's all about the money!

KC8YQQ
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Re: Improved AM in Subaru

Post by KC8YQQ » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:41 am

My wife has a 2015 Subaru Legacy with the HK stereo. AM does sound really nice, even CFCO in Jackson. Unfortunately, the HD is not decoding CFCO's CQUAM as I have not heard any separation.

jry
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Re: Improved AM in Subaru

Post by jry » Tue Apr 10, 2018 9:33 am

I'm in the middle of a bare knuckle brawl with higher ups at a certain car manufacturer that is seeing AM as inconsequential and wants to cheapen the tuner. They'll save about 50 cents a car, maybe a buck. They think that FM in car listening is about 30%, AM- 6. I've sent them tons of real world data that shows AM at about 18 or 20%. FM, much higher.
THIS IS BAD. I've been at it for about a year. When these guys get something in their heads, there's no changing their minds. I am engaging the NAB in the fight.

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MWmetalhead
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Re: Improved AM in Subaru

Post by MWmetalhead » Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:45 am

Hyundai vehicles, based on my experience, have absolutely terrible AM band technology. It seems limited to 2 kHz. Walkie talkie audio clarity sounds better!
Memo to 106.7: Twenty-One Pilots, Imagine Dragons, FUN and Fall Out Boy all S-U-C-K!!! Stop playing those shitty (boy) bands, and maybe you'll end your streak of piss poor ratings!

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1027BrianFM
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Re: Improved AM in Subaru

Post by 1027BrianFM » Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:29 am

I used to have a Kia Rio, so same thing as a Hyundai pretty much. Reception was ok, although in my 2008 Honda Civc The AM sounds much better. The AM radio I had in my 96 GMC Sonoma was the absolute worst, nothing but static. It worked fine if the engine wasn't running but start the truck and forget it, when you stepped on the gas it got worse. A friend of mine, his Pontiac Grand AM had the same issue.
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Turkeytop
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Re: Improved AM in Subaru

Post by Turkeytop » Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:44 am

1027BrianFM wrote:
Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:29 am
The AM radio I had in my 96 GMC Sonoma was the absolute worst, nothing but static. It worked fine if the engine wasn't running but start the truck and forget it, when you stepped on the gas it got worse. A friend of mine, his Pontiac Grand AM had the same issue.
I bought a brand new 2003 Buick. I had that same problem right from day 1. My wife used to know when I was on my way home because, as soon as I turned on to our street her TV would break up.

I complained to the dealer and they booked me an appointment for the next time their radio expert would be in. He concluded that there was nothing wrong with the radio. Of course there wasn't. The radio was doing exactly what it was designed to do. Amplifying the signal it received. The problem was with the engine radiating the noise.

There was a sticker inside the door declaring that the vehicle met some numbered FCC regulation. I peeled off the label, made a copy and sent it to GM. Asked them to show me where my vehicle had been tested for that. They never replied.

Inundated
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Re: Improved AM in Subaru

Post by Inundated » Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:06 am

MWmetalhead wrote:
Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:45 am
Hyundai vehicles, based on my experience, have absolutely terrible AM band technology. It seems limited to 2 kHz. Walkie talkie audio clarity sounds better!
A family member has a Hyundai Accent, and AM is basically unlistenable.

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48125er
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Re: Improved AM in Subaru

Post by 48125er » Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:26 pm

Newer Fords have really good AM, My parents listen to the cubs on 670 from Chicago, it sounds pretty Crisp, In my 98 Oldsmobile 88 barely any AM stations come in remotely clear.
Last edited by 48125er on Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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1027BrianFM
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Re: Improved AM in Subaru

Post by 1027BrianFM » Sat Apr 14, 2018 4:33 pm

Right Turkey, I remember you mentioning that. The AM was useless in that truck, not to mention other problems I had with that truck. I find the one in my Honda isn't bad.

My Mom had a GMC Jimmy, same thing as the bravada, yep same issue I had with my truck.
" Z102.7 Rocks! The best hard rock and classic metal in The D" "No Stupid morning show, No endless commercial blocks, and uh... No Nickleback"

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MWmetalhead
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Re: Improved AM in Subaru

Post by MWmetalhead » Sat Apr 14, 2018 8:27 pm

Newer Fords have really good AM, My parents listen to the cubs on 670 from Chicago, it sounds pretty Crisp
The audio fidelity is quite good (even though it is limited to 6 kHz or so). However, Ford vehicles with Sync or MyFordTouch are prone to microprocessor interference on certain AM band frequencies. 620 is a miserable frequency for my current vehicle and my previous one, too (both are Fords). 670 also has some microprocessor garbage on it, albeit not nearly to the same extent as 620.

My former GMC Envoy had phenomenally good AM band reception. Easily 8 kHz bandwidth, terrific reception, and no microprocessor interference anywhere on the band. Could listen to 670 & 720 almost to Lansing during the daytime effortlessly. 760 & 950 from Detroit also had great range in that vehicle, as did 640 from Zeeland and 1260 from Holland. 590 WKZO during daytime came in clear as a bell almost to the Ingham / Livingston border.

I will say this - multiple Chevy models I've tested have horrible FM performance in areas prone to multi-path and intermod. Some of their HD-equipped radios also sound terrible in analog mode.
Memo to 106.7: Twenty-One Pilots, Imagine Dragons, FUN and Fall Out Boy all S-U-C-K!!! Stop playing those shitty (boy) bands, and maybe you'll end your streak of piss poor ratings!

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48125er
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Re: Improved AM in Subaru

Post by 48125er » Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:49 pm

Theres is a 17 Fusion, The 12 had good reception for FM, but had some micropressor interference, The best ford radio was in my dads 2004 F150 had a long antenna, barely any interference, Worst ford radio EVER was in this Ford tempo even the screen didnt show right, My GM Radio is garbage, but my mom had a 90 Lesabre and that had good reception in Dearborn, could pick up London and Cleveland often, Chatham and Toledo were almost 365 days a year, well A lot of it was before all the translators popped up.

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WOHO
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Re: Improved AM in Subaru

Post by WOHO » Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:26 pm

It's too bad about Hyundai, as they were in line to get the Motorola "Symphony chipset" which favored HQ AM reception and had DSP, variable bandwidth, look ahead noise blankers and optional CQUAM. Unfortunately, Motorola sold their semiconductor line to ON Semiconductor and lost all the Motorola sales effort to promote the Symphony chipset - Hyundai/Kia was to be their first customer. IIRC, the chipset could also get NOAA Weather Radio and super-duper blend from stereo to mono on both AM and on FM. Kills me not to have had a radio with it installed. I also heard that the 'two part radios' in the GM trucks, where there was a display in the dash, and the actual radio in a tin box, had a very excellent AM setup, and might have used the Motorola Symphony chips. Moto decided to go all-in on cellphones and obsoleting public service band hardware by not having replacement parts and forcing them to keep buying newer and newer technologies (but that's another story for another day).

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Ed Joseph
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Re: Improved AM in Subaru

Post by Ed Joseph » Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:41 pm

We have a 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport which has a pretty decent AM section. WION sounds great on it when I punch them up, although no C-QuAM. But it's easily as good as the vintage Delco AM-only analog radios of the 70's.
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