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I’ve rediscovered radio recently – I went through a phase in my life of always having the radio on; then I got involved in student radio and lived in a radio station, but then I drifted away, and stopped listening to music so much, and when I did it tended to be my own albums.

Anyway, my phone has an FM receiver on it, so I’ll fairly often plug in the headphones on the way to/from work, and bop away on the train (or something). Pains me to admit it, but I actually quite like listening to Radio 2, especially Terry Wogan (and team) who are actually really quite funny and play reasonable music. So this morning for a change I switched to Real Radio, and I was surprised at how much Real seem to compress their audio feed – I bet if you had a VU meter on it it would dead flat at “5”. This is what a lot of commercial radio stations do (Capital certainly used to), but R2 doesn’t seem to! Limiting the dynamic range covers a multitude of sins to do with poor mixing, balance, microphone technique, and limited broadcast bandwidth, and automatically gives the DJ a bit more “presence” compared to the music, and in that sense I guess it sounds “better” – but I found I prefer the sound of R2. Horses for courses, I suppose.

Still, our car radio doesn’t work at the moment, as when it was last serviced they disconnected the battery, which reset and locked the radio, but we don’t have the code. Options are to take the unit out and look at the serial number, and try out one of these ‘cracking’ programs that gets the code from the serial number, or take it into a Fiat dealership and ask nicely (and almost certainly pay through the nose). Trip to Cornwall in the summer though, and a car radio makes these long drives so much better…

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