Best quality bbc radio

Using either the Naim app or Roon, what is the best possible sound quality available forBBC2,3,4?

Or is there another option?

For best sound quality you need an NAT01/NAPST tuner and a decent VHF aerial.

Unfortunately for anyone looking to buy one, people know this, so it’s difficult to lay your hands on a good second hand one.

My own NAT01 was drifting off signal, but it has recently come back from being serviced at Naim HQ in Salisbury, and is sounding fantastic.

The single box NAT02 was very good as well.


Entirely agree BBC on FM or forget it for quality. :+1:t2:
DAB in the kitchen for convenience. :wink:


Using the Naim app, the best BBC web-radio (Naim iRadio) service is HLS 48kHz @ 339kb/s.
NAT-01 (& NAT-02) is something else in audio pleasure.

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Thanks @Mike-B , @Skeptikal , @graham55 , Roon shows AAC at 48KHz 330ish kbps and the same for the Naim app. I use an iPad for both.

So I have as good as it gets unless I go to FM.

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An alternative to the BBC lossy HLS option is to look at other Internet radio stations with good content and streaming in flac and flac high resolution (and not forgetting many good ones in MP3/AAC as well).


As a long time fan of FM broadcasts, I’m currently tuner-less as I am reluctant to spring for another one plus aerial if the broadcast quality is to be degraded or switched off altogether.

I’d much prefer to listen to the broadcast vs stream and I think I ask this every time this comes up on a thread - IS the signal being degraded or switched off? It was supposed to be over some years ago and the answer seems to be that the situation seems uncertain. Are there views on this please? If a good quality signal is sticking around I’d go for a NAT 02.

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Hi CalamityJack … FM should continue until “at least 2030” in the UK according to a Digital Radio and Audio Review by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
A problem is the FM listening share is slowly falling off in favour of digital broadcasts, not so much to DAB, more moving to online/streaming services.
Against this background of diminishing market share the decision makers have to justify the continuation of this nationwide service against the costs of the infrastructure maintenance.
The decision to stop the nationwide FM service will eventually be a political one, so who knows how that bag of snakes will end up.


Fully agree we have a NAT 01 and 02 and they are fantastic from our G17 aerial.

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I have given up worrying about the FM switch-off. It has been talked about for years now, but there’s no change. There might be riots from the solid citizens who listen to Radio 3 and Radio 4

And I’ve just had my lovely NAT-01 serviced by Naim HQ.

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Thanks. I really do love a live FM broadcast!

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The BBC has been using digital processing as part of their FM broadcasting path for years:


I wondered who would bite first.
They just press buttons and send any old digital file out.
But it’s transmitted in Analogue. :wink:
Bit like how a digitally mastered album sounds better replayed on vinyl than digifile. :thinking:


The FLAC streams of the proms a few years ago were excellent. Sadly, I don’t think there’s any realistic chance of them being repeated. I doubt that the sound quality of radio broadcasts is high on the Beeb’s priority list — they’ve got a lot more immediate problems.

I’ve sometimes thought we should lobby for more FLAC broadcasts, but sadly I suspect most listeners, even to R3, are not that focussed on SQ and a few nerds on an audiophile forum are unlikely to swing the dial.


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Yes, the last OTA transmission is analog so that all those folks with analog FM tuners/receivers can get it. But pretty much everything before that last step is digital. :wink:

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I listen to BBC6 music using Roon, the codex states that it is AAC 48Khz, 2Ch, 322kbps.

Using the Roon DSP, it converts it to DSD512, which is the highest DSD stream my DAC can handle. However, the music is still sounding a little lifeless and flat.

Possibly it loses some sound quality in that totally unnecessary conversion. You can’t add what isn’t there and you might want to try it without.

There is no point in doing that because the BBC forked technically away from FLAC and it’s long gone, as I understand it from friends on the inside.

Exactly digital radio is not very good in my view.

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I rather doubt that that is the case with BBC Radio 3. The entire output is broadcast live, as far as I can tell, and I think it’s all analogue.

Please correct me, if I’m wrong…