Can You Hear Me Now?

On the Audizine website, this damning exchange about HD radio just about says it all. With word of mouth like this, who needs enemies?

pcblion: Just picked up my 2011 S4 about a week ago and today I started having a problem with my radio and I was wondering if there are any others out there that have had this problem in the past. When I change radio stations to a station that broadcasts in HD, the music plays for about 5 seconds then fades out. I have no problem playing non-HD stations, and I haven’t tried XM stations yet to see if they are still working. I don’t think it is a reception issue because I haven’t had any problems for the past week in the areas that I drive and the music plays perfectly clear for those 5 seconds until it fades out. I dug through the MMI menus for a while to see if I may have accidentally set some sort of preview mode, but I haven’t found anything. Just wondering if anyone has had this issue or knows of a fix before I take it back to the dealership to troubleshoot. Thanks.

KZ: I experienced the exact same phenomenon in our family’s 2011 S4. I am a hopeless audiophile and I noticed it immediately. It drives me crazy. The car is my mother’s daily driver and I just haven’t had time to take it to the service center yet. This is my first experience with HD radio, surely it can’t just nominally suck this bad?! If you find anything out or get useful info form service people, please pass it on! I will do the same.

goony: The HD radio has $hitty reception; especially when listening to an HD channel. Some have likened it to losing cell phone reception and then picking up the next tower. This is a huge disappointment with this vehicle and I tend to listen to the Sirius because of it……..but perhaps that’s the plan to keep the subscriptions active. My previos car’s non HD stereo had much stronger sound than the B&O. In short, HD sucks! P.S. – I brought this up to my SM and he was unaware of any issues and found no TSB’s addressing it.

dr bryan: HD radio in my area sounds like crap, too, but that’s because it’s broadcast in such a low bitrate… Just like Satellite, they cut the bitrate so they can broadcast more channels on the same bandwidth. Just go in to MMI and turn off the HD radio and it will do only FM. You will lose the extra stations but most of those are crap where I’m from.

qtrocar: I’m having a problem which might be the same, but at a minimum, it is similar. The problem that I’m having is that while listening to HD Radio, the voice becomes strained, and it takes on a synthetic, almost electronic quality for a few seconds, and then the normal voice and normal tone return. Just as goony said, I also brought this up to my service advisor, and they did not know of the problem, and did not know of a fix.

zerinA4: It isn’t just your car, but a problem with HD radio as a whole. I’m in and out of a new car just about every week and EVERY single car I’ve tested with HD radio from VW to BMW to Jaguar has this issue.

Word that new red whiz-bang HD radio has hit . . . errr, plopped . . . on the market had them hooting on the discussion board:


Eric Rhoads, who graced us with direct sales of an Insignia portable knockoff sprayed red and dubbed “Mighty Red,” wants everyone to line up for a repeat fleecing by HD Radio. In an e-mail blast titled “Let’s Re-Launch HD Radio,” Rhoads opines that all we have to do is call HD something else/different and append the superlative “NEW!!!” to it — then — just like THAT! Radio will presumably have a cool new success to crow about!

Shocked ABSOLUTELY!!  GREAT freakin’ idea, Eric!!!

We can cross-market HD in all kinds of categories!! Think of HD, factory-standard in your new Segway scooter — sold nationwide at every neighborhood Bricklin-Yugo dealership!! HD can be part of an interior-appointment package including little cupholder trays for Olestra potato chips and New Coke!  HD branding can be applied to a whole new line of fanny-packs and cellphone holsters, etc. It’ll be like the return of…..DISCO!!!

Ahem….  Roll Eyes

“With all due respect…..” Meaning, not much — this is the kind of “thinking” that put the radio industry into a seven-year jackpot, doing such productive things as HD Radio and blowing millions on a paranoid lawsuit over satellite radio. “Re-launch HD Radio?” I see. Let’s try once again to foist an unparalleled market failure on the public and try to sell the idea that THIS time, it’s somehow different. “We just didn’t discover the right lies last time….”

SirRoxalot: How about if everybody turns in their Iniquity licenses and uses the money for better quality programming? We’ve got plenty of radio stations already. We don’t really need more. The analog signal is better than any digital signal. Even AM stereo in the old C-QUAM format was better than The Buzz.

Content is the real issue, not technology. Radio technology has gone backwards in the last decade. Settle on technology supported by the BILLIONS of existing receivers, add modern processing, and spend the money on content. See, isn’t that simple?


4 Responses

  1. Here’s what Mark Ramsey had to say:

    “Relaunch HD Radio says Radio Ink. Right into the toilet where it belongs. My candlestick phone has it built in!”


  2. […] Williams must know that HD access is a sad joke and no replacement for on-air broadcast. For starters, will Williams will waste his time […]

  3. It is refreshing to read here that it is not just my wife and I that think the continuous rollover of new technology is just a way to suck more dollars out of the gullible public. We haven’t found anything about HD that enhances listening. SirRoxalot says it all. For most human ears, analog is just fine.

  4. Yes! Content! The very thing that people turn on their radios for, what a concept! I agree with SirRoxalot that there are plenty of stations already, and with this week’s FCC ruling there should soon be a lot more. And you can bet that it will be content that wins over listeners, not the re-branding of a national swindle.

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