Mono DAB multiplex for London

The London 3 DAB digital radio multiplex has gone all mono this weekend following a reshuffle of digital radio stations in the capital. 

It's believed to be the first UK DAB multiplex to entirely carry mono stations.

Colourful, Desi and Rainbow Radio are now no longer carried on DAB digital radio in London. The stations continue online. Desi also continues to be broadcast on AM in West London. Colourful is currently raising money to cover future DAB distribution costs.

Listeners to Panjab Radio need to retune to continue listing - the station has moved from the London 3 to the London 2 multiplex.

Rock station The Arrow has dropped its bitrate to 64kbps mono, Gaydio has dropped to 80kpbs mono and Kismat is now at 64kbps mono.

VHF frequency
London 1
CE Digital
London 2
London 3

The amount stations pay for DAB carriage is based on the bandwidth they use. Switching to mono and/or lower bitrates reduces distribution costs on the platform.

Last year, Glyn Jones, general manager for digital radio platforms at Arqiva, explained in a blog post on the UK Digital Radio website that "typically stereo capacity will cost about twice as much as mono. So the station has to consider how many listeners will benefit from stereo (eg a listener with a single-speaker radio will only hear the difference if they also sometimes use headphones). In car listening is important and stations are aware that for many listeners this is the time when they will get most benefit from stereo."

"Whether stations are funded via commercial revenues (eg advertising and sponsorship), listener supported (eg by appeals and fund raising) or paid for from the BBC licence fee, the choice of bit rate will also affect the costs of running a radio station."

DAB critics have complained about the recent increase in the number of stations broadcasting in mono, pointing out that FM and internet radio offers better stereo sound quality and choice over DAB.

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  1. Not very good news for people who have already bought a DAB radio with two speakers, you are correct in saying that FM and Internet Radio sounds better in stereo than DAB, however 128 bit rate in stereo is still reasonable on digital radio-from those still broadcasting in that mode, but for how much longer!!

  2. My views on DAB is that essentially it's a DUD... UK should bring itself up to date and go to DAB+ for reasons given here:

  3. I only know ONE person with a DAB radio and he doesn't use it - it's me and I was given it as a present 4 or 5 years ago. FM is much better quality, has more stations and costs stations less, which benefits the listener with a greater choice.

    You can keep your DAB, especially with the continually decreasing audio quality.

    DAB? No thanks.

  4. I have DAB radios. I just don't use them any more. Even in the car I stream through my 3G mobile phone if I want to listen to anything not on FM and at home I use my Roberts Stream Internet radio which is much better quality than DAB. We HAVE to move to DAB+ or just abandon the whole idea.

  5. Aha! an entire multiplex in mono, perhaps it's a medium wave revival. I can't wait for the next stage where they add crackles and overnight fading.


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