Today being Sunday was a day upon which I leapt out of bed fairly early and then walked down into town in order to pick up my Sunday newspaper. As I walked down into town, I was turning over in my mind why my newly acquired little mini hifi system which I have recently brought into use in our kitchen seemed to give such high quality sound. One little thing that I did last night was to tidy up the masking tape which held the aerial in place and the whole thing now looks quite neat. But listening quite a lot to ClassicFM I am very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the sound I am experiencing. Thinking about this and pushing aside completely subjective factors for the moment, I suppose the quality of the sound in a system must be a combination of the design and quality of the individual components in which the loudspeakers are critical and the quality and positioning of the aerial/antenna. I then noticed that the front of the unit referred to DAB+ so I did a bit of research to discover what the ‘+’ element stands for. I now appreciate that DAB has evolved over the years since its introduction in the 1990’s and DAB+ ought to deliver more stations and of higher quality than its predecessor. I wondered how many broadcasters are actually transmitting in DAB+ mode and I think that some of the bigger players are not in the market such as the BBC and ClassicFM itself. I suppose that the broadcasters are nervous about cutting out part of their market as many of their audience may only have the older version of their technology, including myself. As I purchased the Pure DAB radios that I do have, this was on average about ten years ago and only radios purchased within the last year or so will be DAB+ radios. So one of my initial hypotheses about why I should be getting the sound quality that I have on my new hifi system bit the dust as ClassicFM is not transmitting in DAB+ mode insofar as I can tell. But just to satisfy my curiosity, I found a website that aggregates evaluations of my little Panasonic system and I noticed that about 60% of nearly 300 customer reviews all specifically mentioned the quality of the sound produced by the system. The terms ‘excellent’ and ‘amazing’ were very prominent, so it is not just my own subjective opnion that the system produces a quality sound. Many people seem to have purchased this system not as their ‘main’ hifi system but as a smaller unit which is ideal for a teenager’s bedroom, a kitchen, a conservatory or even a garage. One or two brave souls even mentioned that they were so delighted with the system they were going to purchase a second one to utilise in another part of their house.
The footballing World Cup is transmitting matches during the morning, afternoon and evenings and this is playing havoc with certain of our well known television broadcasts. So, for example, some of our favourite programmes such as the Andrew Neil show are transmitting half an hour earlier than would otherwise be the case. However, there is one football match which even for those only mildly intererested in football such as Meg and myself is a clash that is well worth watching. That is the match tonight between Spain and Germany, neither of them the footballing giants that they used to be but nonetheless, probably well worth a watch. I tend to support Spain whichever opponents they happen to have but one is always fascinated to see if the Germans might be beaten. Several years ago, I was in Spain on my own, as it happens (I think part of an exminations panel for a PhD at the University of La Coruña) and Spain was playing in, I think, a European cup match. I went to a bar that I knew quite well here they served an excellent dark beer. The bar owner, seeing I was on my own, beckoned me towards the front where I could have a seat next to the bar and with a good view of the TV. As it happened, the Spanish scored first and the bar went wild and I think their opponents then equalised. I had a chat with some of the fellow drinkers about what good goals they were and then the Spanish went on to have nightmare of a match where they eventually got defeated about 4-1 or a similar margin. When the second goal was scored against the Spanish, after a collective groan the bar went quiet – but this was to be followed by goal after goal as the Spanish were being soundly beaten. The bar got more and more quiet and when I turned out to go at the end of the match, I realised that most of the audience could not bear to watch any more so they had abandoned their drinks on the table and walked away in disgust. So a bar that had been full of joyous, gregarious Spaniards at the start of the evening just emptied as the evening wore on. I suppose this was an understandable reaction but it makes me wonder why may happen this evening?