The Journey to the DAB Radio Alarm Clocks of 2023
| Reuben Howe
There are plenty of reasons we need a strong, positive start to our days. Maybe you're learning a new routine, or it's unexpectedly the end of the weekend! Waking up each morning can feel like a task, sometimes. While a simple buzzer alarm definitely kicks you into gear (And if you’re anything like me, haunts you) it isn’t the most pleasant or engaging way to start the day.
Enter DAB Bluetooth Radios. DAB as a system provides lossless, digital radio across 50+ DAB/DAB+ stations. Bluetooth functionality in newer products adds a whole other layer to using DAB to its maximum potential.
How does this help with those rough mornings? A DAB Radio Alarm Clock can replace the aggressive, repetitive buzzer with a chosen radio station or music file/Bluetooth alarm. Replacing that awful cacophonic clock and giving a varied but reliable musical melody to awake to. Here are the ways the DAB Radio Alarm Clock came about and ways it can help with everyday tasks.
Isn’t Radio FM or AM?
The begin with, radio overall. Radio waves are a type of transmissible wave that can, with a little simple ingenuity, carry data. All sound travels as waves to begin with. You tapping your pen on your desk or someone speaking on TV are both carried as sound waves through the air to audio receptors (That’s normally our ears).
Our brains can decode the waves into sound by lowering volume and removing oddities. This gives us sensory and logical reactions to the sound as we decode it. If you’ve ever wondered why certain sounds create instant reactions in you, it is because of this decoding and interpretation process!
So, since all sound is waves, Radio Waves are a perfect transmissible vessel. The waves created by a radio device are just like other waves. They have an intensity or volume, called Amplitude (AM Radio) and they have a pitch or speed, called Frequency (FM Radio).
The waves are, however, electromagnetic rather than simple vibration. Essentially, the radio waves carry on travelling far further than a normal wave, which would collide and dissipate.
Once the Radio Wave reaches a Radio Receiver, the same process takes place as when sound reaches our ears. Decoding! Just like our ears decode sound waves into sound, a radio receiver decodes radio waves into sound waves!
The process goes:
- Sound Waves (Music) encoded to Radio Waves
- Broadcast to a radio receiver and decoded
- Output again as sound waves which reach our ears!
It’s a process that’s tried and true, and gets FM and AM radio to homes all over the country. But with all that technology and its simplicity of encoding to decoding, what is DAB doing differently?
The Problems of FM / AM Radio
Analogue radio (That’s FM and AM Radio Wave devices) is a solid concept and has seen a huge amount of practical success in both entertainment and communication. However, it is a simple and therefore rather weak technology.
For example, two FM radio stations that are geographically close and wish to use the same radio tower are going to interfere with each other. Analogue waves are all electromagnetic waves being thrown about the place and can, on occasion, simply crash into each other. This can scramble your signal and you receive lost audio.
On top of that, analogue radio works on the basis of a spectrum of reception. You can have very good reception at one window of the house but as you move around the audio becomes unclear, fuzzy, and full of static. If you want to use the radio as a beside table alarm clock and the reception there is poor, you’re scuppered.
Analogue radio also relies on a range of amplitudes and frequencies that has, over time, become restrictive. Due to interference some frequency modulations and amplitude modulations are basically off-the-table to avoid ruining the current radio network.
The Rise of DAB
DAB Radio is a modern reimagining of what a country-wide radio network should look like. The system addresses many of the issues of analogue radio while simultaneously providing access to modern functionalities and quality-of-life changes.
DAB Radio is, unlike FM and AM, digital radio. DAB and DAB+ do not need analogue frequency and amplitude modulation for every single station. Instead, the frequency and amplitude profiles that you tune in to are in fact carrying the data for multiple radio stations. This makes efficient, powerful use of all the available range of frequencies without having to avoid any.
Where FM and AM stations had to fight for space on the spectrum, DAB radio stations live together in the same section! This enables DAB radio to offer more variety and easier tuning as stations are broadcast in groups, not alone. This gives each individual station less “power” to work with, so to speak which can rarely result in quality loss.
With DAB Radio offering better coverage, clear connections and longevity to a larger range of stations some countries fully converted. Norway was the first in 2022, and they turned off FM broadcasts entirely.
The Innovation of Combination - The DAB Radio Alarm Clock
All this development leads us to today, when convenience and quality-of-life improvements are paramount to many people working and living day-to-day. By consolidating technological advances of the time, we can create new and useful tools. The first clock radios were built in the 1940’s, but were primitive and lacked the small, miniaturised tech of the modern world.
By taking the idea and incorporating DAB, including Bluetooth and investing subwoofer/high-quality drivers into the little thing we can now create portable, compact, bedside-table-worthy Radio Alarm Clocks that bring us the best of it all.
An incredibly versatile feature called Dual Alarm stores multiple alarms at once. Wake up to different music and stations on weekdays compared to weekends! Being able to take the same Bluetooth Speaker / wireless audio device out to a picnic or party is beyond anything the inventors of FM would have considered.
Reaching Everyone Reliably
Those who are vulnerable or elderly will find an all-in-one bedside solution handy. More than that, though, are initiatives through local radio broadcasts. A local Inverclyde resident has been making the news (literally) by using FM radio MB300 to bring the newspaper in an audio format to listeners across the local area. He uses August MB300 FM Radio Alarm Clocks Multimedia Devices to facilitate this generous and thoughtful process.
With small radio efforts like this using FM and modern integrated radio alarm clocks in new and interesting ways it is no wonder people have the inspiration to craft such devices. For example, the MB420 takes inspiration and is an FM + DAB device that can service both needs and even have Bluetooth wireless connectivity!
The reliability of a DAB signal is one way in which the technology has begun to spring appeal. Once connected, DAB will not suffer from static or interference. It is by combining and improving on these features that this technology will continue to be useful and advance.
DAB in the Future
Looking back at the journey to what now seems like such a simple device really adds some appreciation for the process of progress. From developing radio, innovating with DAB and then finally applying that technology to useful, practical products. We have helped improve the bedrooms, parks, kitchens and campsites of the world with topical, themed radio alarms each morning and DAB entertainment during the day.
So, as you’re waking up to your chosen feel-good station reminding you it’s Saturday, spare a thought for the journey we took to get here, and where it might take us next.