At the moment, as a full-size separate hi-fi component, Arcam's FMJ T32 DAB tuner is going it alone as the only product of this type currently available in Australia. Arcam is a brand synonymous with audio quality and that's what this radio tuner is all about; be it analog FM or DAB+ broadcasts.
Feature-wise, it's not exactly brimming with all the facilities that DAB+ has to offer. There's not much in the way of text info shown on the tuner's small display and the Arcam doesn't take advantage of DAB+'s timeshifting or recording capabilities either.
However, if you are more interested in the quality of the sound rather than the visual and other DAB features, this unit is a standout among DAB+ tuners. Even with run-of-the-mill analog FM broadcasts, it's plain to hear that this is a tuner that makes the most of what's buzzing around the airwaves. The local ABC station came over tremendously clean and clear, which is just what's required for speech-heavy listening — spoken voice has plenty of presence and body.
Of course, any tuner is only as good as the signal it's receiving, so a radio receiver such as this demands a properly configured antenna. But, even with the modest aerials supplied in the box, the Arcam's sensitivity made the most of what it pulled in.
When we switched to DAB+ mode and listened to a live concert, the Arcam truly impressed with a rich, warm bass, bags of detail and a genuine sense of atmosphere and event. It kept our attention firmly fixed to the music — far more so than in analog FM. There's ample dynamic headroom too and none of the compression that typically afflicts rock/pop FM radio stations. The Arcam's warmth and its peppy, revealing sound made these stations easy to listen to.
Sound first, features and user-friendliness second, this Arcam is for listeners with top-notch hi-fi systems who don't mind spending fairly serious dollars to tune into the latest digital radio stations.
About the test:
This model was tested on the lower Central Coast, north of Sydney, NSW. In the test area, 12 DAB+ radio stations are well received when using a rooftop antenna, but as location plays a big part in actual DAB+ reception, check www.digitalradioplus.com.au for more information on coverage and station availability nationwide.