I have never been impressed with the way HD radio sounds. I would rather have a strong FM signal any day. I am curious what other people have to say.
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I don't know that I've ever listened to a "good" HD receiver, but my Onkyo T9090 II connected to a roof antenna sounds really good on certain stations, close to CD quality. All of the HD radio I've heard had a very "digital" sound to it. I live over 40 miles from the big stations in Seattle, so only a few come in really clean. KNKX plays news and jazz and the jazz sounds great.
HD radio is often low bit rate digital so depending on how many channels the station is running it often may perform worse than FM. Good FM with a un corrupted signal (like a live concert feed for example) can sound great, pity there so little of it these days
So much of the quality of HD radio is station/broadcaster specific, imo, that such generalizations are meaningless. I listen almost exclusively to a single station, WRTI in Phila., using a DaySequerra broadcast monitor (with indoor antenna, btw) that receives both FM analog and HD multicast. That station puts out 7700W, simulcasts only 2 HD streams, is 17 mi distant from me, and sounds GLORIOUS in HD. Analog FM is quite good also, but a bit noisy. Quality of other stations not as good. I consider myself fortunate.
I have a recently Modefferi modified McIntosh MR78 and for digital a Sony Z1ES. Which one sounds better depends entirely on the signal being received for the most part. Most digital signals are VERY compressed. Good FM broadcasting is almost extinct. So a better question might be which is the least worst? This state of affairs is a complete bummer for me. I have been a life long FM junkie.
I had a mint Marantz 20B. But I lived in a deep gulch surrounded by high hills — very scenic, but I couldn't get even a decent signal, much less a good one. There was no way to mount an antenna because it would be on someone else's property. So I sold it.
But I moved a few years later. I regret parting with it.