The Rise and Fall of Hi-Fi AM & AM Stereo
…plus a look at two AM Stereo Radios and some Wideband AM Mono Radios
and a comparison with other models offering Wide Bandwidth AM options.
Recently a reader graciously sent me two radios for evaluation – the much sought-after Sony SRF-A1 AM Stereo Walkman and the Aiwa FR-C30U. Manufactured around 1983 the Sony was one of several Stereo AM receivers available as AM Stereo was being promoted. The sender was particularly interested in my feelings about these with regards to their wideband sound quality and some reports which once circulated claiming that AM Stereo “sounded better” than FM.
Having worked at two AM Stereo stations I had several recollections of our experiences with AM Stereo in its heyday, and I still had my Realistic TM-152 AM Stereo Tuner, so it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look back at AM Stereo and to look at the state of AM broadcasting today in terms of audio quality.
There are no AM Stereo stations receivable at my location but I do have an excellent mono AM transmitter and the unique Cuthbert C-Quam Stereo AM transmitter which allowed me to do some interesting tests and comparisons. Does AM Stereo sound better than FM?