VERIFY: Why Does AM Radio Sound Worse Than FM?

Verify: AM Radio Quality Pt.2

VERIFY QUESTION

It's time to fine tune the answer about a longstanding debate -- AM versus FM. Have you ever wondered why AM radio has so much more static than FM?

VERIFY SOURCE

To VERIFY, we reached out to our friends at 99.5 WMAG. Morning show host Lora Songster consulted her sound engineers, Dennis and Fred. 

VERIFY PROCESS

Dennis and Fred explained:

"FM, which stands for Frequency Modulation, has better sound quality due to higher bandwidth.

Also, the way the audio is encoded for FM makes it less sensitive to interference from electrical activity from storms or electrical devices than AM.

AM stands for Amplitude Modulation and has poorer sound quality compared with FM, but it is cheaper to transmit and can be sent over long distances -- especially at night.

The lower frequencies of the band we use for AM signals creates a wavelength that is extremely large. 

This explains why AM fades under bridges and in concrete and steel buildings.  The waves simply can’t fit there. 

The band we use for FM is a much higher frequency and therefore has a much smaller wavelength, which can fit into tighter spaces."

 

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Copyright 2017 WFMY


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