Assistance

What Do I need?

Surprisingly little!

For neatness of installation, choose a replacement In-dash head unit here

For neatness of installation in vehicles whose radio is difficult or impossible to replace, choose an Integrated add-on DAB tuner (complete with standard or upgrade aerial) here

For economy, easy installation and for vehicles whose radio is difficult or impossible to
 replace, choose a Quick-fit add-on DAB tuner (complete with standard or upgrade aerial) here

Please note that your choice of aerial and its position on the vehicle can make the difference between disappointment and delight.

What will fit my car?

dabonwheels are unable to advise which product(s) will fit any specific vehicle because:

  • vehicle installation databases are notoriously unreliable
  • we cannot examine the vehicle and
  • what is possible depends to a great extent upon the skill and ingenuity of the installer.

To be certain as possible what can be fitted, whoever will carry out the installation must examine the vehicle and check the connections, dimensions etc. against the information dabonwheels provide on the item pages.

In case doubt remains dabonwheels provide 45-Day Buy & Try on all purchases.

Which type of DAB car radio should I choose?

There are currently three main types of DAB car radio:

Quick-fit add-on DAB car radios
Generally are supplied complete with a ‘get-you-going’ aerial.
Can be fitted (or transferred from car-to-car, subject to aerial) in 5-10 minutes.
Wireless communication with your existing radio means performance is not up to that of a fully-fitted system.  Most also enable you to play iPod, etc.

Installed add-on DAB car radios
Usually supplied complete with a ‘get-you-going’ aerial.
Not ‘quick-fit’ products.
Sound quality is generally better than the quick-fit units because the link with your existing radio is wired, not wireless.
Most also enable you to play iPod, etc.
With a little ingenuity most can be tailored for a very neat installation.

Fully installed in-dash car radios
Usually supplied without aerial.
Not ‘quick-fit products’.
Generally easiest to use.
Provide the best sound quality.
Robust build quality for high reliability and durability.
Offer extras such as Bluetooth, USB. iPod control etc. (depending upon model).
Integrate with the vehicle for neatest installation and appearance.

Which DAB car aerials perform best / do dabonwheels recommend?

Which radios will work with my DAB car aerial?

Which DAB car aerial should I choose?

What do the aerial connectors look like?

Who can install my new radio?

DIY

DIY installation can be simple if you are careful, patient and reasonably handy.

In many vehicles, no accessories are needed but others may need a fascia plate, wiring harness adaptor, etc, which are readily available on the High Street.

Why is DAB better than FM on the road?

What do all the technicalities mean?

Active Aerial
Any aerial with a built-in amplifier / booster

Aerial
Device which collects the radio signal.  The importance of a good aerial cannot be overstated.  More here

Amplifier
A device which makes small signals larger.

Antenna
Another word for aerial.

Aux in
Connection that allows you to listen to an external source (IPod, cassette walkman, etc.)

Head unit
The piece of equipment that fits in the dash.  Used because the alternatives, ‘stereo’, ‘radio’ etc are misleading.

Line output
Allows the connection of external amplifier(s).

Passive Aerial
Any aerial WITHOUT a built-in amplifier / booster

Power output
Unreliable guide as to how loud a head unit or amplifier will go. 

Reception
Ability of equipment to pick up radio signals.

Signal
In a radio system, a transmitter encodes a message into a signal, which is carried wirelessly to a receiver. For example, the words “In-car DAB” might be spoken into a microphone, which converts the sounds into an electrical signal. The signal is transmitted wirelessly to the receiving radio (receiver) where it is reconverted into sounds.  The weaker the signal, the worse the sound.

The Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) system explained

What is dab?

DAB is short for Digital Audio Broadcasting.
DAB the new way of broadcasting radio and, in-car especially, DAB has dramatic advantages over conventional radio.

30 countries have DAB broadcasts and more than 12 million DAB receivers have been sold Worldwide.

More stations
DAB takes up less space on the airwaves, so there is room for lots of exciting new stations and for old favourites, such as BBC Radio 5 live and BBC World Service, that have only been available in poor quality on AM.

Now, with DAB you can listen to your old favourites in High Quality or listen to something new!.

BBC National Stations:
Radio 1,
Radio 2,
Radio 3,
Radio 4,
Radio 5 live,
Radio 5 live Sports Extra,
BBC 6 Music,
BBC 7 (Named BBC Radio 4 Extra from April 2011,
BBC Radio 1 Extra,
BBC Asian Network,
BBC World Service,
More here

Commercial Digital 1 National Stations:
Absolute,
Absolute 80s,
Absolute Radio extra,
Amazing,
BFBS,
Classic FM,
PlanetRock,
Premier Christian
Smooth Radio,
Talksport,
UCB
More here

Local Stations 
Vary by region.  Check your local DAB stations here

Check all UK stations available on DAB
Here

View coverage maps
Here

DAB Worldwide
Here

Convenience
DAB programme selection is much easier because you select a station name, not a frequency.  Tuning is accurate and re-tuning when motoring is automatic – no twiddling necessary!

Improved sound quality (SQ) with less interference and hiss
Even in a strong signal area, FM is prone to interference and hiss, especially in-car. Because it’s digital, DAB is virtually interference and hiss free.  There’s more about why in-car DAB is far superior to FM here

Information (DLS)
DAB lets you see what you’re listening to, e.g. song/artists plus other information such as news, sport and weather headlines.

All about DAB on-the-road

It’s as if DAB were designed specially for motorists.

On the move, with its convenience, lack of interference and freedom from hiss, DAB really excels.

Proven reasons why in-car DAB sounds miles better than FM

Multipathing
Because car aerials must be omni directional, even the best FM car tuners have real trouble coping with multipathing, which occurs when the received direct signal is degraded by a signal reflected from a nearby obstacle such as a building or hill.

The result of multipathing on-the-move is an annoying frequent background ‘phut’ noise, often known as ‘the pipe smoker in the back’, because it sounds like repeated match striking.

DAB tuners are entirely free from this problem (and can actually benefit from multipathing by combining the direct and reflected signals to improve reception) so irritating noises due to multipathing are eliminated.

Stereo Separation
The weaker the FM signal, the greater the background hiss.  Stereo FM is much more prone to hiss (by a factor of 30-40 dB or 1000 to 10,000 times) than Mono FM.  In an attempt to overcome this, most modern FM car radios have an automatic device that gradually blends the stereo signal to mono when the signal is less than full strength, i.e. most of the time.

This means that on FM, although you may be tuned to a stereo station, you are rarely actually listening to stereo; you are listening to quasi-stereo.  In weaker signal areas you are in fact listening to mono.

DAB is free from this problem.  If you are tuned to a stereo DAB station, you are listening in stereo.

Frequency Response
Since FM hiss occurs predominately at high frequencies, another method that FM car radio manufacturers often use to ‘overcome’ the problem of stereo hiss is to include a circuit which automatically filters out (top cuts) higher frequencies.  Unfortunately, in the attempt to remove unwanted hiss, desirable high frequency sounds are also cut.  This reduces clarity, image, muddies the sound quality and further ruins the fun.
Interference from nearby stations.
High-pressure atmospherics and pirate radio stations can and do cause FM reception trouble in the form of very annoying breakthrough.  DAB is free from this problem.

Interference from vehicle electronics.
DAB tuners can discriminate between the broadcast signal and undesirable noises radiated by your, and nearby, vehicles, so irritating whines and crackles won’t spoil your enjoyment.

Interference reduction circuits.

Because FM is much more prone to engine interference than AM, manufacturers incorporate electronic devices (Philips’ I.A.C. was first) to FM tuners which switch out interference spikes.  Although it’s not always obvious, this further degrades in-car FM sound quality.
Phase shift.
Some people object to the sometimes-odd sound of FM that can result as a consequence of stereo FM being broadcast in a format that is compatible with mono FM receivers.
AF switching mute.
All except very sophistcated FM car radios only incorporate a single FM tuner, so most FM car radios must often briefly mute when checking for a better alternative frequency.
Summary.
Under ideal, stationary conditions, with a top tuner and a high, carefully aligned directional aerial, it’s generally agreed that FM sounds better than DAB.  But on the road, DAB wins, hands down, all round.
For a scientific assessment of FM vs. DAB, see here

What is DAB+?

DAB+ is an upgrade based on the original DAB standard using a more modern digital encoding system (codec)

Existing DAB radios are not capable of receiving DAB+ transmissions but DAB+ receivers are backwards compatible and can receive DAB.

All dabonwheels DAB aerials are DAB+ compatible.

DAB+ in the UK

For better or worse, as early adopters, all UK DAB transmissions use the original DAB standard. dabonwheels assessment is that it is highly unlikely that significant DAB+ transmissions will commence in the UK before 2020.

Q: What is DAB+?
A: A DAB+ audio signal is encoded in aacPlus. Your iPod uses AAC as standard; aacPlus uses a number of clever techniques to make it more efficient, so audio sounds better at lower bitrates. Roughly, 48kbps DAB+ sounds the same as a 128kbps DAB signal.

Q: I’ve read that my DAB radio will become obsolete when DAB+ comes in. Is that true?
A: While DAB+ services are now appearing in the UK, there are no plans to switch the majority of radio broadcasting over to DAB+: not yet, anyway. If your radio does not have DAB+ then you will not be able to receive DAB+ stations.

Existing DAB radios will continue to receive all the stations currently broadcasting. It is currently against Ofcom regulations to transmit in DAB+ and so there are no DAB+ stations planned by broadcasters. While there are few DAB+ radios available to buy in the UK, some models do include DAB+ as standard, and more are upgradeable to DAB+ via a firmware download. You can generally check DAB+ capability with the manufacturer.

Other countries are adopting DAB+ simply because they are launching now and it is the most up to date version available to them. DAB+ uses exactly the same transmitters and broadcast technology as DAB, it simply converts sound to digital in a different way and therefore requires sets capable of receiving DAB+.

What is DAB+

DAB+ is an upgrade based on the original DAB standard using a more modern digital encoding system (codec)

Existing DAB radios are not capable of receiving DAB+ transmissions but DAB+ receivers are backwards compatible and can receive DAB.

All dabonwheels DAB aerials are DAB+ compatible.

DAB+ in the UK

For better or worse, as early adopters, all UK DAB transmissions use the original DAB standard. dabonwheels assessment is that it is highly unlikely that significant DAB+ transmissions will commence in the UK before 2020.

Q: What is DAB+?
A: A DAB+ audio signal is encoded in aacPlus. Your iPod uses AAC as standard; aacPlus uses a number of clever techniques to make it more efficient, so audio sounds better at lower bitrates. Roughly, 48kbps DAB+ sounds the same as a 128kbps DAB signal.

Q: I’ve read that my DAB radio will become obsolete when DAB+ comes in. Is that true?
A: While DAB+ services are now appearing in the UK, there are no plans to switch the majority of radio broadcasting over to DAB+: not yet, anyway. If your radio does not have DAB+ then you will not be able to receive DAB+ stations.

Existing DAB radios will continue to receive all the stations currently broadcasting. It is currently against Ofcom regulations to transmit in DAB+ and so there are no DAB+ stations planned by broadcasters. While there are few DAB+ radios available to buy in the UK, some models do include DAB+ as standard, and more are upgradeable to DAB+ via a firmware download. You can generally check DAB+ capability with the manufacturer.

Other countries are adopting DAB+ simply because they are launching now and it is the most up to date version available to them. DAB+ uses exactly the same transmitters and broadcast technology as DAB, it simply converts sound to digital in a different way and therefore requires sets capable of receiving DAB+.

Do we offer fitting?

Do we offer fitting?

Very sorry but dabonwheels do not offer any type of installation/fitting directly from ourselves.

Local fitters in your areas can be located, you just have to look for them.

Why email only?

Advantages of e-mail

You can send your questions at any time to suit you – 60/60/24/7/365.

Your question is recorded so you can refer to it later if necessary. So can we if you ask a follow-up question that must be answered by a different member of staff.

Our answer won’t be a fob-off; it will be a considered reply by someone who knows his DAB onions. And, of course, it recorded so you can refer to it later if necessary.

Photos and diagrams can be sent via e-mail.

Waiting for an e-mail reply is less frustrating than hanging on the phone.

Email is free – keeps prices down.

 

Advantages of telephone

Telephone is quicker than e-mail if you can get through to the right person straightway.

 

If you would like to comment or add to either of these columns, please do email us here.

Payment, delivery charges, dabonwheels' warranty, aftersales and returns etc.

Payment & Security

For your security, dabonwheels use PayPal as their payment processor.

Brief details are here and here

You can view full details of PayPal security here

Delivery

*Customer Notice (June 16th 2017) – Due to essential maintenance to our offline processing systems, our deliveries will not be processed as fast as usual. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Delivery of all orders within the UK, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Isles is free of charge by insured Royal Mail First Class.   A signature is required on delivery of most items.

Orders placed before 12.00 noon, Monday to Friday, are normally despatched same day.*

Although over 90% if RM First Class items are delivered next day, RM First Class delivery is not a guaranteed ‘Next Day’ service, and items are not considered ‘lost’ until 16 working days after date of despatch.

If your item does not arrive within a few days it’s almost certainly held at your local RM depot because no-one was available to sign for it when RM tried to deliver.

dabonwheels strongly advise against making installation or other arrangements until your order has arrived and the contents have been verified.

For 
International orders:  please buy in the normal way and we will send you an e-mail to advise the extra shipping cost (if any).

If the S&H is too high, you may cancel the order and we will issue a refund.

It’s usually uneconomical to send items over 2Kg in weight internationally.

Sorry but 45 day Buy & Try cannot apply to international orders.

Warranty, Aftersales and Returns

What if I’m unhappy with my purchase?

Where can I dispose of my old radio or accessory?

You can recycle your old car radio or aerial at dabonwheels.
dabonwheels are pleased to offer you the chance to recycle your old car radio, aerial or accessory. If you’re buying a new item, we will recycle your old one free.

Customers should return their like-for-like waste item to us within 60 days of purchasing their new item.  If you would like to take advantage of this scheme, please use the returns form here

If you have any questions about this scheme please contact us here

Why recycle?
The amount of unwanted electrical equipment we throw away is increasing by around 5% each year, making it the UK’s fastest growing category of waste.

Many electrical items can be repaired or recycled, saving natural resources and the environment.  If you do not recycle, electrical equipment will end up in landfill where hazardous substances will leak out and cause soil and water contamination – harming wildlife and human health.

Wheeled bin symbol
Under the WEEE Regulations, to remind you that old electrical equipment must be recycled, all new electrical goods should be marked with the crossed-out wheeled bin symbol:

Please do not throw any electrical equipment (including those marked with this symbol) in your normal household waste bin.

What is WEEE?
The Waste Electrical or Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive requires EU countries to maximise separate collection and environmentally friendly processing of electrical and electronic items. The legislation aims to make producers pay for the collection, treatment and recovery of waste electrical equipment.

WEEE Recycling and Regulations
The WEEE Directive is UK law.   The regulations mean that suppliers of equipment, distributors and retailers (like high street shops and internet retailers) must provide a system which allows consumers buying new electrical equipment to return their waste equipment for recycling free of charge.

Find more information on WEEE recycling and locate your local recycling centre at the Recycle Now website.

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