BW Broadcast RBRX Encore

Discussion in 'Tuners' started by Nick_G, Apr 2, 2017.

  1. Nick_G

    Nick_G Active Member

    Messages:
    469
    Location:
    Whitchurch, Hampshire, UK
    Hi all.

    I have bought a new DSP-based tuner, and it is unlike any other I have used before. I had sort of distantly lusted after the BW Broadcast RBRX1 but never thought I'd be able to get one. Well this has since been superceded by the RBRX Encore. Normally I wouldn't have been able to afford this sort of thing, but I had a bit of a windfall recently and so used the opportunity to snap it up. The device is actually a professional rebroadcasting receiver. Although it is extremely sophisticated with many options buried in menus it is actually very logical and intuitive to use and I can make adjustments quickly as needed. It has dual DSP-based tuners. I had to buy adapters for the audio cables (it has balanced XLR inputs only) and for the coax plug (it uses a 50 ohm BNC input) but it was easy to set up for monitoring. The receiver is designed to work with the most challenging of reception conditions and rebroadcast your signal at the highest possible quality, so I knew it was going to be ideal for DXing.

    Most of the options useful for me are in the PRESETS menu, and I go to the TUNER 1 submenu (this is the tuner I have the aerial hooked up to) where you can tune up and down in 100 kHz steps, adjust the de-emphasis (off/50 uS/75 uS), if filter (auto/fixed - the latter has 15 bandwidths to choose from ranging from 56 kHz to 311 kHz), stereo blend adjustments, stereo improvement with traditional high blend or fmsi which uses DSP in a similar manner to the Sony XDR-F1HD to kill the extra hiss, only you can adjust the parameters, soft mute on/off, again with lots of possible adjustments. The display on the left which gives info about the received signal includes RDS data like PS name, PI code and Radiotext (this doesn't seem to work properly) as well as received signal strength in dBuV, multipath %, modulation %, ultrasonic noise, softmute, high cut, stereo blend, high blend, and fmsi parameters such as low band, 2.2 kHz band, 5 kHz band and high band. In short it makes one of those Revoxes look plain and simple in comparison!

    The receiver has even more flexibility if it is connected to your LAN, but that isn't really practical for my set up. In theory I could set it up to monitor, say 87.6 MHz, and send me an email when a signal is received, so it could be used as a DX warning device! Having said that, it has what I think may be a software glitch as it occasionally reboots itself at random times, so I'm going to try and update the firmware via ethernet hook-up later this week.

    For DXing this receiver is a dream machine in every way. With the IF bandwidth set to Auto it isn't as good as the XDR-F1HD at fending off splatter from adjacent signals 100 kHz away, but using the fixed bandwidth of 56 kHz I think it is actually slightly better in this respect. For general tuning around and DXing I use a fixed bandwidth of 114 kHz as this is a good compromise for good audio quality, excellent selectivity, and easy RDS decoding. If you want to use the receiver as an audiophile listening device you can choose the Measure mode, which bypasses all of the DSP and gives you an unmolested clean FM signal at the widest 311 kHz bandwidth. On BBC Radios 3 and 4 in this mode the audio quality is fantastic, with a bit of a different character to the Kenwood L-1000T, but not inferior. In fact the 8 presets can all have different setting stored in them so it's almost like having 8 different tuners as they can be set up for different purposes.

    So this device is extremely flexible and sophisticated and it shows what can be done with the latest chipset and DSP software. More info on this receiver can be found at the links below:

    http://www.bwbroadcast.com/bwbroadcast/rbrx--encore/64/product

    http://www.bwbroadcast.com/files/downloads/BWB-RBRXencore.pdf



    I think this is going to be very interesting using this receiver when the Sporadic E season gets going.

    Regards,
    Nick
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017
    KiM3Ce likes this.
  2. Punker X

    Punker X AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,880
    Location:
    Panic in Detroit
    Quite a nice addition... I'd love to hear one to compare to some of the better sounding tuners I've heard.
     
  3. 39cross

    39cross AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    879
    Location:
    Beverly, MA
    That is an amazing machine. I hope your firmware update is successful, and good luck with your DX'ing activities.
     
  4. Nick_G

    Nick_G Active Member

    Messages:
    469
    Location:
    Whitchurch, Hampshire, UK
    Thanks guys. I did the firmware update (actually a reinstall) earlier this afternoon. It had been playing fine with no issues for 5 days but then rebooted itself twice within a few minutes of each other today. Fingers crossed this has solved the issue. It certainly is an amazing piece of kit.
     
  5. Nick_G

    Nick_G Active Member

    Messages:
    469
    Location:
    Whitchurch, Hampshire, UK
    Well the RBRX Encore rebooted itself again the day after the reinstallation of the firmware, so I have posted it back to BW Broadcast for them to fix. I suspect it's probably a software bug. Hopefully I'll have it back by the end of the month in time for the Sporadic-E season.
     
  6. Nick_G

    Nick_G Active Member

    Messages:
    469
    Location:
    Whitchurch, Hampshire, UK
    An update on this:

    I received the Encore back last Thursday after BW Broadcast replaced the SD card, reinstalled everything from scratch and left it soak testing for several days. On Friday the problem resurfaced, and it rebooted itself twice. I thought I may have to send it back and get a replacement, but then after checking the BW Broadcast Downloads page I saw that they had posted a firmware upgrade that evening. So I downloaded it and installed it on the Encore, and so far, it has been running all weekend without incident. I'm not going to say it has definitely cured it yet but so far it's looking promising. I have emailed the support guys to let them know my progress so we'll see what happens. If this has resolved the problem then it was almost certainly a bug in the previous firmware release.

    Out of interest, I wonder how this receiver would compare with a tuner like the Accuphase T-1100? Like the Accuphase, the Encore also has a balanced digital output. The manual says it is 32-192 kHz sample rate (MPX over AES ready). Isn't the Accuphase limited to 48 kHz?
     
  7. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

    Messages:
    23,827
    Location:
    Athens, TN
    I'd probably call the Accuphase as better on sound quality than ultimate reception prowess. Rebroadcast is UK vernacular for relay or translator for Americans. This BW Broadcast RBRX Encore is aimed at translator duty, receiving and rebroadcasting a FM signal as a fill in for coverage problems. And also for relay feeds like some sports broadcasts which for many years were relayed from other stations round robin. Stable, reliable reception is a priority for this job 24/7/365, this translator receiver sounds very excellent but I still prefer my McIntosh MX 114 for listening on stations which broadcast content which does it justice. The BW Broadcast is also one heck of a DX machine during sporadic-E cycles, so much so that a station I engineer for bought one. And also for the fact that we sometimes need relay capability.
     
  8. Nick_G

    Nick_G Active Member

    Messages:
    469
    Location:
    Whitchurch, Hampshire, UK
    Thanks Kent. Yes you may be right about the Accuphase. Have you heard the RBRX Encore yourself and compared it with any other tuners?

    It looks like I may need a replacement unit btw as the tuner rebooted itself late last Saturday evening, for once when it had been left monitoring. Once in 11 days is a better run than before the firmware update but the fact that it has happened again makes me think it could be a hardware issue. I'm hoping I can keep the current unit until a replacement arrives.
     
  9. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

    Messages:
    23,827
    Location:
    Athens, TN
    Yes, I have heard the RBRX Encore myself. And one of the stations I engineer for has one. I like it well enough, I put in a requisition to corporate to buy another one for another station I maintain who's translator receiver is finicky.
     
  10. KiM3Ce

    KiM3Ce AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,885
    Location:
    Arizona
    Thanks for the review Nick!
     
  11. Nick_G

    Nick_G Active Member

    Messages:
    469
    Location:
    Whitchurch, Hampshire, UK
    Replacement arrived today and is now up & running. Fingers crossed this is the end of my issues.
     
    KentTeffeteller likes this.
  12. Nick_G

    Nick_G Active Member

    Messages:
    469
    Location:
    Whitchurch, Hampshire, UK
    Now this will give you an idea of the amazing sensitivity of the RBRX Encore. Sometimes on 87.5 there is a very weak iTrip on, usually playing what sounds like Turkish music. I noticed it was on earlier this evening., as it was quite clearly audible on the Encore, peaking in an ESE direction. When I tried my Sony XDR-F1HD on the same signal, it couldn't receive it at all. The Encore seem to be the only receiver that will pick it up.

    As a caveat, the XDR-F1HD is about 8 years old now. I don't know if their sensitivity decreases with age but I doubt it. It seemed just as good as ever using it last year.
     
  13. doug s.

    doug s. Super Member

    Messages:
    1,179
    Location:
    maryland
    hi nick,

    have you auditioned its sonics through its digital output into a quality dac?

    thanks,

    doug s.
     
  14. Nick_G

    Nick_G Active Member

    Messages:
    469
    Location:
    Whitchurch, Hampshire, UK
    Hi Doug. No I haven't. I use adapters to hook it up to my JVC amp as all the inputs on the RBRX Encore are balanced, and of course, the amp uses standard RCA sockets. So I just use the analogue inputs to listen. That would be an interesting experiment to try though. I would need a newer DAC to make the most of the tuner's capabilities as it can output a 192 kHz sample rate stream and the DAC in the JVC amp only goes up to 48 kHz. I bet with a BBC Radio 3 live Proms broadcast it would sound superb although it already does through the analogue inputs.
     
  15. doug s.

    doug s. Super Member

    Messages:
    1,179
    Location:
    maryland
    try it, nick - inquiring ears want to know! :)

    i use my grace irdt200 internet tuner w/a dac, and it sounds really nice. of course, i haven't tried it analog... ;)

    doug s.
     

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