The perceived audio quality of a digital broadcasting system (such as DAB+) is dependent on the type of coding and bit rates selected. Because of bandwidth constraints, the required number of channels, and conflicting auxiliary services, audio quality is sometimes degraded. In designing a broadcast system, it is necessary to have well-defined criteria for minimally acceptable quality. Two studies explored quality criteria and how quality degrades for various bit rates. For DAB+ the subchannel rate should not be less than the currently available maximum of 192 kbits/s for a stereo signal, which would be comparable to the quality of a modern FM system. Rates below 160 kbit/s can significantly degrade certain types of program material. To be truly perceptually transparent, bits rates of close to 300 kbits/s may be needed when using the current generation of coders.
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