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Labarum
2009-08-06, 06:47
I have just written a letter to the London Times -let's see if it gets printed.


----

Czech Radio upstages BBC

Our national humiliation is complete. BBC Radio Three used to lead the world in artistic and technical quality, but has been upstaged by Czech Radio. If you have the means to route a high quality audio output from your computer to your HiFi, tune in this Internet Radio Station

http://radio.cesnet.cz:8000/cro-d-dur.flac

This world class. The BBC has only very recently made Radio 3 available at 128 Kilobits per second in compressed format that squeezes the life out of the music (WMA); but Czech Radio's Classical Music Station is transmitted at 7-800 Kilobits per second using the lossless free CODEC called FLAC. With a sampling rate of 48 KiloHerz this transmisiion betters a Compact Disc. The stream is also available at a slightly lower quality 224 Kilobits per second using the OGG compressed format - this still beats the BBC's best.

See the Czech Radio website in English.

http://www.rozhlas.cz/english/portal/

The BBC ought to be ashamed of itself.

Goodsounds
2009-08-06, 09:35
I don't know what the style is in the UK, but if you wrote such a letter to a US paper, likely all the technical stuff would be edited out or translated into simple language. But who knows, maybe you'll get some attention.

We call our domestic baseball championship competition the "World Series" and the winner the "World Champion". Even though it's an essentially domestic game and league. Maybe the champion of Aussie Rules Football makes a similar claim?

In the 21st century, I hope people have moved on from claiming nationalistic superlatives. It plays well to a home town audience, but for most of this stuff, it's really pointless. The (Czechs or insert your country of choice) believe that their radio stations are the world's best, and so do the (insert your second choice), and on and on.

Labarum
2009-08-06, 09:46
You have to play the local political game, Goodsounds, and the BBC is put under a lot of pressure at the moment.

If you want to make a point in a paper like the Times you have to hit the right note - though you might be right about technical content.

The point was to find another way to tell the BBC to come up to standard.

If nationalism and exaggeration of national accomplishments is a concern of yours then you will wholeheartedly agree with this article in another of Britain's quality newspapers (we have rubbish papers too)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/defence/5032353/A-list-of-war-films-that-bend-the-truth.html

But I would not want this thread to be sidetracked. I had hoped a discussion on what we should be demanding of our broadcasters might develop. A 128Kb's stream just will not do.

Labarum
2009-08-06, 11:02
I just realised I could do an A-B test:

This stream is one of my set Squeezebox favourites

Title: D-dur Czech OGG 224
URL: http://www.rozhlas.cz/audio/download/ddur_maxogg.m3u

And is carrying the same station as the FLAC


http://radio.cesnet.cz:8000/cro-d-dur.flac

The FLAC is available on the USB input of my Beresford DAC, and the OGG on a COAX S/PDIF

Button One of the DAC gives me OGG at 224Kb/s and Button Four FLAC`at 7-800Kb/s

The FLAC is clearer, but there is not much in it.

I rate highly the other East European stations that stream in OGG.

agbagb
2009-08-06, 19:35
D-Dur is a classical music station featuring the very best recordings from Czech Radio's vast archives, playing a range of music from the renaissance period to the 21st century. There are only brief introductions to each composition with no other spoken word on this station.


That's from D-Dur's own website. It's a lovely station (though I prefer Radio Bartok from Hungary) but it shows that it neither aspires to, nor attains even one tiny fraction of what BBC Radio 3 puts out day after day (at whatever audio quality....). R3 is a mix of recordings, always intelligently introduced and discussed, live broadcasts, archive broadcasts, studio performances, studio discussions, drama, poetry, cultural analysis... Well, I could go on.

AGB
thinking, quite seriously, that R3 is the only netcast for which he would happily pay a subscription if need be...

dsdreamer
2009-08-06, 20:21
I enjoyed listening to D-dur in FLAC quality while I could get it, but I suspect this is not very sustainable or scalable.

There is an issue of cost and scarcity of bandwidth. But more fundamentally, broadcasters (especially those in the West?) may feel they have a responsibility not to let unscrupulous listeners from all over the work make bit-perfect recordings of whatever takes their fancy and burn them to CD (or add them to their FLAC collections).

andyg
2009-08-06, 20:24
I bet almost everyone would not be able to ABX a 224k Vorbis stream against FLAC. And you can play Vorbis natively. :) Still, it's cool they are experimenting with FLAC, but as the previous poster said, I wonder how much that's costing them.

bpa
2009-08-07, 00:34
I think for BBC costs play a big part - I'm sure BBC R3 has a bigger audience (and hence requires more bandwidth) than the Czech station. Citing costs, recently BBC have reduced the non UK rate down of most streams from 64kbps back to 48kbps (which was used up to about 2 yrs ago)


On a technical point - you have omitted to mention the recent changes to the internet streams - the introduction of AAC format and 192kbps for Radio 3. ( See http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2009/06/better_sound_for_bbc_radio.html )

If these are correct then your letter will get a rebuttal

Labarum
2009-08-07, 00:42
On a technical point - you have omitted to mention the recent changes to the internet streams - the introduction of AAC format and 192kbps for Radio 3. ( See http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/2009/06/better_sound_for_bbc_radio.html )

If these are correct then your letter will get a rebuttal

Agreed.

Letter not printed today.

What I actually hoped was that some journalist would see the seed of a story worth exploring.

autopilot
2009-08-07, 01:32
Agreed.

Letter not printed today.

What I actually hoped was that some journalist would see the seed of a story worth exploring.

You might get some luck writing the The Guardian's technology writers, this kind of thing does get covered in their Thursday supplement. The did a bit on this yesterday, a reader ask what gave the best sound quality - DAB, FM or iPlayer. The Guardian chap concluded the new WMA 192 iPlayer would sound best due to the range compression still used on FM.

But TBH, i did think anyone would really be that interested. I dont care who has the best quality bitrate, i want good quality (iPlayer is now) but also it needs to be accessible.

Labarum
2009-08-07, 10:25
Someone has copied this link to me on another forum

http://www.cesnet.cz/doc/techzpravy/2008/using-flac-encoding/

Czech radio tech stuff

amcluesent
2009-08-07, 13:26
But the Czechs stream at 48Khz but there source must be CD, so why introduce the fugly 44.1 to 48Khz resample?

And now the iPlayer plugin beta can access the 192 ACC streams. On my TP, these are better then a DAB feed on the S/PDIF input. 128 WMA blows chunks, obviously.

Labarum
2009-08-07, 13:34
But the Czechs stream at 48Khz but there source must be CD, so why introduce the fugly 44.1 to 48Khz resample?


I did wonder about the 44.1 > 48KHz issue, but I also wonder what proportion of the station's output is from CD and what proportion music recorded at 48Khz.

amcluesent
2009-08-07, 13:40
>what proportion music recorded at 48Khz. <

I'd say none. I can't recall any broadcasts of original recordings that could be done by their own team at 48Khz. It has the feel of a playlist coming off computer with all the announcers recorded way in advance.

Pale Blue Ego
2009-08-07, 16:50
My connection wasn't fast enough for the FLAC stream, but the Ogg Vorbis stream sounds pretty good!

dsdreamer
2009-08-07, 21:23
My connection wasn't fast enough for the FLAC stream, but the Ogg Vorbis stream sounds pretty good!


Native ogg playback is working for high quality streams quite nicely these days (7.3.3), but...if any of you does happen to see a hard crash while listening to native ogg/vorbis (not flac) that causes the SB to reboot and make a nasty noise for a few seconds, would you be kind enough to mention it here or send me a PM? If not, don't worry, just enjoy the music!

agbagb
2009-08-08, 08:23
Interesting article in the New Yorker by their music critic Alex Ross: all about net radio, encoding, transcoding etc etc:

http://tinyurl.com/n6qnal

AGB

Labarum
2009-08-08, 08:30
Interesting article in the New Yorker by their music critic Alex Ross: all about net radio, encoding, transcoding etc etc:

http://tinyurl.com/n6qnal

AGB


Yes, he writes well.

A cultured romance rather than technical survey, but none the worse for that.

agbagb
2009-08-08, 08:40
Yes, he writes well.

A cultured romance rather than technical survey, but none the worse for that.

One annoying thing was that he referred to BBC 3 (which is a TV channel) when he meant BBC Radio 3 (which is the classical music channel).......

AGB

amcluesent
2009-08-08, 09:40
It's the "Third Programme" in my household ;)

Labarum
2009-08-08, 09:58
It's the "Third Programme" in my household ;)

That old eh?

So you listen to "Any Questions" on "The Home Service" and occasionaly tune into "The Light Programme"?

agbagb
2009-08-08, 10:07
I still miss 'Lilibulero" on the late night Third Program (well, late afternoon here in Texas....). Though I'm growing to like its replacement, the little Milhaud arrangement....

AGB
currently listening to the National Calamity on TMS......

dsdreamer
2009-08-08, 10:29
I still miss 'Lilibulero" on the late night Third Program (well, late afternoon here in Texas....). Though I'm growing to like its replacement, the little Milhaud arrangement....

AGB
currently listening to the National Calamity on TMS......

Okay, this is what you get for all those nostalgic postings:

http://www.ominous-valve.com/sounds/bbc0.mp3

Labarum
2009-08-08, 10:40
Okay, this is what you get for all those nostalgic postings:

http://www.ominous-valve.com/sounds/bbc0.mp3

Regimental March of REME

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Electrical_and_Mechanical_Engineers

Paul Webster
2009-08-09, 00:48
>what proportion music recorded at 48Khz. <

I'd say none. I can't recall any broadcasts of original recordings that could be done by their own team at 48Khz. It has the feel of a playlist coming off computer with all the announcers recorded way in advance.

Are you saying that recording at 48kHz is not practical (I don't know if it is or isn't)?
They do say that their programme includes live concerts/opera on Wednesday and Sunday - and that D-Dur was chosen for this Flac experiment because of the way that they store the broadcasts for it.


"Most programs broadcast by Czech Radio stations are stored in an internal DALET production system, converted into the lossy MPEG2 format. As digital technologies grow, however, the Czech Radio starts to process and store some of its programs in lossless formats, mostly wav. Majority of programs broadcast by the new Czech Radio's D-dur station are stored in that format, which is why we have chosen the D-dur station for our lossless broadcasting. Listeners will be able to receive unaltered audio signal identical with the original.

Digital audio signal produced by the D-dur station is encoded using the ADAT format. Therefore the encoding server needs to be fitted with an ADAT compatible sound card and software capable of capturing and decoding the audio. The ADAT data stream may contain multiple channels a technology also used by the Czech Radio. The D-dur Station signal is ADAT-encoded at 48 kHz and 16 bits in two channels."