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didjean
2013-08-27, 03:26
Is TuneIn responsible for the quality of a radio stream?

I am used to listen to a Belgian radio called "RTBF La Premiere". Since end of may, the quality of the stream is not as good as it used to be.

I checked the metadata and it is MP3 128Kbps CBR but it sounds like 64Kbps.

I've contacted the streaming responsible of this radio and he told me that on his side everything was ok and it is more a TuneIn problem. is this possible? if yes, how can I proceed to get back the quality I used to have?

Thanks for your help.

bpa
2013-08-27, 04:51
For comparison - this is the stream direct from RTBF and nothing to do with Tunein
128k mp3 http://statslive.rtbf.be/playlist/lapremiere/lapremiere-128.mp3/playlist.m3u
64kl AAC http://statslive.rtbf.be/playlist/lapremiere/lapremiere-64.aac/playlist.m3u

didjean
2013-08-27, 06:08
Thx bpa.

I'll do some tests tonight and see if it is the same stream as tunein.

didjean
2013-08-27, 10:23
Both streams have the same quality as far as I could hear.

Is this normal? I presume a 128 MP3 should be better than a 64 AAC?

bpa
2013-08-27, 12:14
Is this normal? I presume a 128 MP3 should be better than a 64 AAC?

I think so. IIRC test have shown 96k AAC is much preferred than 128k MP3. So I expect 64k AAC could be similar to 128k MP3. AAC is a better encoder and it has more modern psychoacoustics so I believe AAC stream often sound better even if they are not more failthful.

didjean
2013-08-27, 15:22
I think so. IIRC test have shown 96k AAC is much preferred than 128k MP3. So I expect 64k AAC could be similar to 128k MP3. AAC is a better encoder and it has more modern psychoacoustics so I believe AAC stream often sound better even if they are not more failthful.

What is the point of having 2 different encodings for the same stream. I presume it is just for compatibility issues.

Apart from the fact a AAC is better than a MP3, why a 128 sounds exactly a 64 ? It probably means the source is already crappy probably!

Now, if I understand, the problem is more in RTBF shop than in TuneIn?

garym
2013-08-27, 15:58
What is the point of having 2 different encodings for the same stream. I presume it is just for compatibility issues.

Apart from the fact a AAC is better than a MP3, why a 128 sounds exactly a 64 ? It probably means the source is already crappy probably!

Now, if I understand, the problem is more in RTBF shop than in TuneIn?

some players can't handle AAC. Almost all players can handle mp3. that's one reason for having multiple streams.

bpa
2013-08-27, 17:12
What is the point of having 2 different encodings for the same stream. I presume it is just for compatibility issues.

AAC can deliver same audio quality for fewer bits - i.e. lower cost for broadcaster and less network load for ISPs. However, in the past not all players can play AAC but most can now play AAC so you find many stations changing from MP3 to AAC or Flash/AAC and especially reducing MP3 available speeds to encourage users to play the AAC stream

didjean
2013-08-31, 15:31
I had the opportunity to do some more listening tests with http://statslive.rtbf.be/playlist/lapremiere/lapremiere-128.mp3/playlist.m3u

For me, the sreaming quality is under average, even bad , specially with trebles. Could one of you could confirm my perception before I get back once again to the streaming manager of that radio station?

Many thanks for your help!

bpa
2013-09-01, 00:46
For me, the sreaming quality is under average, even bad , specially with trebles. Could one of you could confirm my perception before I get back once again to the streaming manager of that radio station?

Sorry I can't. Quality is a perception and is personal. Unless you make recordings of the stream, show comparison against "good quality" stream - I don't think you'll have a case with a one-to-one interaction with the station.

It's quite possible the broadcaster has a bad encoding chain and to change it will cost too much (Look at this link for the BBC's secret back in 2008 - especially para with "dirty secret" http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/radiolabs/2008/06/under_the_iplayer_hood_for_rad.shtml )

If there is a quality issue make it public - get some other listeners complaining on rtbf's facebook or twitter or whatever.

didjean
2013-09-01, 03:53
Thanks and understood. Their stream was better to my hears back in May.

I am comparing with another RTBF station, PureFM where it's obvious: the stream quality of that other station is much better.

I am afraid they are mostly dedicated and testing their stream to iPhone/iPad user. E.g. it is not possible to hear any difference with the integrated iPad speakers.

toby10
2013-09-01, 04:24
.... I am comparing with another RTBF station, PureFM where it's obvious: the stream quality of that other station is much better....

What is the stream format and bit rate for those two streams? Ex: if one is 192k mp3 and the other is 64k aac, that could be your difference.

Also make sure you are getting the correct stream (format & bit rate). Many stations will offer multiple streams of same station at various formats and/or bit rates.
So if the 192k access is full it may automatically kick you to another (lower bit rate) stream of same station.

didjean
2013-09-01, 05:23
The same: 128Kbps CBR MP3 for both "PureFM" and "La Premiere".
PureFM sounds neat. La premiere sounds like a 64K radio.

Mnyb
2013-09-01, 10:36
I have a feeling that there sometimes is more than bitrate missing here , many radio providers probably do other things to the sound compression eq ? the 64k can sometimes be mono .

My own experiments with for example 128k mp3 seems to sound better than any such radio stream , I use lame and the radio station may beside manipulating the sound be using the least cpu intensive codec settings to save , and thus may not do the best possible mp3 encoding for a given bitrate .