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Audio quality and compression filters - BillG - Jul 11, 2018 - 9:50am
 
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Index » Internet/Computer » Streaming/Media » Audio quality and compression filters
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BillG

BillG Avatar

Location: Left Coast
Gender: Male


Posted: Jul 11, 2018 - 9:50am

OK. The Tom Baxter song has been fixed. A very nice recording when listened to carefully — hadn't done that for a while.

Apologies for the previous inferior file. Please feel free to post any others that jump out at you. I know there are a few MP3 "masters" scattered in the library.

To clarify something: while we may use dynamics compression/expansion tools on some select tracks, that process is pretty subtle and produces no distortion or artifacts of the sort generated by the other kind of compression (data compression). With the aforementioned exceptions, the music goes through just one data compression step: the final stream encoding (or not, in the case of FLAC).

Dynamics compression is hardly evil. Every recording you've ever heard has utilized compressors, limiters, & expanders — most likely in all stages: recording, mixing, & mastering. Sometimes these tools are used well, and we don't do anything to a file other than basic level correction. With some older recordings, and really aggressively mastered newer recordings — plus some that were mixed & mastered by people whose perceptions were altered by drugs* — we do what we can to make the sonic balance and dynamics of the recording match the well-recorded stuff.

The subtleties of this are still a work in progress, and help is always welcome. 

* listen to any random assortment of late-60s Stones and Beatles tracks & see if you can guess which studio had the mirrors & razor blades in the engineering area.
BillG

BillG Avatar

Location: Left Coast
Gender: Male


Posted: Jul 10, 2018 - 9:25am

 HHrvoje wrote:
Just to confirm this: there was Tom Baster Skybound on the radio (listening to 32kbit aac stream in foobar, configured for hifi playback, no replay gain, ASIO drivers, external dac). I switched to Spotify and Tidal, and difference was HUGE! 

So it really doesn't matter if Radio Paradise streams in 128kbit or FLAC since compressors/expander filters are applied, and every songs is ruined. Such a shame. 

 
First, I assume you mean 320k, not 32k.

Secondly, that track is indeed inferior. At one point, I acquired flac copies of some files that had actually been created from MP3 sources. Unfortunately, since they're labeled as having FLAC sources in our database, I can only find them by listening. There are just a few of these — mostly songs that are played infrequently, as the ones played more often have all called attention to themselves. I'll replace the file before it plays again.

We do not apply global compression to our stream (we used to, but haven't for quite a while). We do apply some selective dynamics processing to badly-mastered recordings.


HHrvoje

HHrvoje Avatar

Location: Ireland


Posted: Jul 10, 2018 - 7:35am

Just to confirm this: there was Tom Baster Skybound on the radio (listening to 32kbit aac stream in foobar, configured for hifi playback, no replay gain, ASIO drivers, external dac). I switched to Spotify and Tidal, and difference was HUGE! 

So it really doesn't matter if Radio Paradise streams in 128kbit or FLAC since compressors/expander filters are applied, and every songs is ruined. Such a shame. 


HHrvoje

HHrvoje Avatar

Location: Ireland


Posted: Jun 27, 2018 - 4:15am

I noticed on few songs (from Norah Jones, for example), that the same song played on RP (320kbit) sounds compressed compared to Spotify (Premium).  
Does RP uses some filters, like compressor/normalizer?