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Bit Rates
#1
The old RA.cc had a rule of only 128kbps files being allowed.

However get_iplayer is now able to download at 320kbps from the new DASH servers. And even FLAC is available from some Beeb streams.

Can these rates and formats be accommodated here?

CJB
#2
There was not a rule requiring 128k - it was just generally felt that going significantly above that did not add much to quality for spoken word material. These days bandwidth and speed are so much higher that it does not seem sensible to be to be picky. Just post whatever you have at the bitrate you obtained it. What is to be avoided is people upsampling material to try and make it look like a higher quality copy.

Looking forward to your uploads Smile
#3
(10-02-2017, 02:00 PM)admin Wrote: There was not a rule requiring 128k - it was just generally felt that going significantly above that did not add much to quality for spoken word material. These days bandwidth and speed are so much higher that it does not seem sensible to be to be picky. Just post whatever you have at the bitrate you obtained it. What is to be avoided is people upsampling material to try and make it look like a higher quality copy.

Looking forward to your uploads Smile

Anything but 64bit - that always sounds hollow and tinny to me - but then I'm a sad old ex-RN Communicator & Hi-Fi headcase Smile
#4
I think the higher the bit rate the better for new material and if it exists in 320kps then there's no point transcoding it down. Obviously transcoding anything upwards should get the perpetrator a sound spanking in the head master's office.
#5
agreed
#6
(10-05-2017, 07:58 AM)cheops Wrote: agreed
I am not an audio expert, but have listened to a lot of radio.

I suggest there is very little distinguishable audio benefit in recording or downloading spoken word above 128kbps. The same material recorded at 320kbps will sound no better than at 128kbps, but will produce a file nearly 3 times larger - adding to storage requirements and significantly increasing torrent transfer times. 

It is different for music or for spoken word with significant additional music in the programme. Ripping music CDs for own use in lossless/uncompressed formats results in very large files, but the added sound quality is immediately evident on decent sound equipment. The same is not true for spoken word broadcasts.

The recent greater availabilty of 320 material is almost entirely attributable to the fact that the BBC standardised on 320kbps for all iplayer radio and get iplayer was able to offer this as an option. Radio 4 DAB is typically broadcast at 128kbps. The same material is made available on player at 320kbps but sounds no better to me and no different if download at 128kbps via get player. It is not much different to me downloading at 128 then re-encoding at 320. 

Incidentally, while there are tools available for broadcasters such as the BBC to improve the audio quality of some of their older and degraded recordings (including off-air recordings offered by listeners) merely increasing the broadcast bit rate is not one of them. 

All subjective of course - try it out.

Having said that it won't prevent me from grabbing torrents offered here in 320 large files (such as the excellent selection put up by Joanne for which I'm grateful).

radiold
#7
I can definitely hear the difference between 128kps and 320kps and will always prefer the higher bit rate.  Internet speeds have increased and storage costs have fallen in recent years, and I think the increase in quality far outweighs the trivial overhead of downloading and storing slightly larger files.  If people don't want to download 320kps rips they don't have to but, as others point out, the BBC offers 320kps files via iPlayer and transcoding them down to upload them here as 128kps files would be absurd.  Radioarchive has to progress in its new incarnation if it is to be a success, and offering higher quality files is one way it can refresh its archive and attract new users.
#8
There is a strong argument that in this case the larger, higher bit rate files are actually no superior in sound quality. The BBC is probably due a trip to the Headmaster's office for taking programmes broadcast at 128kbps then making the identical material available for download at 320kbps. If storage costs reduce by 50% but files sizes increase by more than 100% there is no cost benefit and it still takes twice the time to download the larger file at any given internet speed.

Other than bringing the bigger-doesn't-necessarily-mean-better issue to the attention of some that may not be aware of it, I don't however intend to pursue this argument further. It can go into dreary technical detail of little interest to most and eventually not even to me.

The important practical consideration is in what we hear. This will vary by individual, the nature of the source material and the equipment used to listen. If the higher bitrate radio files sound better to you I agree it would be folly not to use them. I rip music CDs at above 1400 kbps and many would think this unnecessary. 

I will continue to have my own get player radio settings at lower rates but will also gladly and gratefully download files that you or others here offer at higher rates.

In the late 1970s (no one spoke of bit rates then) I went to a Hi Fi equipment retailer in London. There was a soundproof room in which various elaborate and mostly overly expensive setups could be tried out by potential buyers. The salesman/engineer explained that if I really wanted to get the best experience I should book an appointment and take 1/2 a valium tablet an hour before arriving to ensure reduced distraction from extraneous factors such as my pulse, heartbeat or the sound of blood flowing through my ears and brain. I didn't go back.
#9
In the old days of RA.CC bandwidth and disk sizes were primitive!

I'm quite sure that 128K is sufficient for spoken word radio and for my ears, and for the older material there is no point in going for more fidelity than the source was recorded at.

However things have obviously changed.

If people can appreciate the fidelity of the material as delivered at 320K by the BBC then it makes sense to use 320K if the seeder so chooses.

What we DO NOT want is people taking lower bitrate sources and re-encoding them at higher bitrates since the added ones and zeros make absolutely no difference to the sound but greatly increase the filesize.
#10
Audio channeling obviously relates to bit rate and should not be overlooked when trying to get the most for a given filesize.

Single-channel encoding of a single-channel audio source gives superior results to a file of similar size encoded in stereo or joint stereo. The sound is tighter and fuller. Music and applause can be heard much more clearly. Joint stereo in particular is noisy and thinner-sounding for single-channel sources.

For example I have read that The Burkiss Way was recorded in stereo (lessons 1-6 & 28-47) but 7-27 were recorded in mono. So encoding eps. 7-27 in mono gives a file half the size of the stereo files.

Most BBC series were not recorded higgledy-piggledy like that. Stereo came in on an experimental basis in 1962. The Third Programme started to be broadcast in stereo in 1966, Radio 2 and Radio 4 in 1972 (sez Wiki).

So older series like ISIRTA can be encoded at a high bitrate in mono giving the musical numbers in particular a fatter punchier sound.

Contemporary shows like In Our Time are recorded in stereo but I don't feel the benefit of having the voices spread out over 2 channels. Something like Book at Bedtime is just one person talking - what good is stereo for that?

On the other hand live comedy gets a lift when the audience sound is clear and spread out. Studio dramas use sound effects and a stereo soundscape to help tell the story. Judicious use of channeling allows me to lavish bandwidth on the shows which will use it.


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