Why are R3 files suddenly so large?
I am new member and found this after some searching.
Anyone technically proficient out there, as I am far from that.
I use UBUNTU and have been downloading programmes to listen to at my chosen time, rather than streaming, but have noticed that recently the file sizes for R3 alone [not affected other BBC RADIO stations] have grown VERY LARGE. I have not noted any better sound quality and find that I ALWAYS have had to raise the volume to double the setting for hearing other BBC RADIO channel programmes.
So am curious why my monthly download limit is being sorely eaten up if I choose to access a R3 programme.
Anyone else found this out lately?
I use GIP software, if that is familiar to others but the UBUNTU advice well seems to be very dry for this....perhaps they are not R3 followers.....
I see that R3 HD is out there but that is only for LIVE and I only ever LISTEN AGAIN plus, as stated, there does not seem to be any increase in sound quality to HD level.
Thanks in advance and look forward to reading the forums....shame the old boards closed down and you had to set all this up independently.
'Morning, DE - and welcome. I don't do those downloads myself, but I'm sure the techies will be along with some suggestions.
The files you refer to used be encoded at 192kbps AAC-LC. After a period of struggle with bugs in the software, those files are now pretty consistently encoded at 320 kbps AAC-LC (what the iPlayer team call "HD Sound"). If you want to save on you data allowance, and are prepared to put up with very much lower audio quality, you can select the "low bandwidth" option which should be encoded at 56kbps HE-AAC.
The issue with the volume control on R3 is an often repeated complaint. However the main reason is that Radio 3 uses a tremendously greater dynamic range (the difference between the quiet bits and the loud bits) than any other BBC station, in fact greater than any other UK radio station. (The Radio 3 dynamic range is somewhat compressed, or squashed, on FM but that is another story.)
Originally Posted by Daphne Enclosed
Also, the other channels which have much narrower dynamic ranges are broadcast with the sound levels towards the maximum possible. In fact there is a whole industry that provides broadcasters with software to make their broadcasts as loud as possible and to compresses what dynamic range there is (the less dynamic range the louder you can make the channel sound).
The result of all this is that the average level on Radio 3 (because of its large dynamic range) is much, much lower than the average level on other channels.
Imagine being in a restaurant where there are two tables near you. At one table everyone is talking at the top of their voices (we have all experienced that) and at the other the people are chatting using the full range of their voices - sometimes very quietly indeed, sometimes at 'normal' levels and, on occasion, just as loudly as the other table. The impression will be that the second table (Radio 3) is much quieter than the first table (other channels), even though they both reach the same 'peaks'.
That is the main reason for the perception but there is a secondary factor which has some effect: Radio 3 engineers usually leave a little more headroom than, say, Radio 4 (3 to 6 db vs 2 to 3 db) and, of course, pop music stations usually push the levels right up to the very maximum possible.
By the way, I've just looked at the 'low bandwidth' Radio 3 LA stream and it appears to be 48kbps, 22,050 ksps. If I'm correct that means that the higher frequencies will be cut off around 11kHz, though that cur off might not be very noticeable to older folk.
Just checked that here too John. Not only have they dropped it to half the standard sample rate of 44.1kHz (I've caved in on kHz versus ksps as the latter is such common usage now) and cut the average data rate to 44.1kbps, it's also in mono! That, at least, is the case with this morning's Breakfast.
Sorry DE, if you want decent audio quality it looks like you have to accept the higher data rate. The alternative is pretty dire. However, the HD Sound is very good indeed. Better than any download service you will find except lossless, and that uses around twice the data, (if the source is CD quality):
Same sort of results for the Lunchtime Concert, except the average data rate was up to 45.82kbps.
Last edited by Bryn; 14-11-11 at 14:41.
Thanks for the replies and all the information; very interesting.
Guess will have to weigh up if can access the lower bandwidth versions as the monthly allowance doesn't give much accommodation for the new 'larger' files.
As only listen via my PC headphones was pretty satisfied with the old sizes...ie 59MB for a one hour jazz show.....a one hour play last week took up 217MB! If it is just speech seems bit of a waste to have HD sound....all those swallowings and smoochings are something of a turn-off via headphones.
Great site and will spend much time reading if not a frequent poster.
Congrats to those who kept the RADIO 3 board spirit going.
DE, I use a similar set-up to you but it doesn't really matter whether you download or listen directly on the iPlayer. I think the quality you get for music with 320 Kbps is well worth the large file sizes. Have you considered going onto a broadband service with no download cap?
Another cause of large files (ie other than the bit rate) is that often Radio 3 progs will include up to about half an hour of the next programme - tho this is much preferable to the programme cutting off before the end, as has happened on occasions. The first half of the live evening concert usually includes all of the second half as well, so you don't need to download that. Of course, if you were listening on the iPlayer, you could stop when you reached the end of the programme, so it would save a bit out of your monthly allowance.