[vorbis] Virgin Radio launches an Ogg stream

Lawrence Wade vorbis at glowingplate.com
Tue Jun 17 16:24:43 PDT 2003

At 04:45 PM 6/17/2003 -0400, you wrote:
>WOW!  I just listened to the Virgin Radio Ogg Vorbis 96K stream.  It's
>currently hard to find high-quality stereo Vorbis streams right now.  This
>is the best sound quality for an internet radio station I have EVER heard!
>Most high-quality stations broadcast at 128K mp3, which to me sounds just
>about like FM.  I have to say this is much, much better, and even uses
>less of my incoming bandwidth.  Thanks for the Vorbis.

    I was impressed with the sound quality too, but I wonder if that's the 
reason - flattering as it is to Vorbis, even 128kbps MP3 doesn't sound as 
bad as most Internet radio stations.

    We have to expect a moderate increase in fidelity for a given bitrate, 
but I doubt it will be as extreme as that. Certainly Ogg vs. MP3 at 
comparable bitrates isn't *that* extreme in my experience, let alone for 
96kbps vs. 128kbps. (I use Ogg mostly because I can have the sound quality 
of a 192kbps MP3 with somewhat less size than a 160kbps MP3. When you're 
dealing in gigabytes of music, it makes a difference.)

    FM radio is highly compressed, AM even more so. Not compressed in terms 
of small data rates, compressed in terms of the dynamic range - this 
because of the comparatively high noise floor of radio as a medium. Not to 
mention the FCC doesn't like it much when you clip the modulator...

    I suspect the reason is that they're taking the output to the Internet 
"transmitter" before the compressor, while most radio stations with an 
Internet feed just put it in parallel, taking a sniff of the compressed 
output heading to the radio transmitter.

    Lawrence Wade, BOFH


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