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Old 05-28-2014, 06:20 PM   #1
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Default Streaming bitrate

Hey guys. (I hope this is the right sub-forum for this... D: )
First of all: Really enjoying your station. The track request-feature seems like such a simple thing, but having the listeners decide, basically takes care of playing tracks that match the current "mood" of the station. Other random-playlist stations never turned out too great, so this is exactly what I was looking for.

There's just one small thing that bugs me: Using all the links you provide, the highest bitrate-stream I could find is the 96kb/s one, using the .m3u-file, which - for my liking - still is a bit too low. Offering an - at least - 128kb/s-alternative (or maybe even 320 or 256kb/s? I still doubt, that anyone is able to hear a difference between these two with a "regular" song) would be absolutely awesome. Calmer tracks and chiptune stuff work perfectly fine right now, but I'd prefer listening to stuff like the orchestra-version of the LoZ main-theme without "hearing" the bitrate of the file. ; )

Perhaps there's a way to get a donation-page up or something else to "check for demand"? (Should've added a poll for that, should I?) I don't know your plans for this whole thing - but for me, I'd be definitely willing to throw in a bit, if it'd work like this.
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Old 05-28-2014, 07:38 PM   #2
Locke Cole
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Hey, welcome to RPGN and love to hear the feedback!

We haven't really been spreading the word about our radio station, as our site is always "under development" as we enhance and bug fix our custom radio system. We've been working on new features, and our external streams is just one of the newer additions.

Right now it provides the same bitrate as the web flash player does, which is VBR -v8 (approx 80~96kbps) mostly to conserve on bandwidth usage server side. All 3 of the external playlists actually link to the same stream, so should be the same quality :P We did some testing with different formats (we use to use 56kbps) but found v8 was a good mix of file size vs quality. As for a higher quality stream, it could be tricky as we have done a lot of work on the songs in our database rotation (volume normalization, silence trimming, custom loops for the NES game rips, etc). I would love to say we saved all of the source files and could easily encode them to other bitrates <.< if we had planned ahead.... it is something we could consider in the future but right now it would take a lot of work.

All of our music is pre-encoded to the radio bitrate to ease on server CPU cycles, as the broadcast software does not need to encode on the fly. We need the songs to have the same length (in seconds) in order for the playlist to stay in sync, so any changes we've made to files would have to be cloned to the newer bitrate files.

I'll experiment and see what we can come up with to make this a possibility. We have many other features and ideas planned for the radio page, this is all just the beginning for us. We've been "in development" for about 2 years now, but its mostly due to lack of free time that its kind of a slow climb. Having a surge of new listeners today is certainly a welcomed sight.

As for the donation button, that is something we can certainly consider. Right now the radio and website have always been paid out of pocket, but if it does continue to gain in popularity like it has been, I may need to consider it to keep things flowing smoothly. For now though, I've held off in putting anything like that up.

[EDIT #1]

I've been thinking of what you've said, and one solution based on your feedback, we may have some sort of work-between solution. As you mentioned, the 8-bit tracks and such sound fine the way they are. We could work on enchancing the bit rate of the songs that need the higher quality to really shine, such as the orchestral tracks and such. This would certainly be easier to implement then changing then spawning a whole new HQ stream, and would allow it to work under one roof. Nowadays I'm sure 99% of people can handle HQ streaming of audio. Would require some testing to see how well our broadcasting software handles the bit rate jumps, but it may be an option...

Last edited by Locke Cole; 05-28-2014 at 08:26 PM.
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