S E B broadcasts at 56 kB + 22050 Hz for several reasons.
56k/22050 was the maximum standard codec provided by Microsoft’s public-license version of NetShow waaay back in 1999 * Archival
when this radio station launched.
My recollection is that the tooling uses Fraunhofer under the hood, but that might be a false memory.
Microsoft’s Netshow was, and still is, a good quality compressor. It does a great job pumping out the bass, and the compession artifacts are somewhat gentle.
To this very day, I continue to use this ancient compressor – housed in a virtualized Windows XP box running Nullsoft technology – because it produces very high quality for its bandwidth and the streaming requires very little CPU overhead.
I have tried out using LAME and OddCast * Archival , but they can really drain on processor time and I’ve found the quality to be marginal. That may be a thing of the past, but it was so for quite a while.
I don’t believe that the broadcast should be much higher in quality.
I do not intend it to be a ‘perfect copy’. If you covet one of the tracks or albums or artists that you’ve heard on S E B, I strongly encourage you to hunt it down and purchase a full-fidelity copy of your own. I firmly believe that these artists should be compensated for their beautiful efforts.
Granted, much of what the station featured is very hard to find. Yet who am I to stop you from going to YouTube and doing your own ‘research’?
A (decreasingly large) chunk of my source material was originally transcribed to MP3 at 96kB + 44100 Hz. Remember * Archival , this is back in the day when all of these playlists were being archived to precious 737 MB compact discs. So effectively, the originals already contain compression artifacts ( grrrrrr ).
I have since resampled most of the content to 320kB rates, but 96kB is still the lowest common denominator.
Although I might be be tempted to broadcast at 192kB like most other stations, it does get a bit expensive. Like, proportionatly expensive.
So I profess that we are all getting a much better bang-for-our-buck by keeping the bandwidth low. Listeners get a respectable number of connections, and I don’t have to go back to eating ramen and peanut butter just to keep S E B puffing along.
I must agree that 56kB can make some insect drones, clip-art songs and vibrant jazz sound rather … hazy.
But it does stream nicel over a 3G connection. Mostly. However I’m sorry to admit, even at this creaky 56kB, there is little hope for dial-up modem connections.
Yes, I mean the screechy * Archival kind of modem. The kids, they don’t know …