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John's Blog

John's conservative blog

Changes at MFTBL

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I recently changed the bit rate for my Internet radio station, Music from the Blue Light. For about the past 18 months I have been broadcasting at 128 kbps. However, I received feedback from several listeners who said that they don't have enough bandwidth for 128 kbps. They requested that I reduce the bandwidth. So I decided to revert to 64 kbps MP3Pro.

Now it's been about a month and so far it looks like the transition has been a success. My station's TLH (total listening hours) went up more than 12% in the past thirty days, and the station's overall rank at Live365 went from 92 to 79. That is quite an improvement and I'm happy about it. The following graph shows the station's progress. I had thought that in this day and age most people would have enough bandwidth to handle 128 kbps, but now that I think about perhaps it's people with mobile devices such as smart phones who have enough bandwidth for 64 kbps but not 128. Also, one of the listeners who requested that I cut back the bit rate said that they have satellite Internet and that their speed really suffered during the evening hours.

I had originally decided to go with 128 kbps because generally speaking the higher the bit rate the better the sound quality. But since I reverted to 64 kbps I have started to use the MP3Pro codec which allows a 64 kbps stream to sound every bit as good as 128 if you are using a media player that supports MP3Pro streams. And besides that even if your media player doesn't support MP3Pro yet, it still doesn't sound half bad to my ears anyway.

With Internet radio it has a lot to do with having good quality speakers or a good set of headphones. If you have either of those then a 64 kbps stream would probably sound better on good speakers than higher bit rates sound on cheap poor quality speakers.

Another advantage of MP3Pro is that it allows the use of lower bit rates which translates into less bandwidth being used by the listener. With more and more ISP's imposing bandwidth caps, that's a good thing.

If you haven't ever listened to MFTBL, I wish you'd give it a try. I play mostly easy listening music and standards from the 40's, 50's, and 60's with a few standards performed by contemporary artists thrown in for good measure.
posted by John, 3:41 PM

4 Comments:

John, I think you've made an excellent move. On an iPhone, 128 is virtually impossible, even on the 3G network.

Keep up the good work!
Well I have dirched your station as a result of your actions. I have a hi-fi system and dont listen to anything below 128k.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, August 25, 2009 at 7:41 AM  
Dear Anonymous,

I found out a long time ago that you can't please everybody. But as I pointed out in the article, my listening hours have gone up, not down since the change. There may be a few like you who do not approve of the change, but I think that they are in a minority.
Thank you for your support Bob (Wizard.)

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