vintageaxeman

High Quality 320kbps streams for all BBC radio stations

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Super Wammer

I often listen to the radio in the car and on a Roberts DAB radio. But I don't currently have a DAB radio connected to my hifi....

However, I found the following info on facebook, and found that the links work for high quality listening on a computer, to any BBC channel....I don't know if this is OLD NEWS, but hopefully it may be interesting to some of you....

 

High Quality BBC Radio Streams

Somewhat lost in all the fuss about the BBC retiring its WMA internet radio streams is the fact that there are now high quality 320kbps streams for all BBC radio stations.

Apart from Radio 3, which has had a 320kbps stream for a while, the best quality it has been possible to listen to any BBC station in digitally has been 128kbps. These 128k streams have never sounded too good to my ears, especially through my Sonos system. To my knowledge, this is the first time it has been possible to listen to 6 Music in high fidelity in any format.

The new streams use the Apple developed HLS protocol, meaning you can listen to them simply by pasting the link into Safari. Another good way to listen to them is to use the VLC media player, which is available on pretty much any platform.

It is likely that these streams will only work from a UK-based IP address but I have not verified that.

Courtesy of user simoncn on the Linn forums, here are the HLS streams for the national stations:


BBC Radio 1
http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_radio_one.m3u8

BBC Radio 1Xtra
http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_1xtra.m3u8

BBC Radio 2
http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_radio_two.m3u8

BBC Radio 3
http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_radio_three.m3u8

BBC Radio 4
http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_radio_fourfm.m3u8

BBC Radio 4LW
http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_radio_fourlw.m3u8

BBC Radio 4 Extra
http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_radio_four_extra.m3u8

BBC Radio 5 Live
http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_radio_five_live.m3u8

BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra
http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_radio_five_live_sports_extra.m3u8

BBC Radio 6 Music
http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_6music.m3u8

BBC Asian Network
http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/live/manifesto/audio/simulcast/hls/uk/sbr_high/ak/bbc_asian_network.m3u8

Edited by vintageaxeman
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Seems everyone's either having a lye-in, tidying-up or hung-over.  Very quiet on here!

I have been using Freeview as my radio source and know that for a long time, Radio 3 has been at 192kbp/s mp3, but on-line at 320kbp/s aac, (the latter as better quality than mpeg), whereas DAB fails to be credible in my home at 160kbp/s mp2 or 192 on occasion.  This last set of stats may well have been uprated by now as DAB quite rightly came in for a great deal of flack (not to be confused with FLAC), and hence more nonsense with a DAB+ system being touted as alternative, but I lost all interest when they were downgrading Radio 4 to 86kbp/s mono.  I think this last aspect has since been reversed to a higher, though still sub-standard middling bit-rate.  Barry Fox:  HFN & RR tech. journo' once wrote along the lines that, "The BBC in their wisdom, overnight and when no-one was paying any attention, hoping no-one would notice and to simply get away wiith it, lowered the bandwidth to all stations to enable further new ones onto the already crowded platform."  

I stuck with FM on a rebuilt and upgraded to stereo Leak Troughline II until I heard that my Freeview recorder at the time began making noises of a similar quality, but with increased dynamics on live R3 Prom relays, and subsequently bought a stand-alone Goodmans box feeding into a Metrum DAC.  

I often wonder if the BBC are now doing their Freeview radio transmissions with aac at 320 as well as on mp3, (as they do with Freeview tv transmissions), and indeed, if mp3 is at 320 now on R3, and whether R2, R6 & R4 have followed suit?

Radio 3 started it all with a system called XDR or XRD sound (Serge will possibly remember better and what the finer details were about), shortly followed by their contentiously named BBC Radio 3 HD Sound, but these were initially Proms-led test-bed transmissions at 320 aac running separately from the regular on-line transmissions;  Radio 3 HD Sound having a dedicated URL address for manually entering on Sonos devices and similar.  It worked rather well for a time from here.

The last test being last season's 2017 Proms running FLAC uncompressed.  Whether this will become an everyday reality is questionable, given pressures on copyright issues.

For quality sound with radio listening, there are these stations on-line that one can find good quality content programming to cover a variety of tastes that don't drop lower than 192kbp/s mp3 with little or no dynamic compression (mostly!) for putting onto the searched stations list on a music streaming device:

All Brass Radio

RCO  (recorded concerts from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam)

WGBH (recorded concerts from the Boston Symphony Orchestra)

WDR3 (German b/cast classical)

France Musique (classical and jazz)

FIP  (as France Musique)

LINN Classical

LINN Jazz

Coolradio Jazz

The Jazz Knob   

Edited by britishcomposers

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Super Wammer

Have to be honest and say I listen to nearly all my radio via SBT streams with majority being at high quality level . As I am not a classical music listener I use Paradise Radio as my main station as it is in high quality and has no DJ or commercials . Using the SBT/Squeezlite players you get a digital output straight in to your normal DAC and system which is the only way I listen . Ihave the ability to use Free View in my living room in to my Harbeth Compact Monitors but frankly the BBC streams I can get via the Internet for all channels are high quality and so much better than the sound quality of the Free View offerings. It is also nice that the previous bias from the BBC of only offering BBC 3 in high quality (presumably as it is the only channel they consider it important to have high quality feeds from) is overturned with all the music stations offering high quality feeds (Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra are at lower quality levels).

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I use Freeview (via external DAC) for more quality orientated radio listening at the moment but will check out whether the above streaming links may sound any better when I get chance.

I believe Freeview exceeds 128 kbps though, unless the widely available info. is out of date.

Edited by MartinC

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Most interesting.  Maybe the Beeb's internet facility has finally gone to 320 aac after all.  I'll have to look into this.  Certainly, I'd go that route if Radio 2 had less dynamic compression (Optimod) applied.  Freeview BBC Radio's 2,3 & 4 are no less than 192kbp/s and maybe no better than this, but with television now offering both aac as well as mp3, I'd be keen to hear if the radio service has been upgraded at all.

One thing is certain.  Some Freeview boxes have rather poor op-amps or D-to-A converters, so I wouldn't necessarily say that Freeview is not as good as on-line, for the sound I get is rather fine, and heard through a variety of good gear;  the boxes themselves vary considerably in performance and I just happen to have one that delivers the sonic mustard.

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One-Zero VERY interesting - thanks.

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Super Wammer
16 hours ago, britishcomposers said:

Most interesting.  Maybe the Beeb's internet facility has finally gone to 320 aac after all.  I'll have to look into this.  Certainly, I'd go that route if Radio 2 had less dynamic compression (Optimod) applied.  Freeview BBC Radio's 2,3 & 4 are no less than 192kbp/s and maybe no better than this, but with television now offering both aac as well as mp3, I'd be keen to hear if the radio service has been upgraded at all.

One thing is certain.  Some Freeview boxes have rather poor op-amps or D-to-A converters, so I wouldn't necessarily say that Freeview is not as good as on-line, for the sound I get is rather fine, and heard through a variety of good gear;  the boxes themselves vary considerably in performance and I just happen to have one that delivers the sonic mustard.

Sorry I should have made it clear on all of my various TV boxes in the front room (BT TV (free view) / Amazon Fire TV /LG 4k TV) the audio is output digitally to my Onkyo AV Reciever so this will mean none of the poor Op Amps or DAC chips mentioned are involved. As all the sounds are going to the same source (Onkyo AV) the only difference for sound quality will be the steam irself and it is on this I based my comment that the Streams from the internet digital player are much better quality . Apologies as I do not keep fully up to date anymore as I do not listen to the BBC radio stations too much but last I remember the feeds were all at least 320kbs but I also seem to remember there was a HMA quality involved but this may just be fogged memory .

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17 hours ago, britishcomposers said:

Most interesting.  Maybe the Beeb's internet facility has finally gone to 320 aac after all.  I'll have to look into this.  Certainly, I'd go that route if Radio 2 had less dynamic compression (Optimod) applied.  Freeview BBC Radio's 2,3 & 4 are no less than 192kbp/s and maybe no better than this, but with television now offering both aac as well as mp3, I'd be keen to hear if the radio service has been upgraded at all.

One thing is certain.  Some Freeview boxes have rather poor op-amps or D-to-A converters, so I wouldn't necessarily say that Freeview is not as good as on-line, for the sound I get is rather fine, and heard through a variety of good gear;  the boxes themselves vary considerably in performance and I just happen to have one that delivers the sonic mustard.

The iPlayer streams from radio 3 are 320 aac, as is 6music,  I recently got some Radio 4 podcasts which were 128 aac.

I accessed them using get_iplayer.

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I have found this on-line.  It would appear BBC Radio via Freeview still trails the on-line BBC services for bit-rate levels, plus the mp3/aac differential.  

The data provided below was updated in 2016.  No mention of the test trial FLAC uncompressed that they did for the 2017 Prom season on Radio 3 on-line, (sorry to all non-classical listeners out there), but we will no-doubt see if they'll roll it out again for this year's season.  

I am assuming the higher resolution platform (FLAC) doesn't get used elsewhere, (BBC Radio's 2,4, 6 etc.), due to the playing of current recordings that would otherwise be the subject of serious copyright protection laws.

https://www.astra2sat.com/radio/uk-digital-radio-bitrates/

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Another superb high def online station is 'Audiophile Jazz', which I have on frequently as an alternative to RP or R3.

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What we lack is a device that picks up these streams that “Just works”. That’s the strength of DAB, that people without networking knowledge can just hit a power button and get a sound.  Even Chromecast is a step more difficult. 

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Moderator

That is the crux of the matter. FM radio requires standard hardware to retrieve. Internet Radio can be and is done in many different ways over a number of different streaming protocols. If you rationalise the streams, suitable devices will follow.

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So what are the standard radio streams on a SBT are they up to this new standard or will some bright guru on the LMS forum have to write an app so we can get 320 on a SBT

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Super Wammer
51 minutes ago, HectorHughMunro said:

What we lack is a device that picks up these streams that “Just works”. That’s the strength of DAB, that people without networking knowledge can just hit a power button and get a sound.  Even Chromecast is a step more difficult. 

And also in areas of flakey internet (sorry for the technical language) the DAB radio comes to the rescue. I quite often have to resort to my DAB tuner although I do pipe it through my outboard DAC.

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FM is pretty difficult on portable radios without synthesiser tuning, i.e. most of them.  I have and have had several portables, mostly Roberts and Hacker, and they're all pigs to tune presets with those tiny little tuning knobs, and continuous tuning is no better.  

There are now so many stations on the FM band that tuning is hard work, even with presets as they drift, so once on a station, users will be reluctant ever to change. DAB radios just work.

S.

17 minutes ago, slavedata said:

So what are the standard radio streams on a SBT are they up to this new standard or will some bright guru on the LMS forum have to write an app so we can get 320 on a SBT

All the BBC radio streams on my SBT are 128k, except for Radio Three at 320k. 

S

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