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Radio stations increase compression??
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Lpmike75
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15th January 2012
Old 15th January 2012
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Radio stations increase compression??

Is it just me or is there a trend recently for radio stations to compress the material even more than in the past. I don't think it's simply a matter of todays mixes being hyper compressed because I hear some older songs that just sound HORRIBLE on the radio recently.

I also noticed some radio stations compress alot more than others. Man, it has gotten to the point where I can't listen to some stations because the compression is so horrible. And I have never been one of those "I will only listen on a high def system or nothing!" kind of people. Radio is killing my music listening experience.

-Mike
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15th January 2012
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I know a lot if not all of the stations use mp3's and worse now.
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16th January 2012
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People still listen to broadcast radio?

I stopped since 2004.
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16th January 2012
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They use a lot of compression actually, and so does satellite. And there's a lot of MP3/M4a integration there too.
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16th January 2012
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A lot of stations are playing spots/PSA's in a format with aliasing distortion so bad it sounds like one of those Chinese-made electronic greeting cards with the talking hamsters or whatever. Absolutely hideous...and this is what passes for broadcast audio on commercial (especially Clear Channel) stations these days. Around here Wisconsin Public Radio is the only broadcaster left who seems to give a damn about fidelity...

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16th January 2012
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The last time I listened to radio for music was back in like 1997 or something. Then I discovered this program called WinAmp and the rest is pretty much history...
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16th January 2012
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I thought when digital came around in the uk we'd get better audio quality audio. I stopped listening to the radio in my early teens because they never played music I liked so it never really bothered me. With mp3 players you a have your own radio. And if your looking for new music it's completely un-influence by labels plugging the next big thing. Plus with the average using an iPod is his/her only reference to audio quality apart from maybe films and music videos.
I can't see radio in the uk lasting the next 20 years, I know very few people who listen to music on the radio these days.
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16th January 2012
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It's the second law of thermodynamics: everything in the universe must eventually degrade into a mush of white noise. Radio stations, and excessive use of compression in general, are just saving us some time.
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16th January 2012
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A couple around here have gone way over the top, and are overcompensating for it with some pretty extreme eq.

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16th January 2012
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Why yes. Ahead of their time... In the larger view.

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16th January 2012
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I used to work at a radio station. We had an orban multi band limiter. It would consistently do 15 to 25 db of gain reduction.
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I used to work at a radio station. We had an orban multi band limiter. It would consistently do 15 to 25 db of gain reduction.
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16th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kabby View Post
I used to work at a radio station. We had an orban multi band limiter. It would consistently do 15 to 25 db of gain reduction.
Wow
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16th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kabby View Post
I used to work at a radio station. We had an orban multi band limiter. It would consistently do 15 to 25 db of gain reduction.
Jesus effing Christ ..
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16th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kabby View Post
I used to work at a radio station. We had an orban multi band limiter. It would consistently do 15 to 25 db of gain reduction.
*takes waves LinMB and automatically pulls threshold to -50*
"
..yah man.. That sounds like $$$"
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16th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kabby View Post
I used to work at a radio station. We had an orban multi band limiter. It would consistently do 15 to 25 db of gain reduction.
this is a joke... right?
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16th January 2012
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I'm also a former radio station engineer, and I can confirm that a massive amount of compression is being used, as well as a ton of expansion in order to keep transmission strength near 100% at all times.

Here are some snapshots I posted a while back of what happens to your material.


Mastered CD before broadcast:


Same snippet of the same song after being broadcast:



Pretty scary....
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sim View Post
I thought when digital came around in the uk we'd get better audio quality audio. I stopped listening to the radio in my early teens because they never played music I liked so it never really bothered me. With mp3 players you a have your own radio. And if your looking for new music it's completely un-influence by labels plugging the next big thing. Plus with the average using an iPod is his/her only reference to audio quality apart from maybe films and music videos.
I can't see radio in the uk lasting the next 20 years, I know very few people who listen to music on the radio these days.
more people than ever listen to radio. Just not radio one etc. Classic FM is one of the biggest stations in the UK. Radio 4 has very large listenership.

Radio is STILL one of the best ways to find new acts - if you don't support stations (and I dont mean radio one or Zane Lowe etc) then worthwhile new music soon takes a back seat... hey presto - we're nearly there!! It's only the youth market that will go. The rest of the music world has changed remarkably little in 40 years.
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16th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s34nsm411 View Post
this is a joke... right?
Of course not. I worked at a ton of radio stations. 15 to 20 dB? About average I'd say.
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16th January 2012
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Quote:
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Of course not. I worked at a ton of radio stations. 15 to 20 dB? About average I'd say.
agreed, same here
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16th January 2012
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Use of MP3's and replacement of analog processing with digital processing.
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16th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
Radio is STILL one of the best ways to find new acts - if you don't support stations (and I dont mean radio one or Zane Lowe etc) then worthwhile new music soon takes a back seat...
BS. There is a lot of good music, new or old, that is not getting on radio in the US. I got off the classic rock treadmill of the same set of songs repeated ad finititum day in and day out. Payola and the homogenized music culture encouraged by ClearChannel is shutting out the Good Stuff.

If I'm looking for new acts, I don't look on broadcast radio anymore. I have other outlets.
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17th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Real MC View Post
BS. There is a lot of good music, new or old, that is not getting on radio in the US. I got off the classic rock treadmill of the same set of songs repeated ad finititum day in and day out. Payola and the homogenized music culture encouraged by ClearChannel is shutting out the Good Stuff.

If I'm looking for new acts, I don't look on broadcast radio anymore. I have other outlets.

I think radio in the uk is far different than the us mainly being that there are very few radio stations and local radio is pretty dead compared to say 6-10 years a go. And maybe be completely gone when we switch to digital radio completely.
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17th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narcoman View Post
more people than ever listen to radio. Just not radio one etc. Classic FM is one of the biggest stations in the UK. Radio 4 has very large listenership.

Radio is STILL one of the best ways to find new acts - if you don't support stations (and I dont mean radio one or Zane Lowe etc) then worthwhile new music soon takes a back seat... hey presto - we're nearly there!! It's only the youth market that will go. The rest of the music world has changed remarkably little in 40 years.
The rest of the music world has been turned on it's head by the Internet jee's where have been the last 10 years. And we're just starting to get a grip. The radio hasn't changed to keep up hence local stations merging to larger stations. The youth doesn't listen to the radio they listen to the Internet. Tbh radio just seems a bit pointless to me there's nothing new about it and the presenters are basically celebrity clothes horses and their intent to destroy the audio quality despite having the technology alowing us to go in the other direction. I'll bet the radio in the uk has had the worst decline in listeners in the last 10 years than ever due to the Internet and the iPod. Radio in the uk is dying.
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17th January 2012
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I had to leave my job at the radio station. Unfortunately it's a dead end. It's fun to do shows on occasion though.
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17th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lpmike75 View Post
Is it just me or is there a trend recently for radio stations to compress the material even more than in the past. I don't think it's simply a matter of todays mixes being hyper compressed because I hear some older songs that just sound HORRIBLE on the radio recently.
-Mike
2 words: loudness war...

It's getting worse every year.
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17th January 2012
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I work for ClearChannel and the stations in our market use a processor right before going on the air. So yes, compression is being used.
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17th January 2012
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It is what it is. Transmission distance = money. Compressing the signal allows the to increase the gain and increase their listenership, which adds advertising dollars. Gotta do what you can to survive.

It's your job as an engineer to work with it the best you can. Clearly, listeners don't seem to care, so stop worrying about it. If you want better audio, pop in that CD.
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17th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dasnub View Post
It is what it is. Transmission distance = money. Compressing the signal allows the to increase the gain and increase their listenership, which adds advertising dollars. Gotta do what you can to survive.

It's your job as an engineer to work with it the best you can. Clearly, listeners don't seem to care, so stop worrying about it. If you want better audio, pop in that CD.
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17th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dasnub View Post
It is what it is. Transmission distance = money. Compressing the signal allows the to increase the gain and increase their listenership, which adds advertising dollars. Gotta do what you can to survive.
There's much more to that. In the USA RF transmitters are allowed to generate maximum (X) watts of power, no more. That is rigidly enforced by the FCC. Exceed that and you get slapped with a fine. Compressors are a necessary evil to prevent exceeding the maximum RF power.

That's the other thing that drove me away from radio (and from TV): ADs. Way too many of them and they're louder than the program material. I got tired of turning down the radio when they came on.
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