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Old May 29th 05, 01:50 AM
Gary Burke
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Default Radio Free Colorado Leads the Way by Broadcasting in 64 kbps Orban


Innovative Classic Rock Internet Radio Station "Radio Free Colorado"
Leads the Way by Broadcasting in 64 kbps Orban AAC Plus Format -- 05/28/05

For Radio Free Colorado AAC Plus is no longer the future but has already
arrived. Dolby Labs, Nokia, Orban (the major supplier of professional
broadcast equipment worldwide), Winamp and many others are already
adopting and supporting AAC Plus. Technically it is a more efficient
transmission medium, capable of bettering 128 kbps MP3 at half the
bitrate (64 kbps).

Using lower bandwidth to send more audio information not only benefits
manufacturers and broadcasters by lowering costs but benefits consumers
as well since using less Intenet bandwidth will lead to lower prices for
Internet service.

The main difference you will hear is in the treble. After over a decade
of people being used to listening to the "edgy" sound artifacts caused
by MP3 encoding/decoding, people have become accostomed to the treble
sound of MP3, even though it is quite inaccurate. Technically what you
are hearing now with Orban's AAC Plus format is more accurate treble
reproduction without the "hard, edgy" artifacts of MP3. So it may take
people used to the "harder, edgier" sound of MP3 a while to get used to
the softer, more accurate treble response of AAC Plus. AAC Plus is by
far more faithful to the source, especially in the treble. Users who
dislike the change need only turn up the treble or use the equalizer on
their Winamp players if they feel the treble is too "soft".

EBU (European Broadcast Union) listening test results compare the
performance of different Internet transmission formats vs. the quality
of an original source (a compact disc). The expert listening panel
preferred the sound of AAC Plus over all the other formats.

It will simply take some time for listeners ears and brains to re-adjust
to hearing the more accurate audio of AAC Plus.

Since AAC Plus is more accurate, it can only sound as good as the sound
quality of the source you are feeding into it. Savvy Internet
Broadcasters will find they can no longer get by on using
mediocre-quality 128 kbps MP3 files as the source material for their AAC
Plus broadcasts. If they do, sound wise they will get trounced by
stations (such as Radio Free Colorado) who don't use MP3's for their
source material.

Radio Free Colorado may be a year (or more) ahead of other Internet
Brodcasters in making this change from MP3 to AAC Plus, and it certainly
did cost us money. But we like it that way, to stay ahead of the curve,
or rather to be at the beginning of it.

Initially we expect our listenership to decrease for some period of
months as confused listeners unable to receive our broadcast figure out
they need to use Winamp versions 5.05 through 5.09 to receive our new
AAC Plus broadcast format. Other Internet Radio players will follow as
more stations make the transition to AAC Plus, which is inevitable. The
MP3 standard is almost 20 years old, and just as CD technology and DVD
technology has evolved with new formats and new players, so must
Internet Radio.

XM Satellite I am told broadcasts in a version of AAC Plus at a bitrate
of 48 kbps for its channels. We are offering even more bandwidth and
extended treble capacity by broadcasting at 64 kbps.

Keep in mind the EBU testing results were done comparing 48 kbps AAC
Plus to a Compact Disc, and 48 kbps still scored in the 80th percentile.
Tests done comparing 64 kbps AAC Plus (the format Radio Free Colorado
uses) score in the mid 90th percentile.

Gary Burke
Station Maneger
Radio Free Colorado

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