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Classic FM, broadcast compressor ruining some music

MajorFubar

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Mar 3, 2010
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Specifically I was listening to a piano concerto earlier today and it was obvious the broadcast-compressor was struggling terribly with the dynamic range. Each section of pianisimo saw the level boosted unnaturally, then as a loud chord (etc) cut in, it would be distorted to hell for the first half second or so, ahead of the compressor/limiter slashing the gain. It ruined the piece, like a nasty over-aggressive ALC setup on a cheap cassette deck.

BBC at least use far less aggressive compression/limiting on R3 than they do on eg R1, or even R2. I know many classic afficianados view Classic FM as the classical channel for plastic enthusiasts who aren't yet ready to progress to the big boys' class, but none the less I thought Global would be a bit more careful with regards to how Classic FM content is broadcast, based on the (wrong?) assumption that the Classic FM audience just might care a little more about SQ than the average listener of other Global Radio stations, even if only because classical music more than any other genre is ruined by aggressive compressors.
 

chebby

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Jun 2, 2008
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Have you tried streaming their internet radio?

Classic FM have always been one of the worst national broadcasters for FM transmission quality.

Have you tried them on Ch 731 on Freeview? It's sounding quite clean here. I am assuming your TV or PVR or Skybox (or something) can connect to your hi-fi with optical or RCA phono.
 

Andrew17321

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Nov 12, 2008
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ClassicFM is at its best streaming on internet radio, but its dynamic range and bit-rate are still considerably lower than those of BBC's Radio 3 on 320 bit/sec AAC stream, or on FM radio. It will always sound a bit flat as compared to CD quality on a good ysystem. (It was designed that way so that outside broadcasts could be sent over telephone lines; very much cheaper than using satellite transmissions in the way that the BBC does.)
 

MajorFubar

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Mar 3, 2010
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Thanks I haven't tried their internet radio steam, assuming they have one, and the sound of Freeview radio at least where I live is universally awful on every station I've listened to, so to be honest I haven't tried Classic FM. But I guess I was less looking for a better way to listen to Classic FM and more having a whine about how unacceptably poor their FM is. It really should not be that way and there is no excuse.
 

MajorFubar

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Mar 3, 2010
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Shame really, It seems to have a mandate to bring accessible popular classic music to the masses, but fails (on FM at least) by having a sound quality that's about on par with Radio 1, broadly as a result of aggressive compression.
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,232
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MajorFubar said:
Shame really, It seems to have a mandate to bring accessible popular classic music to the masses, but fails (on FM at least) by having a sound quality that's about on par with Radio 1, broadly as a result of aggressive compression.
The problem is that most of it's listeners probably think it's ok. The tiny number of listeners with decent FM tuners and FM roof aerials have always been 'freaks' (in a statistical sense of the word).

And remember your place.

You (the CFM audience and demographic) are the actual product and the advertisers are the paying customers. The station and it's content are merely a way to deliver you to an advertiser. They would have to pay more to give you (the product) a better signal. I doubt that will happen. I doubt they'd even understand. These guys are only bothered about audience numbers, audience age and whether they are aspirational ABC1s with some cash to spend.
 

MajorFubar

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Mar 3, 2010
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Trouble is, you're probably right. It's all about providing a minimum level of service that's just about good enough for the majority of people to stay tuned and listen to the adverts.
 

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