Radio compression and "Big speakers"


Well-known member
Mar 26, 2021
Maybe it is a save open door to state that as with any medium, radio is about advertising. The loudness wars between channels started when commercial stations targeting young audiences wanted to be the loudest so it drew more attention to their music and advertisers.

Some stations went till greater lengths beyond loudness and slightly sped up the tempo of their already shortened down tracks so there would be more room to crank in even more advertisements.

Is it bad?
In its own right with a focus on the medium maybe not that much. As probably the majority of people listen to radio on smaller speakers or car speakers, having more "body" actually is a better experience in that specific context.

The problem
Maybe when owning a pair of small bookshelves it is about the limit of what is still acceptable. Going beyond it with standmounts or floorstanders the compression sounds weird and it is as if there is a steamroller riding over the natural dynamics of the individual instruments. Sometimes bass sounds as if it gets squeezed and pulled and speakers which are not boomy on their own will be.

I know there are some channels like most Jazz and classical music stations which care for right dynamics and mainly add the methods to spoken word.

I guess this will not disappear anywhere in the near future, but would be welcome if it could.

Who else experienced this?

Deleted member 116933

Not only artists raising the levels of their tracks radio stations fatten them too. I don't know why any one would still listen to radio as there main source

What your talking about is normalization. which is shy the bass sound squished tidal dose it too, to a certain extent.

And you have to think about where radio is now listened to, Building sites, cars and most loud environments. The stations know this so to combat the environments they make the music larger than life. Not to mention they'rere driven by ad's as well which demand to be heard.
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Well-known member
My main diet of radio at home is BBC Radio 3 and 4, where high standards still prevail. But Classic FM, which is ok in small doses, sounds terrible at home, though not bad via DAB in the car.
On the rare occasion I flick through other stations, they all seem to blast out like noise, doubtless for the reasons you state. I noticed recently that ITV and C4 do similar with movies, which need higher volume to be audible, but then the adverts are much too loud.


Well-known member
May 8, 2021
I too have noted this phenomena. Given that most of us on these kind of forums are in the pursuit of reproducing music from any reasonable source in its 'natural' format (if that is the right word - I mean a signal that is not added to or interfered with unnecessarily), I am not sure that there is any practicable solution that can be offered. If indeed a solution is what you seek - as opposed to communicating an observation.


Well-known member
radio paradise can be listen to losless
I often dip into one of their FLAC streams (via Volumio on RPi).
They've got 4 of them: Main, Mellow, Rock and World.
Earlier today the World mix played the 8 minute Deodato version of Also Sprach Zarathustra.
Full-length versions of decent music, in CD quality.....certainly more paradise than radio.

More 'radio' that isn't.
If you're a fan of the Salsoul or Prelude record labels, these two are continuous loops, just the music, nothing else. (Even less talking than RP).
Not FLAC but these are 320kbps (on the Pi at least):
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plastic penguin

Well-known member
As an avid radio listener, the stations tend to be mixed. Listen at Freeview via the Sky Box, some stations such as Classic FM is dreadful in terms of volume -- really have to crank up the amp to get it on par with other, commercial broadcasts. BBC music stations tend to be fairly equal when it comes to quality of sound and volume. By contrast, Jazz FM volume is audibly increased.

I find some stations such as Heart FM tend to play remixes of well-known tracks, which doesn't sit well with me personally.

I have a Denon FM tuner but haven't used it in a year or so due to poor reception, improves or declines with weather conditions. Still think FM is the best all-round option but isn't practical due to the North Downs, even though the radio transmitting station in Kent is less than 40 miles away.
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