How To Get a Better Audio Streaming Quality
Most of the time, when people stream audio, all they care about is the bitrate. The thought is- more bitrate better audio quality, but this is not the full truth. When you are streaming audio, you need to watch a few things to get the best audio quality from your bitrate. For example, getting better audio is a combination of Bitrate (kbps), Frequency (Hz), and if the streaming is mono or stereo. I will try to explain this as simply as possible.
Bitrate is defined as the number of data points used to approximate the true waveform. Obviously, the higher the number, the more accurately the waveform is approximated. Radio streams are encoded (compressed) to a ‘bitrate.’ The bitrate refers to the stream’s audio quality; this is measured in computer terms in ‘kbps – kilobits per second’ or ‘k’ for short.
Sampling frequency also impacts fidelity. The sampling frequency is essentially the number of times the sound event is quantized within a given time period. Sampling frequencies are specified in KiloHertz (KHz), a term meaning samples per second. The key to understanding how sampling frequency affects fidelity is the Nyquist sampling theorem. Basically, when applied to audio signals, the Nyquist theorem states that the sound’s highest possible pitch is one-half that of the sampling frequency.
Mono Vs. Stereo
Most users automatically assume that because it is set to stereo, it will sound better. This is not the case- using stereo on a lower bitrate will cause muffled audio. For example – 48kbps on the stereo would mean you are only getting 24kbps per channel. This decreases the end listener’s experience of your stream; with mono, it will sound better for them. On 128kbps, for example, you are getting 64kbps per channel. This means the overall quality will be improved, offering a good stereo, crystal clear audio to the end-user.
The following is a table with MP3 parameter combinations for your encoder.
You can also get a better audio quality when you normalize your audio.