Radio 3 Sounds App, still HD?

I used to really like the BBC RadioPlayer app and the way you could set the streaming quality to “Best of the Best”.

I used to play it via Chromecast into my Nait XS and it sounded great, I always assumed it was coming through at 320kbps but now the apps gone, I’m unsure?

Anyway, I digress slightly as this is a query about its replacement the Sounds app:

To my ears, Radio 3 through the BBC’s Sounds app, doesn’t sound nearly as good.
Does anyone know what the bit rate is? I’ve looked up as much as I can about streaming quality through that app but the BBC are fairly vague…
I see you can set download quality to best of the best but no settings for streaming quality or info on what the bits are etc?

Any advice would be much appreciated.

What source are you using for your NAIT? Anything that uses vTuner for internet radio (eg latest Uniti range or streamers) allows you to stream R3 in HD at 320 kps. ATB

Chromecast Audio dongle as a source…casting BBC Sounds app to it. Used to be great when it was the iPlayer radio app being cast and not so good now it’s been changed to the Sounds app.
My main source is a Technics SL1200G so it’s vinyl all the way for me but I do like the odd session with Radio 3. However, if it now means I’m getting average sound then maybe I need to look at alternatives…

When the Sounds app was first released, there wasn’t even a sound quality adjustment like on iPlayer. I sent some feedback via the app, and perhaps others did too, as at least they added it in a later update. I haven’t made any real attempt to assess it for sound quality since then, but I do get the impression that the BBC actually look at the feedback they get, so I would suggest that you tell them about it. They may also be able to tell you what format/rate they use for the various streams.

It would appear to be 320kbps. From the BBC website:

" The phrase HD Sound is used to describe audio where we have taken specific steps in the distribution and transmission chains to maintain the quality and fidelity of the original source material. (If you have sufficient bandwidth available, your sound on Radio 3 should automatically default to HD). For online content this generally means three things:

  • The amount of bandwidth reduction has been kept to a minimum by using a high bitrate in the encoder
  • The encoding codec is of a high-quality music type
  • The amount of audio signal processing has been kept to a minimum (e.g. Radio 3 HD Sound uses the AAC-LC codec at 320kbs and has no audio signal processing applied)

Whilst all of our services are now available at the high-quality 320kbs AAC-LC encoding only Radio 3 currently has the signal processing bypassed and so is the only service to carry the HD Sound label."

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I think it is as PW42 describes it. To my ears at least, Radio 3 via the Sounds app and the Chromecast Audio dongle sounds excellent and better than Radio 3HD via iRadio on a legacy Naim streamer (Eg 272 or Superuniti) and much better that Radio 3 FM from a legacy streamer FM/DAB module, but not as good as Radio 3 FM from a proper FM tuner.


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Phew! I was a bit worried where that was leading for a moment, David. But you saved yourself:

That was close!


Thanks all, must have been imagining things here lol

Have you tried Radio Swiss Classic? Streams at 128kps but for some reason always sounds much better than expected. V good choice of classical music and advert-free

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