Internet Radio? What's up with it and how do I play it?

I have the DS Junior.

So… I just resurrected a Nikko Gamma V tuner ($800 circa 1980) and can’t find anyone who knows how to align it here in Philly. I then spoke to a reputable high-end retailer (looking for alignment recs) and he noted Internet Radio is now better sound quality than good FM… and way more stations globally. He noted there was a station in Moscow they listen to that was wonderful. He had some $600 box with an Ethernet port that will do it for me… I didn;t get the make/model.

Anywho… What is he talking about? I use Foobar… can I connect to an internet radio station and stream to the DS Junior? What protocols do these “high quality” digital radio stations use to transmit over the 'net?

My experience connecting to a radio station is via a browser and the sound quality was always poor.

Any help here? I am NOT referring to streaming services like Spotify.

Bruce in Philly

Not sure what software, if any, you use with the Bridge, but with my iPad I’m using JRiver/JRemote and MConnect/MControl. JRiver is a little difficult to set up for internet radio, but MControl has VTuner as one of the source options. The MControl app is free (If I remember correctly, MControl is $5.99) and you can get a wide variety of internet radio through that. Not sure if it will have the Moscow station, but for free it’s worth a try. One comment on MControl, if you are using an iPhone get the regular, and if an iPad get the HD version. Can’t speak to Android.

Edit: Guess I can’t read! Missed that use Foobar, but you’ve already worked that out …

I don’t know Foobar too well but I suspect you can stream radio stations using it. As far as I understand it, radio stations will often publish a URL that streams their on-air content. You would need to copy that URL from the station’s website and open it using Foobar. I’ve used VLC and Jriver to open URLs like that. The quality of the stream depends on the station and what they are willing to publish. For instance, Radio Paradise, which is online only, has several streams including a 320Kbps and FLAC stream. I’m using the newest version of Jriver (24) and can open Radio Paradise’s high quality FLAC stream using it. Your mileage will vary based on what the station is willing to stream.

Here’s a pretty good list of high(er) res streams. Some up-sampled but sound great!

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Thanks for the list.

I have not listened to Internet radio in a long while, but found some interesting stations in the past well worth listening to for music to which I would not otherwise be exposed.

SO… I have since found I can build radio station playlists in Foobar (probably should have done my homework first)…

I found a few radio lists…

Good audiophile internet radio reads with stations:

SPEED questions:

I found only a few that denote “192” and most say “128” kbps… What does 192 and 128 equate to the digital files I play at home?

(I am not in a place to try out my DSJ, so I am doing this from Foobar on my laptop and it all sounds like crap).

Bruce in Philly

Look at this link I posted above. It contains one FLAC up to 192kHz sampling rate (~2Mbps) very high quality albeit upsampled, along with other FLAC streams at CD-quality like Tidal, and a number of 320Kbps. You want to stick with 320Kbps or FLAC wherever possible.

192Kbps or 128Kbps is OK for voice like new radio but not acceptable for music on played on a modest or better system.

Thanx Brett, I did look at that link … it is great … and am creating a little library of URLs to seek out these radio stations.

So… more specifically, CDs are 44.1/16bit… how does that equate to the radio streams? What number(s) do I look for as equivalent?

Bruce in Philly

As a reference, Redbook CD is 1,411 kbps.

CD equivalent stream would be a WAV at ~1.4Mbps (or 1411Kbps). FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) compresses this but does not lose any info, it is equal to CD but uses somewhat less than 1.4Mbps.

Often, bitrate and sampling rate get mixed up or confused. Both matter but in the context off streaming, bitrate is a better basis for quality of sound.

In the end, none of the numbers matter. Does it sound pleasing on your system is what matters but I wouldn’t waste time setting up 128K or 192K streams unless it’s content that you want regardless of quality.

Hope that helps. I’m not an expert in the area and I may have mis-stated some things, hopefully others will correct my errors.

Here are several Linn hosted stations that are 320kbps -

Linn Radio:

Linn Jazz:

Linn Classical:

As a rule of thumb, you can compress audio losslessly by about a factor of 2. A little more roughly you can compress audio by about a factor of 4 with loss but still have the result be indistinguishable from the original by the majority of people. In other words 320kbps can be pretty darn good. I was also going to post the Linn streams.

Thanx guys… now I am trying to get Foobar to store these locations… goofy…

So… the Linn Jazz station… sounds nice through the DSJ.

I am playing Linn Jazz and
Foobar denotes Sample rate=44100 Hz, Bitrate=320 kbps, Codec=MP3, Encoding - lossy
DSJ denotes PCM 44.1k, 24bit

Soooo , whats up with this MP3 codec thing… lossy? How can it be lossy if the DSJ denotes 44.1, 24bit? I am not getting the protocols here.

Bruce in Philly

The DS reports the sample rate and sample width based on what it receives - there’s no meta data sent over TOSLink, S/PDIF, AES3 or I2S inputs and tho USB could in principle the FPGA in the DS treats USB like an I2S input.

Foobar2000 is reporting the meta data from the source and decompressing the source back to (hopefully something resembling) the original data before it was compressed. MP3 decoding goes back to it’s original sample rate, but others, say Opus always go to 48,000 (at least internally). If you use any DSP in foobar2000 (or what ever your player is) you can generate a broad array of sample rates and usually you can send 16, 24, 32 (and some other) bits per sample.

When the bridge (or other similar streaming device) is in the middle there are even more possibilities - e.g. the original player program might do the decoding before the bridge, or the bridge can decode or…