Radio 1's web stream has for a long time been intermittently lo-fi, even though the actual stream format is nice-enough 128k mp3, i.e. 44.1kHz stereo. More often than not (and pretty much permanently) the audio quality was in fact 22kHz mono, i.e. shithouse, tragically being re-streamed at 128k (oh the waste.. oh the bits...).

So, since the Energy Flash podcast relies on this stream, the problem was one dear to my heart. For a lil while I had been emailing, attempting to suss it out, get to the bottom of it, or just keep hassling so someone figures it out.

Didn't get anywhere, but last week I noted that the tech guy hangs out on GChat sometimes, so I decided to keep banging on about it in an attempt to really get it fixed. AND WE DID IT!

The culprits:
R1 uses RecALL Pro for logging purposes, recording at low quality everything broadcast on the station. Running on the same machine is WinAMP and a Shoutcast server powering the web stream.

When RecALL pro starts up recording, it requests a low-fi audio stream from the antiquated (and I think deprecated) MS ACM. I believe that this results in subsequent requests to the audio input (particularly the one made by WinAMP) being downgraded to the low quality. This makes sense, as MS ACM (as I see it) is an older, lower level technology that was probably designed when only one app would even think about accessing the soundcard.

So the solution was to start up WinAMP first, and maybe (I wasn't there!) tweak the quality settings (still low quality) used in RecALL Pro.

Get on with it then - have a listen to the stream or check out the podcast! The water's fine, come on in...