Question about audio quality with vTuner internet radio

ZeroOneTwo

Standard Member
Hi, I'm considering the new Yamaha network CD player. It says it uses vTuner for Internet radio. (so if whatever that you have uses vTuner please chime in) Problem is, when I go to the vTuner website and browse through the stations there, they are all in awful quality, 128kbps MP3, usually lower. I used the links provided and opened them up in iTunes. I opened BBC Radio 3 and there was a piano piece playing. I nearly went into a coma.

But I know that internet radio can sound okay. When I listen to the same stations with the application Radium (not with the vTuner links of course, with the in-application search engine) they sound much much better.

So I'm a bit confused here. Do the devices using vTuner use those same exact links with the exact same crappy quality? Or do HiFi companies like Yamaha use a vTuner service of their own with different internet radio addresses? That would make a lot of sense but I want to know if that is right. (I google'd and didn't find an answer)

So c'mon, help me. :)
 

Streamer16

Active Member
Most internet radio is of very disappointing quality but there are some exceptions.

If you go to the Vtuner website, having selected a genre you can sort their station list by bitrate (which they call "speed"). Doing this will reveal quite a few stations that broadcast at 320kbps in mp3, or in AAC at somewhat lower bitrates which is widely considered to be comparable or better. You should be able to access these stations directly on Vtuner through the Yamaha player.

If the Yamaha device has musiccast like my new Yamaha AV amp does then you should be able to find other stations elsewhere that you can listen to with the help of a DLNA controller on your PC. For example, I sometimes listen to a FLAC classical stream on http://amp.cesnet.cz:8000/cro-d-dur.flac and there are others.

I know of no way to access these streams via Vtuner (or directly via my Yamaha amp) but they can be found quite easily on Shoutcast or RadioTunes or one of the many other sites that collate streams. Including them in a DLNA controller playlist is quite simple.

I have no idea why Yamaha couldn't just include a way of saving say 100 URLs directly in their device, to be accessed without going via Vtuner at all.
 

ZeroOneTwo

Standard Member
But I could find higher quality official streams for a lot of stations that are on the vTuner site. Even those available in radio applications that I have (the aforementioned and Vox) streamed in higher quality.

I notice that Yamaha has their own vTuner site (requires log in so I cannot check), so maybe what is on vTuner.com is more of a freeware set of stations, while the manufacturers that pay for vTuner service get a premium set of station sources. Does the Yamaha site have the list of stations as well? Maybe someone could compare, please...
 

larkone

Member
Most internet radio is of very disappointing quality but there are some exceptions.

Generally better than 99% of DAB stations though, and of course there is the greater choice.
 

Streamer16

Active Member
As far as I know the login part of the Vtuner site is to allow Vtuner to store your favourite radio stations as set up on the Yamaha device. I think that most manufacturers have a similar procedure.

There certainly may be several versions of the same station, all with different bitrates, and the procedure that I described of using a DLNA controller allows you to select the stream that you want. Vtuner doesn't seem to allow this directly in most cases.
 

Cebolla

Member
Generally better than 99% of DAB stations though, and of course there is the greater choice.
+1

The UK is still limited to old DAB and it's anyone's guess when DAB+ is going to be adopted.

DAB streams old MP2 format which is at least 4/3 as inefficient as MP3. If you compare it to AAC+, which many internet radio stations are now using, the difference is far greater, at least 3 times as inefficient!

So 192kbps (MP2 only) DAB (if you can get it!) is equivalent to ~128kbps MP3 & ~64kbps AAC+ internet radio. Also, many DAB stations broadcast in Mono at a ridiculously low 64kbps bit rate (ie, equivalent to mono 48kbps MP3!!), especially in the London area:
London DAB Stations, London DAB Radio Coverage, Channels & Multiplexes
 
Last edited:

Cebolla

Member
As far as I know the login part of the Vtuner site is to allow Vtuner to store your favourite radio stations as set up on the Yamaha device. I think that most manufacturers have a similar procedure.

There certainly may be several versions of the same station, all with different bitrates, and the procedure that I described of using a DLNA controller allows you to select the stream that you want. Vtuner doesn't seem to allow this directly in most cases.
+1
 

Cebolla

Member
Certainly as far as the BBC radio streams are concerned, vTuner provide the lowest common denominator MP3 128kbps streams. Not surprising, really, given that the majority of streamers don't yet support BBC's HLS AAC (to access the best res 320kps streams), which were switched on over a year ago, let alone the even newer BBC DASH streams. Also, there may be outside UK licensing issues to be considered and likely means vTuner end up only being able to provide the (lowest res) non-UK/external BBC radio streams.

An excellent site with current UK radio stream links is radiofeeds.co.uk
You should be able to find the best resolution streams for the UK radio stations you are interested in and use the manual method of getting your Yamaha network CD player to access them, as suggested by @Streamer16

So, you could test if your Yamaha supports BBC's HLS AAC streams, eg BBC radio 3 HLS AAC at 320kbps:
http://a.files.bbci.co.uk/media/liv...ast/hls/uk/sbr_high/llnw/bbc_radio_three.m3u8
- sourced from:
UK Radio Stations webcasting in AAC+ (HLS), Ogg Vorbis, Opus and RealPlayer formats
 
Last edited:

Streamer16

Active Member
So, you could test if your Yamaha supports BBC's HLS AAC streams, eg BBC radio 3 HLS AAC at 320kbps:

I'm hampered by being outside the UK so for me all the BBCs output is throttled down to low quality. I can play the 320kbps streams in VLC if I fire up my VPN but my DLNA controllers dont like the m3u8 URLs (or maybe they dont like the stream behind the URL, or maybe they are just reporting that the amp doesnt like them). Also my VPN is on my PC and not on my router, so the Yamaha amp routes the data outside of the VPN.

My amp plays that flac link I quoted earlier without any trouble as it is not restricted to any particular country.

It certainly would be interesting to know if people inside the UK can play those links on Yamaha amps.
 

Cebolla

Member
An alternative would be to use the MinimServer UPnP media server to transcode the BBC HLS AAC streams (via its MinimStreamer transcoder module), to a music file format that the Yamaha supports:
MinimStreamer

Presumably it should work with the VPN if you run MinimServer on the same PC.

BTW, it's possible that some UPnP/DLNA streamers can't play that D-DUR radio 'FLAC' stream you mentioned, as last I heard it is actually an Ogg FLAC stream (ie, FLAC in an Ogg container/transport) rather than a pure FLAC stream. The way around that would again be to get MinimServer to transcode the stream. However, unlike HLS AAC, MinimServer doesn't natively support Ogg FLAC, but its transcoder can use an external decoder that does support Ogg FLAC (eg FFmpeg),
 

Streamer16

Active Member
FooBar2000 (the DLNA controller/server that I generally use) will also transcode to various formats on the fly though I prefer not to do this.

For BBC channels I find it simplest to use get_iplayer to download and store broadcasts automatically. Combined with a VPN this can be made to download the higher bitrate UK version of the stream.
 

larkone

Member
+1

The UK is still limited to old DAB and it's anyone's guess when DAB+ is going to be adopted.

DAB streams old MP2 format which is at least 4/3 as inefficient as MP3. If you compare it to AAC+, which many internet radio stations are now using, the difference is far greater, at least 3 times as inefficient!

So 192kbps (MP2 only) DAB (if you can get it!) is equivalent to ~128kbps MP3 & ~64kbps AAC+ internet radio. Also, many DAB stations broadcast in Mono at a ridiculously low 64kbps bit rate (ie, equivalent to mono 48kbps MP3!!), especially in the London area:
London DAB Stations, London DAB Radio Coverage, Channels & Multiplexes


DAB+ has arrived in the UK with JazzFM broadcasting at a massive 32kbps stereo AAC - UK digital radio really knows how to shoot itself in the foot :rotfl::rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:

Now in Stereo on DAB across the UK
 

SquareEyesSteve

Standard Member
Hi Guys. Slightly off-topic: my question is about the capabilities of vTuner. I've been using the vTuner website in conjunction with my Yamaha 1060 AV Receiver for some while now. One of my fave 'free' radio 'stations' is Calm Radio (calmradio.com).

The free (ad supported) urls from Calm Radio always showed the genre art for the particular radio station that was playing on my Yamaha Musicast App (for example, a piano keyboard for their Piano' channel, a picture of Mozart for their Mozart channel etc etc). In the end, the adverts were annoying me and I fancied an upgrade in stream quality too!

So, I spent out on their ad-free version to give me higher quality streams and no adverts. However, my Yamaha Musicast app (on my Android phone) now no longer shows the Genre Art any longer - just a blank square. Calm Radio's Help Desk says it's a limitation of vTuner. It's the same problem on my wife's Android Tablet too, so I know it's not an issue with the Androids

Can anyone help me understand WHY there's no facility to show the 'Art' on vTuner? Surely, the only difference between the 'free' Calm Radio streams and the 'paid-for' streams is a different url? Or am I over-simplifying things? Perhaps more importantly, is there another way of using the Calm Radio paid-for streams via another 'platform' that'll also 'talk' to my Yamaha 1060 and show the 'Art'

Thank you, your expertise and advice is much appreciated!

Steve
 

The latest video from AVForums

Maverick UK Premiere IMAX Review + Top Gun, Tom Cruise, Tony Scott and 4K + Movie/TV News
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom