Oh dear! I tried Classic FM streaming a concert.

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Fourlegs

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I saw that classic FM was broadcasting a concert that looked interesting (Radio 3 had the usual unlistenable modern stuff). I was a bit early for the concert but they were playing a guitar concerto and I was happy to listen to that and wait for the start of the concert. I thought the sound balance was a bit off because the guitar was the same loudness as the whole orchestra but hey ho I like the sound of a good classical guitar and I know that professional musicians have ones that really can fill a concert hall with sound.

But by 10 minutes into the actual concert I realised what was going on. The dimwits at Classic FM were applying boost to the quiet passages and knocking back the loud bits.

The whole thing was deeply unpleasant and I had to turn it off.

I didn’t think that radio stations did this any more.

Does no one else hear this or don’t they care?
 

Klassik

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I saw that classic FM was broadcasting a concert that looked interesting (Radio 3 had the usual unlistenable modern stuff). I was a bit early for the concert but they were playing a guitar concerto and I was happy to listen to that and wait for the start of the concert. I thought the sound balance was a bit off because the guitar was the same loudness as the whole orchestra but hey ho I like the sound of a good classical guitar and I know that professional musicians have ones that really can fill a concert hall with sound.
This is pretty typical with classical music recordings. In all likelihood, there is a microphone (or microphones) close to the guitar soloist and the sound from those are mixed such that the orchestra does not overpower it or that the guitar overpowers the orchestra. This is common practice on recordings of concertos and even on regular orchestral/chamber recordings where certain instruments will be overpowered by others. Sometimes this can be heard when harps are loudly audible in a busy orchestral piece.

Obviously, this is not a good representation of a concert unless one wants to maybe hear it from the perspective of the soloist, but it seems the record labels assume that listeners of recordings want to hear their music this way. Klassik doesn't have a big problem with this since Klassik can mentally adjust for what things would sound like live and it's nice to hear the instruments individually especially on something like a concerto.

But by 10 minutes into the actual concert I realised what was going on. The dimwits at Classic FM were applying boost to the quiet passages and knocking back the loud bits.

The whole thing was deeply unpleasant and I had to turn it off.

I didn’t think that radio stations did this any more.
Klassik does not listen to too many concerts on radio. We don't even have a classical radio station on analog radio here in Houston. :confused: That said, radio programming tends to be highly compressed for the sake of listener convenience. People often listen to the radio in noisy environments (the car, at work, etc.) and/or in circumstances where constantly adjusting the volume is not easy or advisable. People may also listen using headphones and getting a surprise would be considered unwanted. It's pretty much radio industry standard for all stations to have pretty similar levels.

So, maybe things are different in the UK than here in the US, but radio has to be considered a compressed form. Some people may not like this, but Klassik assures you that more people would complain about it if it wasn't compressed than because it is compressed. Classical listeners are less accustomed to compressed than pop listeners so that would certainly be a point of adjustment for classical listeners.

In fact, here in the US, there are laws concerning TV volume for commercials especially (the CALM Act). Klassik does not believe such things exist for radio, but again, there are industry standards for these things and the breaking of industry standards might well lead to laws being made about such things.
 
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hearhere

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I saw that classic FM was broadcasting a concert that looked interesting (Radio 3 had the usual unlistenable modern stuff). I was a bit early for the concert but they were playing a guitar concerto and I was happy to listen to that and wait for the start of the concert. I thought the sound balance was a bit off because the guitar was the same loudness as the whole orchestra but hey ho I like the sound of a good classical guitar and I know that professional musicians have ones that really can fill a concert hall with sound.

But by 10 minutes into the actual concert I realised what was going on. The dimwits at Classic FM were applying boost to the quiet passages and knocking back the loud bits.

The whole thing was deeply unpleasant and I had to turn it off.

I didn’t think that radio stations did this any more.

Does no one else hear this or don’t they care?
Right from the start of Classic FM they applied a bit of compression and this has led to their success - not because it improved the music - but it meant that listening in the car (with ambient noise) the volume control didn't need to be adjuted avery minute or so. And people with mediocre equipment didn't need to keep adjusting the volume because thay heard distortion in the loud bits and a mush in the quiet bits. BBC Radio 3 has never as far as I knw applied compression.

Classic FM is a pop-classic station where you rarely hear a symphony or concerto from end to end. They just play the popular 5 minute bits that everyone knows. You can't believe how often they play Fanfare for the Common Man - almost daily at present. It's piece of music that should be played not more than once a year - as BBC Radio 3 will do - if that!
 

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Yes, Radio 3 is a wonderful station, even if it has been dumbed down over the years to keep up with Classic FM. Perhaps the best thing about R3 for me has been the wide range of classical music and jazz, ancient and modern, which has led me into many avenues of music which I might not otherwise have come across.

Let’s just hope that R3 survives the attacks on the BBC from politicians, the current lot being particularly worrying.
 

Jules_S

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Yes, Radio 3 is a wonderful station, even if it has been dumbed down over the years to keep up with Classic FM. Perhaps the best thing about R3 for me has been the wide range of classical music and jazz, ancient and modern, which has led me into many avenues of music which I might not otherwise have come across.

Let’s just hope that R3 survives the attacks on the BBC from politicians, the current lot being particularly worrying.
Agreed that there's always that potential for meddling, but I think the current incumbents have bigger fish to fry at the moment than worrying about which radio stations to cull...
 

JANDL100

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Classic FM applying dynamic compression?
Whodathunkit?

They've always done that.
It's unlistenable on my main system at home, I really can't bear it for "serious listening", but it's fine on my car radio. I guess that's what it's intended for. That and the Bose radio in the kitchen.
 

acanning

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I agree with everything said here. I generally have Classic Fm on in the car but the low bit rate and compression make it unlistenable at home. I usually revert to the internet classic radio stations which are broadcast from all over the world and have vastly superior sound quality and usually without a DJ.

I haven’t spent a lot of time with Radio 3 but keep thinking I should give it a go.
 
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Nopiano

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Classic FM applying dynamic compression?
Whodathunkit?

They've always done that.
It's unlistenable on my main system at home, I really can't bear it for "serious listening", but it's fine on my car radio. I guess that's what it's intended for. That and the Bose radio in the kitchen.
Exactly what I was going to say. On DAB in the car or kitchen radio - fine. On the Hifi, via internet or FM, it sounds like it’s come down the telephone line it’s so compressed!
 

hearhere

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I usually revert to the internet classic radio stations which are broadcast from all over the world and have vastly superior sound quality and usually without a DJ.
Could you offer a few examples, please?

As background music / noise (while I'm faffing around on forums), I tend to have Classic FM plating quietly, but I hate the 5 minutes pop-classics, the babble of DJs and the advertisements. In fact I much prefer the music offered by Paradise Radio's World and Eclectic Mix. It's a pity they don't offer a 5th channel with classical music. Paradise is so much better quality, has no ads and only a few-word announcements every half hour thanking us for listening!
 

acanning

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Could you offer a few examples, please?

As background music / noise (while I'm faffing around on forums), I tend to have Classic FM plating quietly, but I hate the 5 minutes pop-classics, the babble of DJs and the advertisements. In fact I much prefer the music offered by Paradise Radio's World and Eclectic Mix. It's a pity they don't offer a 5th channel with classical music. Paradise is so much better quality, has no ads and only a few-word announcements every half hour thanking us for listening!

My listening situation is very similar to yours, perhaps give these ago.

Rondo Classic - Klasu Pro

Sector Classical

Hi Online Classical

Naim Classical

I'm sure there are many others but these mostly work for me via my Squeezebox system. The URLs obviously just work in a browser too.
 

hearhere

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My listening situation is very similar to yours, perhaps give these ago.

Rondo Classic - Klasu Pro

Sector Classical

Hi Online Classical

Naim Classical

I'm sure there are many others but these mostly work for me via my Squeezebox system. The URLs obviously just work in a browser too.
Thanks for these suggestions. I access internet radio via TuneIn using the BluOS app, but a quick Search using a nasty Android phone has not resulted in finding anyof those stations! I'll try again later using a proper PC. Peter
 

Pedro2

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I must admit that ClassicFM is played at key times in our house - especially at breakfast, as it’s pretty easy listening before work/school - I can also credit it for giving our son an awareness of the classical genre that very (very) few of his school peers possess! This has also helped as he’s learnt to play the violin over the years, so I can’t knock it ……. except for the ads ….. I’m sick of hearing promotions for funerals and laxatives at 7:0am.
 

musicbox

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Agreed that there's always that potential for meddling, but I think the current incumbents have bigger fish to fry at the moment than worrying about which radio stations to cull...
Two word answer to that.....
Nadine Dorries.
 

Pedro2

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Right from the start of Classic FM they applied a bit of compression and this has led to their success - not because it improved the music - but it meant that listening in the car (with ambient noise) the volume control didn't need to be adjuted avery minute or so. And people with mediocre equipment didn't need to keep adjusting the volume because thay heard distortion in the loud bits and a mush in the quiet bits. BBC Radio 3 has never as far as I knw applied compression.

Classic FM is a pop-classic station where you rarely hear a symphony or concerto from end to end. They just play the popular 5 minute bits that everyone knows. You can't believe how often they play Fanfare for the Common Man - almost daily at present. It's piece of music that should be played not more than once a year - as BBC Radio 3 will do - if that!
I had to smile this morning over breakfast when they played Fanfare for the Common Man as you predicted 😉
I didn’t smile so much over the will writing ad - at least the laxatives ad didn’t make an appearance which was one bonus.
 
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I can't stand the Classic FM assumption that "classical" music is supposed to relax you. Some items positively ROCK - Toccata & Fugue in Dm for example (regardless of who actually wrote it).
I can't stand the hospital/doctor's surgery/restaurant/etc assumption that pop is supposed to relax you!
But agree with almost all of the above, apart from being able to listen to Classic FM at all. :giggle:
I sometimes wonder if these youngsters (anyone under 60) can even hear the difference. Visually there seems to be a blindness to wide/standard width on TV. My son (46) and particularly a grandson (19) can't tell the difference. It was only when I got them to turn their heads sideways (one each, obvs), that they could see that motorbike wheels were oval! Up to that point they honestly couldn't see the difference, so I wonder if there is a similar perception shift in sound; if you grow up with compression you can't hear it. Generalising obviously.
 
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timmytiger

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Good one on R3 tonight, Mussorgsky and Knussen, difficult choice between the stream or tuner.

Classical was never meant to be bland and soothing, the DR in some live performances would be hopeless in a car i'm surprised there isn't a way round the issue.