Question

SoundCloud encoding distortions

  • 17 February 2015
  • 18 replies
  • 2376 views

I've been using SoundCloud (SC) for over a year now with minimal trouble... up until a couple weeks ago. Now every mp3 I upload is having distortions put in during SC encoding. I've reloaded old files that were fine previously and they are now getting distortions. These are voice audio clips. I'm working w/SC support but they seem hopeless so far. What changed the week of Feb 2??? soundcloud/chargeupcall

18 replies

Same issue here. Hi-hats sounded more hushed.
I am having this exact same issue with all my uploads.
Hi I have the same problem Help!

https://soundcloud.com/user-948177157/chill-hip-hoprap-instrumental-piano-hip-hop-instrumental-prod-nxrth-toad

I am uploading high quality wavs so I dont know why this is happening, sound perfect on Youtube
Having same issue here. What do you meam by compressed files ? Can we compress our files to improve the quality ?
I checked on this short audio (voice) and here's what I hear! Crazy distortion. I tried reloading it several times -- same thing! Please advise.
http://www.soundclick.com/player/single_player.cfm?songid=13380508&q=hi
Having same issue here. What do you meam by compressed files ? Can we compress our files to improve the quality ?
I've also been having major distortion problems. The severity of the distortion depends on the device you use to play the song, but the song becomes muddy and a buzzing sound is produced whatever you play it from. The original file is perfect quality, and if you download it from soundcloud you will get the original quality as well.
Also, I first uploaded a 32 bit wave, and when it was distorted, I tried uploading a 16-bit wav to match the soundcoud 16-bit encoder, but it is still distorted.
Is there anything I can do to fix this?
Having same issue here. What do you meam by compressed files ? Can we compress our files to improve the quality ?
I am a pro subscriber and I have the same problem, only its making my keyboard lead sound as if someone was ripping little bits out of certain notes. I have spent a few hours trying to re master to avoid this. Seriously this is a music site you should care more about sound quality than server space which I am sure I pay for. Everywhere else I have posted the same file it sounds great. Now I cant import from soundcloud to music x-ray because it soumds like garbage! If I upload in wave format no one is going to want to sit and download such a ridiculously large file. I would think that you would leave mp3 and other compressed formats alone. Here is the example https://soundcloud.com/c_masters/all-the-way-home I have tried listening on three different headphones and get the same results with Beats studio, beats pro, and grado p1000e. It only happens here!

Wow I just read the post by ChargeUpCall. You "fixed" one of his accounts? WOW if that's the case, having a pro account, I would assume your going to fix mine as well!
Having same issue here. What do you meam by compressed files ? Can we compress our files to improve the quality ?
Ive still got the exact same problem.. i tried converting etc.. only makes it worse..
heres a n example! https://soundcloud.com/duraw/test1
Having same issue here. What do you meam by compressed files ? Can we compress our files to improve the quality ?
Just to close on my original post... SC has "fixed" my problem and I can now upload the mp3's and not have the distortions added. What I think they did is put this specific SC account back to the way it was, as far as the transcoder.
I have another paid account that I don't upload to very often and it still distorts these mp3's. But I can do the wav convert for them.
Just to to clarify what I mean by the distortion is the actual audio is mostly good- these are voice only, talking recordings- but loud chirps and loud noises are added in every one second or two which make the playback pretty much un listenable. If wearing earbuds it feels as if it will blow out my eardrum.
Having same issue here. What do you meam by compressed files ? Can we compress our files to improve the quality ?
Hi,

The streaming compression used by Soundcloud is really downgrading the quality to very audible digital artifacts. It 's as if someone tried to master the track (with obviously no talent to it).

Data compression of sound files should not be as audible. This is highly unprofessional at this point. There are many ways to apply data compression without really badly ruining the tracks like what's happening now when I upload a loud master track.
Userlevel 5
Having same issue here. What do you meam by compressed files ? Can we compress our files to improve the quality ?
Yet another track destroyed by Soundcloud's transcoding...
https://soundcloud.com/sodacupkiller/thicker-than-water-no-vocals

Even mixed down in 32 point floating .wav, but to no avail. I would say you need to make this a number one priority, after all the music is the point of the whole site. I can pick literally any other music site, only upload an mp3 and still NOT get the problems with audio quality that Soundcloud has.
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Having same issue here. What do you meam by compressed files ? Can we compress our files to improve the quality ?
Hi Sodacup,

Thanks again for the additional feedback. As Mathis mentioned above, we have forwarded this on to our playback team.

Best,
Gina
Userlevel 5
Having same issue here. What do you meam by compressed files ? Can we compress our files to improve the quality ?
Every time you upload a track to Soundcloud it's automatically transcoded into 128 kbps mp3 regardless of the original file type. A 128 kbps mp3 is an extremely low quality file and you don't need a trained ear to hear how bad they sound. Mp3's are compressed files and are what's known as a "lossy" format meaning every generation of that original file will decrease in quality. Therefore compressing files is a BAD thing and will only serve to make your audio sound worse. Normally a first or second generation mp3 doesn't sound too bad but for some reason Soundcloud's transcoding process really seems to enhances the degradation of the file.
Userlevel 2
Having same issue here. What do you meam by compressed files ? Can we compress our files to improve the quality ?
Thanks for response... so SC support says to use wav format. My uploads are recorded conference calls by online company and only available in mp3. So I took the 15meg mp3 and convert to wav and now this 30 minute voice only is 150mb as a wav. But yes it uploads to SC without the encoder distortions. But fact remains that I had been uploading this daily call 5 days a week for over a year as mp3 w/no problem... up until 3 weeks ago. a 150 meg wav is not a good answer for me.

the SC support doesn't seem to get that something has changed... I took a couple of original mp3's that uploaded fine a month ago and re sent them last week and the distortions are now added in.

These are bad noises that are added- if a person has on earbuds it is almost like it will hurt the ears... it basically makes SC unlistenable.... maybe distortion isn't the right term because the voice isn't really distorted, just these weird noises are added in repeatedly like every second or two...
Userlevel 5
I've been having similar playback issues right from day one with Soundcloud. Whether I'm uploading .wav or MP3 doesn't seem to matter, somewhere along the encoding process the tracks are altered.
I wouldn't say my problem is "distortion" as such, it's sounds more like a degraded mp3 file with the anomalies being most noticeable on the top end of the audio (hi hats and the like).
I wish if the files were uploaded in .wav they would remain uncompressed and retain their pristine quality as opposed to being squashed within an inch of their life. It really makes good tracks sound terrible, please fix this Soundcloud;-(

Here's an example...

https://soundcloud.com/sodacupkiller/thicker-than-water-no-vocals/s-bb4O8

I guarantee if you download the original wav and compare the two you'll hear a difference.
I mean, I'm exporting mp3's out of my DAW all the time in various bitrates and they never sound anything like what I'm hearing on Soundcloud. I guess the point I'm driving at is, I want to be able to showcase my music sounding it's very best (as a paying customer I might add) and unfortunately that's impossible with Soundcloud:-(
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
I've been having similar playback issues right from day one with Soundcloud. Whether I'm uploading .wav or MP3 doesn't seem to matter, somewhere along the encoding process the tracks are altered.
I wouldn't say my problem is "distortion" as such, it's sounds more like a degraded mp3 file with the anomalies being most noticeable on the top end of the audio (hi hats and the like).
I wish if the files were uploaded in .wav they would remain uncompressed and retain their pristine quality as opposed to being squashed within an inch of their life. It really makes good tracks sound terrible, please fix this Soundcloud;-(

Here's an example...

https://soundcloud.com/sodacupkiller/thicker-than-water-no-vocals/s-bb4O8

Hi there,

Thanks for your input on this. When an uncompressed file gets compressed, a certain loss of quality is inevitable, and since the higher frequencies are most affected by the compression, the quality loss is most apparent on instruments that happen in that range, namely hihats.

I, personally, wasn't able to hear the difference on your example track, listening over a pair of HD25. But, sure - the right setup and a keen and trained ear will be able to hear the difference. I've forwarded your concern to the relevant team accordingly.

Cheers
Mathis
Userlevel 5
I've been having similar playback issues right from day one with Soundcloud. Whether I'm uploading .wav or MP3 doesn't seem to matter, somewhere along the encoding process the tracks are altered.
I wouldn't say my problem is "distortion" as such, it's sounds more like a degraded mp3 file with the anomalies being most noticeable on the top end of the audio (hi hats and the like).
I wish if the files were uploaded in .wav they would remain uncompressed and retain their pristine quality as opposed to being squashed within an inch of their life. It really makes good tracks sound terrible, please fix this Soundcloud;-(

Here's an example...

https://soundcloud.com/sodacupkiller/thicker-than-water-no-vocals/s-bb4O8
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Hey there ChargeUpCall,

Thanks for posting on the help forum. Hmm, let's see - this sure does sound strange. Have you changed the format of the files that you upload? Or, are you mixing / mastering them in a different / louder way then you used to?

Also, can you send over the link to one of the tracks where we can hear this and which we can take as an example track? Preferably one that has downloads enabled so that we have the option to take A/B tests with the original file that you uploaded right away.

Looking forward to hearing from you again.

Cheers,
Mathis

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