Question

Soundcloud playback quality. Old problem = not solved

  • 17 April 2017
  • 4 replies
  • 628 views

Userlevel 1
Hi,

I acknowledge that there already is a topic that is still discussing this issue while it's already been marked as solved, and I like to think that the Soundcloud staff doesn't bother to look into it anymore because of that. I hope this gives the problem a new shot to be fixed. Sorry if I'm making wrong assumptions.

Matter of fact is, the playback quality is really bad. Even for 128kb/s it's giving me artifacts that do not appear when I render my stuff at 128kb/s from my DAW. Pretty everything has already been said here, the topic is more than a year old and the last post is from about an hour ago, which is pretty ridiculous for an audio streaming platform:
https://soundcloudcommunity.com/uploading-transcoding-230060/why-does-soundcloud-literally-have-the-worst-audio-playback-after-transcoding-on-the-internet-6644276?sort=dateline.desc#comments

Just to make sure there's also a suggestion and not only complaining in here: Switch to .opus which has significantly better quality at even the same bitrate.

Best regards

4 replies

Userlevel 3
Couldn't agree more. They always come back with a canned response along the lines of "we've passed this concern on to the relevant team", but nothing ever changes. Using 128kbps MP3 encoding in 2017 is negligent and inexcusable. As you suggested, switching to Opus would be a no brainer and is now a widely supported format in all modern web browsers. Why am I being told to master my tracks to compensate for MP3's terrible artifacts when Opus renders my tracks perfectly (and I do mean perfectly) at 128kbps? It sounds indistinguishable from the original WAV file in every case I've tried, so what's the hold up? Why do we never get a straight answer on this issue? It puts me off from uploading new music to SoundCloud when uploading to YouTube (a video streaming site), invariably streams in higher quality than a service dedicated to audio streaming.

I would be delighted to go premium again if there was actually a prospect of upgraded audio quality (at no extra bandwidth cost), but there is very little incentive as long as YouTube continues to outpace SoundCloud in terms of sound quality, unlimited uploads, and the added bonus of complimentary animated visuals - all for free (plus the potential for earning ad revenue). If SoundCloud can't even distinguish itself on sound quality, then what's the point?
Userlevel 2
I would subscribe to SoundCloud Go+ if you offer 320kbps streaming. that's the only feature i'm interested in.
I have to agree, at the risk of sounding ungrateful to an otherwise cool service, the playback quality is sub-par. Soundcloud's services are useless to me if I'm reluctant to have anyone hear such a degraded version of my recordings.

I see 128 kbps being quoted frequently, but frankly, that's the worst 128 kbps I've been witness to.

I realize you have a lot of users and lots of bandwidth requirements, but again, poor quality audio makes Soundcloud useless to those of us that care about the quality of our recordings.

My two cents.
I agree, @MikeFox I would have to work hard at destroying a mix in order to achieve such a horrendous quality 128kBPS, out of the box any encoder in the market is better.

How can they get away with this? Also what is up with transcoding regardless of the original format? Why do they have to transcode my file if I upload it at the base spec they cite?

They are saving a few microdollars by running a fast encoder, that's the bottom line. You would think they would at least offer a better transcoder for paying customers, but I guess they just don't care.

Before trying to engage with users here I think I am going to look for another way to share my music. Not worth 8 bucks a month.

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