Show codec used (MP3, AAC, HE-AAC, HE-AACv2, Opus, OGG, etc.)

Discussion in 'Feedback' started by bigdog660, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. bigdog660

    bigdog660 New Member

    Would be cool to see what codec the station is broadcasting in such as: (MP3, AAC, HE-AAC, HE-AACv2, Opus, OGG, etc.). Opus is probably the best audio codec out now, and there are a few stations broadcasting in it with AAC coming in second place.

    Hope you'll consider my suggestion.

  2. Support

    Support Level 1 Support Staff Member

    Hi bigdog660,

    Thanks for your feedback.

    However, on the individual station startpages it already does display the codec next to "Media Type" underneath the media player links. (Example: We have many stations who broadcast in the AAC format as well. :)

    We have yet to come across any internet radio stations that stream in Opus. The standard formats are Mp3, AAC and occasionally Ogg Vorbis.
  3. General Lighting

    General Lighting Super Moderator Staff Member

    for icecast the startpage shows the codec for the first mountpoint if its MP3 but from my experience there is some issue with displaying AAC correctly (the player doesn't start or other strangeness).

    most standalone media players (VLC, foobar2000 etc) and all the Linux ones will show you the codec as well. My Scottish friends who are very fussy about good sound would broadcast in Ogg; one young woman said the MP3 actually gave her a headache due to some distortion it produces.

    On my internet-radio server I've got two mountpoints via a Liquidsoap transcoder [this sits on another server elsewhere in Europe] - /stream is the MP3 192k and /mobile is AAC-LC 96 (I gave up on AAC+ as it just segfaulted liquidsoap after spending a entire night trying to compile it from source because I forgot the MMX extensions) - and from what I've heard of 48K it filters off the high frequencies above 12kHZ.

    I personally recommend Foobar2000 if you're the sort of person curious about codecs, monitoring etc (customise it to get a proper peak meter rather than a VU meter). There is some very good audio software on Linux but a lot of it uses Jack and I'm not sure how to work it (any pointers to simple tutorials would be good). I can usually get a (desktop) Linux box to play back a stream but thats as far as it goes unfortunately...
  4. bigdog660

    bigdog660 New Member has a several Opus stations. Still would be nice if the codec codec used could be parsed to the station pages.

    I suspect Opus will be come more popular with the relaunch of Winamp. If you go to the Winamp forums, you can find an Opus plug-in for the current version of Winamp (

    I also ran into some info that Opus Audio format has been validated by and a draft is in progress to encapsulate Opus files into MP4.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2015
  5. General Lighting

    General Lighting Super Moderator Staff Member

    bear in mind if you have your own blog that IR/Centovacast provides code widgets that you can use as well as returning whatever your players/transcoders provide. I agree it would be a "nice to have" but TBH these things often only appeal to other engineers whereas the listener merely wants to hear good sound without having to deal with all sorts of different apps for different devices.

    that is some good news; but it hurt my brain initially just to get an aac stream to add to my mp3 one and then I got caught up in all the confusion about stream types/containers/extensions.....

    what does annoy me is 99% of the time the issues are caused by legal arguments over patents rather even the cheapest smartphone being unable to decode these formats (a telephone has to do more heavy work when its operating with GSM or G711A codec!) and it takes very long for them to be solved as so many competing companies are involved.

    but this should not stop us experimenting; and sharing our results; there are still those who care about good sound.
  6. bigdog660

    bigdog660 New Member

    That's the nice thing about Opus, it is a completely open and a royalty-free codec. The Opus audio stream goes in to the .opus container, so no need to worry about codec and container issues. See

    I guess why I I was asking for codec identification is sometimes a radio station will broadcast multiple codecs at different bitrates. An example might be 128bps MP3, 96bps AAC, and 48bps AAC. If I'm on my computer, I might select 128bps MP3, but on my mobile phone I might select 96bps AAC to save my data plan.

    I'm not forcing the issue... just giving you my reasoning.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2015
  7. bigdog660

    bigdog660 New Member

    MP3 is more restricted than AAC. The licensing is a nightmare due to too many patents claims and lawsuits. It appears you need a license to broadcast in MP3.

    Are there fees for using AAC? No. License fees are due on the sale of encoders and/or decoders only. There are no patent license fees due on the distribution of bit-stream encoded in AAC, whether such bit-streams are broadcast, streamed over a network, or provided on physical media. AAC can be raw with an .AAC extension, encapsulated in a container such as .MP4 (standard practice), also in a MKV/.MKA container, and encapsulated in .M4A (the M4A container is identical to the .MP4 container, it was Apple's idea to come up with these file extensions to distinguish between audio only files (.M4A) and video files (.M4V). Technically, .M4A and .M4V are not standardized containers. Finally it can also be encapsulated in the .3GP container which is rare now a days. Theoretically it is possible in insert AAC in to a .AVI container, but it's not recommended.

    OGG is wide open and a free codec like .OPUS, so you will have no problem using it for broadcasting. However, since .OPUS succeeds .OGG, and is a better codec, we might as well use it.

    I hope that helps. Personally, I believe all stations should broadcast in AAC or Opus, but still broadcast at 128bps for their best quality. I think 128bps AAC = 160bps MP3, and 128bps Opus = 192bps MP3.

    Lastly, if your trying to put both MP3 and AAC in one container, try using MKV/MKA. A MP4 container might work; however, it may not allow MP3 (I've never tried it). When I encode a movie from DVD, I almost always us a MP4 container. If a particular movie has a main Dolby Digital 5.1 (AC3) track, and director's comments in a 2.0 AC3 track, I will leave the AC3 5.1 alone but encode the AC3 2.0 to AAC 2.0. Using AAC @ 96kbps instead of AC3 @ 192kbps it will take half the bandwidth which will make the movie file size smaller which gives me more room on my hard drive.
  8. More Support

    More Support Level 2 Support Staff Member

    This is it. We use jPlayer as our html5 (with flash fallback) web player which accounts for 93% of our tune in's (as opposed to the external playlist tune in links which is 7%). Unfortunately most listeners simply don't care as long as it sounds half decent and it plays in their web browser.

    Opus does seem to be supported in HTML5 and by extension jPlayer ( so in theory we can support it but we are yet to have anyone submit their opus station to us. I've made a note to look at better supporting opus when we next update the relevant code.

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