xHE-AAC Streams Compatible with Android 9 and 10, macOS 11 beta, iOS 14 beta and iPadOS 14 beta


New Member
Yo fellow Internet Radio enthusiasts!

I manage 5 Internet Radio stations which recently updated their xHE-AAC streams to fMP4 HLS. For the first time ever, they are compatible with Android 9 and 10 as well as new versions of macOS, iOS and iPadOS (currently developer preview betas, public betas out in July, release versions in Autumn). Previously the streams were in LOAS HLS and only worked with the StreamS Hi-Fi Radio app on iOS, iPadOS and tvOS. Translation for anyone unfamiliar with these terms: fMP4 = fragmented mp4, LOAS = low overhead audio stream, HLS = HTML5 live streaming, xHE-AAC = extended high-efficiency AAC aka USAC (unified speech audio codec). For more info. on xHE-AAC check this site: Fraunhofer xHE-AAC Site.

For Android 9 or 10, Firefox works. The streams will also work in ExoPlayer if the direct .m3u8 URLs are used.

For the new Apple betas, the streams play in Safari.

I have made some barebones web players with videoJS which at the time of posting currently play the audio without displaying the album art and ID tags. I will fix that issue as soon as possible!

The streams are in 40 kbps 48 kHz xHE-AAC stereo. They are encoded with StreamS Hi-Fi Encoders and have Orban Optimod PCn audio processing. Anyone who hasn't heard 40k xHE-AAC is in for a surprise!

xHE-AAC provides perceptually superior audio quality at low bit-rates than any other existing codecs. It is the default codec used in Digital Radio Mondiale.

Here are links to the web players compatible with Firefox on Android 9 or 10 and Safari on the Apple betas:



Max Radio .CA xHE-AAC

New West Rock .CA xHE-AAC

Uptown Radio .CA xHE-AAC

My car has Apple CarPlay. Using the StreamS Hi-Fi Radio app, I've found I can drive all over Greater Vancouver listening to these streams without any dropouts. I've found HLS to be more robust and reliable than ICY (Icecast and Shoutcast). The app displays the high resolution album art and ID tags looking great on the car's display!

As mentioned before, the xHE-AAC streams also work in the Music app in the macOS 11 beta. The special URLs needed for that are on the above Internet Radio station websites. Any HLS streams served with SSL encryption that have direct URLs beginning with https:// need to be changed to start with itls:// to work with the Music app.