Archive for radio

RTE’s low quality streams

Posted in Music with tags , , , on March 8, 2011 by Fanning Sessions

Update October 2011: Following the launch of the new RTE Radio Player this article can be considered deprecated. The audio stream quality issue has been addressed (although I have yet to figure out what the bitrates are) and now for the first time from one central location you can listen back to at least the most recent edition of most shows across all the RTE stations including the DAB stations like 2XM. Congratulations to RTE and all who worked on the project.

As a radio listener who recently discovered the joys of 2XM I have become a little frustrated by the quality of RTE’s online radio streams. RTE provides two stream formats; one Windows Media Audio 9.1 (WMA2) and the other using RealAudio. Both streams are 32kbps using a 22kHz sample rate. According to wikipedia, today “most stations stream between 64 kbit/s and 128 kbit/s providing near CD quality audio”. So RTE uses a rate less than half the minimum value in that range. Looking at some other Irish radio stations, TodayFM offers a 96kbps MP3 stream at 44kHz sample rate (ie on paper 3 times more data than RTE). PhantomFM offers 3 different stream types WMA, MP3 and AAC each in a high quality (128kbps) and lower quality (48-64 kbps) version. 4FM has two streams a 64K mp3 stream and a 128K AAC+ stream. Over the water the venerable BBC provides a 128kbps AAC stream (48kbps to listeners outside the UK) with significant improvements planned. I think it’s fair to say that RTE’s streams are bottom of the table, maybe it’s time to upgrade? Update: DPC has posted an alternative link for 2XM which boasts higher quality streams. Is a retraction required?

Pimp My iPod (Cuid A Do)

Posted in Music with tags , , on February 17, 2011 by Fanning Sessions

Micheal Mee hosts a weekly show on 2XM called ‘Pimp My iPod’. Yesterday he had a second Irish special and a humdinger it was too. It started off with a few familiar tunes and then about half way through took a detour into more challenging terrain where I had to do a bit of work to identify the album if not the artist. There was one immediately recognisable voice but not the band and then one artist I’d never heard before (and a few search engine minutes doesn’t leave me much the wiser). Anyway the result was a rewarding listen and I’ll be tuning into the repeat tonight at 9pm with my trusty tape deck at the ready.

The Boomtown Rats – Looking After Number 1 (1977)
Stiff Little Fingers – Listen (£1.10 Or Less EP, 1982)
The Revenants – Ted’s Tune (Horse Of A Different Colour, 1993)
Fatima Mansions – You Won’t Get Me Home (Against Nature, 1989)
A House – I’ll Always Be Grateful (On Our Big Fat Merry-Go-Round, 1988)
The Divine Comedy – Queen Of The South (Liberation, 1993)
Adrian Crowley – Tonight I Can See (When You Are Here You Are Family, 2002)
John Hegarty – The Silence With Ease (Twilight, 2000)
Fionn Regan – (The End Of History, 2006)
Rollerskate Skinny – Violence To Violence (Shoulder Voices, 1993)
The Glee Club – The Blame (Mine, 1994)
Cathy Davey – Come Over (Something Ilk, 2004)

Irish Special Cuid a Do (16th Feb 2011)

Michael Mee on 2XM

Posted in Music with tags , , , on February 9, 2011 by Fanning Sessions

I recently discovered writer and comedian Michael Mee‘s 2XM radio show ‘Pimp my iPod‘ when a reader who knows my weakness for a good compilation pointed me at his irish special where lots of music near and dear to the heart of yours truly featured. ‘Pimp My iPod’ can be heard on DAB, online or on NTL Chorus Channel 944, Wednesdays at 5pm and is repeated on Thursdays at 9pm.

Thin Lizzy – Dancing in the Moonlight
Paul Brady – Crazy Dreams
U2 – 11 O’Clock Tick Tock
Microdisney – Dolly
Frank and Walters – Michael
Boa Morte – The Spade Song
The Undertones – Here Comes the Summer
The Blades – Hot for You
Something Happens – Here Comes the Only One Again
Stars of Heaven – Widow’s Walk
Brian – You Don’t Want a Boyfriend
Serious Women – Baby
My Bloody Valentine – Nothing Much to Lose
Therapy? – Screamager

Michael Mee ‘Pimp My Ipod’ (Irish Special)

David Heffernan (6th Feb 2011)

Posted in Music with tags on February 8, 2011 by Fanning Sessions

Another enjoyable ‘Guaranteed Irish‘ show on 4FM courtesy Dave Heffernan and producer Brendan Russell last Sunday. I particularly enjoyed tunes by Deadly Engines, Cypress, Mine!, The Would Be’s, Revelino, Brian, Engine Alley, The Brilliant Trees and The Radio but that’s not to say I didn’t like the other tracks. I’m impressed that Dave doesn’t always go for the obvious choice of band or track and I’m always sure to come across a few songs I’ve never heard before. He also throws in the occasional faux pas to generate regular email traffic. In case you missed the show check it out here. If you’d like to receive notification of further shows then subscribe to comments on this post (if you comment on this post you will be asked if you want notification of further replies) and I’ll do my best to see you don’t miss out. For some past shows use the site search.

The Adventures – Your Greatest Shade Of Blue (1989)
Microdisney – Horse Overboard (1985)
Teen Commandments – Private World (1981)
Tokyo Olympics – Dance Movement (1982)
The Strangers – Mary Mary (1965)
Granny’s Intentions – Maybe (1970)
Luvin Kind – It’s A Cruel World (1966)
The Revellions – Ain’t No Fool (2008)
The Commitments – Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song) (1992)
Sweeney’s Men – Sally Brown (1968)
The Deadly Engines – Mystery Wall (1992)
Brian – On A Roll (1999)
The Last Post – Silence Seems To Say ()
Revelino – Don’t Lead Me Down (1994)
Phil Lynott – Yellow Pearl (1982)
The Resistors – Service With A Smile (1979)
The Danger Is – Rub Who You Love (2011)
The Brilliant Trees – The Perfect Crime (1996)
Roesy – Colour Me Colourful (2006)
Cypress Mine! – Justine (1987)
Engine Alley – Mrs Winder (1993)
The Radio – Whatever Gets You Through Today (2004)
The Stunning – She’s On My Mind
Anno Domini – Bad Lands Of Ardguth (1971)
The Would Be’s – Funny Ha Ha (1991)
Tiger Cooke – Rid Of Her (2010)
Vertigo Smyth – Comfort Me (2009)