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Apps, Online Mixers and Audio Compression

We record sounds to help people relax. Our recordings are different as we use both foreground and background audio to enhance the feeling of 'being there'. This also requires a higher fidelity of recording due to the subtle nature of some of the background audio. Ergo, we use less audio compression then most websites.

Almost all long sound files on the Internet are compressed. This is simply because uncompressed WAV (Waveform) or FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) files are huge and would gobble up disk and RAM space in a hurry. For instance an uncompressed 60 minute nature recording would come in at a massive 700-800 megabytes. Consequently, almost all long downloadable files, music or audio, are compressed. However, it is interesting to note how few websites or Apps reveal their audio compression. While this is understandable for free online nature sound mixers ( you have seen them everywhere... they loop the same highly compressed 60 second nature MP3 over and over again)  however it is unforgivable to sell a sound file without revealing the compression. At our site we use 256 to 320 Kbit/s (kilobits per second) MP3 files. Yes, there are still a few of the older recordings we did that have more compression but, in general, our sounds are at the higher quality end of the scale. Apps and online mixers use substantially more compression as bandwidth concerns dictate smaller files. We also do not loop our sounds like Apps and online mixers do. Personally, looped audio bytes drive me crazy. It's just not natural.

I have been hesitant in doing this demonstration simply because the difference in quality might be hard to hear on regular computer or laptop speakers. Here are three examples of the very same thunder and rain stereo MP3.  Hopefully some of you can hear the difference. If you were to put these on an audio CD, or a quality MP3 player, and play them on your home stereo the difference would be dramatic.

Examples of MP3 Compression

40 Kbit/s MP3 (quality of online mixers):

96 Kbit/s MP3 ( Apps ) :

320 Kbit/s MP3 ( Our sounds):

On every single one of our product pages, such as Autumn Leaves, you will find our Kilobits per Second MP3 compression level. So, if you ever wondered what 256 Kbit/s was, now you know. As a side note this website actually had a free nature sound online mixer for a while, also. We got rid of it simply because of the poor quality.


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handI have written extensively over the years about the process of falling asleep and have sorted my journal into four areas of interest.