virtual dreamer

MP3 Audio Compression and Nature Sounds

Most conventional MP3 formatted songs one can download over the Internet are about four minutes long. Relaxation sounds, by their very nature, are considerably longer and therefore consist of much bigger audio files. If you are an insomniac like me, and you look around the web for sounds to play in the background while you try to relax or sleep, you will notice a few distinct differences between websites. Most nature sounds and/or relaxation sounds are less then ten minutes long. This has always seemed odd to me as, after all, what self-respecting insomniac falls to sleep in less then ten minutes? That is one of the reasons our audio lengths are longer then the average recording available for downloading. You will also notice that most websites do not reveal the audio compression of their MP3s. All MP3 audio you download over the Internet is compressed to one degree or another. Now, common sense tells me very few people know about compression ratios and how they affect audio fidelity. Ergo, this data might be over the heads of many potential patrons. Or, could it be, that some sites compress their audio so much (which reduces the file size) that to reveal this data would be a determent to sales? We always list our compression ratios. Currently our average MP3 compression ration is 256 Kbit/s (Kilobits per second) . Not all of our recordings are at this compression, a few are higher and a few are lower, but certainly most of them are. This is considered to be studio quality.  If you come across a website that sells 60 minute recordings for 1.99 you are probably dealing with overly compressed audio as low as 96 Kbit/s (or even lower). For me, this type of nature recording is hard to listen to as most subtleties of the audio are lost to the poor compression. If a website does not reveal their compression ratios a buyer is taking a big chance on getting low quality audio.

We do not record our nature sounds at studio quality just to be different. When you hear the peaceful tinkle of rain against a window in Bedtime Storm, a distant mourning dove in Lake House Storm, or even a far-off lawn mower in Summer Porch it is because we do not over-compress the audio as these effects are very subtle and would not have the required fidelity if they were at a higher compression ratio.

About Bird Sounds

I enjoy the sound of birds but when I am trying to sleep I like them far away in the background. Which is exactly what we do here. There are some nature recordings which feature more upfront bird song (i.e. Wind Chime Garden) and almost every nature sound has some kind of bird, or owl, or such. But, for the most part, these birds stay at a non-distracting distance.

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