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Part IV: Extra Credit > Advanced Audio Optimization

Chapter 11. Advanced Audio Optimization

Most streaming audio tools work well enough, but you can take certain extra steps with your source audio to assist an encoder in doing a better job. These extra steps, sometimes called audio optimizations, can be helpful for all streaming audio scenarios, but they’re most useful when authoring streams at 64Kbps and below. Using various forms of optimization, you can shape your source audio in numerous ways to improve the chances of delivering the stream to the listener with reasonable sonic legibility.

Naturally, encoding to a low bit rate is going to do some strange things to your audio. With only a small amount of space to represent your source audio, the choice of what to emphasize or throw away is critical. To put it visually, think of making a postage stamp from a painting. What must be lost to make a large image translate to a tiny one? Is the goal to keep the original colors true or to be merely recognizable? You’ve got to give up something to make it work. The question is: What? While you’re thinking about that, consider this: You know your audio source best, so if you’re going to remove something, it’s better to choose those cuts yourself instead of letting the encoder do it.


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