Thursday, November 29, 2012

AFOS converts to stereo this Saturday, December 1--if there are no technical difficulties

I don't know why this guy's been staring at his portable air conditioner for 10 minutes. Yo, mister, it's not a TV!
After 10 years of AFOS being in mono (22050 Hz, 32 kbps, "Good audio quality for talk radio. Not great for music," according to Live365, which powers AFOS), I'm upgrading AFOS to stereo (22050 Hz, 56 kbps, "Audio quality is the illest," according to me). Since October 1, I've been going through the AFOS music library and re-converting five or 10 "AFOS Prime" playlist tracks per day, this time into stereo mp3s instead of saving them down as mono mp3s like I used to do for 10 straight years.

The conversion to stereo was originally going to take place on January 1, but because I now have enough mp3s that won't result in too much repetition, I'm moving the upgrade up to Saturday. That means I have to temporarily shut down the station tomorrow to upload all those redone files to the station locker. Hopefully, there won't be any technical snafus in the next two days because I don't have the patience for that shit right now.

The slightly bigger file sizes will result in less music in the locker, but far superior sound quality. In other words, AFOS won't sound like an AM station anymore. I streamed content in mono only because mono file sizes are smaller, and that allowed me to stream a lot more music (according to Live365, four times more music than I'll be capable of streaming in stereo, to be exact).

I was playing back the new stereo mp3 I just made out of "Malcolm and Martin" from the Do the Right Thing score album, and the difference is huge. I like being able to hear Terence Blanchard's trumpet during "Malcolm and Martin" with the same clarity and resonance it has on the album.

The downsized amount of music in the locker also means huge schedule changes. The "AFOS Prime" block will remain on the schedule, but the other blocks--"Beat Box," "Rock Box," "Rome, Italian Style," "Chai Noon," "New Cue Revue" and "Soda and Pie"--will not be back. However, some tracks from the "Chai Noon" playlist will be transferred to "AFOS Prime," and I might bring back "Beat Box" and "Rock Box" to the schedule at some point next year as I gradually rebuild those two playlists. I took another look at the revamped "AFOS Prime" playlist, and it turns out I do have enough not-so-John-Williams-y tracks to rebuild "Beat Box," so "Beat Box" is back on the schedule with a new time slot: Mondays through Fridays at 7-9am.

Frankly, I always hated mono, from the way it makes music sound so tinny to its very name. Audio formats shouldn't have the same exact names as diseases you get from kissing.

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