What is Up With Pandora’s Bad Audio Quality?

So hey Pandora the 1990’s called and they want their streaming audio quality back.  What is with the bad audio quality on Pandora lately?  I have not listened to Pandora for a while but recently I pulled it up to be disappointed.  I initially thought something was wrong with how under water and tinny the audio sounded.  I checked my data connection to see I was on 4G LTE with full bars.  I even tried over a few days and different devices.  Unfortunately for me I can no longer stand to use Pandora it just gives me a headache and Spotify has awesome sounding audio.

So what is the bit rate that Pandora is pushing out to mobile phones? My guess is no better than 128 Kbps.  I am right too, according to Pandora mobile phones get no BETTER than 64 Kbps AAC+.  I am not sure on the bit rate of Spotify at this time but it does sound better on my phone.  That reminds me that Spotify also released a new Windows Phone app that supports streaming free.  Check it out, it’s a great upgrade.

Maybe things will change in the future, but for now I am not listening to Pandora and instead listening to Spotify until Pandora changes it bad audio quality.  I do have to state if you love Pandora and are not a fan of Spotify you can subscribe to Pandora and get better audio quality and I believe that is for your phone too.

3 replies
  1. Michael Conrad
    Michael Conrad says:

    Everyone imagines that sampling rate is a proxy for sound quality. Pandora proves otherwise. It’s true that you can’t get good quality from a low rate, but it’s also true that you can get bad quality at a high rate–which is what Pandora manages to do with its 128 and 192 rates. Not that those rates are particularly high, but when your source material is crap/compressed it really doesn’t matter how accurately you sample it.

    • Bryan Moore
      Bryan Moore says:

      The thing is this is music I know, and music I could play else where and not be driven mad by the poor audio compression. A symbol should sound crisp and clear, and if it sounds pixalated your bit rate is too low. But Pandora is not worth it anyway, I went to Spotify and have not looked back. I can listen to what I want, when I want.


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