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YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

I've asked this in the YouTube forum itself and have yet to receive a response. Anyway, here it goes.. I have a YouTube premium subscription. I'll be listening to a song in the YouTube music app on my phone. Hours later, I'll need to charge my phone ,so I plug it in and then cast whatever song that was playing to my Xbox one. It works good for what it does however the problem is that, when doing this.. The bitrate drops from 256kbps AAC (audio 141)to 128kbps AAC (audio 140). This is regardless of connection speed, quality settings etc. Why is this? This is a very annoying issue and I see it as an impediment to the maximum enjoyment of a YouTube premium subscription, especially since I can easily discern and get annoyed by the missing audio information as a result. This issue also presents itself when watching music videos in the YouTube apps on Xbox or mobile. Watching the Same music video in a web browser renders the correct audio codecs (opus 251 or m4a 141). Why is this even present?

Re: YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

Reply #1
Are you asking why the Xbox YouTube app was made to work the way it does? Probably because Google wants it to.

Re: YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

Reply #2
It's not only the Xbox one app that does this. I've also seen the 140 audio tag when viewing music videos through the YouTube music app on Android, the standard YouTube app and the YouTube app on Xfinity X1. Also, try this... https://music.youtube.com/watch?v=zweuMUhYpX0&feature=share

Playing that song through the YouTube music app or website (with premium subscription) shows the correct audio tags (141 and 251 respectively) however, playing it back with the regular YouTube app or any other YouTube app will only be 128kbps with audio tag 140.  This is a ridiculous limitation, I've complained to chat support and was given half off for the next 3 months as a result.

Re: YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

Reply #3
So far it appears to be partially resolved as of this week. Watching a music video in the YouTube Xbox app now renders the appropriate audio tags of 251 or 141. However, when attempting the same in the mobile YouTube apps it defaults to 140.

Re: YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

Reply #4
Where can you see those information?

Update: Found it.

Re: YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

Reply #5
Yeah, watching videos through the Android apps are still at 128kbps though. Hopefully that'll change too so then finally YouTube music will be like Groove music.

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Reply #6
I'm still confused that YouTube Music is using AAC instead of Opus.

Re: YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

Reply #7
160k opus and 256k AAC are one in the same so that doesn't matter to me. Seems that they have all the files stored as pcm and then they get encoded to AAC as they're streamed.

 

Re: YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

Reply #8
YouTube Music is not the same as YouTube. YTM is meant to replace Google Play Music eventually, and so far it's been a complete clusterfork. Confusion with the regular YT app/service is one of the main problems, and if I'm paying for a music subscription I don't want any old 240p video crap uploaded by some guy showing up in my searches, I want the original quality song thankyouverymuch.
I haven't tried YTM lately but from the OP's posts I'm not sure if he's playing from YT or from YTM when casting to the Xbox.

Also, Xbox doesn't natively support casting, so if you're using a Chromecast, it streams directly from the internet, so the quality might be different. If you're using the Youtube app on the Xbox, then that's not casting, right? Is there a YTM app for the Xbox? If not, the regular YT app will use the regular YT content, not the music-only higher quality songs that the music service should provide.

Re: YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

Reply #9
I don't have issues with 240p crap appearing on YouTube music. The Android YouTube music app does indeed cast to the YouTube app (no YTM app available yet) on the Xbox One.  The Android YouTube app is likewise. The original issue was that doing so would reduce the bitrate to 128kbps AAC under audio tag 140 instead of either 256kbps AAC or 160kbps OPUS. Also, playing music videos in the YouTube app on Xbox one the same limitation was in place. Now since this past weekend (when I first noticed) Music videos in the YouTube app on Xbox one or when casting from YouTube music now render the proper codecs (160k opus or 256kbps AAC) under audio tags 251 or 141. So now my music doesn't sound like a piece of cardboard is in front of my speakers anymore. Just one more thing is needed to get YouTube music to parity with the defunct Groove music service  which is to extend that audio enhancement to the music videos in the YouTube music app or standard YouTube app.

Re: YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

Reply #10
Maybe I am missing something here. But I always thought 128kbps AAC was pretty good. And does not sound like a piece of cardboard in front of speakers.

Hope we are not going to back to 10 - 15- 20 years ago,  when people were bashing any audio codec with bitrates of 128.

Re: YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

Reply #11
Sorry to say, but I'm afraid that this is the case. It might either be due to the encoder that YT is using or it might be a case of compounded compression from opus. Or even it could be that I can just tell the difference. Even my own videos don't sound as good as the raw files after YT processes them down to 128kbps even though I export at 384.







Moderator edit: Removed unnecessary quotes

Re: YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

Reply #12
I wasn't going to bring this up -- but I found out about this on YouTube a couple of months ago...  I noticed the typical high end compression of DolbyA.  Gave it a try, and successfully processed it.  Of course, it has gone through opus and the mp3, so it isn't pristine, but it gets the point across.
I noticed that a lot of pop stuff had too much HF enhancement on YouTube, and tried the DolbyA compatible decoder, and it was successful.  I have attached a short snippet (it is hard to find a part of the song that catches all of the issues.)  I tried to keep it short to demo the fact.  (Not demoing DolbyA, but the fact that somewhere the HF compression is quite significant, and JUST MIGHT be DolbyA.)

john

Re: YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

Reply #13
This is what I was talking about. I don't want any music from videos in my music app. I want the audio files as they are sold in the album, or online music store. I don't want an app that mixes both and I don't wanna deal with wading around the unnecessary confusion the Youtube brand causes. The app is also not even close to feature parity with Google Play Music, and not that the latter was the most feature rich app ever either. They should have focused on making GPM better instead, how about some decent normalization for starters?

Re: YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

Reply #14
This is what I was talking about. I don't want any music from videos in my music app. I want the audio files as they are sold in the album, or online music store. I don't want an app that mixes both and I don't wanna deal with wading around the unnecessary confusion the Youtube brand causes. The app is also not even close to feature parity with Google Play Music, and not that the latter was the most feature rich app ever either. They should have focused on making GPM better instead, how about some decent normalization for starters?

They did eventually add gapless playback to GPM, I won't dare to guess how long it will take them to implement stuff in Youtube Music.

I reported an issue in GPM ages ago, specifically their poor artist matching. Back when I used the GPM upload function, it would very often mess up the matching, putting different artists with the same name on one page and mis-matching artists, doing stuff like putting a picture of Avril Lavigne on a sludge metal band's artist page. It also had/has a tendency to replace explicit songs with the clean versions, making you go through every song individually to report the mismatch.

The thread still gets replies sometimes, usually from "helpful" superusers or Google-adjacent people telling me that I can replace the album art on each album, completely missing the issue that it's artist pictures I want to add or change.

As far as I can tell, this issue is not just for the upload function, the curation is really bad in their streaming catalogue and store as well, particularly for niche artists. But Google doesn't care, I get the feeling GPM was never a high priority at the big G, it has probably been on the back burner for a long time now, to be replaced by Youtube Music. I learned my lesson with Google Reader, I don't put my trust in any Google services now.

At least Spotify pretends to listen to their users, and they do eventually fix curation errors. They also used to have something called Line-In, where users could report errors directly. Unfortunately they closed it again a little while ago, for some reason.

I'm still weaning myself off of streaming, though. I hate when stuff gets randomly removed from the service, and I hate when new albums by artists I like are simply never added to Spotify, even years after release.

Re: YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

Reply #15
Yeah, it's frustrating, but I don't really ask much from my streaming service. The 50,000 free song uploads is what mostly keeps me with them, and they've said they're gonna bring that to YTM but with Google who knows when or even if they will do it. It's baffling why they decided to kill GPM in favor of YTM, I've even read they were redoing the service from the ground up, even had to re-sign artists if I'm not mistaken, which is why their libraries aren't the same. All for a dumb re-brand that confuses more than anything.

Re: YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

Reply #16
Google makes some really odd decisions at times, in regards to which products to push and which products to kill. Google Reader, Google+, Inbox, Google Play Music, Chromecast Audio, the list is long and confusing.

Youtube Music seems to be primarily focused on music videos, which I feel is a completely different focus compared to GPM. Maybe that's why they killed the Chromecast Audio, because they're going all in on video content, even for music?

Re: YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

Reply #17
Google makes some really odd decisions at times, in regards to which products to push and which products to kill. Google Reader, Google+, Inbox, Google Play Music, Chromecast Audio, the list is long and confusing.

Youtube Music seems to be primarily focused on music videos, which I feel is a completely different focus compared to GPM. Maybe that's why they killed the Chromecast Audio, because they're going all in on video content, even for music?

You can opt out of music videos in the settings menu. There's an option you can check that says to only play songs and not videos. Works flawlessly.

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Reply #18
I hadn't seen that, I try to avoid relying on Google services these days.

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Reply #19
Does YTM have its own playing history separate from YT? I have my YT history paused, but my GPM history is active and I use it frequently.

Re: YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

Reply #20
I hadn't seen that, I try to avoid relying on Google services these days.
Don't let that cheat you from enjoying what's turning out to be a good music service. It's easily almost as good as Groove music now with the audio upgrade. It just needs to be extended to music videos on mobile.


Does YTM have its own playing history separate from YT? I have my YT history paused, but my GPM history is active and I use it frequently.

Partial, music videos watched in YT show up in the history on YTM and vice versa but songs played in YTM don't appear in the history on YT. Non music content in YT also does not show up in YTM.

Re: YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

Reply #21
Don't let that cheat you from enjoying what's turning out to be a good music service. It's easily almost as good as Groove music now with the audio upgrade. It just needs to be extended to music videos on mobile.

I already have a Spotify premium subscription, and from a cursory look, YTM seems to be missing the same albums that are missing from Spotify, so there wouldn't really be much of a benefit.

I'm trying to see if I'm happier without streaming services anyway. I kinda miss the old days of a smaller, personally curated collection. It sort of forces you to connect more with each album.

Re: YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

Reply #22
Don't let that cheat you from enjoying what's turning out to be a good music service. It's easily almost as good as Groove music now with the audio upgrade. It just needs to be extended to music videos on mobile.

I already have a Spotify premium subscription, and from a cursory look, YTM seems to be missing the same albums that are missing from Spotify, so there wouldn't really be much of a benefit.

I'm trying to see if I'm happier without streaming services anyway. I kinda miss the old days of a smaller, personally curated collection. It sort of forces you to connect more with each album.

I used to have a Spotify Premium subscription until I found out that the high quality they advertise is not really 320kbps for most of the time.

Re: YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

Reply #23
I used to have a Spotify Premium subscription until I found out that the high quality they advertise is not really 320kbps for most of the time.

Please elaborate on that.

As far as I know, the three main quality levels they use are 96/160/320kbps Ogg Vorbis, with 24kbps HE-AAC as a special low-bandwidth mode. For Chromecast and the web player, they use 128/256kbps AAC. If you select automatic quality, it obviously drops to a lower level if your bandwidth is constrained.

Re: YouTube Audio Quality Annoyances

Reply #24
I used to have a Spotify Premium subscription until I found out that the high quality they advertise is not really 320kbps for most of the time.

Please elaborate on that.

As far as I know, the three main quality levels they use are 96/160/320kbps Ogg Vorbis, with 24kbps HE-AAC as a special low-bandwidth mode. For Chromecast and the web player, they use 128/256kbps AAC. If you select automatic quality, it obviously drops to a lower level if your bandwidth is constrained.

That not all the songs in their library are 320kbps as advertised. I found a study somewhere that tested it and heard a lot more compression artifacts than what should be present at 320. I found this after being suspicious of it myself because I also was hearing compression artifacts despite the extreme quality setting. Even comparing the same songs to the versions on GPM/YTM will show that the GPM/YTM versions are crisper.

 
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