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SoundCloud denies allegations over altered streaming quality

After a calm closing fiscal quarter for SoundCloud — which was preceded by large scale employee layoffs and rumors of bankruptcy — the Berlin-based streaming service has entered the news cycle once again. Allegations have arisen suggesting Soundcloud had secretly decreased the quality of its playback format from the standard 128 kbps MP3 codec to the newer 64 kbps Opus one. The change, as some claimed, led to a noticeable reduction in audio quality.

Soundcloud recently changed their streaming format from 128kbps MP3 to 64kbps Opus. This drastically reduces the audio quality and can introduce strange artifacts.

I made & released a Chrome Extension to restore the 128kbps MP3s. Give it a try.https://t.co/hGUuxiJXYGpic.twitter.com/bYkbyhcNWd

— Direct (@DirectOfficial) January 3, 2018

SoundCloud has since released an official statement calling the reports “inaccurate,” further asserting that the streaming service has in fact used the Opus format for several years now.

“SoundCloud has not altered its approach to audio quality,” the statement continues. “We have been using the Opus codec (among others) since 2016, and we regularly test different combinations of encoding and streaming to offer listeners a quality experience on any device.”

Beyond the falsity of the claims, developers of Opus further argue that a lower bitrate doesn’t actually equate to a loss of audio quality.

Source: Consequence of Sound