Help with streaming audio
Q: Should I choose "RealAudio" or "MP3"?
A:It depends on the speed of your connection to the internet:
Q: I clicked on "RealAudio," but my browser asked me where to save the file, or started downloading something.
- Dial-up phone modem (such as 56 Kb): try RealAudio - which is is 16Kps, mono.
- Fast connection (such as a DSL line, T1 or cable modem): try MP3 64K - which is 64Kps, stereo.
A: You don't have RealPlayer properly installed.
Download the current RealPlayer Basic (free), and install it.
This page has the latest free Realplayer 8 Basic and also can supply older versions for older computers.
This software is provided by RealNetworks which also sells commercial versions of the RealPlayer, and provides additional useful support information if you are having problems with Realplayer.
RealPlayer will let you listen to both KGNU's RealAudio and MP3 streams.
Q: I clicked on "MP3," but my browser just displayed some text, or started downloading something.
A: You don't have a streaming MP3 player properly installed.
Download one and install it.
Any MP3 player that supports streaming audio should allow you to listen to the MP3 stream.
Q: I tried to connect to KGNU using RealPlayer, and my computer froze.
A: This is common on Macs.
Try this link instead: /kgnustream.ram.
This disables KGNU's promotional "SMIL" animation, which has proved problematic for some systems.
Q: I'm listening, but the sound keeps cutting in and out, and my player says "Buffering..." a lot.
A: Try this:
Q: Why does the stream "buffer"?:
- If you're listening to the MP3 stream, try the RealAudio stream instead.
It is lower quality but requires less of your internet connection.
Even with a high quality Internet connection, other network conditions may make it hard for you to receive the consistent 64Kbps needed for our MP3 stream.
- Get the latest version of your chosen player.
Visit the web site listed in the About dialog of the player.
Alternatively, many players have a "Get Latest Version" feature built in.
- If you're using RealPlayer, stop it from playing and select the View -> Preferences menu option.
Click on the "Transport" tab and then the "Automatically Select Best Transport" button.
This will test and optimize your method for connecting to RealAudio servers.
- If you're using an MP3 player, increase its "Streaming Buffer" preference.
This preference is well hidden in some of the players.
(For WinAMP, choose the Options -> Preferences menu item, then Plugins -> Input.
Select the "NullSoft MPEG Decoder" item and click the "Configure" button.
Select the "Streaming" tab and increase the "Streaming Data Buffer" value to 128K, for example.)
A: Online audio requires that you have a connection that can handle the bandwidth (16Kbps for RealAudio, 64Kbps for MP3 in our case) and more.
That much data is coming in to your computer, and when your computer can't keep up, your computer will "hiccup," pause, or perhaps disconnect from the music stream.
Many things can cause your computer not to keep up:
Q: I'm listening, but the sound quality is poor, or I hear interference and static.
- You don't have a fast enough internet connection (modem users can't listen to the MP3 stream, for example)
- You are doing other things such as web browsing, email, etc. while listening, and those may take away too much bandwidth for the audio stream to continue
- A slow computer or older, broken audio players sometimes fail to decode the audio stream into music fast enough, and either quit or "hiccup" to catch up
- And the #1 reason: we can't control the Internet.
Even if you have a good DSL or cable internet connection, and you are only using it to listen to streaming audio, the specific route your computer uses to connect to KGNU is unpredictable.
Sometimes this route may have stops along the way that cause problems.
There's really nothing that can be done in this case.
A: If you're in KGNU's broadcast area, you will always get better sound from a good old FM radio.
In order to make KGNU accessible to as many folks around the globe as we can, we are streaming at 16Kbps mono (RealAudio) and 64Kbps stereo (MP3), which limits the quality of the sound.
(For comparison, MP3 bitrates around 160Kbps stereo are considered close to CD quality.)
Q: I'm still having problems. Whom should I contact?
A: Please e-mail us and include:
Q: How can I open a stream dirctly in my player (iTunes, Winamp...).
- your type of connection to the Internet (for example, 56K modem)
- the time and date when the problems occurred
- your operating system (for example, Windows 98)
- the player application you use (for example, RealPlayer 8 Basic).
A: Copy the URL of the stream from the Listen page, and then you can paste it directly in your player.
Q: I can't connect to your stream.
- In iTunes: choose "Open Stream..." from the Advanced menu (or type Command-U), and then paste the URL for the stream into the text field of the window that's opened
- In WinAmp: ctrl-L, a dialog opens, paste the URL
A: If your computer connection is behind a firewall, try turning it off to see if that makes a difference, or contacting your system administrator