• Welcome to RadioDJ - Free Radio Automation Software Forum. Please log in or sign up.

How Do They Achieve Such a -MASSIVE- Sound??

Started by JMac, July 23, 2022, 10:40:27 PM


I recently stumbled upon https://thebig80sstation.com/.

Since I'm a lover of the 80s and the big FM sound of that generation, I'm curious how he's able to pull it off. Even his 128k stream sounds huge. I'm new to internet radio and have been testing the Stereo Tool plugin, but can't achieve half of that sound.

Would love to hear thoughts/ideas from other pros who have a similar sound. What plugins/tools are you using?
I'm sure it helps to start with high quality music tracks vs mp3s. Unfortunately, most of my library is mp3s but "higher quality". Perhaps that's a digital hurdle. Crap in = Crap out.
XXX80s.com-XXXtreme 80s fun!
YouTube Channel: RadioDJ Dude



A lot depends on the file type of the music you're playing, the codec you're using to get it out onto the net, and the type of soundcard you're using. All three will make a difference to your final sound.

ST comes with some really awesome presets. Some are better for different genres than others.

You haven't said whether your interested on streaming, FM radio or both. But from my limited knowledge and experience, streaming is much, much easier to get your head around compared to FM.

You should make absolutely sure you have all audio processing that comes with RDJ turned off if you're passing audio to ST (StereoTool). Chain volume should be between 60-80 IMO, otherwise your output risks sounding overloaded or distorted.

A really good quality sound card can help make up for some poorly ripped CDs. ST's Delossifier is also really good in this dept too.

Ideally, your music collection should be in FLAC or m4a/aac format, particularly if you plan to go FM at some point. As a bare minimum, mp3@320kbps.

Let iTunes or 7Digital be your music download friend. 7Digital often offer music downloads in lossless FLAC and m4a(320kbps) formats, whereas iTunes is strictly m4a@320kbps.

Start ripping CDs in either FLAC or 4ma(320kbps) formats. You'll appreciate the difference.

You should, where possible, stream using the aac codec@128kbps. This is the best quality codec (IMO) that sounds great on any compatible device. Most devices these days accept aac streams. Stay away from mp3, you're only asking for trouble, unless you're prepared to stream at 320kbps.

Hopefully that's enough of an overview to get your creative juices running. :-)

RadioDJ | MariaDB 11.2 | StereoTool 9.92 | MBRecaster
StereoTool preset: EXCIT.D for Web.


Holy cow, I thought my feed might be too loud (I have to turn my volume down by half when listening through the Tune-In app on my Android TV thingy.)  But mine's no where near as loud as that station's feed is.

I think they're running through some HEAVY DUTY compression.  Personally (as an audio producer for a Radio Station) I think their feed sounds like crap.  It's borderline over modulated, and the dynamic range is practically nonexistent. My ears would get tired really quickly listening to that.

But that's my opinion from listening on my laptop through it's speakers.

FYI: JMac... everything I play is encoded 320kbps MP3s made from .wav or High Quality AAC.  My feed is encoded to
128kbps and I think it sounds way better than Satellite Radio does. (or did, when I had it for a bit)

DJ Garybaldy

I've just listened to https://thebig80sstation.com/. for about 5 minutes before my ears started bleeding its just a TAD over processed.
Worlds Biggest Fan of RadioDJ

Install MariaDB https://djgarybaldy.blogspot.com/2020/08/installing-maria-db.html

Install RadioDJ: https://djgarybaldy.blogspot.com/2020/08/how-to-install-radiodj-free-radio.html

Into Internet radio for 25 years 1999-2024

RadioDJ 2045 MariaDB 11.2 Windows 11


Just took a listen through my studio setup.  Aside from it being unnecessarily loud, I'm noticing a reverb is added to the feed, a trick used by early OTA stations. 

I would guess that they have (1) Pre-Normalized their audio (the WORST thing you can do to your music--if you want to even out levels, use a non-destructive method which puts the gain adjustment in an ID3 tag, and doesn't permanently change the audio file. (2) Are using an Automatic Gain Control in their playout software, then processing the signal again in a Stereo Tool like plugin, which is probably also where they're adding the reverb.  (You should always add Reverb to the end of your signal chain)


How awful that sound from the big 80's station. It all sounds so forced.  ???
I found the key to happiness
Stay away from idiots


Quote from: PROducer on August 15, 2022, 07:39:38 PM
then processing the signal again in a Stereo Tool like plugin, which is probably also where they're adding the reverb.  (You should always add Reverb to the end of your signal chain)

I don't think StereoTool has an option to add reverb does it?


Quote from: thaJack on August 31, 2022, 03:27:20 AM
I don't think StereoTool has an option to add reverb does it?
I've never looked.  Not my jam.  :hihi:


Hey Guys

I have used Stereo Tool for many many years on my fm stations and internet stations is the best professional sound processor out there based on Bob Orban legendary hardware,

check out www.dmt-fm.com for streams

Owner DMT FM - Tenerife
103 & 99.2 FM