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December 9, 2018 8:10 pm  #1


CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

I know they're the new kid in town, but the audio is beyond amateurish. Most of the audio sounds like it's coming out of a tin can. But some audio especially on Mike Bullard's show has more distortion than my old guitar fuzz pedal. Is the engineer deaf? Sorry this is going to sound racist, but I have noticed on a lot of Indian radio stations, the audio is super over modulated. Why is this? Is his a cultural thing?

 

December 9, 2018 8:25 pm  #2


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

alangee wrote:

Is the engineer deaf?

A better question is, do they even have an engineer? Or did they just borrow a quick fix person? 
(on an as needed basis)
 

 

December 9, 2018 8:33 pm  #3


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

I've noticed this, too, and sometimes it makes them unlistenable. (Although some might say they're always unlistenable!)

My best guess is that they don't have a board op, leaving the levels to the talent. In thinking about their line-up, I'm not sure a single one of them has any real behind-the-scenes hands-on radio experience beyond talking on air, which would certainly explain why, as we used to say, "they're in the red" so often.

It would also explain why when there are multiple hosts involved, some are fine and the rest are so distorted, you can't make out a word they're saying.

Here's a perfect example of what happens when you over-modulate like crazy and don't pay any attention to what you're doing. It's an old late 1970 newsfeed that never went to air, but it just gets worse and worse as it goes on. 

The Great Stratford Shoe Store Fire  

 

December 9, 2018 10:08 pm  #4


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

alangee wrote:

... But some audio especially on Mike Bullard's show has more distortion than my old guitar fuzz pedal ...

Question: Is this a flaw or a perk?

 

December 9, 2018 11:19 pm  #5


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

maybe they need to record more on 8 tracks?

 

December 10, 2018 7:19 am  #6


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

alangee wrote:

I know they're the new kid in town, but the audio is beyond amateurish. Most of the audio sounds like it's coming out of a tin can. But some audio especially on Mike Bullard's show has more distortion than my old guitar fuzz pedal. Is the engineer deaf? Sorry this is going to sound racist, but I have noticed on a lot of Indian radio stations, the audio is super over modulated. Why is this? Is his a cultural thing?

Over modulation is a long standing tradition of Indian culture.  It goes back hundreds of years. 

 

December 13, 2018 5:50 pm  #7


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

I tuned in Bullard for a few minutes Thursday and while his co-host was fine, he was almost completely distorted and unlistenable. (And I'm talking about the sound, not the on-air content!)

Here's another weird thing about a station that took seven years to sign on but still doesn't have its studios ready yet. And I admit this a bit nitpicky, but I find it curious. 

"Sauga 960" is supposed to be an outlet that, according to its condition of licence, focuses almost entirely on Mississauga, Brampton and Peel Region.

Yet their call in phone number has a 416 Toronto area code - not 905 like you might expect. I suspect the reason is that the former area code can be called from throughout the GTA, while the latter is very localized. (My brother, for example, lives in Thornhill and can't call Mississauga, Brampton or even the airport without incurring long distance charges.) But since most people have cell phones, it doesn't make a lot of sense. Also they don't yet seem to have a "star" number, as in *1010 or *640 to get those cell calls.   

What an odd little station they are. And still no morning drive show!

 

December 13, 2018 6:15 pm  #8


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

I believe their night time signal has improved also!  I tuned in the other night and the station wasnt mixing with something out of outer space.

There was some debate going on with some millenial aged anchor girl and another guy about who pulls the weight financially in a marriage/relationship....the woman or the man.  




 

 

December 13, 2018 8:20 pm  #9


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

I can't prove it, but I've long been convinced that the original licensee, the owner of the Mississauga Steelheads OHL team, wanted the station solely as a way to get the games broadcast on the radio. If that's the case, he achieved his goal, although it took him almost a decade to do it. 

Oddly, though, I was just looking at the Steelheads' webpage and there's not a single mention I could find that the games air on CKNT. Whether he still fully owns the station or not, you figure they might want to mention that. 

 

December 14, 2018 10:54 am  #10


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

To bring this back to the topic....  I'm not an engineer, but have basic understanding to make it work without what we are seeing on 960.

I have been saying this from day one..   Even on a budget you can install processing equipment to control distortion and ensure levels are correct.   I think they have some processing at the TX end, but likely don't anywhere else.   Nothing bugs me more than listening to a station and have it fall off the cliff where you can't make out what they are saying, or have it so over modulated having the same effect.

As they are likely an analog shop, they should ensure there is some means of a limiter/compressor at the Studio end with a PAD to ensure there is enough headroom to avoid any distortion, and levels don't fall off the cliff.   If set correctly, it shouldn't cause the sound to be over compressed and leave dynamics, while ensuring levels are within spec.  The issue right now, I think is the levels at the studio are distorting before they even get to the TX, leaving the processor unable to do anything. 

At the TX end, the processor, should be able to do whats needed at that point.  

I have not seen their setup, but I can say they need to focus on cleaning this up a bit.    The content is one thing....  BUT if people can't hear you without struggling, it's not going to gain any audience.  

As for the phone number, I'm willing to bet, they put in digital VoIP, and I really don't blame them for using a 416 number for local reach.   

Last edited by radiokid (December 14, 2018 10:55 am)

 

December 14, 2018 11:22 am  #11


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

radiokid wrote:

.... ensure there is enough headroom to avoid any distortion, and levels don't fall off the cliff.   If set correctly, it shouldn't cause the sound to be over compressed and leave dynamics, while ensuring levels are within spec.

I will say when it comes to AM, I prefer a BIG sound.  I don't apply fidelity rules to AM that I would to other audio sources, because I prefer AM to have that classic BIG CITY, powerful, ballsy sound.  I actually DON'T want dynamics to stay intact, because it sounds "bland", "dry" or "dead" on AM.  Since true high fidelity cannot be achieved on AM, I'd prefer to aim for sounding "impressive".  Does that make any sense?

Let's take these old CHYR Leamington airchecks for example (yes, little Leamington).  Now the reception on these is awful, because the guy from Philly was DX'ing.  But listen from 8:55 onward.  There's a sample of announcer, music and spots here.  But notice the voice has the right amount of resonance or ballsiness (I made up that word ...lol).  On "Closer To You", there's a perfect amount of "pumping" on the bass guitar; just enough to give it a "bigger than life" sound.




On this next sample, starting at 8:36 on "China Girl", you can tell the threshold level of the compressor is set low enough (maybe to -30 dB), just enough to suck up the guitar level.  When the bass and drums kick in, the attack and release times are set quick enough to give that big sound.




This hopefully gives an idea of what I perceive perfect AM sound would be; a bit dated perhaps, but that's what I expect on an AM radio - definitely not high-fidelity, but impressive and big.
 


Cheers,
Jody Thornton
 
 

December 14, 2018 11:41 am  #12


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

Speaking of sound - what station particularly on FM in Toronto would have the best fidelity of sound?  

Id have to say CHUM and CHFI would have the most clearest.  Afterall,  the HI stands for "high fidelity" in their call letters.

Last edited by markow202 (December 14, 2018 11:43 am)

 

December 14, 2018 11:45 am  #13


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

CHYR is one of the strangest radio stations I can ever recall. In the years before it moved to FM, it would sign off its 710 frequency at sundown to protect clear channel stations like WOR in New York and sign back on as "CHIR" a second later at 730 during the evening hours - and then go back to the other dial position in the morning.

I can't recall another such arrangement on any other station, but I'm sure it could have happened elsewhere. Very awkward and very bizarre.

 

December 14, 2018 11:51 am  #14


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

RadioActive wrote:

CHYR is one of the strangest radio stations I can ever recall. In the years before it moved to FM, it would sign off its 710 frequency at sundown to protect clear channel stations like WOR in New York and sign back on as "CHIR" a second later at 730 during the evening hours - and then go back to the other dial position in the morning.

I can't recall another such arrangement on any other station, but I'm sure it could have happened elsewhere. Very awkward and very bizarre.

It was a "daytimer".  There were plenty of those in the US.  I guess that frequency protection was the only way to obtain a license.

My observations solely had to do with audio quality and processing.  I worked for CIAM in Cambridge (960 KHz oddly enough) in the early 90s.  It sounded wonderful on AM (again following the notion of a "big" sound, not necessarily high-fidelity.).  I would even say it sounded similarly to the CHYR airchecks that I posted here.

**** a little shout out to Ron Fitzpatrick here, speaking of AM 96 **** (hey buddy!)
 


Cheers,
Jody Thornton
 
 

December 14, 2018 11:54 am  #15


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

I wasn't referring to the fact it was a daytimer. There are a ton of those, and many still exist (including WTOR 770, Youngstown, New York, which aims its entire ethnic broadcast day at Toronto.) It was the frequency switch at sundown that allowed it to stay on the air that I found highly unusual.  

 

December 15, 2018 11:48 am  #16


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

Here's a nice AM feed, in stereo no less and their internet stream is taken directly from the over the air AM so you can sample how the station sounds with an AM stereo tuner. I think Album Rock 540 The Goat does the same thing.:

WION-AM Stereo 1430 (I-1430)


Cool Airchecks and More:
http://www.lettheuniverseanswer.com/
 

December 15, 2018 12:51 pm  #17


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

Fitz wrote:

Here's a nice AM feed, in stereo no less and their internet stream is taken directly from the over the air AM so you can sample how the station sounds with an AM stereo tuner. I think Album Rock 540 The Goat does the same thing.:

WION-AM Stereo 1430 (I-1430)

A good listen.  Not your same everyday Classic Hits either.  They just played "Sweet Dreams" by Air Supply.  I may have heard it one time through the 90s, but other than that, the last time before that was 1983 (on the radio I mean)

One thing though.  I insist AM mixes should be tight, and never let songs fade off too much.  I hate when there are gaps, but much more so on AM.

 


Cheers,
Jody Thornton
 
 

December 15, 2018 4:34 pm  #18


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

Jody Thornton wrote:

One thing though.  I insist AM mixes should be tight, and never let songs fade off too much.  I hate when there are gaps, but much more so on AM.
 

Jody, if only you had been around to hear how tight stations like 1050 CHUM were, back in the day. No time to breathe. No time to stop snapping your fingers. THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMIN' http://i57.tinypic.com/xwrrd.jpg

 

December 15, 2018 8:17 pm  #19


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

Dial Twister wrote:

Jody Thornton wrote:

One thing though.  I insist AM mixes should be tight, and never let songs fade off too much.  I hate when there are gaps, but much more so on AM.
 

Jody, if only you had been around to hear how tight stations like 1050 CHUM were, back in the day. No time to breathe. No time to stop snapping your fingers. THE HITS JUST KEEP ON COMIN' http://i57.tinypic.com/xwrrd.jpg

Well I heard most of the 70s and 80s growing up, and I prefer that to the 50s and 60s airchecks I've heard.  CHUM was great, but I think overall CFTR did a better job at some stages.  Hey for me, even CJJD and CKOC out of the Hammer had more memorable moments.  To each their own
 


Cheers,
Jody Thornton
 
 

December 15, 2018 8:56 pm  #20


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

From the CKNT official studio webcam:
https://scontent-yyz1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/48358970_2858819747476769_8121776310558130176_n.jpg?_nc_cat=105&_nc_ht=scontent-yyz1-1.xx&oh=927a2b317cf07ca44b02bee0f9f78d34&oe=5C8F9DA7



 

 

December 15, 2018 10:24 pm  #21


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

RA that stooges clip foreshadowed the careers of so many of today's pop divas using pre-recorded vocal tracks during live shows.

 

December 16, 2018 2:39 am  #22


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

$500 in 1946 = $6,462.51 in 2018 Re: Three Stooges clip
I'd be screaming with excitement too if someone offered me $500 in 1946!! 

Last edited by Radiowiz (December 16, 2018 2:40 am)

 

December 16, 2018 11:35 am  #23


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

markow202 wrote:

Speaking of sound - what station particularly on FM in Toronto would have the best fidelity of sound?  

Id have to say CHUM and CHFI would have the most clearest.  Afterall,  the HI stands for "high fidelity" in their call letters.

CKFM used to have a wonderful sound back in the day of Carl Banas and Russ Thompson. The great programming of the time didn't hurt. 


"Life without echo is really no life at all." - Dan Ingram
 

December 16, 2018 12:10 pm  #24


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

I'm not always crazy about their new playlist, but Q107's on air sound has always been incredibly clean. 

 

December 16, 2018 12:15 pm  #25


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

Q and Edge both have a harsh midrange used to make them louder - it's effective, but I can't listen to it for very long. But that's just me.

CHFI is intentionally flat, but it's certainly one of the cleanest.

CHUM-FM is the best of all worlds to me...clean, bright, wide.

Best for the format, in my opinion, is The Move.

590 best of the AMs.


 
 

December 17, 2018 10:14 am  #26


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

RadioActive wrote:

CHYR is one of the strangest radio stations I can ever recall. In the years before it moved to FM, it would sign off its 710 frequency at sundown to protect clear channel stations like WOR in New York and sign back on as "CHIR" a second later at 730 during the evening hours - and then go back to the other dial position in the morning.

I'm aware that some stations change their frequencies at night. But changing your call letters at night? THAT I've  never heard of. How common is that?
 

Last edited by TheWiz (December 17, 2018 2:46 pm)

 

December 17, 2018 1:51 pm  #27


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

Dale Patterson wrote:

markow202 wrote:

Speaking of sound - what station particularly on FM in Toronto would have the best fidelity of sound?  

Id have to say CHUM and CHFI would have the most clearest.  Afterall,  the HI stands for "high fidelity" in their call letters.

CKFM used to have a wonderful sound back in the day of Carl Banas and Russ Thompson. The great programming of the time didn't hurt. 

Coincidentally when Carl and Russ were both at CJEZ in the late 80's the audio at that station was excellent. Great job, Grant!!
 

     Thread Starter
 

December 17, 2018 3:12 pm  #28


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

RadioAaron wrote:

Q and Edge both have a harsh midrange used to make them louder - it's effective, but I can't listen to it for very long. But that's just me.

CHFI is intentionally flat, but it's certainly one of the cleanest.

CHUM-FM is the best of all worlds to me...clean, bright, wide.

Best for the format, in my opinion, is The Move.

590 best of the AMs.

CKFM Virgin is on par with CHUM sound - of course they are just across the hall from eachother.

Boom 973 isnt bad eitheir.  Its sounding appropriate for their format. 

 

December 17, 2018 5:00 pm  #29


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

Back to the original topic of this thread for a second, I just tried an interesting experiment. I was listening to CKNT and Mike Bullard's mic was horribly distorted on air, although everyone else sounded OK.

I then went to what passes for their website (still "under construction" apparently) and tired the online version. Bullard sounded just fine - there was no evidence of distortion or overmodulation.

I realize there are things that happen in processing, but how can it be so terrible on air and just fine online?  

 

December 17, 2018 5:19 pm  #30


Re: CKNT Audio Sucks and is Distorted

RadioActive wrote:

I realize there are things that happen in processing, but how can it be so terrible on air and just fine online?  

That's how it's always been. They're showing better care for their internet link than for their AM source.
Why did they bother getting an AM broadcast licence in the first place?