The mighty Beeb has announced that in a UK first it will air the BBC Proms in lossless audio format for 2017. That’s right audiophiles, you’ll be able to get a high-quality FLAC version of that singing fed straight into your ears via the BBC.
The BBC has famously innovated when it comes to audio for decades. From the first radio broadcast in 1927, the Beeb also gave us stereo in 1958, quadrophonic in the seventies and even binaural 3D in recent times (including some terrifying horror dramas where the terror comes from all directions). Now the next frontier is high quality FLAC audio, sent over the interwebs.
As such, the BBC Proms for 2017 will enjoy a high quality broadcast, via an internet connection and BBC Radio 3 online.
Here’s how you can listen in and enjoy next-gen BBC audio during this season's Proms.
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What is FLAC audio, which the BBC Proms will use in 2017?
FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec, with the most important part of that being 'Lossless'. Well, free is pretty good too, of course.
Essentially FLAC is the way in which music is encoded at the source, to be sent through the interwebs in a more efficient form before being decoded at the other end by your listening device of choice. Since this format is lossless, that means the end result will be of the same quality as the original recording, before it had to be condensed for transmission.
Lossless audio already exists in many forms, with plenty of streaming services adding the option of higher quality music listening. These vary in quality of course depending on the service, but generally can be heard by most as higher fidelity.
How to listen to the BBC Proms in lossless
To get at the lossless feed for this year's Proms, you’ll need to go via BBC Radio 3. Since this high-quality format can’t currently be transmitted over radio, this will be done using the internet.
Listening from your computer, a tablet or a phone should all allow for the lossless audio stream. Just make sure you have a decent internet connection, so the stream can flow smoothly. Of course your device also has to be powerful enough to play the stream, which most modern phones, tablets and computers should be. All of that should result in a jump-free immersive listening experience.
Do I have the right equipment to enjoy the BBC Proms in high quality lossless audio?
To get the full experience of the BBC Proms in high quality, it’s best to have a decent audio setup at home. Either a good pair of headphones or an impressive set of speakers are the best way to listen. Of course you can also listen through your computer speaker or phone's tinny effort, but don’t expect to pick up much in the way of quality enhancements.
Your best bet is to pick up a decent set of headphones, to be truly immersed in the experience so it feels like you’re really there. One way to maximise this is to go for cans that cut out any background noise around the listener, like a set from out pick of the best noise cancelling headphones.
Bare in mind that a Bluetooth connected set of headphones which are older might not have the aptX connectivity that allows for maximum quality streaming from device to headphones.
When is the BBC Proms 2017 start date?
The BBC will begin airing the Proms 2017 on BBC Radio 3, from Friday July 14. The final date for the Proms is Saturday September 9. You can listen via your radio, DAB radio or internet-connected device.
Check out the BBC Proms website for a complete listing of who is going to be playing throughout the festival.