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Audio Playback Low Quality when played in Web browser [compared to when downloaded]

Re: Audio Playback Low Quality when played in Web browser [compared to when downloaded]

hilljam
Helpful | Level 6

Hey Datasit – this is not a limitation of the free account. I'm a paid user and it's happening to me.

I did find a partial workaround that's going to be helpful to me personally. 

In the dropbox mobile app, if you click the three dots and select "Make available offline," once it's finished caching the file locally, it appears to play it full-resolution. That's a simple thing that I can tell my audio clients to do, to ensure that they're hearing what I intend them to hear.

Perhaps this would be helpful to someone else as well!  🙂  

Re: Audio Playback Low Quality when played in Web browser [compared to when downloaded]

Daphne
Dropboxer

Hey peeps!


That's correct. When viewing or listening to files on the Dropbox website, you're getting a transcoded preview of the original file; not the original. This is by design. If you need to view or hear the original file in its unaltered state, it must first be downloaded to your computer and then opened.

As @Rich mentioned here, this work around should allow you to listen to the file with the correct quality rather than through the preview. 

Also, thanks @hilljam for your suggestion for another work around! I'm sure that this will be useful for anyone who is following this thread or has the same question.

I hope this helps to some extent, let me know if you have any other questions!


Daphne
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: Audio Playback Low Quality when played in Web browser [compared to when downloaded]

hilljam
Helpful | Level 6

Thanks @Daphne:slight_smile: To your question:


let me know if you have any other questions!

I do have one, which is: could you submit a request to your development team to get a solution in place for this that's designed with creative professionals in mind? 

  • One idea could be a simple user account preference, a checkbox, where as a user you can select "Always preview media files in best quality." That would at least allow users with Dropbox accounts some control over this behavior. It wouldn't account for people with accounts who we just send a Dropbox link to though.
  • Another idea could be a preference on the sender side to "force high-quality preview." There could be a quick connection-speed test routine before playback that overrides this preference when it senses a slow connection (and maybe it would display 'Slow connection detected, playing back in lower quality,' so the viewer is aware).
  • Another idea could be a dropdown arrow in the media preview itself, where you can select the playback quality (maybe low / medium / high), sort of like you can on YouTube videos. 

Given how many music and film people use the product, I think it would be good to do maybe at least something to try to ensure that our needs in this area are taken into account proactively, rather than suggesting workarounds that put the burden on the customers. 🙂 

Re: Audio Playback Low Quality when played in Web browser [compared to when downloaded]

aaronphshort
Helpful | Level 6

@hilljam I love all your suggestions, you are making all the right points, but I think we've ascertained it's not precisely the preview player at fault here.

You'll see the player already has a quality control in the bottom right corner, but even if you do set the preview quality at high (256k), there is no way that is the quality you are hearing, because something earlier in the process has already transcoded it at a much lower bitrate.

Therefore @Daphne, it seems like one of the biggest issues that really need to be addressed by the dev team here is improving the quality of the audio transcode.

Also @hilljam @datisit also note the workaround provided by the dev team saying that changing the end of the public link from "dl=0" to "dl=1" will force the file to download rather than go to preview page.

Re: Audio Playback Low Quality when played in Web browser [compared to when downloaded]

Daphne
Dropboxer

Hey there peeps!

Thank you all for your extensive and very constructive feedback on this! I'm loving the ideas that you suggested there @hilljam and the points you added @aaronphshort, I'll pass that along to our dev team so that they can review them for future Dropbox improvements. Perhaps you could even share this in our dedicated area of the forum here.

Needless to say, we appreciate all the feedback that you provide us so if you have any further thoughts on this I'm all ears! :grin:

Hope you all have a great day - thanks!


Daphne
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: Audio Playback Low Quality when played in Web browser [compared to when downloaded]

Sambrawner
Helpful | Level 5
I’m having this same problem now all of the sudden.. what happened??

Re: Audio Playback Low Quality when played in Web browser [compared to when downloaded]

Daphne
Dropboxer

Hi there @Sambrawner,

Would you mind sharing a little more info on this? For example, where are you previewing your audio files from (the website or through the mobile app etc)?

If you're using the web browser to preview audio files, perhaps you can try changing the playback settings with the following steps to see if that does the trick:

  1. Open your audio file on https://www.dropbox.com
  2. Click on the gear icon in the lower right corner of the video player
  3. Choose quality
  4. Choose the setting you would prefer for your preview

Let me know if this helps - thanks!


Daphne
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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Re: Audio Playback Low Quality when played in Web browser [compared to when downloaded]

Sambrawner
Helpful | Level 5
I am a recording and mixing engineer, I send mixes through a Dropbox to my clients and also listen to my mixes from mainly my phone. I also checked yesterday on the web player on my computer and noticed it’s the same low quality. I tried increasing the quality to the highest possible option but it still sounded the same. I’ve never experienced this quality before, it’s always been fine but it seems like there has been a change lately that I know other profession engineers have noticed as well

Re: Audio Playback Low Quality when played in Web browser [compared to when downloaded]

aaronphshort
Helpful | Level 6

@Sambrawner yeap that's the same problem we're all having.

@Daphne not sure why you are suggesting changing the players playback quality setting as we've already discussed earlier in the thread with you that it has no effect, as Sam has just reiterated.

Re: Audio Playback Low Quality when played in Web browser [compared to when downloaded]

Daphne
Dropboxer

Hey peeps! 

Just wanted to cover all bases there @aaronphshort just in case these steps will have helped somewhat.

So the reason behind this @Sambrawner is that when you're viewing the file via the web browser or mobile app, then you're only seeing a transcoded preview of the original file. To listen to the file in it's full quality, you'll need to download the file and play it locally.

If you're sending a shared link to others and prefer that they listen to the quality of the original file, perhaps altering the link to force it to download (instead of previewing) might be helpful.

Alternatively, if you're viewing the file from the mobile app, perhaps you could try making the file available offline or exporting it to another app to play the file in the original quality.

I understand this may not be the answer you were looking for but I hope this helps to some extent. Let me know if you have any other questions, I'll be happy to help.

Thanks!


Daphne
Community Moderator @ Dropbox
dropbox.com/support


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