Poor audio encoding, audio compression at the hosting server or a slow connection to the server can degrade the quality of an Internet stream to the point that the stream becomes distorted or won't play at all. And while there isn't anything you can do about issues on the server side of things, there are some things you can do on your end to improve the quality of an Internet radio stream.
Close out unnecessary applications while your playing your Internet radio stream. Utilities like Web browsers, graphics software and antivirus software can slow down your Internet connection and hog your computer's RAM (Random Access Memory). With the computer's temporary memory devoted to your stream, and backed by the full speed of your Internet connection, you can avoid choppy playback and lowered stream bandwidth--media players will often lower the size and quality of a choppy stream, so that the content gets to you without interruption.
Update the software for the media player you're using to play the Internet radio stream--a software update can remove bugs and other issues affecting the quality on the user end. Web-based media players are generally updated on the server side, while operating system-based utilities must be updated by the user. Check the support page on your media player developer's website for an updated version or patch for the player.
Adjust your media player's equaliser to make the Internet radio stream's sound more dynamic. For example, if the stream sounds muffled, raise the higher frequencies in the equaliser to give your stream a fuller sound. If you're using a browser-based player and the media player doesn't include an equaliser, you can use your Windows built-in equaliser effects.
Navigate to the sound menu (Start> Control Panel> Sound). Right-click on your audio device in the "Sound" menu, and then select "Properties" from the drop-down menu that appears. Click on the "Enhancements" tab in the "Properties" menu, and then click on the "Equalizer" option beneath the tab. Select an equaliser preset from the drop-down menu box labelled "Setting."