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[HOW TO] Stream Live Audio and Pre-Recorded Music
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2005 1:05 pm    Post subject: [HOW TO] Stream Live Audio and Pre-Recorded Music Reply with quote

[HOW TO] Stream Live Audio and Pre-Recorded Music
    -- Initial Documentation -- 8/27/2005
    -- Addition made - Icecast put in documentation -- 8/28/2005

1 - Things Needed Before We Start
    -- Two Functioning Soundcards (w/ ALSA)
    -- One 3.5mm Stereo Male to Male jumper (can buy from Radio Shack or some other small audio store)
    -- A working shoutcast or icecast server (A walkthrough can be found here for shoutcast and here for icecast, take your pick, however I would recommend skipping the shoutcast_trans and ices bit if you plan on streaming remotely)
    -- XMMS (no xmms-liveice plugin needed)
    -- Darkice and Darksnow installed
    -- A headset w/ microphone (a set of speakers and a microphone will work, but feedback will be terrible)
    -- An extra computer, or a buddy with his/her own computer to help
    -- *NOTE* If you have trouble getting any hardware on this list, I work at a place that sells the equipment, PM me for details

Also note, I have kinda swayed with pushing ALSA instead of OSS, I've had better luck with microphone input with ALSA, but you can use your own preference.

2 - Getting Started - Plugging Stuff In

Ok, first thing is first, you should have six outlets total from all of the soundcards. The goal of this walkthrough is one soundcard will serve as a mixer, combining the microphone output and the prerecorded output into one stream. The second soundcard will then receive the output from the 3.5mm jumper, and transmit it as live audio. So, first decide which one will be the mixer card (soundcard 1) and which one will transmit (Soundcard 2). Grab your jumper and plug one end into Soundcard 1's Output jack (typically green), take the other half and plug it into Soundcard 2's Line-In jack (typically blue). Now, take your microphone plug of your headset, and plug it into Soundcard 1's Microphone jack (Typically Pink) and plug the headset portion of the headphones into the Output jack on Soundcard 2 (Typically Green). Now, that should be all the manual installation necessary.

3 - Configuring XMMS and Volumes

Now, with your headset plugged into the very last output, you should hear what your listeners will hear (in theory), so volume adjustments are necessary and possible through this setup.

First talk into your microphone, hear anything? If not, open your volume control, and turn up the ALSA portion of Soundcard 1's Microphone input up, and select it for recording. Still nothing? Turn up the ALSA portion of Soundcard 2's Line-In jack, and select it for recording. Still nothing?? Turn up the ALSA portion of Soundcard 1 & 2's Master Output (possibly the PCM levels too). At this time your ears should be bleeding to the sound of your voice. Talk at a normal tone, go back and adjust the volume levels until it sounds nice at a decent valume, without any screaching (BTW, turning down or off ALL of the CD-Rom levels will help noise tremendously I found).

With your voice sounding now, it's time to get XMMS working. Open XMMS, and go into preferences. While your in preferences, click the "Audio I/O Plugins" Tab. Select the ALSA output for the output plug-in, and hit configure. Make sure that the Audio device is the card you have installed for mixing (Soundcard 1), and that the mixer card portion of the plugin is also set to Soundcard 1. As for the mixer decvice, I used PCM, I've had the best luck with that so far. Now, pick a song that has a decent range of sound (acoustic or something) and start playing it. in a loop. Now, make sure the ALSA portion of Soundcard 1's PCM is turned up and not muted. You should hear music through your headphones. If not, gingerly play with the settings on XMMS and volume controls, it will work.

Once, that is done, start trying to talk at the same time the music is playing. If you hear both, your ready to continue.

4 - Darkice and Darksnow

Make sure both are emerged then start darksnow.

Select streaming destination as Shoutcast or Icecast 1 or 2 (whichever your server is). Type in the server, port, password, and mountpoint (if applicable). Click on streaming description and fill in the details. Finnally, click on audio options, by now you should be aware of what settings here will make a difference in sound quality andwhat formats each server will accept, but pay special attention to the device, make *double and triple sure* that the device is set to your streaming card (Soundcard 2). And for the love of all that's holy... save the configuration. Last thing you need is a crash and lose all the settings.

Now, click start streaming, and go to the next step.

5 - Testing the Broadcast

*NOTE* This was the most aggrivating part for me, just be patient

This is where it all comes down. Get your buddy or extra compuer to login to the server. and go through the checklist. And keep in mind there can be up to a 2 minute delay.

Troubleshooting Voice:
    -- Can they hear you? (If so, skip the voice troubleshooting)
    -- Is Darksnow transmitting?
    -- Are the proper volume levels turned up?
    -- Are any volume levels muted?
    -- Is the correct device selected for recording?
    -- Were you adjusting OSS volume levels?
    -- Are you plugged into the correct jacks?

Music Troubleshooting:
    -- Can they hear the music? (If so, you can skip the trouble shooting section.... lucky bastard)
    -- Are the proper volume levels turned up?
    -- Are any volume levels muted?
    -- Is the correct device selected for recording?
    -- Were you adjusting OSS volume levels?
    -- Are you plugged into the correct jacks?
    -- Is XMMS itself turned up?
    -- Is the XMMS ALSA output plugin using the correct output, mixing, and volume level devices?

Something Sounds Like Crap:
    -- Are the CD-Rom Levels muted or turned down?
    -- Are some PCM or master volumes turned up too high?
    -- Is the MP3 or OGG bitrate too low?
    -- Is Darksnow transmitting at too low of a bitrate, sampling rate, or some other rate?

That's about all, just flat out seeing what sounds good is the key, when things sound about right to your buddy or on your extra computer, your ready for broadcasting.

Tips After it is Working
    -- If you make any adjustments you like, make sure to save them somehow, or at the very least, make a note of it.
    -- If you plan on playing music and not talking, mute your microphone, could save you from noise or an embarrasing conversation ("AWW DAMNIT! THE CAT PISSED IN THE FLOOR AGAIN!", is not good to hear in the middle of a song)
    -- Try to make sure there is no dead air. Remember: Dead-air = boring
    -- Try to get some local talent for broadcasting and get their permission, they would appreciate the publicity and you won't be breaking the law by transmitting copyrighted material. Not to mention giving the public something new.
    -- Have fun

As a final note, I have gotten this to work, be patient and keep trying.

End of Walkthrough

If there are any corrections to be made, comments to be made, or issues that you need help with; Please, post them in *this* thread. I will check it regularly and make corrections as necessary. Enjoy!
"It's ok, they might have guns but we have flowers." - Perpetual Victim
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