Broadcasting

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Revision as of 05:54, 6 December 2006 by The1Joebob (Talk | contribs)

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This page was created to provide an easy-to-understand tutorial for getting started on the path to broadcasting on SHOUTcast servers. Input from experienced persons highly appreciated.

This article is still in the process of being written.


So you want to be a DJ? Well even the idea may seem a bit overwhelming, it's actually very possible. All it takes is a little initiative, time, and practice, and you too may someday entertain friends with a constant stream of groovy music...maybe even have your friends fawning over you like many listeners do at many of the awesome RKoL DJs...or maybe even become an RKoL DJ yourself someday!

Contents

Getting Started

There are a few things you should get out of the way before you even try to start broadcasting. Putting aside the many rules for applying to RKoL, there are still certain requirements that must be met, and things you need to do. You don't expect to just start playing music one day and it magically gets sent to hundreds of people, do you?

Prerequisites

The first thing you need to do is get all of the stuff you need, minus the broadcasting software (that comes after this, in section 1.2).

PC Requirements

This section is called "PC requirements" because all the programs used to broadcast are built for Windows. You can probably manage to get away with a few other things, but if you can't run or emulate Windows, you'll find that you may have quite a few problems connecting to the SHOUTcast server without a client that can connect to it as source. You'll need a computer to broadcast and it would be in your best interest to have one built in the last decade, or hopefully very recently. Here are the lastest version of Winamp's minimum requirements[1]:

  • 500MHz Pentium III or comparable
  • 64MB RAM
  • 15MB Hard Disk Space
  • 16bit Sound Card
  • Windows 98 SE, Windows ME, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 2003
  • 1x speed or greater CD Burner (Required for Burning)
  • 2x speed or greater CDROM (Required for Ripping)

Now, of course, you don't need the optical drives unless you plan to be able to add your collection of CDs to your music library, and if you're awesome enough to emulate Windows on Unix/Linux, you can get away without your operating system being Windows, but if you were really that nifty, you wouldn't be reading this article, you'd be editing it and making it better. Among hardware not listed in there is a microphone. You can probably get away with borrowing your friend/sibling's mic when you need to make an announcement if you don't plan on talking much, but most likely, you'll want to be able to say things on air (also quite necessary for sending in an aircheck to RKoL). If you don't have one quite yet, don't worry they are quite easy to aquire. Most DJs have reasonably priced microphones and mine was actually free. If you can't even afford a free microphone, a headset plugged into the mic in port on your soundcard will function as a very low quality microphone (talk into the earpieces).

Bytes In Your Bay

There are a few things that you need on your hard drive. First and foremost, music! If you don't have music, you'll have nothing to play. For some of you, this is okay. Many people listen to the radio to just hear their favorite DJs. If you want to run a talk-based show, you don't need a lot of music. For the rest of you that have a more FM-radio type show in mine, a large music collection should be at your right hand. If you don't currently have a lot of tracks, don't worry, there are plenty of ways to get more.

The good-old-fashioned honest way 
Go on a quest to a magical place known as your local music venue and you can exchange dough (not meat) for some nifty music.
Keep in mind that this isn't the best way to go about getting music, as the quality of the content is questionable, but it is the most respectable.
"Sharing is Caring" 
If you believe in this phrase, you probably also believe in the second part, "It could be fun". Fire up your favorite peer-to-peer client (mine is BitComet) and get on the receiving end of some tubular tune sharing. Just remember that manorialism isn't appreciated much on the internet, so don't be a leech.
The 1337 way 
Personally, I value the opinions of my peers as much as my own, so I've come up with a few ways for users to send me music. For most of you basic e-mail requests will suffice to your needs. As for me, I set up an anonymous FTP server so my peers can upload music, as well as an image board devoted to requests. And since I believe that sharing is caring, all my music is publicly available, and 99.9% of it is in his /music/ directory.

Getting The Software

Of course, you need special software to be able to broadcast...but you already knew that, right? Well, in case you didn't, or were just curious as to see what I'd have to say, keep reading and you'll soon be set to broadcast! The two most widely used programs to broadcast are Winamp (with the DSP plugin) and some form of Sam Broadcaster. I think more DJs currently use Winamp than SAM3, but most of the DJs stuck with Winamp hate it, so I'm working to change that statistic. So far, I've helped Rutabega. I hope this will help the rest. For those of you that don't need fancy bells and whistles, or simply can't handle them, go onto the next section. I suggest that everyone new to SHOUTcast should start with Winamp and the DSP plugin, so if you're reading this article for the purpose that it was originally inteded for, read on. :)

Winamp and the DSP Plug-in

Here's where the pictures start to show up more and more. Winamp and the DSP plugin give some people a great deal of difficulty, so don't worry if it isn't second nature to you as soon as you start with it. The first step is to go download Winamp if you haven't done so already. After you've installed Winamp, go ahead and import all of your music. After you've go all your music in, you should generate an HTML playlist. In your media library, select Local Media, select all, and queue that into your playlist. Open up your Playlist Editor, click the Misc button, go to MiscGenerate HTML Playlist or use the keyboard shortcut. After you have that generated, save the file, and upload it somewhere. After you're done with all that, you can move onto Winamp's SHOUTcast DSP Plug-in (which appears to have much more support for non-Windows operating systems! ...it used to only have a few guts of a linux plugin.) Once you've gotten your DSP plugin installed, open up Winamp and go to Preferences in the Options menu. Go down to Plug-ins and click on DSP/Effect. Double click on Nullsoft SHOUTcast Source DSP v1.9.[n] [dsp_sc.dll]. (Highlighting and clicking the Configure button works too.) You are greeted by the SHOUTcast source window. Once it's up, you can close the Precerences window. The Source window will stay up as long as Winamp is running. You can even close the Source window itself. It minimizes to your system tray. You will need access to a SHOUTcast server before you can configure your DSP plugin. If you don't have access to one yet, skip the next article and see #Installing Your Own Server.

DSP plugin configuration

Lets start with the Output tab. Click the Connection button if you aren't already in that group of settings. Set Address to the IP or domain of your SHOUTcast server (ie localhost or 225.255.255.0). Fill the port field with the port your server is accepting connections on. The default is 8000, but servers running more than one SHOUTcast service often have ports like 8794. Fill in the password field with your super secret radio admin password, and then you can move on to the Yellow Pages section of the Output tab. Every field in this section is completely optional, but why ever would you want to leave them blank? After you've filled in those fields, go to the next tab, Encoder. There are only three fields in this tab. You can save up to 5 encoders, and the first field lets you select which one you want to use. The second field specifies which format you want to broadcast in. (The default, MP3 is most likely what you'll want.) The last field specifies your bitrate. If you're streaming to your own server, any bitrate will do. If you're streaming to a paid server, you'll probably have to deal with a preset bitrate. When you're done making those difficult decisions, move onto Input. This is probably the most complicated part of the DSP plugin. When you're playing music, you'll probably want to select input from Winamp, but sometimes you might want to use your soundcard's mixer. This is up to you to decide. You may need to use different settings depending on what you want to do, such as playing music and talking. When you're completely done configuring your first encoder, go back to the Output tab and click connect. Start playing music. If it says you're connected, congratulations: you are now broadcasting.

Sam Broadcaster

Sam Broadcaster is by far a much better program to be broadcasting with. I like using it to play my music even when I'm not broadcasting. However, since SAM is such a fancier program, it's a bit harder to use. Getting used to SAM may seem even overwhelming, but trust me, It's very worth your troubles, after you've become familiar with SAM.

Getting your hands on SAM

From the Download page select the FireBird install. This is generally the favorite install, and in my opinion, the best for anyone that isn't in love with the MySQL server already running in their intranet, which most people do not have. If you want to get out of the demo version, you'll need to either register SAM3 ($200) or download a cracked executable, which I will not link to in this wiki, and switch out the SAMBC.EXE files.

Configuring SAM 3
The configuring SAM section will be updated at a later date, due to the fact that SAM3 has a lot to explain, a lot of screenshots to take, and I've already written so much of this article, and I've still work that I need to get done tonight. The last time I showed a newbie how to use SAM with no broadcasting experience it took quite a while and I need lots of visual aid. -Joe 00:54, 6 December 2006 (EST)
Nifty Features
Errors You Might Encounter

Your Show

This article will not tell you how to run your show. That is your responsibility. However, this article will make a few suggestions, which you can choose to follow or ignore. For any more detail consult other DJs on the radio station you wish to become a part of.

  • You should have a plan for what you want to do on air. This will vary, depending on what kind of show you want to run, but you should know what you're doing before you get on the air. You don't ever want to say something like "Hmm... what to do now... I am sooooo bored... someone PM me with something to do..."! Get creative and think of something original or at least fun to do during your time on the air. Generally, you should slowly get better with practice.
  • If you have a small number of listeners, request shows are probably not a good idea. If people wanted to hear just their own music, they'ed play their own music.

Practicing

Until you've got some practice under your belt, you'll probably stay a shy untalented newbie, but once again, don't worry. Getting ahold of a SHOUTcast server to practice with is a lot easier than it sounds.

Using Someone Else's Server

One of the best places for aspiring DJs new to broadcasting is project freecast, which allows anyone to sign up for blocks of time in which the 50-slot server is under their control for the booked time. Freecast is capable of a max bitrate of 56kbps. Also, I'm happy to let friends use my server for limited & temporary periods of time, although I currently don't have quite as much bandwidth as I'd like and I can't promise that my server will be online 100% of the time.

Installing Your Own Server

If you can't get your hands on someone else's SHOUTcast server, you can easily install your own and broadcast to localhost. I highly recommend trying this option if you can handle the server configuration (explained in the config, readme, and easily googleable tutorials).

Tips & Tricks

  • Move your bumps into SAM's sound FX folder so you can play them easily with one click without sending the MP3 metadata to the server and clogging up stats
  • Play around with SAM3's HTML output tools to generate nifty status pages without doing too much work.
  • Make requests very easy to send in.

External Links

To be added...eventually...

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