Digital Remote HowTo

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Digital Remote HowTo

Overview

A digital remote is the process of recording and encoding into an mp3 stream in
real-time at a live music show and conveying that digital audio stream back to the
air studio at the station where it can be played into the board and sent out over the
air.

What to bring to the venue

Need

  • Laptop (I’ve been using a PC but there should, theoretically be software out
    there for Mac)
  • Laptop power cable
  • 100′ Ethernet Cat6 cable (this lives in the remote cabinet at the station)
  • Small stereo mixer (assuming that Kendra has one that we can use) (Hopefully it
    looks something like this
  • Cable to connect the output of the mixer to the mic-in/line-in of the laptop.
    (this would most likely be a male-stereo-1/8th-inch to 2-male-rca cable with 2
    adapters on the end of the rca plugs that turn them into male-1/4″. I’ve assembled
    one of these cables and it’s located in the RPU cabinet with the compressor.)
  • 2 long instrument cables (male-1/4-inch to male-1/4-inch) or mic cables
    (female-XLR to male-XLR) to connect the venue’s board’s output to two input
    channels on our mixer. It might be good to bring some of our 1/4-inch extension
    cables incase we can’t setup near to the venue’s board.
  • A talkback mic (used to forward announce/back announce bands and make with the
    general banter)
  • Either the stereo mic or 2 mics (this is to gather the sound in the room since,
    most likely, the drums and bass won’t be mic’d by the venue.
  • Microphone cables for the mics (this will either be 3 XLR cables or 1 XLR cable
    and the fancy stereo mic cable)
  • Mic stand or stands
  • Release forms for the bands to sign
  • Headphones with both 1/8th” and 1/4″ plug

Nice to have

  • Flashlight
  • Power extension chord (in case you have to setup somewhere not near a wall
    plug)
  • Power Strip
  • Gaffers tape to tape down cables
  • Compressor and 4 male-male 1/4-inch cables

What to have at the station

  • Laptop
  • Laptop power cable
  • Other 100′ Ethernet Cat6 cable (this lives in the remote cabinet at the
    station)
  • Cable to connect the laptop to the air studio’s Aux In (this would most likely
    be a male-1/8th-inch to 2-male-rca cable)

What software does each laptop need

At the Venue

  • Windows
  • Mac
    • Garageband
    • Nicecast (login info can be found in email on the listserve)
    • An instant messenger client (AIM, gAIM, MSN Messenger, etc.) This is to
      communicate with the DJ back at the station

At the Station

  • Windows
    • Winamp 5.x
    • configure-network-for-KALX-studios.bat 
      • (login info can be found in email on the listserve)
      • (right click and
        choose “Save As…” I recommend you save this on your desktop so it’s easy to
        find)
    • restore-network-configuration.bat 
      • (login info can be found in email on the listserve)
      • (right click and choose
        “Save As…” I recommend you save this on your desktop so it’s easy to
        find)
    • An instant messenger client (AIM, gAIM, MSN Messenger, etc.) This is to
      communicate with the venue
  • Mac
    • iTunes
    • An instant messenger client (AIM, gAIM, MSN Messenger, etc.) This is to
      communicate with the venue

How to Set Everything Up

At the station

  • Run the 100′ Ethernet cable from the computer room (next to the news studio)
    into the Air studio. In the computer room, plug it into one of the jacks under the
    table. If there isn’t one free, borrow a connection from one of the computers (make
    sure to plug the mac back in when you finish the show)
  • Setup your laptop in the air studio and plug it into the other end of the
    ethernet cable.
  • Configure your TCP/IP stack as follows

    Windows

    • If you’ve downloaded the batch files listed above in the “What software
      does each laptop need” then double-click “configure-network-for-KALX-studios.bat
    • If not you can follow these instructions by hand :
      • Click “Start…” “Run…”
      • Type in “cmd” and click “Ok”
      • In the new black command window that comes up run each of the following
        commands in order :

        netsh interface dump > "%USERPROFILE%\My Documents\original-network-configuration.netsh"
        netsh interface ip set address name="Local Area Connection" source=static addr=169.229.148.69 mask=255.255.255.192
        netsh interface ip set address name="Local Area Connection" gateway=169.229.148.65 gwmetric=0
        netsh interface ip set dns name="Local Area Connection" source=static addr=128.32.136.9 register=NONE
        netsh interface ip add dns name="Local Area Connection" addr=128.32.136.12 index=2
        netsh interface ip set wins name="Local Area Connection" source=static addr=none
        

      Mac

      • In Finder go to the “Apple Icon” menu
      • Choose “System Preferences”
      • In the System Preferences window select “Network”
      • In the Network window select “Ethernet”
      • In the “Configure” drop-down list change “Using DHCP” to
        “Manually”
      • Change the fields listed to the following values :
        • IP Address : 169.229.148.69
        • Subnet Mask : 255.255.255.192
        • Router : 169.229.148.65
        • DNS Server : 128.32.136.9
        • Search Domains :
      • Click “Apply”
      • Click the red “X” to close out of System Preferences

      Note

      If there is an IP address a conflict try an IP addresses between :

      169.229.148.65 - 169.229.148.91
      
  • Test your network connectivity by trying to browse to www.google.com or
    www.yahoo.com in your browser (Safari, Internet Explorer, etc.)
  • Plug the male-1/8th-inch to 2-male-rca cable into the headphone jack on your
    laptop.
  • Plug the other end of the cable (with the 2-male-rca plugs) into the Aux In
    located just below the keyboard of the DadPro
  • You can bring this signal up on the Aux In channel on the board.
  • Launch your IM client and connect up with whoever is at the venue
  • Connect to the audio feed

    Windows

    • Launch Winamp
      • Go to “File…” “Play URL…”
        • http://stream2.streamq.net:9000/
    • You should now be getting the stream and can pot it up on the board and
      hear it.

    Mac

    • Launch iTunes
    • Open this URL
      • http://stream2.streamq.net:9000/

Finishing up at the station

  • To restore your network configuration on your laptop do the following

    Windows

    • Run : restore-network-configuration.bat
    • If not you can follow these instructions by hand :
      • Click “Start…” “Run…”
      • Type in “cmd” and click “Ok”
      • In the new black command window that comes up run each of the following commands in order :
        netsh -f "%USERPROFILE%\My Documents\original-network-configuration.netsh"

    Mac

    • In Finder go to the “Apple Icon” menu
    • Choose “System Preferences”
    • In the System Preferences window select “Network”
    • In the Network window select “Ethernet”
    • In the “Configure” drop-down list change “Manually” to “Using DHCP”

At the venue

  • Pick a spot and try to find a table or something to set your laptop and the
    mixer up on. You’ll want to be near the venue’s sound board and also near the
    internet connection.
  • Run the 100′ Etherenet cable to the venue’s internet connection and plug it
    into their router or switch or hub
  • Plug the other end into your laptop and power it up
  • Setup the mixer and connect the main out to your laptops mic-in/line-in.
    Using the 1/8th-inch to 2-rca to 2-1/4″ cable

    • If you’re using a compressor set this up between the main outs on the
      mixer and the mic-in/line-in on your laptop using 1/4″ cables.
  • Run your mic cables and setup mics and mic stands. Plug them into input
    channels on your mixer
  • Run instrument cables to the venue’s board and connect to some output (Aux
    out/sub master out/whatever they tell you to connect to). Connect the other end
    to 2 input channels on your mixer
  • Hook your headphones up to the mixer and test each input source to make
    sure you’re getting a signal
  • Once you’ve confirmed all of your inputs are working :

    Windows

    • Launch Winamp
      • Go to “Options…” “Preferences…”
      • Go to “Plug-ins” “DSP/Effect”
      • Select “Nullsoft SHOUTcast Source DSP v1.9.0 dsp_sc.dll” and a window
        will popup
      • In the “Shoutcast source” window that popped up :
        • In the “Output” tab in the “Output configuration” section set the
          following values :

          • Address : stream2.streamq.net
          • Port : 9000
          • Password : You can find the password in an email that I have
            sent out to the KALX Live email mailing list. The title of the
            email is “New Digital Remote Server Information” and it was
            sent on June 3rd, 2009 at 4:15pm
        • In the “Encoder” tab set the following values :
          • Encoder Type : MP3 Encoder
          • Encoder Settings : set this to the highest value that the
            bandwidth at the venue will support. See Determining Encoder
            Settings
      • If you go to either the “Main” or the “Input” tab you can see the
        levels coming into your laptop from the mixer. You can affect these with
        you laptops built in volume control for your input.

        • Either click your speaker icon in the lower right corder of the
          Windows taskbar, or go to the “Start…” button and choose “Run…”
          then type in “sndvol32” and click “Ok”
        • Once in the Windows sound mixer go to “Options…” “Properties…”
          and choose “Recording” in the “Adjust Volume For” section. Now you’ll
          be able to see the input volume for your mic-in or line-in.
    • Once the levels look good, in the “Output” tab click connect and connect to
      the server

    Mac

    • Launch Nicecast
      • Click the “Source” button. If it’s already clicked, click a different button then click back to “Source”
      • In the section that opens up below the nicecast window, click “Select”
        • Click “Select Application”
          • Find and select “Garageband”
      • In the “Window” menu at the top of Nicecast, click “Show Server” so that it’s checked
      • In the Nicecast server section hanging off the right side of the Nicecast window is a list of servers. This list will start by only listing one server called “Built-in Server”
        • Note : If you don’t see the “Servers” list, click the tiny tab icon under the sattelite dish image. This should cause the Server List to appear on the side of the nicecast window
      • Click the “+” icon at the bottom of the Server List to configure the KALX Shoutcast server
      • Enter the following information into the new “Untitled Server”
        • Name : “KALX Live Server”
        • Server Type : “Shoutcast”
        • Account :
        • Password : <you’ll find the password in the email that I’ve sent out to the kalxstaff list>
        • Address : “stream2.streamq.net”
        • Port : “9000”
        • Public URL : “http://stream2.streamq.net:9000/”
      • Click the radio button to the left of “Untitled Server” in the Server List. This should commit your changes and change “Untitled Server” to “KALX Live Server”
      • Leave the Nicecast Server List window open
      • Return to the “Broadcast Window”
      • Click the “Quality” button
        • Set the quality settings based on your findings from the next section titled “Determining Encoder Settings”.
      • Click “Start Broadcast”, it should launch Garageband
    • In Garageband
      • Click “Create New Music Project”
      • Give the new recording a name in the form of “XXXX-XX-XX – Band Name – Venue”
        • Example : 2009-10-30 – The Dead Hensons – The Starry Plough”
      • Choose a location to store the recording
      • Click “Create”
      • Close the “Keyboard” window
      • In the “Track” menu click “Delete Track”. This should delete the “Grand Piano” track created by default
      • In the “Track” menu click “New Track”
        • Click “Real Instrument”
          • Click “Create”
      • Set Levels on the input of the new track based on the volume of the signal coming in from your mixer/mic
      • In the “Track Info” window pane on the right side of Garageband at the bottom of the window, set “Monitor” to “On”
        • Note : With “Monitor” on you’ll want to plug headphones into the Mac to prevent feedback from the speakers in the Mac
      • In the “Control” menu unclick “Metronome”
      • Click “Record”
    • Confirm that you’re seeing a signal coming into Garageband once you’re recording by talking into the mic and looking at the signal meters in Garageband
    • Confirm that the Garageband monitor signal is being passed to Nicecast by going to the Nicecast window and looking at the signal meters as you talk in the mic
  • Contact the DJ at the station (over Instant Messenger) and ask how the
    signal sounds and see if everything is working.

Determining Encoder Settings

The encoder settings that the person at the venue will encode the stream at,
depends on the available upstream bandwidth on the venue’s internet connection.
Here is how to determine what to set the encoder settings to.

  • Determine the available upstream bandwidth at the venue.
    • Once your connected up to the venue’s internet connection, in your
      browser go to http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/
    • Choose “San Franciso” and run the test. You’ll end up with 2 numbers, a
      “Download Speed” and a “Upload Speed” both measured in kbps. The number
      that matters here is the “Upload Speed”. That’s how much bandwidth you have
      to work with.
  • Choose an encoder setting that is less than the available upstream
    bandwidth. For example :

    • If the bandwidth test showed that you had 128kpbs for “Upload Speed”
      you’d want to choose either 96kbps Stereo or 112kbps Stereo for an encoder
      setting. You wouldn’t be able to use 128kbps because if the bandwidth ever
      fluctuated the signal would drop out. We always want a little margin of
      error.
    • If the bandwidth test showed that you had 300kpbs for “Upload Speed”
      you’d want to choose either 128kbps Stereo or 192kbps Stereo for an encoder
      setting. At or above 128kbps is going to be fine for any show so don’t
      worry about pushing it much above that.
  • Test it out, begin encoding at that speed and ask the DJ back at the
    station if the stream is cutting out or if it sounds good.
  • Note : If you’re using Gene’s server there won’t be an issure for bandwidth
    because I’ve got 1.5mpbs upstream and downstream. If you’re using another
    server, make sure to test the bandwidth (upstream and downstream) on it to make
    sure that you can both push your stream to the server and the DJ can pull the
    stream down from the server.

Deprecated information about the server

Since we now have a dedicated server
which is available at all times, nobody should need to setup a server of their own.
This information is retained solely for reference but shouldn’t be needed in the normal
course of doing a remote broadcast.

What software does the server need

On The server

I’ve been using a server that I host out of Oakland. We are welcome to use this in
the future, just let me know ahead of time and I’ll turn on the Shoutcast service the
evening of the show.

  • Configure the server (sc_serv.conf) with the following settings :

    MaxUser=2
    Password=kalxliverocks
    PortBase=8000
    PublicServer=never

  • Confirm that neither an external firewall in front of the server or an internal
    firewall (e.g. iptables) is blocking port 8000 or 8001 inbound.
  • Run the shoutcast server either in the background on in a screen shell. This is
    to prevent the shoutcast server process from stopping if the connection drops out
    momentarily.

    #either run :
    ./sc_serv &

    #or run :
    screen
    ./sc_serv

  • At this point you’ll see something like this :

    *******************************************************************************
    *
    *
    *SHOUTcast Distributed Network Audio Server
    *Copyright (C) 1998-2004 Nullsoft, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
    *Use “sc_serv filename.ini” to specify an ini file.
    *******************************************************************************

Event log:
<03/19/06@08:58:12> SHOUTcast DNAS/Linux v1.9.5 (Dec 27 2004) starting up...
<03/19/06@08:58:12> main pid: 24421
<03/19/06@08:58:12> main loaded config from sc_serv.conf
<03/19/06@08:58:12> main initializing (usermax:2 portbase:8000)...
<03/19/06@08:58:12> main No ban file found (sc_serv.ban)
<03/19/06@08:58:12> main No rip file found (sc_serv.rip)
<03/19/06@08:58:12> main opening source socket
<03/19/06@08:58:12> main source thread starting
<03/19/06@08:58:12> main opening client socket
<03/19/06@08:58:12> main Client Stream thread 0 starting
<03/19/06@08:58:12> main client main thread starting
<03/19/06@08:58:12> source listening for connection on port 8001
<03/19/06@08:58:14> sleeping 0 listeners (0 unique)