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Author Topic: Wrapping your head around a stream  (Read 4623 times)


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Wrapping your head around a stream
« on: September 21, 2011, 01:50:47 AM »
"But you know, I always said that no one else on my block was on the radio, and it was fun."
-Ed Bradley

Before I start a lot of these tutorials, I’m going to need to break down some terms Iwill be using frequently.  This will make other tutorials later make sense.

~Source~(WINAMP, WMP, REAL, ALSA PLAYER)- Think of this as what you use to play music from.  what you use to play an mp3, or where the sounds are coming from locally.  Does it have to necessarily need to be a music player to be a source?  Talking on your microphone, you would be the source.  If you have a sound effect board like the  Michas Jingle-Player, that’s a source. You get the drift.

~Transcoding~ The process of turning your source into a file type readable by listeners music listening devices (WINAMP, WMP, REAL, FLASH PLAYER, ect.)

~CODEC~ In simplest terms, its what you choose to make a file type for listeners.
 In example: I want my listeners to hear my stream in MP3.  I would choose an MP3 codec.  Why are these important?  Some listening devices/Streaming servers do not support some types of codecs. Since 2009, most listening devices (including flash) devices have started supporting open source codecs (FLAC, OGG).  However, a lot of mobile devices have still not got up to speed with supporting all codecs.

~DSP~(SHOUTcast DSP, B.U.T.T,) Digital signal processor- This is the program that you choose to do your transcoding through a codec. Some more well developed programs (SAM, IDJC)  have been designed to be a complete package of source and DSP.

~Streaming server~(SHOUTcast, SHOUTcast2, ICEcast2, ect.)  Before I begin this, for all the IT types out there.  THIS DOES NOT HAVE TO BE A STAND ALONE BOX IN A DATACENTER.  In simplest terms, this is the place where your codec sends the stream, and where listeners players do the handshake to receive the stream.  Is it a server? Yes.  Lots of connections to listening devices (If your lucky)  But can you have more than one streaming server on the same box in a datacenter? Absolutely.

ID3 Metadata(ID3, ID3v2) Simplest terms- When you play a song, and are not able to see the "Artist-Song Title" you are missing ID3 metadata, or have chosen not to display it.   There are lots of programs (picard, Mp3Tag, MediaMonkey) that will tag your songs with the appropriate metadata.  This is very important as STREAMLICENSING needs this metadata displayed in order for their tracking servers to work correctly.

There are more terms to throw your way, but as I said from the beginning, I just want you to be able to wrap your head around the broadcasting concept...

So, for your average broadcaster, when you stream, it will go like this:

 Source----->DSP(/w codec)----->Streaming server----->Listener

Now, There is exceptions.  Since the 90's, broadcasters have been looking for ways to break these rules.  How?  Instead of streaming to a Server, how about streaming to another Transcoder (SC_Trans) that resides on the same computer as your streaming server , one that no matter what the DJ's codec/bitrate is, kicks the stream down to an AAC+ codec that is made to sound great at lower kbps.  Or over processing the source using a equalizer, so that the sound is not so great locally, however, makes a bass sound more full when transcoded and sent out to your listeners.

I don’t want to go into these concepts yet though.  Let’s stick to basics for now.  Expect this tutorial to be expanded a bit, and more to come.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2011, 01:56:25 AM by Brutish »
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