Low cost remote stereo feed to FM station

Brian Vita brian_vita@cssinc.com
Mon May 7 08:49:45 EDT 2007

Garrett Wollman wrote:
> <<On Sun, 06 May 2007 14:07:29 +0000, Cohasset / Hippisley <cohasset@frontiernet.net> said:
>> I have been trying to figure out what a low-cost solution to sending 
>> high fidelity stereo "sans" POTS hum and noise to the broadcast station 
>> might be.
> Sounds like what you want is what the industry calls a "POTS codec".
> You can find several brands advertised in the trade magazines.
> Unfortunately, they are fairly expensive (about $3000 a pop), but it
> is not unlikely that the station you're looking to feed already has
> one (and if not, their engineer probably knows wherer to get an older
> model for cheaper than list price).
>> So far, all I can come up with is approaching the station management
>> with the idea of the church sending left and right data streams to
>> them via the internet.  But I'm not sure whether our current DSL
>> bandwidth is sufficient to do that reliably.
> Such things have been done before.  Some of the more expensive
> hardware codecs can do this for you.
>>   *  *If* the internet is used for this kind of remote feed, what is 
>> commonly accepted as the minimum acceptable bandwidth for the connection?
> Whatever the codec (hardware or software) you're using requires.
> Newer ones generally require less bandwidth for the same audio
> quality.  Older ones typically had to fit in 112 kbit/s, since that's
> what ISDN gives you.  Ogg Vorbis, which is Free Software, is
> psychoacoustically transparent at 128 kbit/s, and doesn't require much
> of a computer to run at better than real time.
> -GAWollman
Last Thanksgiving, 48 hours before game time, WMWM in Salem was asked if 
it could broadcast the Beverly-Salem football game.  This game had been 
previously broadcast on WESX prior to its sale and flip to Spanish.  One 
of WESX's former announcers, Rick Moore, now operates a for profit 
website (www.moorestuffonline.com) that was webcasting the game.

After the appropriate permissions and rights were quickly obtained, it 
was agreed that we would pick up his web feed and rebroadcast it.  Since 
we are a non-comm we had Rick's permission to cover the spots with 
PSA's.  Given the fact that it was a web feed, I was expecting the worst.

The rig at the remote end, I later found out, consisted of several 
mic's, a mixer and a laptop with a Verizon broadband card.  It fed the 
feed to Rick's server which we in turn picked up via our booth internet 
feed.  Much to my surprise, the feed was network quality!  The only 
problems that we had were the result of a hard, wind driven rain that 
quickly destroyed Rick's umbrellas and all other protections he had 
against the elements.  Very quickly all of the electronics were getting 
throughly soaked and water logged.  Mic's were shorting out and the 
mixer developed some issues but the feed stayed up until the last two 
minutes when the laptop became so waterlogged that it just gave up.  
When the feed finally quit due to the laptop turned jacuzzi's failure, 
we finished the last two minutes via cell.

The point here is that while an internet streaming feed may not be as 
ideal as one of the fancy $3K codecs, it certainly is a cost-effective 
solution.  I am exploring setting up a test rig of my own to allow WMWM 
to do live remotes.

Brian Vita, WMWM sometimes....

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