The down and dirty remote...
Mon Feb 18 23:53:24 EST 2008
As some of you may know, for the past five years I've been doing the
non-transmitter related tech work at WMWM at Salem State College. Being
a pro audio dealer has helped as the station's annual operating budget
is probably a lot less than I spend each year at Starbucks.
One of my pet projects has been to find an affordable way to do a real
remote. The station owns an old Getner manual phone hybrid and has a
jerry-rigged receive only phone patch at the studio end. This is kind
of a low rent system.
I've been working on an IP based system and here's what I've come up with.
Phonic (as well as other manufacturers) makes several audio mixers in
their Helix line with either USB or Firewire outputs. The entry units,
the Helix 12 and 17 USB models sell for about $150 and $290
respectively. We take the output of the mixer and plug it into a nearby
laptop. The laptop is running Oddcast (free from Oddcast.org). The
laptop can use a wired, wi-fi or cell modem to connect to the
Internet.. I send the Oddcast stream to a server in my office running
IceCast (also free). This server was an old out of date PC (actually a
P2-300) running Debian Linux (yep, its also free).
At the radio station end we have an Internet connected computer running
Winamp (also free). We use Winamp to pick the stream off of the server
and place it on the air. We're running a 128 bit MP3 stream. The net
result is that we have a full-fidelity stereo feed with audio quality
that is very listenable. Not bad for a remote for under $200.
I'm using a variation of this system for my Sunday night show. I'm
doing a show called "Sunday Night Chill" from my own studio. I'm taking
the audio output from my production board and running it into an M-Audio
firewire audio interface. We then use the same procedure of bouncing
the signal off the IceCast server to the radio station. After using
this system for the past five weeks I've found it to be reasonably
reliable and of excellent sound quality. The feedback that I'm getting
from my friends in the audience tell me that the sound quality is as
good as or better than from the studio. I'm getting a 10-20 second
delay to the studio.
OK, so its not major market but it was within our budget! If you're
interested in hearing the audio quality of this rig, email me off list
and I'll send you the link that I use for the Sunday night feed. If you
have any other questions, please ask.
Thus endeth my first real technical contribution to this list :-)
Brian Vita, WMWM and CSS Inc.
More information about the Boston-Radio-Interest