Computer Music Programming

Soundcards and Shoutcast

Yesterday I received an Amazon order in the mail. It was my first ever ExpressCard device!

A few years ago, I burned out the left channel on my laptop headphone jack, so if I wanted to listen to anything with a pair of headphones at the library or something, I couldn’t without putting up with just one side of the stereo mix. So last week, I went on Amazon and found a Creative (Soundblaster) ExpressCard sound card. Just yesterday, it came in the mail and I got it up and running! And I have to say it has excellent quality. 

Anyway, now I’m all into it. In the last couple weeks I’ve been attempting to download the Shoutcast tools from Nullsoft. And just today I finally got everything I wanted downloaded! I installed it on my big dimension, and am right now listening to a LAN stream of Christmas music. Of course, the setup at the moment is pretty pointless. My laptop is right here, and the audio server is also right here. But it WORKS! And that’s what really matters. Now all I need is a broadband connection so YOU all can listen also ;).

Anyway, as of right now my setup is as follows:

  • PPS-DIMENSION is the main server computer on my LAN. It does NOT have a webserver yet, although I’m working on that right now.
  • The Dimension DOES have a few audio services that I’ve integrated with Winamp.
    • Winamp itself – My big 500GB hard drive has approximately 81.5 days of audio (music, podcasts, sermons, radio programs, etc) which I access primarily from that computer.
    • A Kensington transmitter – My main audio output on the sound card is running directly into this short range FM transmitter which pipes the music to the entire house fairly effectively. I have had some EMI issues with walls and the like, but it’s tolerable if I position the transmitter just so.
    • BrowseAmp 3 – A simple plugin for Winamp creates a web server which allows any client on the network to control Winamp via the browser. It has a flash client which I think is really quite clean.
    • Shoutcast Server – This bit of standalone software and integration plugin for Winamp dumps the actual audio output from Winamp directly onto a TCP/IP port, allowing anyone with a web-ready media player to open the proper URL and play the currently playing music on their own computer.
  • I’ve also got the main webserver on my laptop…but it’s a laptop, so it’s not as nice as I’d like it to be.
  • I also have a small proxy server from AnalogX on my laptop, which allows me to make very low-quality internet connections from the Dimension, which does not have a decent modem to connect itself.
  • I also run Last.FM on both laptop and Dimension to update my account with what I play. Of course, this service only works when I’m connected to the internet and program they call the “Scroggler” is running. And I still don’t have the service down, so I don’t know exactly what any of that accomplishes, especially when I’m on a slow dialup connection. Oh, I should mention that having this new sound card WILL allow me to listen to music at the library, and therefore, Last.FM (or Pandora, which I’m planning on switching to in a couple days) will be much more worthwhile to even have.

Therefore, with all these upgrades, my own little two-computer + router is coming together quite nicely and I’m making so much work for me!

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