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Quick Start Guide - Get your Stream Online in 30 Minutes

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Contents

The goal of this "How to" document is that any newbie reading it can be up and streaming radio in less than 30 minutes. It may help to print out this document and check mark when you have accomplished each task.

This document is a quick start guide on how to setup a live Internet radio station using SAM Broadcaster and SpacialNet stream hosting services.

Quick Overview

Q: How does Internet radio work?

A: The Internet can transfer any type of data including text, video and audio. Basically Internet radio is the transfer of audio data over the Internet to listeners spread across the world. This guide will only focus on the audio aspects of streaming.

To make all of this happen, 4 things are required:

  1. Source Audio (Audio/Video files or Live Audio/Video)
  2. Audio Encoder & Streamer (SAM Broadcaster, WinAmp/SHOUTcast, Windows Media Encoder)
  3. Streaming Server (http://www.spacialnet.com/streamhosting/)
  4. Player (WinAmp, Quicktime, iTunes, XMMS, Real Player, Windows Media)

Technical Aspects of Internet Radio

The audio encoder takes the source audio and encodes the audio into a continuous stream of audio data. This single audio stream is sent to the streaming server.

The streaming server then acts like a broadcasting antenna by sending the audio data to all the listeners.

For listeners to tune-in to the audio stream, they must have some kind of player installed that is able to receive the stream of audio data from the streaming server, and then play the audio data over the speakers. Since compressing audio data requires large amount of computing resources, it is recommended the computer running SAM be a dedicated server.

The audio data is usually compressed to make it easier and more cost effective to stream over the Internet. For this purpose many audio file formats have been developed that all vary in quality, compression rates and features. Some examples of popular audio formats: MP3, mp3PRO, Windows Media, AAC, aacPlus and Ogg.

This document will explain how you can use SAM Broadcaster as your audio encoder, streamer and use the stream hosting services of SpacialNet.com to start your own professional online radio station.

Advantages of Internet Radio

  • Start your own professional radio station for as little as $300, of course excluding your computer, ISP, electricity, song licensing, etc.
  • Can be operated from your own home.
  • Many ways to generate revenue to fund your own station.
  • Reach an audience located across the world.
  • Start out small and grow as your station's audience grows.

Getting Started

First you will need to decide which type of station you are going to run. Are you going to broadcast live content, prerecorded content, just playing audio source files or combination? Anyway you decide to do it; SAM Broadcaster is the program that can handle your stream.

Q: What do you need to set up an Internet radio station?

A: You will need:

  • Computer (Preferred to have a dedicated computer just for SAM Broadcaster)
  • CD-ROM
  • Audio Ripper Software (Takes audio tracks from a CD and places them onto the computer's Hard Drive)
  • CDs to rip for SAM Broadcaster
  • Minimum 48kbps Internet connection
  • Stream Hosting Server

Optional Items

  • Assorted recording and editing software
  • Microphone(s)
  • Audio mixer
  • Outboard audio gear (equalizer, compressor, etc.)

Stream Hosting Setup

This portion of the documentation will go over the process of planning and setup of SpacialNet stream hosting.

Planning

Planning for your stream hosting is a key element in the planning portion of your station. Depending on the station you will either need to start small and increase as the need arises or you will need to start large and scale down after you have a feel for how many listeners you should really expect. If you are an existing organization with a large contact list or a terrestrial station with means to advertise to the masses and you plan to announce to all of your potential listeners you will want to be able to handle the initial traffic.

SpacialNet stream hosting offers a minimum of 20 listeners to start up to 2500 listeners per server. If you wish to have more, please contact us. Our large infrastructure is able to handle thousands of listeners, but for accounts over 1000 listeners please contact us so we can work with you to provide you with the very best solution.

Setup SpacialNet Live Stream Hosting Account

Note: Do not exceed your internet connection speed; also remember to allow some room for emails and any other outgoing communications.

  • Select 'Maximum Concurrent Viewers' from the drop down box
  • Click 'Calculate'
  • Choose the server closest to the majority of your viewers.
  • Please read and then check the box to agree to the Service Level Agreement, Terms of Service & Refund policy.
  • If the total monthly cost is within your budget click 'Continue'

Member Details

  • If you are an existing member select 'I'm already an SpacialNet member'
  • Enter your Username
  • Enter your Password
  • Click 'Continue'

OR

  • If you are not an existing member select 'Sign me up (FREE)'
    • Enter a username
    • Enter a password
    • Re-type your password
    • Enter a valid email address (notification of your server details and billing information will be sent to this email address)
    • Enter your First Name
    • Select Your Country
    • Select your State
    • Read the User Agreement then check the box that indicates that you accept the User Agreement
  • Click 'Sign Up!'
  • Select your preferred payment method to make a payment right now.
    • You can select 'Automated Monthly Payment'; this will ensure that your payment is made on time and that you will not have a lapse in service.

Note: Any payment made by PayPal's e-check, direct deposit, money order or check will take 4 days to process or until we receive and verify funds. A credit card, credit card by phone or PayPal linked to your credit card directly is the fastest method and your account will be setup almost instantaneously upon completion of your order.

You will now be taken to the appropriate site to complete your payment and setup a subscription for monthly payment.

Setting up your Station Information

Open up a new window and enter in the SpacialNet 'My Stations' page URL: http://www.spacialnet.com/broadcasters/station.html

When at the 'My Stations' page:

  • Click on '+ Add Station'
  • Enter in a small Station Name, you have a max of 10 characters
  • Click 'Continue'
  • Select 'Use AudioRealm popup player'
  • Read over the Terms at the bottom of the page then click the checkbox for the Terms
  • Click 'Accept'
  • Close this window, you will not need it at this moment.

Note: You can always change your station settings for here by going back to http://www.spacialnet.com/broadcasters/station.html.

SAM Broadcaster Basic Install

Download SAM Broadcaster Demo from http://www.spacialaudio.com/products/sambroadcaster/download.html.

For this tutorial, download the Firebird version. It is the quickest to setup. If you are interested in having your station's website driven by PHP, then you may want to choose MySQL at a later time.

Note: If you already own SAM3 Broadcaster please login to our Secure Client section at: http://www.spacialaudio.com/clients/

Saving the Installation File

  • Select 'Save this program to disk' and click OK.
  • Browse to the location where you would like to save the file (i.e.; Desktop)
  • Once the file has been downloaded Click Start/Run/Browse find the installation file for SAM and click Open (will look like sambc-xx.exe).
  • Click OK to execute installation file (if necessary).

Running the Installation File

  • Click 'Yes' to install
  • Click 'Next' after reading the welcome message
  • Read the Terms and Conditions then click 'Accept'
  • Make sure SAM Broadcaster installs in it's proper directory
    • Example: C:\Program Files\SpacialAudio\SAMBC\
  • Accept all defaults, clicking 'Next' until you complete the installation.

Note: If you have an existing MySQL server on your dedicated system you may need to change the username and password for MySQL, otherwise leave as the defaults; username: root, password: (blank entry password). At this point you should cancel the installation and download the MySQL version of SAM Broadcaster.

Once the installation has completed, you will be prompted with a few options:

  • View SAM Readme File
  • Run SAM Program
  • Visit AudioRealm stream hosting

Since we have visited SpacialNet already, you can uncheck the Visit AudioRealm checkbox. When finished with this Quick Setup Guide, you can read through the Readme.

  • Click 'Finish'

If you selected 'Run SAM Program' then SAM should start running immediately. If not, or you pressed on the [X], you can load it manually by going to: Start / Run / Programs / SAM Broadcaster / SAM Broadcaster.

Initial SAM Broadcaster Start

A 'Welcome!' window will appear that will prompt:

  • Checkbox for 'Add SoundFX and demo audio files'
  • Checkbox for 'Add my audio files to the media library (Recommended)'

If you want, you don't have to select to add SoundFX and demo files if you don't wish.

  • Click 'Continue'.
  • Choose the directory that your music files are in and click on 'OK'.

At this point SAM Broadcaster will add those songs to the media library. After it sorts through your music, SAM Broadcaster should now be running.

Setting up SAM Broadcaster

Now that you have SAM up and running, let's quickly set up your system settings so you can start sending music to your server.

Configuring your Station Information

For you to be listed on AudioRealm, our station listing site, you need to add a few configurations in SAM Broadcaster.

  • At the top of SAM, click on 'Config'.
    • Alternatively, you can click on File / Config in SAM
  • Enter Your SpacialAudio login information in the AudioRealm area:
    • Enter your Username
    • Enter your Password
  • Click on 'Station Details'
  • Enter your Station Details
    • Click on the down arrow for 'Short Name'
      • In a few seconds it will find the name you created on SpacialNet, if you are connected to the internet. Click on that choice.
    • Name
    • Description
    • Website
    • Choose three genres that fit your station.
    • Email Address (optional)
    • AIM (Optional)
    • ICQ # (Optional)
    • Make sure 'Show station details on AudioRealm.com' is checked
  • Click 'OK'

Setting Up Your Stream Hosting

Originally this was set up as part of SAM Broadcaster, but all of our products share a similar setup, so this has been separated in this guide.

There are a few schools of thought on setup:

  • SHOUTcast is the EASIEST to Setup but quality isn't good at lower bitrates
  • Windows Media has BETTER Quality but it's a bit more complicated to setup

Please use the corresponding guides before contacting support on how to setup your stream.

Setting up your SHOUTcast Encoder

Note: If you do not have a SHOUTcast server on SpacialNet, skip this section and go to the Windows Media portion below.

You have set up a streaming server the next step is to create an encoder that can supply the streaming server with a source stream.

  • Go to Desktop B in SAM Broadcaster
  • In the Encoders window click on the '+' button
  • If you wish to stream in mp3PRO mode, please select the 'MP3 and mp3PRO' Circle and click 'OK'.
    • Alternatively, you can select MP3 (Normal) [If Available].
      Note: Using the mp3PRO encoder for normal MP3 streaming is not recommended.
  • On the Converter tab
    • Set Quality to Medium
    • Under Format select the format that matches what you purchased at SpacialNet.com for stream hosting. See the SpacialNet.com stream hosting account panel for bitrate.
    • Check 'Auto Start encoder after 5 seconds'
      Note: Be sure that 'Allow scripts in stream' is unchecked.
  • Click on the Server Details tab
    • Server type is SHOUTcast
    • Server Details (found on your SpacialNet stream hosting panel)
      • Enter Host in 'Server IP' field
      • Enter Port in 'Server Port' field
      • Enter Password in 'Password' field
    • In the Station Details area:
      • Type in your Station Name
      • Select the genre from the drop-down box or type in your own
        Note: You may type in more than one genre comma separated.
      • Type in your Website URL
      • Enter AIM ID (optional)
      • Enter ICQ # (optional)
      • Enter IRC Channel (optional)
      • Check 'List on public station listing (recommended)
        Note: This will list your station at SHOUTcast.com
      • Check 'Enable title streaming' and be sure that $combine$ is in the field below 'Enable title streaming' to display titles.
  • Click OK

Your Encoder should now say 'encoded (#) and streamed (#)'.

Setting up your SHOUTcast Statistic Relay

The final step is to create a Statistics Relay for the streaming server.

A statistic relay simply grabs the current status and viewer count from each server, reporting the details to SAM. Without a statistic relay, SAM will not know where listeners can connect to listen to your music and it will also not accurately report the count of listeners connected to your stream.

Additionally, without valid statistic relays your station will not show up on AudioRealm.com. This means you will not get any extra exposure and you will miss extra listeners coming from the AudioRealm portal and partner sites.

  • Go to Desktop B in SAM Broadcaster
  • In the Statistic Relays window click on the '+' button
  • Select SHOUTcast Statistic Relay, click OK
  • Enter SHOUTcast server details (found on your SpacialNet.com stream hosting panel).
    • Enter Host in 'Host' field
    • Enter Port in 'Port' field
    • Enter Password in 'Password' field
    • If you don't want your server listed publicly, check 'Private statistic relay'
  • Click OK

Statistic Relay should now say 'Active (OK)'


Setting up your Windows Media Server

Note: If you do not have a Windows Media server on SpacialNet, skip this section.

Windows Media works in Push (recommended) or PULL mode. To push is that the encoder connects to the server. To pull this means the Windows Media Server will actually connect to your encoder plugin. In order to pull, the server must know where to find you. Keep that in mind when setting up your stream.

Configure your Windows Media Server Account

To configure your stream host account go to: http://www.spacialnet.com/broadcasters/streamhost.list.html

  • Login to your Account (If Necessary)
  • Click on "Edit" next to your Stream

Push Distribution

The quickest way to set up your stream would be with Push Distribution. To make setup as painless as possible, use this option if possible as we recommend it. From your Windows Media Stream host account:

  • Select 'Encoder connects to server (PUSH)'
  • Click 'Update MediaPoint settings'

Pull Distribution

Note: This type of setup takes more time and effort. If you choose to have a Push Distribution, please skip this option.

  • Select 'Server connects to encoder (PULL)'
  • Enter in your IP address or DNS Host
  • Enter Port '3690' if it isn't there already

To find out your current IP, click on the 'Detect IP' link on the side of the page or visit http://www.spacialnet.com/broadcasters/tools.ip.html. Click update to push changes to server.

Note: If your IP address changes often, get a static DNS name from http://www.no-ip.com or http://www.dyndns.com.

You might also need to open the Port in your firewall, or "port forward" the port in your router. Once your encoder is running go and visit our port tester at http://www.spacialnet.com/broadcasters/tools.port.html. From there you can check to see if port 3690 is available.

If our test shows this port as closed then you are most likely behind a firewall/router/nat and it will need to be configured with a port forward for TCP on port 3690 to your internal IP address of the encoder.

Setting up your Windows Media Encoder

This will allow for your Windows Media to gather the streaming data.

  • Go to Desktop B in SAM Broadcaster
  • In the Encoders window click on the '[+]' button
  • Select the WMA (v9 advanced) Circle and click 'OK'
  • Select the stream profile that best fits your station.
    • Make sure to not go over your allotted stream bitrate.

Push Distribution (Recommended)

  • Stream Options tab
    • 'Single bitrate' is set as default
    • Check 'Auto start encoder'
    • Select 'Use PUSH distribution'
      • Enter Host in 'Media server host/IP' field
      • Enter your Alias in the 'Publishing point' field
      • Leave 'Template publishing point' blank
      • Leave 'Automatically destroy publishing point' unchecked
      • Enter SpacialNet Username in 'Username' field
      • Enter SpacialNet Password in 'Password' field
      • Make sure 'Auto reconnect encoder after 15 seconds' is checked

(Go to Scripting Tab Portion Below)

Pull Distribution

  • Stream Options tab
    • 'Single bitrate' is set as default
    • Check 'Auto start encoder'
    • Selection is defaulted at 'Use PULL distribution'
    • Port is defaulted at '3690'
    • Users is defaulted at '10'
       
  • Scripting tab
    • In Stream information
      • Enter Your Station Information
      • Enter your Description
      • Enter your Copyright
    • Make sure 'Allow scripts in stream' is checked.
      • Make sure 'Allow automatic Captioning' is checked
        • Should have '$combine$ ($mmss$)' as input.
      • Make sure 'Allow automatic data streaming' is checked
        • Should have 'artist=#artist#&title=#title#&album=#album#&duration=#duration#&songtype=#songtype#&overlay=#overlay#&buycd=#buycd#&website=#website#&mmss=#mmss#&picture=#picture#' as input.
      • Set 'Buffer Window' for 3000.
      • Set 'Bandwidth' for 1500.
  • Click OK

Your Encoder should now say 'encoded (#) and streamed (#)'.

Setting up your MediaPoint Relay for Windows Media

The final step is to create a Statistics relay for the streaming server.

A statistic relay simply grabs the current status and viewer count from each server, reporting the details to SAM. Without a statistic relay SpacialNet.com will not know where listeners can connect to listen to your music and it will also not accurately report the count of listeners connected to your stream.

Note: Without valid statistic relays your station will not show up on AudioRealm.com. This means you will not get any extra exposure and you will miss extra listeners coming from the AudioRealm portal and partner sites.

  • Go to Desktop B in SAM Broadcaster
  • In the Statistic Relays window click on the '[+]' button
  • Select MediaPoint Manager (Windows Media) Statistic Relay, click OK
  • Enter MediaPoint Manager server details (found on your SpacialNet.com stream hosting panel).
    • Enter Host in 'MPM Host' field
    • Enter Port in 'Port' field
    • Enter your SpacialNet Username in 'Username' field
    • Enter your SpacialNet Password in 'Password' field
    • Click on the down arrow for 'Alias', select your Alias once it shows.
    • Enter the bitrate you selected in 'Bitrate'
    • If you don't want your server listed publicly, check 'Private statistic relay'
  • Click OK

Statistic Relay should now say 'Active (OK)'

General SAM Usage

Here is a quick overview on how to add files to SAM, load them into the queue, and then play them.

Adding files to SAM Media Library

Go to the playlist window located on 'Desktop A' at the far left half way down and select the category into which you want to add files in. Categories are used to split files into manageable groups or lists.

For this example, we will create a completely new category.

  • Right-click on the root Playlist category
  • Select New.
  • Type in the name of the new category, we'll call it 'QuickTracks'
  • Press [Enter] to save the changes

Now right-click on the QuickTracks category and from the popup menu:

  • Select 'Add'
  • Click 'Add Directory'

The Choose directory dialog will display. Browse to the directory containing the music you want added to the category.

  • Click 'OK'

A status window will display the progress of the files being added to the media library. Once completed, you should be able to see the list of tracks added to the category in the Tracks in selected category window.

Adding files to the Queue

The next step is to load the files you want to play into the queue. The queue contains a list of files that will be played in order from top to bottom.

Inside the QuickTracks playlist window, double-click on a song and it will be added to the Queue. Repeat this process until you have a few songs in the Queue.

Playing Music

SAM Broadcaster's Virtual DJ
SAM Broadcaster's Virtual DJ

First, make sure you’re set to “Auto DJ” mode (this is the default setting). You can select the DJ mode by selecting the drop down arrow just left of the “Desktop A” button in the toolbar. Auto DJ will automatically load the next song from the queue when required and crossfade to the next track.

Note: Make sure both Deck A and Deck B are visible. You may reset the layout of the screen by selecting 'layout' from the menu bar, your resolution (i.e.; 800x600 or 1024x768) and choose 'Default'.

Click on the Play button in the toolbar just below file in the menu bar to start audio playback in the next available deck.

Note: The Virtual DJ cues up the next track as soon as the currently playing track reaches the end and then starts playback of the newly queued track (while crossfading).

General Tips, Tricks & Features

  • You can quickly locate a song by clicking inside either the Queue or Playlist window and typing the name of the song you wish to find. This will instantly bring up a search window with matching results. Just double-click on the song to add it to the queue. Alternatively, you can click on the spyglass in that window to bring up a search window.
  • Drag & Drop! In SAM you can drag track(s) from anywhere to almost anywhere. For example, you can drag a track from the search window onto the playlist, queue, or even directly onto the player decks. You can also drag from the search onto a category inside the Playlist window. You can even drag & drop directly from Windows File Explorer!
  • Learn the Shortcut keys - Like zippers, they make life so much easier... If a song is playing in a Deck, hold down the [Shift] key while left-clicking on the Play, Pause, Stop or Next button. This will do a nice fade of the music to the specified state.

Congratulations! You are officially part of the Internet broadcasting community!

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