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(PC Users) Intro to Playing Music in SL / Streaming**************************************************************
NOTE: I found this notecard in my inventory, and found it to be pretty detailed description, that would be helpful to beginners. It was written by Jacatt Nico (excellent SL musician), and I did not get his permission to place it here..... but i figured if it was being passed around in SL, why not add it where more people can find it. If anyone has any problems with this, please let myself or one of the moderators know.
Streaming Live Music in Secondlife
A primer by Jaycatt Nico
Version 1.0 - 10/18/06
Hello there! I've been playing live music in Secondlife (SL) for almost two years now, and the question I get asked most is "Hey, I'm a musician in real life (RL) too! How can I get started playing music here in SL?" I decided to make this Notecard to explain some of the process and steps involved. Now, this Notecard only deals with PCs (not Macs) because that's where my experience is. Hopefully someone will develop a Macintosh primer soon.
How does music get into SL anyway?
Whether it's a radio station, a DJ playing music, or a live musician, music ends up in SL the same way. Each plot of land in SL has a "Media URL" (a web address, such as "http://184.108.40.206:8000") associated with it (actually two; one for audio and one for video, but we'll focus just on the "audio" one here). The owner of the plot, or qualified members of the Group that owns the land have the ability to change this URL. Sometimes, an object can also be used to change this URL if the owner or member has set one up. The URL connects to what is typically called a SHOUTcast (or ICEcast) stream. You may have run into SHOUTcast streams before outside of SL, where they are sometimes referred to as "internet radio stations".
Do I need any hardware to do it?
Well, at a minimum, you simply need to have a way of recording sound. Keep in mind that the quality does depend on what equipment you have. It's possible to buy a $10 microphone, set it up to record whatever happens in the room, and start playing away, but the quality can be pretty poor. Ideally, you will want to provide inputs for each instrument and microphone you will be using. If you're just singing a capella, you might be fine with a single microphone. But, add in a guitar, or piano, or whatever, and you'll want a way to combine the sounds. The best way to do this is with a mixer, which you might have already. The mixers puts all the different sound sources together and sends a single signal to the PC. There are all kinds of mixers, if you don't have one, ranging anywhere from $50 to $500 or more. The mixer I use, a Phonic Helix Board 12 USB Mixer (http://tinyurl.com/y6aalg) actually connects to the PC with a USB cable, providing a digital signal, instead of plugging directly into the PC's microphone jack. However, it runs about $200.
Okay, I've got the equipment I need to get the audio into the computer. What software do I need to collect it?
I recommend using plug-ins for Winamp, because Winamp is free. Winamp can be downloaded at http://www.winamp.com. There are two different plug-ins for Winamp that can be used to listen to the audio and send it to a URL: the "SHOUTcast DSP Plug-In" and the "Oddcast Plug-in". You can get by with the DSP Plug-in for most cases, but if a venue is looking for an ICEcast stream, and not a SHOUTcast one, you would be better off with Oddcast. Oddcast will do both, but it takes a little more set-up time. You can even have both installed, if you want, and switch between them.
No one's told me I need to use ICEcast, I think I'll use the "SHOUTcast DSP Plug-in".
It's a good place to start! After Winamp is all installed, you can download the Plug-in here: http://tinyurl.com/9me9w. Contact me if the link does not work and I can help find it. Install the plug-in, and select the "Nullsoft SHOUTcast Source DSP" choice under Preferences-->Plug-ins. I'll explain what to do with the settings later. You'll eventually need to work with the "Output", "Encoder", and "Input" tabs.
I think I'll install the Oddcast one instead, how do I do that?
Setting up the Oddcast Plug-in so that you can use an MP3 stream is a bit trickier (the SHOUTcast DSP Plug-in does it by default) but if you ever have the need to send an ICEcast stream, then you'll want to be using Oddcast. The latest version can be downloaded here: http://tinyurl.com/y88g7o. Contact me if the link does not work and I can help find it. Next, visit this link: http://tinyurl.com/yxd2ks. Save the "lame_enc.dll" file to your C:\Program Files\Winamp directory. Now, open up Winamp, and select the "oddcast DSP v3" choice under Preferences-->Plug-ins. I'll explain what to do with the settings later.
Great, I've got it all installed... Now, how do I get the audio I'm collecting out to a URL then?
First, a bit of background. When people visit a plot of land in SL that has a "media URL" set on it, their computer connects to the URL (the "server") you are using and starts requesting data from it. Your own PC can be the "server", but you have to have a pretty fast internet connection to keep up with the demand. Most cable and DSL lines won't cut it. Some college and business internet connections might. Keep in mind you may have upwards of 30-60 people attempting to listen in, and that's a lot of data to "upload" to people. The other alternative is to "rent" bandwidth on a remote PC, and people will connect to that. He's not paying me anything to say this (honest!), but since you are using Secondlife, the cheapest, most robust rental I've found is managed by "Jamie Otis" (Search for him in-world and I believe there is a kiosk for renting on his "Picks"). At the time of this primer, he charges $4000L a month (approximately $14 US). You can also go out with Google and search for "shoutcast hosting", but most of those services are expensive (somewhere between $20-$80 a month).
I'm feeling lucky and techy (or are very short on funds) and want to use my own PC as the "server"!
This can be pretty tricky to set up, but I'll describe what needs to be done here, without getting too specific (since hardware and internet connections vary). Odds are you have a "router" that your internet connection plugs into, and your computer is connected to the router. Most routers have a firewall in place, and you will need to configure your router to allow traffic attempting to connect to a certain "port" (ie: http://220.127.116.11:8000, where "8000" is the port) to be directed to your PC which is running the server software. Depending on which router you have, this can be easy or difficult (or sometimes, not even necessary!) You will also need to know the IP of your internet connection (which can be found here: http://www.whatsmyip.org/ and will show up at the top of the screen). The server software can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/ygwre6. Contact me if the link does not work and I can help find it. Once the server is set up, there's a little configuration involved but it's not too tricky. There's a text file you can edit, picking which port and password. Contact me if you get this far (if I haven't already confused you) and I might be able to help walk you through the rest of it...
Okay, I think I'm ready... I know the IP address, the port, and the password and now want to start sending audio to it!
Great! All you need to do is configure the plug-in you are using.
I'm using the "SHOUTcast DSP Plug-in", how do I set it up?
First, let's look at the "Output" tab. Choose "Output 1" and make sure the "Connection" (not "Connect"!) button is selected. In the "Address" box, put the IP address or URL you got from your shoutcast server provider (either Jamie Otis's or other). If you are using your PC as the server, leave it as "localhost". Same with "Port" and "Password"; use the ones provided by your provider or what you picked if you are running your own server. On the "Encoder" tab, choose "MP3 Encoder" and for the "Encoder settings" use "96kbps, 44.100kHz, Stereo". If people complain of the audio cutting out or skipping, you can choose the setting for "64kbps" instead. On the "Input" tab, change the "Input Device" to the input your audio will be coming from (could be "USB Audio" for instance, or "Soundcard input".). Check the levels here as well, to make sure you're getting a strong signal. Don't forget the "Push to Talk" and "Lock" buttons, in case they are needed to get the signal to show up! Now, go back to the "Output" tab, and click "Connect". Hopefully, everything will connect, and on the "Main" tab, you should see the Status say something like "Encoding", etc. And you're set!
I'm using the Oddcast Plug-in, how do I set that one up?
Click the "Add Encoder" button, and right click on the encoder it created and select "Configure". On the "Basic Settings" part, change the "Encoder Type" to "MP3 Lame", and change the Bitrate to "96". If, when you're streaming later, people complain of the audio cutting out or skipping, you can change it to "64" instead. Next, pick a "Server Type". Normally you will want "Shoutcast", but "Icecast" is also available. In the "Server IP" box, put the IP address or URL you got from your shoutcast server provider (either Jamie Otis's or other). If you are using your PC as the server, leave it as "localhost". Same with "Server Port" and "Encoder Password"; use the ones provided by your provider or what you picked if you are running your own server. If you are using an Icecast server type, you will also need to fill in the "Mountpoint" box with the correct info. Click "OK" to close the Configuration window. Back at the main "Oddcast" screen, click the red X covering the picture of the microphone, and pick where the audio is coming from (could be "USB Audio" for instance, or something else that describes your soundcard.) Also, pick the input next to that, such as "Microphone" or "Line In". You should see levels in the "Peak Meter" area moving as the audio is broadcast. If it says "Off" next to "Peak Meter", click the area to the left of the words "Peak Meter" and they should show up. If all looks good, right-click on the new "Encoder" listing you created and choose "Connect". Hopefully the "Transfer Rate" area will change from Disconnected to Encoding, and you're all set!
--Jaycatt Nico =^.^=
Shortened Set up Version************************************************************
NOTE: This is another notecard that I found by Satyrah Singh. It is a bit shorter than the previous one, but is still a good primer for beginners. Once again, i did not obtain permission before posting it.
WHAT DO YOU NEED to stream livemusic to SL?
Well, there are different programs that can be used, but I will here describe it my way.
You need Winamp, a Shoutcast-plugin and access to a stream.
(Most venueowners in SL have a stream that you can use doing shows at their place, so itīs not necessary to get your own stream, if you donīt want to.)
Ok, so letīs get started:
1) Download Winamp and a plugin to that, named SHOUTcast Source v 1.9.0
Youīll find all this here and itīs for free too:
2) Install Winamp and then the Plugin to your computer.
3) To get Winamp to find and use the plugin - go to Winamp-meny:
Options > Preferences > DSE/Effects
You should now at the right side see the pluginname. Dubbleclick it to activate it.
You now get up a new window - the SHOUTcast Source.
4) Setup in the SHOUTcast goes like this:
Do nothing here.
(you can later on choose 2, 3 etc if you have more than one stream to use.)
- here you have to write in the infos to the stream you are using.
If you donīt have a stream by yourself you will get the infos from the bar/venue-owner youīr doing shows for.
The infos you need is the stream - Adress, Port and Password.
Let the Encorder be 1
Mark the box with "Automatic reconnection" and choose 30 seconds.
128kbps, 44.100kHz, Stereo
Depence on how youīr gonna take in your music - I use an regular mic - just standing in the middle of my room, and sing/play just right on in to it, so - I have marked "Microphone" here.
Now you should be ready to stream -
Go back to the OUTPUT - and there youīll find the "CONNECT"-botton. Voijla!
And out it goes, to the SL-stage you use the stream to.
You should try to do some soundchecking before doing your first show in SL. I find it very hard to try to get a picture of the sound just try to follow the levelpanels in Shoutcast. Ask someone to listen to you in SL and help you with getting the sound and the levels ok.
Other things to think about, doing shows in SL.
The sound will be delayd about 10 seconds from when you play from your home, til it goes out at the SL-stage. So donīt expect directreactions from the audience.
And if you ask them things, donīt wait for the answers - itīs not fun with 10 s silent breaks, hehe - just go on playing and look for the answers after the next song. hihi
Good Luck!/Satyra Singh.