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Setting Things Up

Let's start off by installing and setting up the software.


If you haven't already, you need to install NullSoft's Winamp player on the workstation that you want to act as a server. At the time of this writing, Winamp Player is in version 5.08. Note that many people have had issues running Winamp Version 5 with the broadcasting tools of SHOUTcast. I didn't run into any of these problems, though.

According to the SHOUTcast website, only version 2.x of Winamp is supported with the tools. If you are feeling conservative, you should run a 2.x version of Winamp. Unfortunately, Winamp.com makes it practically impossible to find older incarnations of Winamp on its website. I stumbled upon this website that keeps archives of the old versions of Winamp: http://www.oldversion.com/program.php?n=winamp.

SHOUTcast Broadcasting Tools (the Winamp SHOUTcast DSP Plug-In)

After installing Winamp, you need to install the plug-in that will broadcast to your SHOUTcast server software. To do this, go to the SHOUTcast download site at http://www.shoutcast.com/download/ and click on the Be a D.J. link (see Figure 2).

Figure 2

Figure 2 Clicking on the Be a D.J. link to get the necessary broadcasting tools.

From there, you are directed to the site SHOUTcast download site, where you need to follow the links to download the latest version of the SHOUTcast Broadcasting Tools for Winamp 2.x. Proceed to the download of the SHOUTcast DSP Plug-In for Winamp 2.x. The plug-in is in version 1.8.2b as of this writing. Go ahead and install the plug-in using the installer. Select Default as the type of install. The installer asks where Winamp is located on your machine (C:\Program Files\Winamp, by default). After the plug-in installs, close Winamp.


Now you'll install the software necessary to make your workstation a SHOUTcast broadcasting server. Go to the SHOUTcast download site again, at http://www.shoutcast.com/download/, and click on the Be a Server link (see Figure 3).

Figure 3

Figure 3 Clicking on the Be a Server link to get the necessary broadcasting tools.

From there, you're directed to the page to download the latest version of the SHOUTcast server. Click on the Proceed to License Agreement to Download SHOUTcast DNAS link. Follow the links to grab the SHOUTcast WIN32 Console/GUI server. At the time of this writing, the server is in version 1.9.5. Installing this component is pretty straightforward. When asked what components you want to install, use the default selections, shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4

Figure 4 Selecting the default components for installing SHOUTcast DNAS.

When you have SHOUTcast DNAS installed, you need to do some configuration. Go to Start, All Programs, SHOUTcast DNAS, Edit SHOUTcast DNAS Configuration. This brings up the SHOUTcast DNAS configuration text file. You can change a number of things to customize your SHOUTcast DNAS server. For now, just stick to the basics. For a more advanced configuration, you can read through the README.TXT file that was installed with the SHOUTcast DNAS server install.

Under the Required Stuff section, you need to modify the MaxUser value. By default, this is MaxUser=32. You need to modify this value to the number of simultaneous users you want to enable to listen to your audio stream. By default, this value is 32.

The value should be modified based on your available upload speed. For example, if you have 384kbps upload from your DSL service and you want to broadcast to your listeners at 24kbps, your math would tell you that can you can support a maximum of 384kbps/24kbps = 15.95833333 users. For myself, I set my MaxUser value to 15 (see Figure 5).

Figure 5

Figure 5 Setting the MaxUser option in the SHOUTcast DNAS configuration file.

Next, you need to set the password for your SHOUTcast DNAS server. By default, this value is changme. In Figure 6, you can see that I have changed the password to letmein.

Figure 6

Figure 6 Setting the password for your SHOUTcast DNAS server.

Finally, you need to change the port by which users will connect to your SHOUTcast server. This value is set with the PortBase parameter. By default, this port is 8000; keep that port number (see Figure 7).

Figure 7

Figure 7 Setting the PortBase value for your SHOUTcast DNAS server.

If you want the outside world to be able to listen to your audio broadcasts, you'll have to open the appropriate ports on your workstation's firewall. Also, if you are using a network router to share your Net connection at home, you need to forward to the IP address of your workstation whatever port you set the PortBase value to. This process varies from router to router; Figure 8 shows my router's port forwarding.

Figure 8

Figure 8 Configuring your router to point to your SHOUTcast server.

Now you are ready to broadcast. Simply go to Start, Programs, SHOUTcast DNAS and choose the SHOUTcast DNAS (GUI) program (see Figure 9).

Figure 9

Figure 9 Starting the SHOUTcast DNAS (GUI).

When you do this, you should see the Nullsoft SHOUTcast Server Monitor window. If you get a fatal error in the log that is shown, some other service likely is listening at the port you set earlier for the PortBase parameter. Try changing the PortBase value to another port number, and start up again. If everything starts up correctly, you should see a clean log like the one in Figure 10.

Figure 10

Figure 10 The SHOUTcast Server Monitor.

Now you are ready to start Winamp. After doing so, select Options from the menu and choose Preferences (alternatively, you can just use the shortcut Ctrl+P). From the subsequent Winamp Preferences window, choose DSP/Effect under the Plug-Ins section of the left pane. In the right pane, select the Nullsoft SHOUTcast Source DSP Plug-In, as shown in Figure 11.

Figure 11

Figure 11 Activating the NullSoft SHOUTcast Source DSP plug-in.

When you do this, the SHOUTcast Source window pops up. Now you need to configure the DSP plug-in to connect to the SHOUTcast server. Set the Password value to the password you set earlier (as you recall, I set a value of letmein). Also, if you did not use the default port of 8000, you need to modify that value to correspond to the value you set for the PortBase value earlier (see Figure 12).

Figure 12

Figure 12 Modifying the output configuration of the DSP plug-in.

Next, click the Yellowpages button. Here you can specify a description for your broadcasting server for the rest of the world. You can also opt to make the server public to list the server in SHOUTcast's directory.

In addition, here you can specify a genre for the music you will be broadcasting. This helps people on SHOUTcast.com discover your broadcast server. In this window, you can also specify AIM, ICQ, and IRC nicknames for the rest of the world to contact you with. For now, opt not to make the server public by keeping the option Make This Server Public deselected.

Figure 13

Figure 13 Modifying the Yellow Pages configuration.

Next, click on the Encoder tab. Here you can set the type of Encoding you want to perform. You can play around with this setting later. By default, the Encoder encodes at 24kbps, 22.050kHz, Mono. Keep this value. As you recall, the original MaxUser value you set was based on a 24kpbs assumption. In short, the greater the sound quality is of the sound you stream, the more upload bandwidth is required and the more your system's resources will be taxed.

Figure 14

Figure 14 Selecting Encoder settings.

You are now ready to stream. Flip back to the Output tab and click the Connect button. When you do this, you should see the Status update. You should also see the message "Sent 0 bytes" (see Figure 15).

Figure 15

Figure 15 Clicking Connect and monitoring the status.

Now load up an MP3 file and play it. You should see the number of bytes sent in the status area grow, as shown in Figure 16.

Figure 16

Figure 16 Confirming that bytes are being sent.

You can also flip to the Main tab and see a more graphical depiction of your output being sent (see Figure 17).

Figure 17

Figure 17 The main SHOUTcast source window, showing levels and bytes being sent.

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