Occasionally as part of the many things we undertake in the Rezzable London office, we broadcast conversations and tutorials over an online stream. Setting this up isn't quite as straightforward as it'd seem, as the conversations taking place are on Skype and there is no direct way to stream the audio to a Shoutcast server.
The workaround I came up with was to use the Stereo Mix function which is common in many PC soundcards, which allows recording of any sounds being played. (Note: Some computer soundcards do not allow Stereo Mix, whereas others just have it disabled).
This guide is for Windows Vista/7 computers, and you will need the following software installed on your computer:
You will also need two audio devices (for example, headphones), to plug into the Headphone and Microphone jacks on your computer. Note that this tutorial will not work with USB devices. Make sure both the input and output jacks have devices plugged into them, and there are no USB audio devices plugged in.
- The first step is to open the Shoutcast plugin through WinAmp. Open WinAmp, and then select Options > Preferences. In the Preferences window, scroll down to Plug-ins > DSP/Effect and if the Shoutcast Plugin was installed correctly, you should see “Nullsoft SHOUTcast Source DSP” listed. Double click this to open it.
- In the new window that opens, select Output, to enter in the details of your Shoutcast stream. If your stream is Version 1 (i.e. doesn't have a username or stream ID) then be sure to tick the box for this.
- Select the Encoder tab, and then select your Encoder Type and the quality of the audio you desire. (I like to set MP3 Encoder and 96kbps, 44.100kHz, Stereo for this).
- You can test your stream details are correct by clicking the “Connect” button. It should begin sending data, and display the number of bytes being uploaded.
- Once the Shoutcast stream is configured, you can begin setting up the Soundcard Mixer. To do this, you need to access your Sound settings. Go to Start > Control Panel > Sound.
- Select the Recording tab, and then right click the Stereo Mix, and set it as both the Default Device and Default Communication Device. Then click OK.
- (If you don't see the Stereo Mix option, right click the window and select “Show Disabled Devices” and “Show Disconnected Devices”. Right click Stereo Mix and select Enable, and then follow the above instruction. If Stereo Mix is not listed, your soundcard does not have this capability).
- On the WinAmp Shoutcast plugin window, select the Input tab. Under Input Device, select “Soundcard Input”.
- This will activate extra settings where you can select your Capture Device – set this to the microphone port that your audio device is plugged into.
- Click the Lock button at the bottom of the window. From now, any sounds played on your computer should be picked up by the plugin, which will be shown in the Input Levels (by movement of the green bars). Remember that if you can't hear sound through the output device plugged into your computer, you soundcard won't upload anything to the Shoutcast server.
As an optional step, you can also configure Skype to answer all calls automatically, which means your computer can act as a voice conference server which people can connect to without someone needing to answer calls.
To do this, open Skype and select Tools > Options. In the Calls section, select Call Settings and then the Show advanced options button. Check the “Answer incoming calls automatically” box and then Save your settings.
This should now allow you to host voice conversations and stream them online. Make sure you turn off sound from other applications, as any sounds which are played on your computer will be broadcast onto the stream!