Archive for the ‘ds106radio’ Category


Bootlegs Volume 1: the Soundlab Sessions

Friday, July 27th, 2012
Admittedly, this is the Casa (not Soundlab), but that is the 12 string Grant was playing in the Soundlab recordings).

Originally dropped in Alan Levine’s Storybox, which I think was supposed to remain a one-stop shop for media content, Grant Potter and I recorded a bunch of songs sitting around the Soundlab kitchen table back in September of 2011 that I’ve played on #ds106radio a time or two, but thought I would share here. I’ve spent the last week assembling different pieces of music, writing and presentations to be collected and shared on a separate page of this site with the hopes that assembling these works in such a way will lead me to the ‘next’ place in each of these extra-curricular directions.

As a kick off, and look back, at some of the music I feel fortunate to have made in the last year, here are a few choice cuts from the Soundlab Sessions, with Grant Potter.

Weighty Ghost (Wintersleep cover)

Dreams (Fleetwood Mac cover)

Hungry Heart (Bruce Springsteen cover)

I like Trains (Fred Eaglesmith cover)

Me and My Bike (Sweet Cascadia cover)

Fashionable People (Joel Plaskett Emergency cover)

DS106 Radio

Friday, July 6th, 2012

I had a great time putting together my little group’s ds106radio show last weekend.  Cris and Kavon, my bunkmates from the Naked Lunch Bunch, each submitted a summer-themed piece to me (and did it on time!) which were completely different from each other as well as from mine.  They all fit together nicely, I think!  Here’s how I put it all together.

I used GarageBand on my MacBook to put all of our stuff together, as well as to add background music and voiceovers.  I’ve used Audacity before, but I teach Garageband to the group of teachers I train on technology throughout the year, and am really comfortable with it.  That being said, I don’t really use it that often, and it was nice to have a real purpose for it, not just to use it while training!

I created a new podcast, and set up three tracks.  One for the finished segments (mine and one other was .mp3, a third was .wav, GB handled them all fine). The second was for background music, and the third was for my “hosting” voiceover.  I had fun finding the background music, starting by searching for “Summer” in my iTunes library which yielded the Elvis Costello and Jonathan Colton songs.  I wanted something more campy (as in having to do with summer camp) for my piece, so I found the theme to Meatballs with the nice little bit from Bill Murray in it on YouTube and used Audio Hijack to snatch the audio part from it.  I supposed I could have downloaded the YouTube video and saved out the audio from Quicktime, but cueing up to the bit I wanted and just capturing it with Audio Hijack seemed to save a couple of steps.

I had the hardest time setting the levels to match up our tracks with each other and the voiceover and music.  I listened, tweaked, listened, tweaked… in the end it is OK, but not perfect.  Even with video, the audio part is the most challenging unless you have really goed equipment.  Even a little usb microphone, like my Blue Snowflake, makes a big difference in my own recording.  Still, whenever I get things from different sources I seem to have trouble.

The final bit I did was to go on DS106radio live to introduce and then discuss the project with Martha.  She was a wonderful host, and helped me feel not-so-stupid when my lack of headphones and incorrect audio setup on my computer resulted in feedback issues over Skype.  Martha made me feel comfortable and lead a fun conversation (at least for me, not sure how we sounded to everyone else!).  Thanks Martha!

So I’ve added DS106radio to my little media center in the kitchen where I generally listen to podcasts or radio while cooking and cleaning.  I’m enjoying it thouroghly and have even started thinking of a few ideas for some music shows to produce and upload.  Stay tuned!

My Newest Rube Goldberg ds106 Broadcast Machine: Ladiocast + Nicecast

Friday, July 6th, 2012

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by sebastien.barre

For this week’s live broadcast of the ds106 group radio shows I came up with an entirely new contraption for managing different sources, in contrat to my previous methods of using Nicecast.

I still prefer using Nicecast, and do so for voice broadcasts or voice mixed with music (DJing)- but in the past I have ran into problems doing it with something like Skype as one of the sources, though I have mixed it in with the application mixer, the missing piece is for someone on Skype to be able to hear back what is on the stream.

The new thing in the mix is the free Icecast broadcastng software, Ladiocast. I cobbled together the approach below with a combination of Tim Owen’s Ladiocast tutorial (critical for setting up Ladiocast) and Scott Lockman’s setup for doing his Second Life to Google Hangout broadcasts.

This post is a long scroller! Go long!

So I got all of that working, without actually too much sweat; the missing piece of the equation in Ladiocast is the lack of archiving, and here is my foreheadslap idea- I used Ladiocast merely as my audio mixer, and sent out the audio from there as input to Nicecast, which becomes the broadcaster and automatic archiver.

I had made the mistake of downloading Ladiocast from the Apple App Store, and tried a few broadcasts- it felt like I was broadcasting, but the ds106 autodj never registered in and also, people were saying it was dead air. I then realized my Ladiocast did not have the mp3 encoder as an option.

So I went back to Tim’s tutorial and repeated his critical steps.

  • Install the 0.10.4 version of Ladiocast, not the latest pne (a copy can be downloaded from Tim’s server)
  • Install Soundflower What is this? Its a tool that creates virtual audio channels on your mac – it means you can take the output of one application, send it to Soundflower, and then use that same source as input elsewhere. Its like a mixer of audio sources on your computer.
  • Download the copy of the MP3 encoder library used for Audacity (or alternatively make a copy of the one you have). This is what makes mp3 encoding available in Ladiocast.

This file libmp3lame.dylib needs to be installed on your computer in the directory /usr/local/lib (Audacity puts a version in /usr/local/lib/audacity. You can get to this dorectory from the Apple Finder via selecting Folder from the Go menu. If you have not installed the encoder for audacity, drag the new file to this directory:

I simply did an option drag to copy it from the /usr/local/lib/audacity folder to this other location:

Now we will set up our sound channels. First, we want to set the default output for System audio to Soundflower (16ch) (the 16 means it can accept 8 stereo audio sources in a mix:

What this means is that most applications will now send sound to this source (meaning you will not hear it from your speakers or your headphones).

I said most- Skype can be finicky, and you will manually have to change the output to strong>Soundflower (16ch) from Preferences -> Audio/video:

Note that I have also slid the volume to its maximum setting (just in case you call soneone with low volumes- we want max throughput from Skype and we will adjust the output volume elsewhere).

We will make one more setting change here later. Now, let’s set up Ladiocast. This software provides three different sources for input, and three for output (though we only need 2 and 2). Each also has a levels control so we can turn any source down or fine tune for levels. Generally you want volumes just below the part where the meters peak in red.

Inout 1 is out Soundflower (16ch) meaning a mix of all audio sources on our computer (which will also include system alerts, so mind your IM notifications). Input 2 is whatever you use for a microphone, in this case it is the external mic of my iPhone headset (You will use a headset, you will use a headset, you will not use the open mic of your laptop, right?).

So all the input sound to Ladiocast is from our computer and our microphone. Each of these sources is mapped (see arrows above) to our two output sources (Main and Aux Output 1).

Here is where it gets trippy- we are outputting sounce to our other Soundflower source, Soundflower (2ch)- this is completely separate from Soundflower (16ch). We can then use this mix of the microphone and computer audio as source for our broadcast. The mix is defined by the combination of all volumes (volume controls in apps like iTunes, Skype) and the Ladiocast input levels. Our second output, Aux Output 1, goes to headphones so we can monitor all output- this I generally keep at a medium or low level as it is just a test to make sure audio is working – there is really no delay in your own audio mim (as you hear in Nicecast).

Now here is the one trick and something I do not think is possible in Nicecast– for the people calling in from Skype, we want them to be able to hear everything that is broadcast back out to ds106 radio (including my voice too). Are you ready for this trippy hippy step? Can you guess?

Go back to your Skype audio preferences, and change the input source to be… Soundflower (2ch):

Do you get it? Any sound we are broadcasting is going to Soundflower (2ch), including audio from iTunes, my mic- and that combination works as an input back to Skype.

By now we have everything to set up to play audio from any application on our computer, music in itunes, a Youtube video in Chroms, and people we call in Skype. Here’s a sketch I made of it.

(click for full size)

The next thing to do is set up Ladiocast to broadcast to ds106, using the settings found in the ds106radio document. In Ladiocast, under the Streamer menu, go to Streamer 1 then Icecast:

Here the settings for the Connection tab:

The stream name is what will be picked up by the @ds106radio twitterbot, include your own twitter handle so people can tweet back.

Confirm the settings under the Encoding tab (my first efforts were wrong because I did not have an mp3 option, that was why we did all that stuff to move that libmp3lame.dylib file around):

That’s it, everything is set, all you need to do is click “Connect”…

Well I went one step farther… because I want to save an archive. That’s where I got the idea to skip the broadcast option in Ladiocast, and use Nicecast. All I needed to do is set the source in Nicecast to … (any guesses) (that’s right– Soundflower (2ch)):

You should update the Info tab as well to reflect the stream info, and of course set up Nicecast with all the broadcast options on ds106. If you open the Archive window in Nicecast and click the Archive button, it will automagically archive any broadcast session, storing files in your ~/Music/Nicecast Archive folder.

Now just turn that broadcast on!

Depending on how you are playing audio, you are still needing to dance around windows- iTunes to manage audio/playlists maybe to drop levels, Skype to initiate calls. I kept the Ladiocast main window available so I could tweak levels if a source was exceptionally low or high. Skype can be notorius for some people having low input volumes- here is another little trick I found in Ladiocast– if you click the uparrow on the little nub that reads “6db” you can double, triple the audio amplitude (to 12 or 18db or more):

This allowed me to compensate for Skype talkers with low inout volume, or audio segments recorded at low levels. I have to say, the most challenging part of these audio projects is getting people to understand the importance of proper recording levels, and making it even between different segments. It not only makes for better audio, it enables your broadcaster not to spend so much time and attention fiddling knobs and buttons.

This set up worked perfectly this week- I had all of the audio in an iTunes playlist (but I picked and chose the audio to play, both music segments and the student audio project files), I played a few YouTube movies for their audio track, and had two Skype call-ins, where the speakers got to here the entire segment played back through Skype. The proof is in the archive:

Tuesday Night ds106 Camp Magic Macguffin Radio Shows

Again, I will likely use Nicecast alone if I am DJing my own music, but if I need to do Skype call-ins or mix multiple sources, this is my new route. Just do not forget to reset the audio in Skype and system audio when you are done!

I am sure this is not the last time I will make a ds106 broadcasting tutorial.

Early Demos from My New Fake Band

Monday, June 25th, 2012

In a few different broadcasts over the past year, I’ve messed around with some of the various filters and effects available with the free version of Nicecast and found its dials and visual interface both a lot of fun and helpful in the makeshift studios I’ve set up in my classrooms and house.

With a new one-man-band on the horizon, an extension of a #ds106 Visual Assignment, I turned to Nicecast and recorded a live session that yielded the following tracks. Ladies and gentlemen of Camp Magic Macguffin, I give you Dactyloceras lucina!

Not generally in my “wheelhouse of sound,” I was going after a certain, heavy, atmospheric texture that seemed appropriate for my randomly generated band name and album cover. “Goth soul,” Alan Levine calls it, which GNA Garcia clarifies as “rhythmic Emo-noise,” which is what I think I managed to create.

Dactyloceras lucina – Untitled Jam 1 by Bryanjack
The stupidity that keeps us from knowing any better by Bryanjack

Android to #ds106radio

Monday, April 30th, 2012

android phones

Have an Android powered phone?  Been looking for a way to broadcast live audio to #ds106radio?

Pocket Transmitter allows you broadcast to #ds106radio in same manner as things are done with Papaya Broadcaster.

There is one small snag … this application requires users to connect to IceCast using Shoutcast-compatibility mode.  Once of the key elements of #ds106radio is the ability to ‘kick’ the /AutoDJ rotations out when someone connects /LIVE.  Shoutcast-compatibility mode users connect via listener sockets – which works fine, but listener socket connections do not support fallback points.  The fallback points are the little magic IceCast2 functionality that allows /LIVE cut-ins to scheduled playlists.

But … by setting up a second server for Android connections using listener sockets, #ds106radio can be configured to effectively listen for any/all activity on any mountpoint and relay broadcasts to /LIVE #ds106radio.  At this point there is about a 40second delay between the relay IceCast server and the main #ds106radio server when someone connects – I’m working on reducing this delay.  Happy to report the sound quality is excellent.  May a thousand Androids bloom.

@draggin has been in the contact with the developer of this application who has indicated that he is considering direct support for IceCast2 – this would eliminate the need for a relay – allowing users to connect directly to #ds106radio from their Android devices … stay tuned … looks like a promising $4.99 option.

Here are your settings for Pocket Transmitter:

Port: 8000
Password: ds106

You can watch for your connection at:

30-40 seconds from connection you will see your /LIVE Android broadcast at #ds106radio at: