[Icecast] Darkice vs BUTT and Icecast

Robert Jeffares jeffares.robert at gmail.com
Thu Apr 20 23:30:07 UTC 2017

I have spent part of today at a site which uses all of the above programs.
A change of mains power service should be more reliable.
Recent conversations here prompted this review.

We have 2 machines running Darkice & Icecast2 each connected to a fibre 
Darkice is set to provide a high grade aac+ stream for 3 broadcast 
sites, a rebroadcast / logger [256b] mp3 local recording, and a skinny 
[56b] mp3 'website' stream. You can shape the mp3 audio with lowpass an 
highpass options.
We have experimented with various formats and have gone with what the 
majority of players will handle.
Everything runs at 48000 which is the native sampling rate of the on 
board sound cards. One less resampling process saves time and processor 
That's 2 Fibre cables in to the site, and 2 ISP's.
One or other can fail, and they do, There was once a short period when 
both were out.
We feed 3 broadcast sites and one IP relay site, which runs Icecast2. 
The relay site is a paid service provider and allows 200 connections.
The relay site 'pulls' the audio from the fixed IP at the studio. It is 
configured and maintained by the service provider.
This in turn feeds several relay services, some of them 'free', and a 
website player. I have no idea what the external links use, but 
everything works.
There are more links than we know about as some just seem to add us to a 
list. We have a 'popular' programme! I note some of the relay sites 
resample our audio.
The original installation was ADSL and the uplink could not manage 4 
clients because ADSL uplinks are really low grade.
In fact we think the ISP's were controlling the bandwidth more than they 
would admit.
We used one upload to an IP relay site. Now we have fibre the relay 
transmitters connect direct.

Each darkice machine has a logger which is a script running as an hourly 
cron job. We use a high sample rate because a number of the live 
programmes get rebroadcast. The playout machine is limited to wav and mp3.

We use BUTT in a laptop connected to a mobile phone as a hotspot for 
OB's [Remotes] and the G3 uplink is generally good. We are fortunate 
that the cellular coverage here is mostly very good and very few users 
occupy the uplink. We have used local ADSL and Fibre. If we have an 
event where there will be a huge number of people live streaming from 
their smartphones, which tends to overload the network we make sure we 
have a non cellular circuit.

BUTT feeds one of the studio Icecast2 servers and comes up in the studio 
on a second computer running Chrome. Audio plays direct into the desk 
from the #2 computer soundcard.

BUTT is simple, works in windows, and its easy to adjust the bit rate to 
suit the link.  It works better with a bit of headroom. Keep the levels 
down! Avoid processing. Sample as high as possible.

The big advantage of this setup is the cost. The darkice/icecast2 
machines are old ex lease junk computers we get for next to nothing. 
Once configured they run with no screen keyboard or mouse. The HP ones 
have better power supplies. OS and software is free. They reboot and run

BUTT runs on Windows which the frontline are comfortable with. Everyone 
has a laptop.

It does not matter what IP BUTT has, it sends to the fixed IP at the 
studio on port [ 8000 ] with a mount like /liveBroadcast.mp3

We get around crossovers by arranging presentation to accomodate the 
audio delay.

Darkice handles multiple encoding with ease.
Icecast2 does the transportation
BUTT is the simple remote origination solution.


*Raupo Radio*
64 Warner Park Avenue


Auckland 0604

09 8176358


06 650 6087
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