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Useful tools to use with PlayIt Live

In various discussions I've mentioned software I find useful with PlayIt Live. This is my list of some "useful tools".


Streaming Player


Firstly a streaming player application with metering.


There are probably others but I like Screamer


https://www.screamer-radio.com/download/


The previous version (0.44) is more useful in some respects as (with some fiddling) it will record streams.


MP3 Gain Normalization


Without getting into the reasons why, MP3s (however sourced) tend to have differences in both absolute and perceived level.


There are other solutions but I like MP3 Gain.


http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/


This can (roughly) fix apparent loudness differences between files. Use it on a copy of files just in case.


MP3 Tag Editing


My current favorite for this is 


https://sourceforge.net/projects/kid3/


MP3 "Top and Tailing"


While obviously if you have the original uncompressed audio, editing using Audacity (or similar) is best, if all you have is the MP3 and you need to trim silence or "tighten up" live recording files then an editor that works on MP3 files is good.


http://mpesch3.de1.cc/mp3dc.html


It can also join MP3 files together (although you need material at the same constant bit rate for that to work well).


Streaming Alternatives


The PlayIt Live Streaming plugin is good abut it is useful to have metering of the streamed level available, particularly if you run PlayIt Live on one screen full size but have a second screen available (for example if you have a laptop and a separate monitor as an extended desktop).


Broadcast Using This Tool (B.U.T.T.) is worth trying.


https://sourceforge.net/projects/butt/


For a very well featured (particularly in the paid version) streaming application, Rocket Broadcaster is also worth a look.


https://www.rocketbroadcaster.com/


I particularly like the way it tests the streaming settings and suggests what you might have got wrong !


Also, you can mix "internal" audio from a PC and an input (say from a mixer) so you could effectively "bypass" your mixer while in full automation by muting the "Microphone" and enabling "other applications" and then "go live" by muting "other applications" and enabling "Microphone"



Three tools that I use in addition to PlayIt Live.


Butt - Not to broadcast but to record my stream. 


VU Meter -  Because I like an analog of my levels. 

https://sourceforge.net/projects/vumeter/


Playlist Creator 3.6 - Create and save playlist to load into PlayIt Live

https://www.oddgravity.de/


The VU meter is very neat !


A couple of other potentially useful pieces of software.


1) Select Studio


At RadioTools ( http://www.radiotools.uk/ ) they offer "Select Studio" for Windows.


For some applications this might be useful although similar functionality is also provided by some streaming providers.


What it lets you do is switch between streams being played to a Windows audio output (the default output). The idea is that this audio output is then processed and is the "on air" stream for the station.


This can be useful if your station has multiple (remote) contributors. If each contributor has their own streaming server mount point (say an Icecast server studio with mountpoints /studio1 /studio2 etc.) then assuming the switcher can be accessed via the broadcasters (for example via a VPN into a computer or other remote connection) each broadcaster can select themselves to air at the appropriate time. 


The system allows for up to 9 stream addresses and a backup MP3 file.


Because the switching is audio (and ideally before any processing) then the audio never gets interrupted during the handover.


From experimentation it sounds a reasonably clean switch as well.

 

image


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The (arguably better) way of doing the same thing would be remote URLs being played with PlayIt Live however "Select Studio" allows the stream "now playing" metadata to be manipulated and preserved. 


It also has a few other useful metadata tricks available.


Some of the other software at Radio Tools may be of use but it is generally more specialist in application.


2) An onscreen PPM


I do like this !


image


Different parts of the world like different meters but Europe (and the U.K. in particular) uses the Peak Program Meter (PPM).


A wide selection of audio meters of various kinds can be found at:


https://www.darkwooddesigns.co.uk/pc2/meters.html


There are also other pieces of useful audio software but the meters are very handy.


 


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