Feed Provider Quality issues

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thelaw

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I have a Bearcat BC889T scanner that I was using the standard telescoping antenna with. I have been unhappy with the quality of the feed so I went out and purchased an external 20" antenna from Radio Shack and mounted it to an 8' pole attached to my roof line.

Listening to the scanner alone, the sound and reception is greatly improved. As soon as I connect it to the software (Oddcast) the quality is terrible again. There is static and reguarly makes a high pitched squealing sound. (Not fire tones) I am coming out of the scanner via the External Speaker connection into the MIC in on my PC. The software is setup for MIC and the volume is approx. half way. I do not go into the red on the meter. All of the volume connections are muted in Windows XP sound setup except Mic and standard volume.

My feed - Barrow County Sheriff and Fire Live Scanner Audio Feed

Very frustrated. I love providing the feed but can't stand to listen to it so I know my listners aren't happy either.

Any suggestions?
Thanks,
Ron
 
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mtindor

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You absoutely need to turn the audio down that is going into the computer (i.e. at the scanner).

You are pumping way too much audio into the computer sound card and overdriving.

My personal recommendation:

1. Unhook the audio cable from the scanner. Adjust the scanner so that it is comfortable-low for you to listen to directly out of the speaker.

2. Plug the audio cable back in

3. Any remaining audio adjustments should be made by the sound mixer on your computer, specifically the "recorded" levels. In your mixer you have Recording and Playback mixer settings. In your Recording settings of the mixer make sure MIC IN is selected and do your audio adjustments from there.

If you happen to have a LINE-IN in addition to MIC IN, I'd recommend using the LINE IN jacck instead.

But definitely you're feeding too much audio right now. You wan't to be right next to your scanner (maybe 2 feet away) and "barely" hear it loud enough to comfortable listen. No louder than that, and even perhaps a little quieter. Then adjust via the mixer. I think you will get significantly better results this way.

Mike
 

mtindor

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It also sounds like possibly a ground loop issue, but I can't tell with the audio from the scanner driving the sound card as hard as it is. Once you turn down the scanner audio andd re-adjust, the problems may go away. If they don't, it will be easier at that point to determine what to do next.

Don't give up though - your feed appears to have a lot of activity on it. if I lived in your area, I'd certainly want to listen to it.

Mike
 

mtindor

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Huge improvement. Sounds 100x better, although the audio is "low" now. if you can boost up the audio a little via your mixer settings, great. If it is not possible for you to turn the audio up any further in the mixer settings, THEN you can go and turn up, a hair at a time, the audio on the scanner until it brings the level up on the feed.

And if I'm one to give you audio level comparisons (between your feed and mine), I always try to set my feed so that it's loud enough to hear well through my laptop speakers when I'm listening to the feed. Your personal preference for how low your audio is to your listeners may be different. To me, right now, your audio is a bit low [but crystal clear].

Mike
 

thelaw

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That's what I'm hearing as well. Trying to work through the mixer settings now. Thank you for your help. now if I can get the tags working.
 

mtindor

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Just an FYI, I think if you use your External Speaker jack on yoru scanner you can really put significantly more audio through to the sound card. So always be careful that you don't crank it up all the way. This is especially true if your'e using the MIC IN instead of LINE in, since the LINE IN is usually able to handle more audio coming in and deal with it properly than a MIC IN.

The idea is to just put "enough" audio into the sound card so that the sound card can do something with it. then use the mixer controls to boost the audio levels. If you get to a point where your mixer volume is all the way up and the feed isn't loud enough, then just bump up the volume a hair at a time until yo uget it where you want it. You really don't ever want to have either one maxed out, scanner volume or sound card volume. it may take some tweaking to get it ideal.

at least now you know that your primary [and possibly only] problem was too much audio being fed into the sound card from the scanner.

Mike
 

mtindor

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Also, if you have a strong NWS station nearby on 162.400/475/500/525/550, you might want to tune to that so that you have a constant audio stream. Use that for testing your audio. It beats having to wait for somebody to talk to make your audio adjustments.

Mike
 

richtidd

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I have a Bearcat BC889T scanner that I was using the standard telescoping antenna with. I have been unhappy with the quality of the feed so I went out and purchased an external 20" antenna from Radio Shack and mounted it to an 8' pole attached to my roof line.

Listening to the scanner alone, the sound and reception is greatly improved. As soon as I connect it to the software (Oddcast) the quality is terrible again. There is static and reguarly makes a high pitched squealing sound. (Not fire tones) I am coming out of the scanner via the External Speaker connection into the MIC in on my PC. The software is setup for MIC and the volume is approx. half way. I do not go into the red on the meter. All of the volume connections are muted in Windows XP sound setup except Mic and standard volume.

My feed - Barrow County Sheriff and Fire Live Scanner Audio Feed

Very frustrated. I love providing the feed but can't stand to listen to it so I know my listners aren't happy either.

Any suggestions?
Thanks,
Ron
Suggest you look at this in the RR Live Audio Wiki:
Setting up your Broadcasting Station - The RadioReference Wiki
 

thelaw

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Also, if you have a strong NWS station nearby on 162.400/475/500/525/550, you might want to tune to that so that you have a constant audio stream. Use that for testing your audio. It beats having to wait for somebody to talk to make your audio adjustments.

Mike
Thats very helpful. I not only lowered the volume but I also switched to the line out of the scanner into the line In on the back of the PC. Between the two the feed is much much better. Thank you. I hear a lot of Mic Ups but no talking but overall, it is 100% better.

The only concern I have using the Line In method is that the scanner still plays the audio through the speaker. As you suggested, I have the volume low but it is still audible. I have the scanner in my office and often have conference call on a speakerphone. This could pose a problem.

Again, thanks for your help. going to bump the volume up slightly now.
 

mtindor

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Thats very helpful. I not only lowered the volume but I also switched to the line out of the scanner into the line In on the back of the PC. Between the two the feed is much much better. Thank you. I hear a lot of Mic Ups but no talking but overall, it is 100% better.

The only concern I have using the Line In method is that the scanner still plays the audio through the speaker. As you suggested, I have the volume low but it is still audible. I have the scanner in my office and often have conference call on a speakerphone. This could pose a problem.

Again, thanks for your help. going to bump the volume up slightly now.
So you are streaming the feed from a computer that you use regularly for other things? You should be able to go into the Advanced / Playback settings of your audio mixer and put a checkmark in the Mute box for both teh LINE-IN and MIC-IN if you want. that way you _should_ still be able to listen to whatever you want on your speakers that you have connected to the PC without having to hear the actual audio from one of the inputs that you are using.

Otherwise, if you can't Mute the MIC-IN / LINE-IN in your Playback settings specifically, then by all means switch back to MIC-IN and just re-adjust your sound. Whatever you need to do to be able to provide the feed with good quality and not interfere with your work activities. There is not a single way to do it best. There is room for variation.

I can tell that you have increased the volume. If it were me, I'd increase it a little more. But, like I said, you may have different preferences. I jus tknow that i run my audio on my laptop all the way up and your feed sounds a little low to me still.. it's better than it was a little earlier tough.

Mike
 
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thelaw

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So you are streaming the feed from a computer that you use regularly for other things? You should be able to go into the Advanced / Playback settings of your audio mixer and put a checkmark in the Mute box for both teh LINE-IN and MIC-IN if you want. that way you _should_ still be able to listen to whatever you want on your speakers that you have connected to the PC without having to hear the actual audio from one of the inputs that you are using.

Otherwise, if you can't Mute the MIC-IN / LINE-IN in your Playback settings specifically, then by all means switch back to MIC-IN and just re-adjust your sound. Whatever you need to do to be able to provide the feed with good quality and not interfere with your work activities. There is not a single way to do it best. There is room for variation.

I can tell that you have increased the volume. If it were me, I'd increase it a little more. But, like I said, you may have different preferences. I jus tknow that i run my audio on my laptop all the way up and your feed sounds a little low to me still.. it's better than it was a little earlier tough.

Mike
Yes - I raised the level slightly. I am listening on a laptop and I too think it's still a little low. I will adjust it some more tomorrow as it's in my office on the back of my property.

The sound coming through the speaker I mentioned was in reference to the scanner speaker. It's possible that I can turn it off. I just need to read the scanner manual.

Next stop - serial cable to display the tags!
 

Citywide173

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So you are streaming the feed from a computer that you use regularly for other things? You should be able to go into the Advanced / Playback settings of your audio mixer and put a checkmark in the Mute box for both teh LINE-IN and MIC-IN if you want. that way you _should_ still be able to listen to whatever you want on your speakers that you have connected to the PC without having to hear the actual audio from one of the inputs that you are using.

Otherwise, if you can't Mute the MIC-IN / LINE-IN in your Playback settings specifically, then by all means switch back to MIC-IN and just re-adjust your sound. Whatever you need to do to be able to provide the feed with good quality and not interfere with your work activities. There is not a single way to do it best. There is room for variation.

I can tell that you have increased the volume. If it were me, I'd increase it a little more. But, like I said, you may have different preferences. I jus tknow that i run my audio on my laptop all the way up and your feed sounds a little low to me still.. it's better than it was a little earlier tough.

Mike
Mike,

I believe he's referring to the audio that is now coming from the scanner's speaker, not his computer. He was previously using the speaker out jack, and has switched to the line out jack. Since the line out jack should provide a constant level regardless of the volume setting, he should be able to turn the volume all the way down on the scanner and just use the computer settings to control his streaming audio level.
 

thelaw

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I also found the ScannerCast software on this site. Are you guys using this? I'm still using the original OddCast software I started using 3 years ago. Thoughts? Thanks for all the advice.
 

mtindor

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I also found the ScannerCast software on this site. Are you guys using this? I'm still using the original OddCast software I started using 3 years ago. Thoughts? Thanks for all the advice.
I am using Scannercast and love it. I'm running it on Windows XP. If you are considering using Scannercast (which I personally think is a lot better). However, it only runs on certain operating systems. If you have Windows XP / Vista / Windows 7 you shoudl be fine. You do need to have .NET 2.0 or newer installed on your computer. Vista / Windows 7 will already have this. For XP it can be downloaded/installed if you do not have it installed already.

Prerequisites can be found on the download page at: http://www.k1pgv.com/ScannerCast_DL.html

Mike
 

mtindor

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Mike,

I believe he's referring to the audio that is now coming from the scanner's speaker, not his computer. He was previously using the speaker out jack, and has switched to the line out jack. Since the line out jack should provide a constant level regardless of the volume setting, he should be able to turn the volume all the way down on the scanner and just use the computer settings to control his streaming audio level.
Ahah, thanks Ed. I hadn't even given a Line-Out jack a thought. I'm not sure that i own any scanner that has one so it didn't cross my mind. I bet you are correct on both accounts. Thanks for the info!
 

thelaw

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I've downloaded ScannerCast. I've configured everything based off the install webpage but I get an error when I try to Start Broadcasting that states The Sound Capturing Device is not ready. Is Primary Sound Capture Driver plugged in?

Off to read the troubleshooting page now....
 

mtindor

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I've downloaded ScannerCast. I've configured everything based off the install webpage but I get an error when I try to Start Broadcasting that states The Sound Capturing Device is not ready. Is Primary Sound Capture Driver plugged in?

Off to read the troubleshooting page now....
Do you still have your Oddcast running? If so, turn off the Oddcast and then fire up Scannercast. And you also may want to select your specific sound card input from the pull-down menu instead of just choosing the default "Primary Sound Capture Driver"

Mike
 

thelaw

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I had disconnected Oddcast but did not shut it down, so I turned everything off and rebooted. Now I can't get any sound card options to show up in Oddcast. The volume seems to be working in Windows. The driver looks good. LOL..

I should have left it alone... but I'll keep trying to figure out what it is. Even before I rebooted, there was only one option in the Scannercast - Primary Sound Driver..
 
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