How many discrete streams can one PC feed?

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gmclam

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If I were to set up a PC and several scanners, I would like to know how many discrete feeds I can reasonably provide from one PC. Who has the most audio channels from one PC, and how many?

The issues I see are:
- Either installing extra audio card(s) and/or connecting a USB type device to get the audio streams in to the computer.

- Using software to stream that can utilize the above individual channels.

- And while I am at it, what if I want to record those streams locally? What software should I use and will it work with the streaming software? Or perhaps is there one program to do it all?


I am a scanner and computer geek but this is an area I have not explored in the past. I'd like to get up to speed on what is being used and/or available out there. Thanks.
 

kc2rgw

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If you want to feed them as separate streams you'll need a sound device per stream. There are some cheap Chinese USB sound cards around that would be perfect for that.

If you want to combine them and feed as a single stream, you could run them into a mixer first, then into a sound card, but that would get pretty hectic sounding.

Each sound card with a stereo mic input like the USB Turtle beach, you can split L/R channels and feed two streams that way per device, one in each channel. That's another approach.
 

GTR8000

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- Those $1 USB audio sticks work great, and you can easily add over a dozen or more to a single PC using USB hubs. Each device contains a mono MIC input, which means no stereo feeds (which is just as well, L-R stereo feeds are problematic and not ideal to listen to)

USB 5.1 Audio 3D Sound Card adaptor For Dell Laptope PC - eBay (item 280398062873 end time Jan-13-10 23:44:57 PST)


- You can run multiple instances of ScannerCast to support each USB input. You need only create a unique .ini file for each stream, then start the .exe by pointing to the specific .ini on the shortcut command line. "C:\Program Files\ScannerCast\ScannerCast.exe" feed1.ini, "C:\Program Files\ScannerCast\ScannerCast.exe" feed2.ini, etc. You are only limited by how powerful your CPU is and how much RAM you have installed, since each stream will be encoding mp3 audio and will require a bit of system resources.

K1PGV's ScannerCast


- Scanner Recorder Pro (SRPro) is one of the best options out there for local recording. It has a myriad of options including VOX recording, automatic file splitting by file size or recorded duration, ability to select the input, etc. Again, you are only limited by your CPU and RAM, you can create multiple profiles and run multiple instances of the program simultaneously.

Scanner Recorder Pro
 

RolnCode3

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I have an older Dell dedicated to this and run 2 feeds no problem. Based on CPU usage on those, I think I could run 4 or 5 just under 100% CPU usage. Of course then it would probably become slightly unstable and wouldn't give long uptime.
 

PeterGV

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I know somebody who's successfully running 8 copies of ScannerCast on a Mac Mini running XP (1.83 GHz processor, 512 Mb RAM) with "not even a hint of performance problems."

And, of course, there's Lindsay's Famous 8 Feed Appliance...

I know of a PLAN for running 16 instances on the same system, so that'll certainly be interesting. But 8 instances is the limit that I've heard of so far.

Peter
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gmclam

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Wow!!!

Thank you to everyone who replied. I am not sure how I missed that thread of Lindsay's. I'm glad he posted pictures as the descriptions are unbelievable as it is.

kc2rgw said:
If you want to feed them as separate streams you'll need a sound device per stream. There are some cheap Chinese USB sound cards around that would be perfect for that.
Are you talking about the units that Lindsay used? Or something else. If not the units Linday is using, can you provide a name (so I can search) or a link? The USB SoundCard Lindsay got from eBay indicates they are 5.1 channels. I know I could waste the unused 5 channels (or try to use them separately), but it would seem single channel audio adapters might be cleaner.

kc2rgw said:
If you want to combine them and feed as a single stream, you could run them into a mixer first, then into a sound card, but that would get pretty hectic sounding.
Oh God no. I know how to do that. The purpose of me starting this thread was to find out what people are doing with multiple independent streams.

When streaming with ScannerCast on the host end, what is needed to receive on the other end? Does it just stream in MP3 and you can use whatever MP3 player you want on the receiving end? I guess I'd need to load multiple instances of WinAmp/etc (player of choice), one for each stream I want to hear.

Thank you again.
 

kc2rgw

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Yeah those are the right ones...the 5.1 is output channels for decoding surround digital audio. If you were feeding into a home theater or 5.1 speaker setup using a DVD player on the computer, that would matter, otherwise no.

The inputs are what we're talking about. Some soundcards have stereo mic inputs and some have mono. Most have mono mic inputs which work fine for this anyway.
 

PeterGV

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When streaming with ScannerCast on the host end, what is needed to receive on the other end? Does it just stream in MP3 and you can use whatever MP3 player you want on the receiving end?
So, there are 2 ways to use ScannerCast, right?

a) ScannerCast pushes the stream to RR -- you and other users can then attach to RR's audio server to hear your feed.

b) ScannerCast acts as the server -- You (and other users, possibly) can then attach directly to ScannerCast to hear your feed.

ScannerCast can do either just b (act as a server), or both a and b, above, at the same time (that is, forward a stream to RR *and* allow you to attach to it directly).

In both instances, ScannerCast uses the SHOUTcast protocol for MP3 audio, which is the same protocol that RR uses to send streams to its clients. So, any audio player that is compatible with SHOUTcast (like Windows Media Player, iTunes, Winamp, VLC, Foobar) will work with both ScannerCast and RR.

Only SOME players (such as Winamp) support showing tags, however.

Hope that helps,

Peter
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kc2rgw

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I would attach it to RR, that way if you get a bunch of users, you aren't dealing with all the bandwidth
 

n8myc

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I run 6 feeds on one computer. I have had no issues at all. But FWIW I tried using those little green cards and had noise problems with them.
 

hvscan

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I'm up to 4 streams on one computer with plans to move others over to the same machine. I'm using ScannerCast and the small USB sound cards. I've added RS ground loop isolators to deal with the hum sound. Everything is running trouble free thanks to ScannerCast. This is a great thread!
 

gmclam

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PeterGV, thank you very much for the reply....

So, there are 2 ways to use ScannerCast, ...
b) ScannerCast acts as the server -- You (and other users, possibly) can then attach directly to ScannerCast to hear your feed.
When using ScannerCast in this mode, does the "host" need to have a static IP address? If not, how do the remote sites "find" the host?

ScannerCast can do either just b (act as a server), or both a and b, above, at the same time (that is, forward a stream to RR *and* allow you to attach to it directly).
That sounds good. I was wondering about that. Now when you say "attach directly" I assume you mean without going through the remote server like RR.??
 

PeterGV

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When using ScannerCast in this mode, does the "host" need to have a static IP address? If not, how do the remote sites "find" the host?
You don't need a static IP address. Check out services such as dyndns (here: DynDNS.com: Free DNS Hosting, E-mail Delivery, and VPS Hosting) -- They'll allow you to register a domain name and track your static IP address for you. It works great. It's what I use myself.

That sounds good. I was wondering about that. Now when you say "attach directly" I assume you mean without going through the remote server like RR.??
Yes. ScannerCast includes an Icecast compatible server. That's why you provide a port number to use on the Config tag. For more info, see "Listening Directly To Your Feed From a Remote System" on the ScannerCast Setup and Configuration page on my web site.

Incidentally, this is how *I* use ScannerCast: I have ScannerCast forward my scanner feed to RR, and when I'm at work I sometimes connect to RR to check my feed. But when I listen from another room in my house I connect directly to ScannerCast.

Hope that helps,

Peter
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PeterGV

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I would attach it to RR, that way if you get a bunch of users, you aren't dealing with all the bandwidth
Absolutely! Who wants their internet connection slowed down any more than it already is, right? Not to mention that providing a server-type service is prohibited by the terms of service of many residential ISPs.

Plus, you get to share with others, which is nice. And you get your free RR premium subscription.

Peter
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hvscan

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Ben, if you mean 4 of the same USB soundcards, you should have no problem with that. I am up to 4 on 1 machine without any issues. I ran into a problem with the 5th, but haven't had time to troubleshoot it.
 

PeterGV

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So there's no issue with using 4 of the same soundcard with same drivers?
In general, no. Of course, any given sound card could have flaky drivers and not work properly.

The 0.99 sound cards (link provided earlier in this thread by Chauffeur6) use the standard Windows sound card driver, and multiple instances DO work at the same time. Like I said earlier, Lindsay in running 8 of them in parallel.

Peter
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