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Music Media The Internet

Personal Use FLAC Streaming Solutions? 46

Kulaid982 asks: "A friend of mine has challenged me to put together an internet music server for him. Ideally he'd like to stream music from his apartment to work. I'm aware of mod_mp3 for Apache, and Shoutcast seems to be a great streaming option, however, most of his music is FLAC or WAV. Obviously, .wav files are only streamable over the fastest networks, so is there an option for on the fly encoding to MP3 or FLAC to stream it? This will be a dedicated music-streaming box for his own personal use. I'm sure someone out there has already done this or something similar, so please share; how'd you pull it off?"
"Some technical specifics: The box is a P3 800 with 512MB of RAM, so I'm thinking Linux over Windows; his internet connection is 3 Mbps down, 256kbps up; and his collection is ~400GB, and is a mix of WAV, FLAC, and SHN (SHORTEN) formats."
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Personal Use FLAC Streaming Solutions?

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  • Use... (Score:4, Informative)

    by keeleysam ( 792221 ) on Wednesday April 27, 2005 @07:02PM (#12365856) Homepage Journal
    -Windows 2000 or XP
    -Winamp 2.92 (yes i know its old but it supports shoutcast)
    -SHN and FLAC Winamp plugins
    -Winamp Shoutcast DSP plugin
    -Windows Shoutcast server

    The DSP enocdes to MP3 on the fly, and really dosn't use much in the way of system resources.

    The only problem i cna think of is remote control.
    • The only problem i cna think of is remote control.
      There are plenty of web front ends for Winamp that allow you to control it through a browser (just Google - can't remember offhand the particular one I used); or alternatively there is always Terminal Services/VNC, etc.
    • Re:Use... (Score:3, Informative)

      by pyrrhonist ( 701154 )
      Winamp 2.92 (yes i know its old but it supports shoutcast)

      The newest version of WinAMP (5.08) supports the SHOUTcast plugin just fine. You don't need to get an old version.

  • Supercast (Score:5, Informative)

    by p7 ( 245321 ) on Wednesday April 27, 2005 @07:11PM (#12365969)
    Try this [].
  • SlimServer (Score:5, Informative)

    by spiralscratch ( 634649 ) on Wednesday April 27, 2005 @07:19PM (#12366058)
    Get it here []

    Runs great on my server, which is almost identical system to the one specified. It should handle everything you need, including multiple formats and transcoding.

    Their hardware is not required (but as an owner of one, I can say it is cool).
  • by legLess ( 127550 ) on Wednesday April 27, 2005 @07:30PM (#12366179) Journal
    Have you looked at SlimServer []? It's an open source Perl server designed to power Slim Devices' MP3 players.

    I used it for a bit, but ditched it in favor of Lincoln Stein's Apache::MP3 []. My SO still uses SlimServer to stream from home to work, though. The two coexist well on my little Debian server. I don't know if SlimServer supports FLAC; Apache::MP3 does.

      As long as a command line tool to decode the audio exists which can direct its output to standard out, it can be transcoded and streamed using SlimServer.
  • Winamp (Score:3, Informative)

    by TheSHAD0W ( 258774 ) on Wednesday April 27, 2005 @07:34PM (#12366226) Homepage
    When Winamp runs the Shoutcast plug-in, it decodes the music, no matter what format, then recompresses it before sending it out to the server. FLAC won't faze it.
  • I've been wondering if this can do it. I think it would work by adding the right mime types, but I never got it working and haven't messed with it for almost a year.
    • Re:gnump3d (Score:2, Informative)

      by stevey ( 64018 )

      Yes you can do it, and if it doesn't work for you mail me (I'm the author).

      • Wow! Talk about response :D I did see something on the mailing list when I searched, but have not been back to the machine in quite a while. Nice to know as I wanted to keep my collection in FLAC. Thanks.
      • I for one can also vouch for gnump3d. Been using it now for a couple of years, and it works very nicely. Seeing that your buddy has a P3-800, converting wavs to mp3 in real time should be doable too.
  • This is not worthy of an Ask Slashdot question. You did NO research and should have Asked Google first. Try searching for "stream mp3" and shoutcast is the FIRST RESULT.

    The player (Usually WinAmp) decodes the content, transcodes it to MP3 or Vorbis, and streams it to the Shoutcast or Icecast server.
  • FLAC only compresses to about half the size of the corresponding WAV. That doesn't seem that much of a difference to me, especially going over public internet.
  • by sootman ( 158191 ) on Wednesday April 27, 2005 @10:41PM (#12367886) Homepage Journal
    I can tell you from personal experience (since it's what I have) that a 256k uplink is not enough to reliably stream a 128kbps file. It is just baaaarely enough to move 1 MB per minute, which is about what a 128k mp3 winds up being, and given real-world network conditions, you will never get a reliable enough link to even play one song without pauses. So, the next step down is 112k or 96k.

    At that point, the files are getting pretty small. A 128k mp3 is 1/10 the size of a .wav, and if FLAC gives 50% compression, 96k files--the largest you might expect to stream smoothly--is still 1/6 the size. So that 400 GB can shrink to about 60 GB (at which point, a 60 GB iPod becomes worth considering as well*) so there's not much reason not to just compress the whole collection to 96kbps mp3 or AAC or OGG and use that compressed copy as the source of what gets served/streamed.

    * an iPod would solve a lot of problems while creating very few. The main problem is the cost. OTOH, it doesn't depend on network availability. It can be used in a lot more places than a computer can. It will play mp3, aac, wav, aiff, and Apple's lossless codec. And it can store files and do other cool things.
    • and, of course, 'upling' shoild be 'uplink.'
    • by Bishop ( 4500 ) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @12:43AM (#12368361)
      In my experience you can stream 128kbit/s on a 256kbit/s link if a large enough recieve buffer is used. You can almost stream 196kbit/s reliably.

      I agree with the idea of compressing the music and storeing it in a more portable format.
    • This depends on two things:

      1) Your provider. If your provider is decent you will have a good upstream which is able to stream 128k continuously. Unfortunately this is not the case for everyone....

      2) The packet filter you use (or if you use a packet filter at all). You can set up PF to prioritize certain traffic so your streams don't suffer from concurrent downloads.

      If the 2 above statements are true (you have a decent provider and are user PF), then you certainly can stream 128k reliably over a 256k upst
  • Ampache (Score:4, Informative)

    by phlipper ( 133836 ) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @01:18AM (#12368548) [] - It's a LAMP-based server, easy to use w/ some good features.

    Currently the following file formats are supported.

    * MP3 (Id3v1 & Id3v2)
    * OGG
    * WMA
    * RM
    * M4A/AAC/MP4 (Itunes files)
    * FLAC
    * MPC

    • I currently have Ampache installed with the majority of my collection in FLAC.

      While it will "read" your FLAC collection, to my knowledge Ampache currently does not support streaming of FLAC encoded audio. If someone knows how to do it, I would like to know. (And I did search the forums and there were unanswered questions that addressed this so I didn't ask any myself)

      You can still use Ampache on the local machine as a collection / playlist manager with FLAC, and it does work flawlessly over the net with

      • Re:Ampache (Score:1, Informative)

        by vollmerk ( 740066 )
        This is a limatation of the FLAC codec as far as I understand, I'm pretty sure there was an update to it that allows streaming... But don't quote me on that it's late and I'm tired.

        Just to pimp my produce a little more it also supports output to

        * Any Player that can read a https STREAM
        * Local Play through Moosic
        * Local Play through MPD
        * Multicasting using IceCast

        And it can generate the following Playlist types

        * Extended m3u
        * Simple m3u
        * PLS
        * ASX

        Public SVN: []
        Themes: http://w []
        • "This is a limatation of the FLAC codec as far as I understand, I'm pretty sure there was an update to it that allows streaming... But don't quote me on that it's late and I'm tired. "

          I thought that was what I saw on the forums, but I couldn't remember so I left the reason why out of my response. I tried using the downsampling settings to transcode from FLAC to MP3 on the fly for streaming, but I was unsuccessful. I'll check to see if there is an upgrade available for the codec installed on my machines.

  • some solutions (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Sithgunner ( 529690 )
    I have a music server setup at my parents' home with tons of music encoded as flac, and I live at another place by myself and I listen there over the internet, so I don't even have to keep a single CD myself.

    What I did may not help you directly, because this is a UNIX method, but if you do have UNIX, then try running nfs over those 2 points (Yes, if you really want to, put Cygwin on Window machines and you can mount them just fine or there is Service For Unix from Microsoft for free.)

    Nfs is the best netwo
  • SlimServer (Score:3, Informative)

    by Y Ddraig Goch ( 596795 ) on Thursday April 28, 2005 @07:48AM (#12369969) []

    I use SlimServer alot. It comes with a software version of the SqueezeBox 2 (which supports ssl tunneling), it can also transcode on the fly to a lower bitrate (must install lame). This is a fantastic feature. I rip my music to mps vbr and transcode to a suitable bitrate for my outbound streams. SlimDevices also has a great support list and most questions are answered in short order.
  • Winamp and Shoutcast (Score:3, Informative)

    by haplo21112 ( 184264 ) <haplo@epi t h n a .com> on Friday April 29, 2005 @10:08AM (#12382964) Homepage
    I have a shoutcast stream which is done as follows.

    I have a shoutcast server which is feed by winamp ruiing on a windows box. It plays back my files in random mode, and with the shout plugin for winamp shouts the stream into the shoutcast sever. The shoucast server then broad casts on the internet. Been up and running for 3 years now zero issues. It just works.

    I have also added a freeware product called wwwinamp from Halo 8 productions (The original was actually made by the winamp/shoutcast guys as well, but they droped it and the Halo 8 guy picked it up). The wwwinamp allows be to contol the feed over the internet from a browser.
  • I got tired of dicking around with this codec nonsense, having to deal with keeping a personal server up and running, and dealing with buffering problems caused by ISP uplink throttling. I finally just forked over the $10/mo for Rhapsody, which has a nice-sized library and can be streamed to any PC that has internet access. Problem solved.

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