Angry Beanie Broadcasting Studio Mark 1

Angry Beanie (for those of you who may not be aware) is my entry into the online media world, specifically audio and video based online media. Here is where I indulge my interest in things media productiony through efforts such as the fortnightly podcast "Purser Explores The World".

As part of doing all this I've needed to develop a bit of a mobile studio setup. Mobile because frankly, I don't have the ability to build my own permanent studio where I live right now (the kids might get annoyed if I try and make them all sleep in the one room).

Anyway, for pre-recorded shows like Purser Explores The World, the setup isn't actually that complicated. The interviews are recorded using skype and the skype call recorder package, then they are edited using Audacity which I also use to record the intro's and outro's as well as the connecting bits between the episodes. Once it's all put together, I output to both mp3 and ogg and upload.

However, I'd like to do a live show. Something regular that would involve not just pre-recorded bits, but live discussion surrounding current topics, issues and people. For this I'm going to need something a bit different.

Essentially I need to build a studio kitout that does the following:

  • Streams audio to an external streamer
  • Allows me to mix live and pre-recorded content
  • Allows me to include external people via skype (skype conferences for the win)

Now I've got almost all of the above in a single package via a piece of software called Internet DJ Console. A jackd based package, I can't recommend it enough for anyone looking to do streaming from a Linux based system. The UI is easy to understand and use and it should take only a few minutes to get setup with it. However there is one area that I have never been able to get to work, and that's the integration of Skype and Jack.

Which has led me to the studio design I have now.

The Angry Beanie Broadcast Studio Mark 1 features the following:

  • Primary Streaming Laptop - This is the laptop that I use to run IDJC, it accepts audio from the mixer as well as pre-recorded content. Runs Ubuntu, IDJC, Audacity
  • Skype Laptop - This is an older laptop whos only task is to run Skype. The audio from this laptop is fed into the mixer and it also accepts audio back. Runs Ubuntu, Skype
  • Primary Microphone - This is the microphone I use to speak to listeners and those who I am interacting with via the Skype laptop.
  • Mixer Board - This is a JB Systems Pro Series Beat Four which was gifted to me by one of my wifes friends. It's a 4 channel mixer with a mic input (like this but older)

I've added some photos below to help show how things are setup.

This is a show of the two laptops and the mic. The laptop on the left is the Primary laptop and the one on the right is the Secondary.

This is the mixer board with plugs in place (yes it's dusty as hell, I'm going to be cleaning it up as I go ;)). The RCA cable on the left goes into the line in on the Secondary Laptop and the RCA on the right comes from the line out/headphone from the Secondary Laptop. What can't be seen is the Headphone cable used to transfer the audio to the Primary laptop.

And finally we have the whole setup. It's still very much a work in progress, the audio quality from the mic is shocking at the moment and I'm still working on this, but I'm pretty confident that I could have it ready for a live show in say, a month? Possibly less.

We'll see :)

Oh and for anyone who's going to ask, the reason I'm using Skype is essentially that it's the package that everyone has.

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Excellent, thanks for the "tour" James.
Ya I sometimes get questioned on my use of Skype - it's a practicality.

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