By Tantari Kim
The first place to go is How to DJ the DJ Tantari Way. I have written this extensive guide on how to DJ from home using nothing free software. While it specifically addresses the challenges and opportunities of doing so in Second Life, these techniques can be adapted to many online games and services.
In my guide, How to DJ the DJ Tantari Way, I cover how to broadcast from the free and open source DJ software MIXXX to SHOUTcast. But what if you want to use a different piece of DJ software? Or you want to broadcast to something other than SHOUTcast? Read on!
While MIXXX is great and runs on almost everything, I’ve personally moved on to Virtual DJ 8. This is very powerful but expensive software ($300 for a full license or $19 a month). There is a great alternative. Virtual DJ offers a Home Free version. It allows you to do everything, including recording your own mixes, but has two big limitations. First, you can’t use any controllers with it, which is not a big deal for starting DJs. Controllers are expensive and you probably don’t have one. Secondly, and most importantly, you can’t broadcast to SHOUTcast. The same is true from the other two big commercial DJ software packages, Traktor and Serato. Don’t worry. We can fix this!
In this guide, we’ll cover how to broadcast from almost anything, specifically from Virtual DJ Home Free, to SHOUTcast. You can even record audio from programs that don't allow you to record. And we'll do it all with free software, so you don't have to pay anything.
What You'll Need
This guide is written with Windows in mind. Specifically, I use Windows 10, so this guide addresses that operating system. With some research, you can use this for other operating systems like older versions of Windows, MacOS, and Linux. The specifics of your particular operating system are up to you.
You'll also need:
- •DJ software - There are many choices available for this. If you're using MIXXX or something that supports SHOUTcast streaming directly, you don't need this guide. This is meant for software that doesn't stream like Traktor, Serato, etc. In particular, I am going to be using the Home Free version of Virtual DJ which is available here: https://www.virtualdj.com/download/
- •Virtual cable software - I use the VB-Audio Virtual Cable at https://www.vb-audio.com/Cable/ because it works for me and it is free to use (donationware). It should work for all modern versions of Windows. If you use a different operating system, you will have to find something that works for you.
- •BUTT - Broadcast Using This Tool. This software is free, open source, and works on Windows, MacOS, and Linux. You can get it at https://danielnoethen.de/ .
- •SHOUTcast server – You'll need a SHOUTcast server of some kind. If you already rent one online or you have permission to use one at a club, that will work. If you want to set one up on your personal computer for testing, directions are in How to DJ the DJ Tantari Way.
- •(Optional) Audacity - In this context, we will use it to record your live mix if your DJ software refuses to do it for you. You can also use it to trim your mix, encode it, and a million other things. It is free, open source, and works on Windows, MacOS, and Linux. If you don't already have it, you should get it here: http://www.audacityteam.org/ . More information about how to use it is in How to DJ the DJ Tantari Way.
How It Works
SHOUTcast consists of three main components, a Source (like MIXXX, Virtual DJ, etc), a Server (the SHOUTcast DNAS), and your Listeners. If you want more information, check out the main article, How to DJ the DJ Tantari Way.
All of the components we'll be looking at in this article take place inside the Source, which is your DJing computer. Your DJ software expects to connect to a sound card. When you open the configuration panel, it looks through the Windows sound driver list and finds all the sound output devices.
The virtual cable software installs two device drivers, one for a Windows sound card speaker output and one for a Windows sound card microphone input. Whatever is sent to the speaker output is copied byte for byte to the microphone. While you can only have one program sending data to the speaker output at a time, any number of programs can be listening to the microphone input simultaneously.
The software in your DJing computer will be configured like this:
In your DJing software (like Virtual DJ), you will need to set the output to be that virtual audio cable's speaker output. Then in the broadcast software and (optional) recording software, you set their input to the virtual audio cable's microphone input. The broadcast software will send the audio to the Server (SHOUTcast DNAS) while the recording software (Audacity) will dump your mix to a file.
Installation and Configuration
Install the virtual cable software using the instructions provided with it. If you are using VB-Audio Virtual Cable software, you can check to make sure it is installed by opening the Device Manager and expanding the “Audio inputs and outputs” section. You should see something like this. You are looking for the “Cable Input (VB-Audio Virtual Cable” and “Cable Output (VB-Audio Virtual Cable)” lines. If you see those, then you're ready to go!
Install BUTT following instructions on the website. Click the Settings button to open the settings.
In the Server Settings, click Add. Enter a name, then choose ShoutCast. Enter the data for your SHOUTcast server. When you're done, click Add. In the future, you'll be able to select this Server from the pulldown menu and click Edit. You can have as many as you want!
In the Stream Infos section, click Add. Enter a name, a description, and a genre. You can fill out the other fields if you want. When you're done, click Add. In the future, you'll be able to select this stream from the pulldown menu and click Edit. You can have as many as you want!
At the top of the box, click the Audio tab. Here you will select your Audio Device to get the audio data from, as well as the sample rate and coding. Fill it out similarly to what I show below. You can also use BUTT to record your audio mix. I won't get into that here. I prefer to use a separate program to record because I generally like to record a much smaller amount of time than the entire broadcast session.
To start the stream, hit the Connect to Server button. It looks like a Play icon. To stop, hit the Disconnect from Server button. It looks like a little Stop icon. Hit the Play icon right now. When you're playing, you'll see the little UV meters moving show the volume of sound being pushed into it and the timer will count. It should look something like this below. For now, you won't see any lights because you aren't putting any sound into the cable just yet, but you will see the timer counting up.
Finally, open your DJ software. Every one will look a little different. Consult your manual for details. In Virtual DJ, click the Options button (it is on the top of your screen and looks like a little gear), then click Audio on the left side. Configure it so the Headphones output goes to your regular speakers and your Master goes to the VB-Audio Virtual Cable. It should look something like this. Then hit Apply to save it.
Now load a track in your DJ software and start playing it. If everything is configured properly, you should see the UV meters in BUTT moving along with the music. Connect to the SHOUTcast server with listening software like VLC. You should hear your music, but delayed because of the streaming process. Congratulations! You're streaming!
Optionally, if you want to record your mix and your DJ software doesn't allow you, install Audacity. Use the pulldown next to the microphone to select Cable Output (VB-Audio Virtual Cable). Then you can click the Record button at any time to record your mix. You'll need to trim and export the audio after you're done. Consult How to DJ the DJ Tantari Way and the Audacity documentation ( http://www.audacityteam.org/help/documentation/ ) for more details.
Now you can broadcast from virtually any DJ or music program directly to SHOUTcast and record it. As long as you can configure the program to use the virtual audio cable device, you're good to go.
While I recommend starting with MIXXX for beginners, if you have outgrown it and want to move on to another piece of software, this is an excellent way to go. While I personally use Virtual DJ 8 and love it, Traktor and Serato are also excellent programs. I recommend you download the free trials of all of them and play with them to see which suits your personal style best before laying down your hard-earned cash.
If you use the free version of Virtual DJ for Home Users, this is a great way to get started with some great software. If you want to add a single controller, an excellent option for beginners is the Numark Mixtrack 3 for about $130, though I've seen it on sale for as low as $99. As of right now, if you hook it up, the Virtual DJ for Home Users will give you a free 30 day license to use your new controller. After that, the license for this controller is $100. If you get serious about DJing and want to make money at it, you should really buy the Pro Infinity for $300. It includes streaming, so you can finally get rid of your virtual audio cable and BUTT for good. I discourage you from using the Pro Monthly license for $19/month. Those add up quickly and before you know it, you already paid the $300 with nothing to show for it!
As of now, Traktor and Serato don't support SHOUTcast streaming at all, so using a virtual audio cable and BUTT is pretty much your only option.
I've had a lot of fun as a DJ and hope you do too. I look forward to hearing what you make! I’m a very busy person, but if you do start DJing and post a recording, I’d love to check it out! Find me on Second Life as Tantari Kim, Mixcloud at https://www.mixcloud.com/DJTantari or email me at tantari.kim (at) gmail.com. If this guide helps you become a DJ, I'd be thrilled to hear about it. Please let me know!
A great DJ plays the music you never knew you always loved.