FeenPhone

No-cost software for real-time high-quality remote podcasting, radio and voiceover
 

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Replacing $33,400 worth of Comrexes & Mixers with free FeenPhone and $200 in gear

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PooterAndSoundCard

Conventional wisdom is that if you are doing a syndicated radio show from your home, you need to connect to the network with a Comrex Bric-Link or other hardware codec box. These cost about 1400 dollars on the low end, and up to 4 grand on the high end. Plus, until recently you needed to have a mixer on each end. When my show the Freedom Feens got syndicated a few years ago on GCN, we couldn’t go live until we bought a Comrex.
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So to do a radio show 7 nights a week with 20 different co-hosts like the Freedom Feens, you’d need 21 Comrexes (one for each host plus one for the network) and 21 mixers (one for each host plus one for the network). But the Freedom Feens have developed the software called FeenPhone to replace the need for all of this.
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HERE’S HOW WE DID IT: We set up a dedicated FeenPhone server at the network. We utilized this used Windows 7 computer: Dell small form factor OptiPlex 780. It’s a great unit, there are tons of them used on Amazon, and you can get them for under $100. It’s quiet and even used ones are reliable.

(Note: Do not update this computer to Windows 10. That caused problems and we had to revert and spend time re-adding all the settings.)
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I installed this sound card: ASUS Xonar DS 7.1 Channels PCI Interface. (You have to use the extra faceplate that’s included, you’ll need a tiny eyeglasses screwdriver to take the other one off and put the small one on.) This sound card is amazing for 100 bucks.
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Sound card settings:
Input: Purple.
Output: Green
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So, we install this computer at the network, and have it set up to administer via TeamViewer. We disabled auto-updates and set the computer to re-boot automatically once a day at a set time when we’re never doing a show. Disable “local audio” and close TeamViewer after starting it up running Server to prevent echo and save bandwidth. Because even if the PC is muted that audio stream coming back through the TeamViewer client is going to effect your bandwidth.
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Also make sure you have the power settings to go to sleep mode “Never”, otherwise, you won’t be able to contact the computer via TeamViewer.
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We have to mute the GCN slider on FeenPhone until the board op connects with his mix minus, or we’ll get echo. The network board op also adds dynamic compression as needed.
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So using this computer and sound card at the network end, and having hosts connect via FeenPhone with great USB mics, replaces the need for a bunch of Comrexes and mixers.
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Here’s a full show done connecting via the FeenPhone server (with no one using mixers)

Here’s another one (with a mixer)
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DaviAndDanFeenPhone
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FeenPhone-server
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FeenPhone Server configured and set up to send to the network.

FeenPhone Server configured and set up, ready to send via UPS to the network.

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Each Feens co-host is using the $60 Audio-Technica AT2005USB near the mouth (Get it here on Amazon), an inexpensive stand (get THIS one) a two-dollar foam windscreen on your mic (get those HERE), some blankets hung up to deaden audio reflections (or more-permanent sound conditioning), a pair of closed-ear headphones, and FeenPhone (free).
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This exact setup enables you to do ultra-high-quality live radio shows, Internet radio shows, podcasts and voiceover across the miles…Even if your co-host, producer or customer is in a different country.

FeenPhone server at GCN.

FeenPhone server at GCN.

 

FeenPhone input on patch bay at GCN.

FeenPhone input on patch bay at GCN.

Helpful articles:

–How to set up a Windows computer to automatically reboot once a day

–Autostarting FeenPhone as a server

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–Michael W. Dean