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I was just made aware of this application:

http://www.rogueamoeba.com/airfoil/

I tried it out, broadcasting from my iMac over 802.11x to a macbook-- works wonderfully.

The "sender" app is only $25, the "receiver" app is free.  Available for mac, windows, iPod Touch/iPhone . . .  I imagine the sender would need an open laptop and a router, and the receivers would use Touchs/iPhones.

 

Any interest in giving this a whirl?

I've been trying to crack this nut for about 6 years and this is the dream-solution.

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I've used this within my own home. I thought it was sufficient but noticed a high enough latency to detect if you were walking from one room to another REALLY fast. I ended up just running a 50 foot cable from one room to another.

 

Anyway I think the primary problem would be maintaining an established connection while on the ride. Many of the places we go my 4G coverage will drop to 3G and that'll cause a hicup in the throughput. Worse is when it drops completely which is common. I don't think the wimax or cellphone carries are ready for prime time yet.

 

BUT with that said. I would still totally love to try it. : )

I know this is something you have been trying to do for years. Exciting! Just downloaded the speakers app to my iPhone. Will be riding with Boston Critical Mass in July but put me on Team Airfoil in August!

Hmmm . . .  I found no latency at all when I tried it out. You're not going to be able to avoid some perceived latency due to the speed at which sound travels, unless you're equidistant to the sound sources.

I'm a hair confused by the 3g/4g reference-- the "sender" would broadcast via mobile 802.x.  You're sure you tried this particular app?

 

Spencer "Thunderball" Thayer! said:

I've used this within my own home. I thought it was sufficient but noticed a high enough latency to detect if you were walking from one room to another REALLY fast. I ended up just running a 50 foot cable from one room to another.

 

Anyway I think the primary problem would be maintaining an established connection while on the ride. Many of the places we go my 4G coverage will drop to 3G and that'll cause a hicup in the throughput. Worse is when it drops completely which is common. I don't think the wimax or cellphone carries are ready for prime time yet.

 

BUT with that said. I would still totally love to try it. : )

Sure.

I think the advantage of this would be that no one sound system would need to be particularly loud-- last night I want to say we had more small/personal systems than I've ever seen on a CM ride.  Die everyone see the briefcase? I tried to complement the guy but he was apparently in a bad mood (or couldn't hear anything but his system.)

 

I think Alex should make a special new mix for this :-)

 

Matt Gilbert said:

I know this is something you have been trying to do for years. Exciting! Just downloaded the speakers app to my iPhone. Will be riding with Boston Critical Mass in July but put me on Team Airfoil in August!

I mostly agree with Spencer.  Because this app transmits the audio stream if you don't have a solid connection it will pre buffer.  If it pre buffers you will have latency.  When the buffer is insufficient you will have audio dropouts, similar to watching internet videos over a bad connection.

 

A much better solution would be to write a custom app that merely sends syncing signals and can tweak playback rates when playback has drifted from a received sync signal.  Even better would be if all receivers would echo the sync with an increasing echo tag.  Each receiver would only utilize and re-echo the lowest echo they get.  This would allow truly synced playback over a very large mass.    Everyone would need to preload the entire playlist on their device, but then one could go completely out of range of everyone else for  a long while and seamlessly continue playing and resyncing when getting back in range.

I don't get it . . .

Considering a wireless router has a broadcast bubble of at least 300 feet through buildings and walls, I don't see how there could be signal/buffering problems in open air?

What does 3g/4g have to do with this?

I was assuming you were going to try something else. This could certainly work. If we are to rely on something like that why not use remote mics or a high power FM transmitter? Some of these can got for blocks without a problem and everyone can get a cheap FM radio. The same problem that you would have with 802.11 downtown would be the same problem you would have with an FM transmitter only the wave form of the transmitter is capable of traveling longer distances and is able to penetrate more materials.

 

http://www.amazon.com/0-5-Fail-Safe-Long-Range-Transmitter/dp/B003F...

http://www.amazon.com/Fail-Safe-Professional-Transmitter-CZH-15A-An...

The only issue would be that the source audio would of course be ahead of the transmitter. Simple solution... Only play the source through the FM transmitter and use a receiver through ones own sound system. If this is something people would actually want to use I would consider getting one of these. I think the thing about building your own sound bike is that you want to play yer own thing. Be your own personal DJ and I am not sure if the level of participation it would be worth the cost.

We tried the high-powered FM transmitter years ago. I think Todd spent hundreds of dollars on it. Nobody was particularly concerned about the FCC violation, but the problem was sound quality. There are simply no affordable FM receivers out there that can pull in and output a signal that doesn't make a decent sound system sound like crap.

 

 

I'm still confused by your initial comments--Are you saying you didn't try Airfoil? 

 

This discussion is amazingly hard to follow.

300 feet is not very far.  And the signal gets weak and the bandwidth drops off badly.  Don't think about the best case of a couple bikes fairly close together with a clean line of sight.  Think the worst case of travelling around a corner downtown with a massive stone and steel building in between the transmitter and receiver.  And possibly dozens of other nearby devices operating on the same channel.  And a large number of bodies, bicycles and other random obstructions all constantly passing in between and interfering with the signal.

 

Do you know the packet protocol your device uses? ie UDP or TCP?  If it is TCP it will be more robust with a single transmitter and receiver but is unlikely to scale well with multiple receivers.  If it is UDP it will likely scale better, but likely not handle dropped packets as well.

Thanks for the worst case scenarios.

I don't understand your question about packet protocol--which "device" do you mean-- my router?

Was kind of happy to find a solution that didn't require that level of understanding.

I never thought this would be useful for anything more than a small cluster of "receivers."  You wouldn't want people too spread out anyways-- that would be an aural train wreck due to the speed at which sound travels.

Are you planning to write that custom app you mentioned?

This definately sounds like a cool idea.

With regards to the range problem, is there some way of setting up repeaters?

 

If this gets up and going I hope it is called "Critical Bass".

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