For audio to be sent digitally, it needs to be encoded first. This process happens within your encoder, a piece of software or hardware that takes in an audio feed, converts it into digital data (usually in the form of an mp3 or aac stream) and sends it to your mountpoint. This data is then decoded back into audio by whatever device connects to your stream (provided the device can read the data type).

An encoder requires a stable internet connection and audio feed to successfully send a stream. 

If you're setting up a stream on a budget, there are a number of free software encoders that are great for getting you started, including B.U.T.T. and Altacast

If looking for a premium software option, we recommend Omnia's Z/IPstream X/2 which is capable of streaming multiple audio sources to multiple mountpoints and gives you audio-processing options such as compression and EQ. SharpStream is an authorised reseller of Omnia software. If you are interested in purchasing a license, enquire with a member of our sales team on 0800 999 2468 (ext. 1).

Remember, using software encoders will require a means of inputting stereo audio into your computer. A soundcard (or audio interface) is the best way of ensuring this. Entry-level external soundcards are available for as little as £20.

Alternatively, you could stream from a standalone hardware encoder. These come at a more premium price-point but are particularly handy for events or mobile streaming rigs and professional radio studios.