Oct 31

Three headphones until I get succeed

Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes

This is post entry is a summary of my experience with three different headphones until I found one which is compatible with Google Meet (professional version of Google Hangout). I spent a lot of hours every day working with video conference applications like Skype and others. It means stay sat for a long time, and when I don’t have to be in front of my screen I appreciate if I can walk around my room. Of course, this is only possible when the headphones that you use are wireless. A long time ago I had wired headphones and ended tired of having small incidents which damage my ears or drop off anything which was on my table.

So, I decided to read some benchmarks about high-quality headphones, I considered a tool for my job and I decided to spend my money. Having my requirements as a reference and using the benchmark readings for checking them I finally bought the Sennheiser PXC550. I’m not going to say whatever you can find in regular reviews, just some words to say this is a very good product with an excellent sound quality. But, not works with Google Meet (Hangout). What I mean is my voice it could not be understood by other peers. It’s impossible to understand anything. Using applications like Skype, or phone calls the quality was very good. Or using the headphones from my mobile phone and the Google Meet application the quality was good.

Thanks to Amazon guarantee I returned the product and I bought the Bose QuietComfort 35. Also a very good product, maybe a little bit worse than the Sennheiser one in some aspects but anyway a world-class product. Problems with Google Meet (Hangout) were even worst, in this case, sound quality was bad not only from my mic also other people of conversation had a really bad quality. Again with Skype, the quality was good. But when I connect the headphones to my mobile using Google Meet the sound quality was horrible, impossible to use.

Finally, I bought the Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2 SE. From those three that I tried this is the product with less quality IMHO. But Google Meet from my laptop works, my voice quality is not very good but it’s good enough for using them. Again I’m talking about a very good product, with a very good quality. In front of the other two, these ones are weighty, old fashion design, less comfortable, and worst sound quality. Some advantages that I found, the most important of course is it works with Google Meet (Hangout). The sound is louder at the maximum volume, and there are physical buttons for mute and on/off/pairing. Another advantage is the Bluetooth class 1 which give better coverage when I’m not next to the computer.

I didn’t say anything so far, but I’m talking always about Bluetooth connections with my laptop where I have a Windows 10 installed with Google Chrome. Laptop Bluetooth version is 4.0 HCI and LMP version: 6.1280 manufactured by Intel and driver version is 19.30.1646.853 (date: 2016-11-14).

If anybody knows a little bit more about this topic or wants to exchange any similar experience I’ll appreciate.

Jan 30

USB 2.0 VGA from DealExtreme

Reading time: 1 – 2 minutes

Several months ago I bought a video graphics adapter for USB 2.0 port. It’s compatible with Linux, Mac and Windows but for a while I’ve only used it with Windows where it works as a extended screen for my HDMI main display. It works very good with 1920×1080 pixels resolution and it can play videos fast enough using a standalone video player or HTML5 video streaming from the internet.

The chipset used by this product is DISPLAYLINK DL-165 with DVI, HDMI and VGA adapters. It is powered by USB port with 5V DC and 450mA about 2,25W of consumption; but after installing the display driver I lost 2GB of RAM, which in my case it isn’t a problem but sometimes it could be a handicap.

USB 2.0 VGA

USB 2.0 VGA

If you are interested in this product I bought it in DealExtreme webpage, the product page is here and costs 34,28€ with free shipping.

Oct 04

Recording linux desktop and audio

Reading time: < 1 minute I have two full-HD displays as a desktop and I want to record the second one of them while I record mic too. The output format of the record has to be MKV with h264 as video codec and AAC as audio codec. After some tests with VLC and FFMPEG finally I get the solution with this command:

ffmpeg -f alsa -ac 2 -i default -f x11grab -r 15 -s 1920×1080+0+0 -i :0.0+1920,0 \
       -acodec pcm_s16le -vcodec libx264  -preset ultrafast  -threads 0 -y Test.mkv

when I finish recording the clip I have to convert the audio channel because if I try to convert the audio format while I’m recording the audio channel I have delays or sync problems with video channel.

ffmpeg -i Test.mkv -map 0:0 -map 0:1 \
       -c:v copy \
       -c:a:1 libfdk_aac -profile:a aac_he_v2 -b:a:1 96k \
       output.mkv
Sep 20

How to get MP3 file from a WebM video

Reading time: < 1 minute Another title for this post could be: "Getting audio from video clips". Because you could do it with MP4 (Mpeg4), WebM, Mov, FLV, etc. We are going to use ffmpeg to that:

ffmpeg -i input_file.webm -ab 128k -ar 44100 out_file.mp3

The meaning of the parameters:

  • ab: the audio bitrate in bps
  • ar: the audio sample rate in hz

And if you have a directory with a lot of files to convert you could use:

find . -name "*.webm" -print0 |while read -d $'\0' file; do ffmpeg -i "$file" -ab 128k -ar 44100 -y "${file%.webm}.mp3";done

Pay attention to “find” and “while read” commands combinations because we want to support files with spaces.

I hope this is as useful for you as for me.

Sep 16

RTMP source to HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) Apple

Reading time: 2 – 3 minutes

I just solved a very specific problem and I have to write some notes here to remember the solution. Given a RTMP source we have to stream the content to Apple devices like iPad, iPhone and iPod because RTMP couldn’t be played using Safari browser.

If we need to play streaming on Apple devices the best solution is convert it to HLS and publish generated files using HTTP server.

To solve this issue I use rtmpdump and vlc. Firstly rtmpdump gets video stream from source. Secondly the stream is sent to vlc and finally vlc transcodes de video and audio and outputs small .ts files and one .m3u8 index file.

The command is something like this:

rtmpdump -v -r "$RTMP" | sudo -u xymon vlc -I dummy fd://0 vlc://quit --sout="#transcode{width=320,height=240,fps=25,vcodec=h264,vb=256,venc=x264{aud,profile=baseline,level=30,keyint=30,ref=1,nocabac},acodec=mp3,ab=96,audio-sync,deinterlace,channels=2,samplerate=44100}:std{access=livehttp{seglen=10,delsegs=true,numsegs=5,index=$M3U8,index-url=$TS_URL},mux=ts{use-key-frames},dst=$TSF}"

Variables descriptions are:

RTMP=rtmp://example.tld/path/stream_id
WD=/local_path
TS=live-####.ts
TSF=$WD/$TS
TS_URL=http://example.tld/path/$TS
M3U8=$WD/live.m3u8

Then create an HTML file, for example live.html, with a reference to .m3u8 file, the relevant code of the HTML file is like this:

<video width="320" height="240"><source src="http://example.tld/path/live.m3u8" /></video>

A simple code to public files via HTTP:

python -c "import SimpleHTTPServer;SimpleHTTPServer.test()"

Then we only need to open Safary browser in Apple device and set the proper URL, in our case:

http://example.tld/path/live.html

IMPORTANT NOTE: the audio output have to be with two channels and a sample rate of 44KHz in other cases the audio fails.