Review: Source Elements Source-Live Pro 3.0

Remote working can be a frustrating process, but now with this handy tool, says Mike Aiton.

Every once in a while, along comes a ground-breaking product that will revolutionise (again…) the way you work (yawn…). Source Elements may now have actually created such a paradigm shifter, and it’s currently in public beta.

Source Live Pro 3.0 is an app that allows you to stream your audio from your DAW to multiple simultaneous listeners. The really clever bit is that you can stream it with an HD video representation of your video screen in perfect sync! What? No more bouncing QuickTime movies out from Pro Tools, uploading to an ftp site, sending clients an email link, waiting for them to download the video and emailing comments back? Yup. That should have got your attention.

Source Live Pro 3.0 is custom designed specifically for the media industry, where audio and video streams may be coming from separate sources. The software uses the latest AAC/MP4 encoding and 24-bit audio.

Once you have started your audio DAW (it supports AAX, RTAS, AU and VST formats), you email a remote listener your gateway link, so they can connect to the stream in real time (anywhere) in a browser, or via popular media players such as QuickTime and VLC, or via a custom free iPhone or iPad app.

You will need a minimum of Mac OSX Lion 10.7, running on a 2GHz i7 with 4GB ram. As the software can stream at HD, you will need very good upload capabilities (at least 1MB), but less for lower resolutions. It is recommended to connect to your router via Ethernet rather than wireless. My test rig is a Pro Tools PC 3.5GHz Quad i7 (8 core) with 32GB DDR3 ram, running OSX 10.10.3 and Pro Tools HDX 11.3.2.

There are two ways of getting audio out of your DAW into Source-Live Pro 3.0: using the Source-Live-Link AAX/RTAS, or via Source Nexus.

Next you have to port forward some TCP ports from your router to your computer, so you’re connected to the outside world. I used ports 6000/6001 – the default ones. It is also a good idea to have a manually configured internal IP address. Follow the handy Source Elements Network Guide.

Setting Up

Installation is simple and uses either ILok2 for its authentication or standard computer authentication. Once installed, log in with your Source Elements username and password – you can set auto-login in future. Next you run the port test, which takes seconds.

Then, within Pro Tools, create an aux track into which the audio mix for the video is routed and add the Source Nexus plug-in – or the Source Live Link – from Multichannel Native Plug-in/Other, so that the audio can be sent from Pro Tools to Source-Live Pro 3.0.

The four tabs within the Source-Live Pro 3.0 software are simple and uncluttered. Within Stream you can title your feed and set any login/password and network settings. The next tab is Listeners, where you can see the IP address, connection protocol and duration of any connected listeners, or disconnect them with a right click. The other nifty button is the Invite Listeners where you can send an online invite to your clients.

The third tab is Audio where you can set your audio input, the quality level (320kbps), sample rate (48kHz) and channel width (stereo or mono). You can also delay/advance the audio to the video to ensure accurate sync.

The fourth tab is Video, where you can select the video input (my Slate Raven MTi 27in screen), or any video input device that OSX understands. You can select the entire screen or a user selectable 16:9 crop. If you wish to transmit only an audio stream then you can select No Video.

Getting Started

Press the START button to start your stream. In the preview display you will see a preview of your stream, and a red blinking light to show that you are transmitting. Source Elements has also put in a CPU meter in case your computer is tying its knickers in a knot downrezing.

There is a handy Share button that pastes the links to the OSX clipboard of either a web browser feed for sharing, or RTSP or HLS feeds for internal network testing or sync checks. You can then paste this into an email.

This blows other streaming apps out of the water for two big reasons: 1) You can delay/advance the audio to the video – fundamental to achieving good sync; and 2) The audio and video can be from separate sources.

So it’s easy to use and works very well. It’s also very secure with its one-time security tokens. Source Elements has created ‘video voodoo’ by keeping audio and video in sync over the internet (sorry Vimeo and YouTube) for hours on end. Clients love it as it makes your studio just a click away.

Remote long form is now a reality without file share tedium. There are even paid extra options to help communicate with your clients in the gateway, such as video chat or instant messaging. Future plans include other services such as Roku and Apple TV – as well as surround.

Key Features

  • Stream audio from a DAW to several listeners at once
  • Supports AAX, RTAS, AU and VST
  • HD streaming capability
  • Video chat and instant messaging options

RRP: $995 ($650 upgrade from version 2)

Mike Aiton was weaned at the BBC, but after breaking free nearly 25 years ago and becoming one of London’s busiest freelance dubbing mixers, he can now mostly be found in his Twickenham dubbing suite, mikerophonics.