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ZaraRadio, S.A.M., Myriad, Genosys, and the question goes on...


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Hello,

 

I am hoping people out there can advise.

 

We run a new-ish station with a very basic setup: ZaraRadio running on an ancient XP Laptop, playing mp3's on random setting and pre-recorded programmes.

 

However, we are looking to upgrade, including the playout system so have started looking at the options, the most popular appear to be the above.

 

ZaraRadio is basic but it's free, people seem to think that S.A.M. is either the worst piece of software ever written and no-one should use it, or the greatest gift to Internet Radio there has ever been. Myriad is supposed to be very difficult to setup, but great once it is. I have heard the same comment about Myriad as I have about Genosys, that for most I.R. setups, it is going way over the top.

 

In a former life, I used to be a Computer Technician, so conversant with XP, and have been obliged to get to know CentOS Linux to a very limited extent.

 

What does everyone here recommend?

 

Thanks for your time.

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I have used Zara, Sam, StationPlaylist, and RadioDJ. RadioDJ is currently my favorite. Sam isn't the worst, but my experience with it resulted in many random freeze-ups of the SAM box and that was consistent over 3 different machines. I've had great luck with RadioDJ and it seems to be much lighter weight than SAM.

 

Try RadioDJ out, its free. If you don't like it, try out a trial of SAM. If you don't like that, move on to another one :)

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I have used Zara, Sam, StationPlaylist, and RadioDJ. RadioDJ is currently my favorite. Sam isn't the worst, but my experience with it resulted in many random freeze-ups of the SAM box and that was consistent over 3 different machines. I've had great luck with RadioDJ and it seems to be much lighter weight than SAM.

 

Try RadioDJ out, its free. If you don't like it, try out a trial of SAM. If you don't like that, move on to another one :)

 

Thanks for the suggestion MarcAlle, I have since downloaded MariaDB and RadioDJ - WOW!!!

It is a LOT more involved that ZaraRadio! :)

 

Three questions for you, that I couldn't immediately find on their Website, which you maybe able to help me with though...

 

1. Does the software have a search facility, to enable to you look for imported songs?

 

2. Does it have A.P.I. capability for use with Tune-In?

 

3. Does it have audio balancing ( I think it's called), whereby all output is at the same level, which I understand doesn't always happen when using .mp3's?

 

Thanks for your help, it is appreciated.

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1) I suppose I'm not exactly sure what you're asking, but I think its this. There is a button in the bottom left called Track Manager. This will let you search through your imported songs.

 

2) It does not unfortunately. I did some magic and got it running via a PHP script and the SHOUTcast DNAS page

 

3) No, however I've never liked any software that does that except for MP3Gain. It is outside of the broadcast software, however it works awesome.

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Hi again MarcAlle,

 

In that case I shall probably pursue RadioDJ no further.

 

1. Yes, the ability to search for imported songs that I want to play is exactly what I want.

 

2. That is unfortunate as I am no coder, and A.P.I. is important to me as Tune-In use it, as do other sites, I use Icecast and SHOUTcast for streaming too, which I understand needs third party support, although so does ZaraRadio, for which I use Edcast.

 

3. Apparently, S.A.M. has this capability, which sends me back to their software. The station focusses on new and unknown artists, so using mp3's is very important, as that is the format most of them release their work on.

 

On a separate, but related subject, do you know of any Music or Record Library Management Software, that is recommended for use for cataloguing record, tapes, and C.D.'s?

 

Thanks again for your help.

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3. Does it have audio balancing ( I think it's called), whereby all output is at the same level, which I understand doesn't always happen when using .mp3's?

 

Yes radiodj does have built in sound processing and an AGC feature which balances the audio.

 

2. Does it have A.P.I. capability for use with Tune-In?

 

Most users of radiodj are using a simple script which pulls from their shoutcast/icecast servers to send the now playing info to tunein that script can be found on the radiodj forums.

 

Have a play around with radiodj you may be surprised at what it can do for your stream. Don't dismiss it because you think something is going to be too difficult

My Blog https://djgarybaldy.blogspot.com

User of RadioDJ FREE radio playout software since 2010.

How to Install RadioDJ: https://djgarybaldy.blogspot.com/2020/08/how-to-install-radiodj-free-radio.html

RadioDJ is my most FAVOURITE piece of software EVER

 

 

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Yes radiodj does have built in sound processing and an AGC feature which balances the audio.

 

I suppose I mis-read the question originally. It does have this, however leveling the MP3's has always been a good practice for me on SAM or RDJ. The cue and crossfading seem to work so much better when this is done first.

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I suppose I mis-read the question originally. It does have this, however leveling the MP3's has always been a good practice for me on SAM or RDJ. The cue and crossfading seem to work so much better when this is done first.

 

Hello MarcAlle,

 

Thank you for your detailed reply.

 

However, I am getting very, very confused!!! :\

 

I think we have mis-understood each other, because from the three points I stated I was looking for, you said that RadioDJ only featured the track finding capability, and this has now increased to 2.5, notwithstanding the script necessary for Tune-In A.P.I.

 

So I thought I would re-state my requirements, giving a more accurate description of what I'm looking for in a playout system, as I understand it:

 

1. Does the software have a search facility, to enable to you look for imported songs? Say for example I wanted to look for Smashing Pumpkins - "1979", is there a search button or box where I can type in "Smashing Pumpkins" to locate mp3's that I have imported into the system?

 

2. Does it have A.P.I. capability for use with Tune-In? Tune-In requires A.P.I. capability to provide, what are in essence, live updates to their Website, songs played, etc. From what you have said this needs third party software for RadioDJ, whereas it is built-in for S.A.M., as I understand it?

 

3. Does it have audio balancing ( I think it's called), whereby all output is at the same level, which I understand doesn't always happen when using .mp3's? There are lots of types of music files, of which I am advised .wav are the most stable in terms of playing at the same level output wise, .mp3's aren't. As the station features music from artists/bands unknown and even unsigned, mostly their music is only available in .mp3 format, so does RadioDJ have the capability to ensure they are all played out at the same output, i.e. not one song quiet, the other one loud, so the listener doesn't have to keep turning their volume up/down?

 

This may sound like I am biased towards S.A.M., which I'm not, actually I much prefer the interface RadioDJ has, but it's what it can do that counts, and how it sounds that has to be taken into consideration.

 

Thanks for your time MarcAlle.

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Full list of radiodj and itś features can be found here http://www.radiodj.ro/radiodj-features

 

I don get what's so hard about running a simple webscript along side radiodj to send your playing info to tune in.

 

This topic may help you http://www.radiodj.ro/community/index.php?topic=5506.0

 

there are lots of benefits to using radiodj the main one is it's stability.

My Blog https://djgarybaldy.blogspot.com

User of RadioDJ FREE radio playout software since 2010.

How to Install RadioDJ: https://djgarybaldy.blogspot.com/2020/08/how-to-install-radiodj-free-radio.html

RadioDJ is my most FAVOURITE piece of software EVER

 

 

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1) Yes it does

 

2) No, you would need to use a third party script (running on a web server). If you already have a website, most likely this step is a copy & paste, and then you're done. SAM does have a scripting language built in, however TuneIn is not a "feature" of SAM. Someone wrote a third party script and made it work.

 

3) Yes, however you should DEFINITELY still run them through MP3Gain if you are using MP3s. This is almost mandatory regardless of a software you use. Remember that the software is trying to figure out what volume your MP3s are and change them on the fly. There is not a substitute for leveling them prior to them coming into the software.

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If you are using SAM you can use the Tomass Limiter plug-in. This will normalize all songs to a preset level.

 

You can download it here:

http://www.shoutcaststreaming.us/whmcs/whmcs/dl.php?type=d&id=26

Edited by shoutcaststreaming

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Sorry, here are two links .. for Tomass Steady Stabilizer and Tomass Limiter:

 

http://www.shoutcaststreaming.us/whmcs/whmcs/dl.php?type=d&id=25

&

http://www.shoutcaststreaming.us/whmcs/whmcs/dl.php?type=d&id=26

SCS - Dedicated Bandwidth Servers

Shoutcast / Icecast / Windows Media

Transcoding - Auto DJ - Mobile Radio - FLASH Players - Auto DJ

Broadcasting World's Stream Host of the Month

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Thanks for the links shoutcaststreaming, and also for all the suggestions for playout systems. I shall bear all these in mind and experiment with them before making a decision.

 

Something else related to this matter that has arisen, the question of the sound level of .mp3's being the same when broadcast, MarcAlle strongly suggested that all .mp3's should be ran through MP3GAIN, and that this software was almost mandatory?

 

I've got a considerable number of .mp3's that I've run through the normaliser function within Audacity (after the process and software was recommended by another station) would this not be enough? It's quite a daunting prospect to have to go through them all again...or is this where S.A.M.'s option would come in? Do other playout systems (such as RadioDJ) have this capability?

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I've got a considerable number of .mp3's that I've run through the normaliser function within Audacity (after the process and software was recommended by another station) would this not be enough? It's quite a daunting prospect to have to go through them all again...or is this where S.A.M.'s option would come in?
That is the beauty of the Tomass plug-ins. No need to do the daunting process for all songs. Each song is automatically adjusted as it is played. Easy Peasy.

SCS - Dedicated Bandwidth Servers

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Transcoding - Auto DJ - Mobile Radio - FLASH Players - Auto DJ

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There are lots of types of music files, of which I am advised .wav are the most stable in terms of playing at the same level output wise, .mp3's aren't.

This is not true. Independent of file format, what signal is saved inside it and at which level - this is what will be played. MP3s never had problems with levels.

 

If you want to keep your station output at the same level you have various options:

1. Use radio automation software which performs Automatic Gain Control on output (a drawback here is that music can lose some of its dynamics, e.g. a part of a song which supposed to be quiet will be made louder by AGC).

2. Use a plugin like StereoTool which will do AGC, again same problem with music dynamics

3a. (preferred option) Prepare your audio files using ReplayGain: scan all your tracks to set ReplayGain tags (you can use foobar to do so) and use radio automation software which supports ReplayGain

3b. If all your files are MP3s then instead of ReplayGain scanner you can

3c. Normalize all your files (although I wouldn't recommend it as it usually involves re-encoding of files which is loss of quality)

 

Depending on software you're using, options can be combined, e.g. if a track has ReplayGain tag, it will use it, if there's no such a tag it will perform AGC.

Edited by djsoft

RadioBOSS Radio Automation Software: http://www.djsoft.net

RADIOBOSS.FM Icecast/Shoutcast stream hosting.

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This is not true. Independent of file format, what signal is saved inside it and at which level - this is what will be played. MP3s never had problems with levels.

 

If you want to keep your station output at the same level you have various options:

1. Use radio automation software which performs Automatic Gain Control on output (a drawback here is that music can lose some of its dynamics, e.g. a part of a song which supposed to be quiet will be made louder by AGC).

2. Use a plugin like StereoTool which will do AGC, again same problem with music dynamics

3a. (preferred option) Prepare your audio files using ReplayGain: scan all your tracks to set ReplayGain tags (you can use foobar to do so) and use radio automation software which supports ReplayGain

3b. If all your files are MP3s then instead of ReplayGain scanner you can

3c. Normalize all your files (although I wouldn't recommend it as it usually involves re-encoding of files which is loss of quality)

 

Depending on software you're using, options can be combined, e.g. if a track has ReplayGain tag, it will use it, if there's no such a tag it will perform AGC.

 

Thanks for your comments and points djsoft. However, it now seems we've gone from talking about the .mp3's that I have being normalised through Audacity (which they have), to either S.A.M. taking care of the sound level using A.G.C., but MP3Gain is a MUST, and now ReplayGain tag - I don't know what that is - I am relatively new to this, if you hadn't already guessed! :\

 

I DO want the station to sound professional by having all output going out at the same level, but I'd rather not have to spend the entire Easter Bank Holiday Weekend running them individually through ReplayGain, although you did seem to imply that 'foobar" may help with that?

 

Apologies if I sound lost, it's only because I'm lost!:eyebrow:

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AFAIK MP3Gain works with mp3 files only, so it's not a universal solution. I also think it would be slower than ReplayGain, as it updates all mp3 frames to change the volume - it's much more work than simply setting a ReplayGain tag.

 

If all your files are already normalized, you don't need to do anything more (no need to normalize files twice). A potential problem is new files which you add to your playlist - you should not forget to normalize them as well.

RadioBOSS Radio Automation Software: http://www.djsoft.net

RADIOBOSS.FM Icecast/Shoutcast stream hosting.

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AFAIK MP3Gain works with mp3 files only, so it's not a universal solution. I also think it would be slower than ReplayGain, as it updates all mp3 frames to change the volume - it's much more work than simply setting a ReplayGain tag.

 

If all your files are already normalized, you don't need to do anything more (no need to normalize files twice). A potential problem is new files which you add to your playlist - you should not forget to normalize them as well.

 

Thanks for that clarification, djsoft.

 

So presumably, assuming I use Audacity to normalise my .mp3's first (I use the default settings), from a level point of view, it wouldn't matter whether I used S.A.M., RadioDJ, etc., as the files would already be broadcast at the correct level, having been pre-normalised in Audacity?

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Thanks for that clarification, djsoft.

 

So presumably, assuming I use Audacity to normalise my .mp3's first (I use the default settings), from a level point of view, it wouldn't matter whether I used S.A.M., RadioDJ, etc., as the files would already be broadcast at the correct level, having been pre-normalised in Audacity?

Yes, any audio player will have the correct playback level in this case.

RadioBOSS Radio Automation Software: http://www.djsoft.net

RADIOBOSS.FM Icecast/Shoutcast stream hosting.

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Yes, any audio player will have the correct playback level in this case.

 

Thanks djsoft, and thanks to all posters who have contributed to this discussion, it's given me a lot to think about regarding playout systems, though I'm glad it has cleared up the issue over A.G.C. and normalising songs. :)

 

I'm using ZaraRadio at the moment which seems to be great at what it does, not so much for cross-fading, give time, temperature, and news announcements, etc., but it does the job for the moment.

 

I understand most, if not all, playout systems double up a a music retrieval system for .mp3's, but not for vinyl and other formats. I used to use Cardbox Plus many years ago - has anyone got any recommendations for this as well?

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This is a kind off add-on to my original question, and so obvious, I never thought to ask it!

 

One of the brilliant features of ZaraRadio is a random play option, so it will play your songs in any order it chooses 24 hours a day. 7 days per week, but do either S.A.M. Broadcaster, RadioDJ, or any other automation software have this feature?

 

I know they both have 24/7 automation, but this normally means playing A, B, C, and D, in rotation, in ZaraRadio, you could get A, B, C, D in one hour then C, B, D, A, in another.

 

I'm assuming they do, but I get the feeling it's not as quite as simple as it is in ZaraRadio of pressing the downward pointing arrow of a drop-down box and selecting "Random" and then pressing the play button - or is it?

 

Thanks for your help.

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