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Can this replace a commercial playout system?

We currently have the following setup in 3 studios - 1 station A, 1 station B, 1 production/spare studio that services both


We're looking at replacing our commercial system, to do the following in all studios:

- play adverts (manually or via a playlist)

- play music, 1 song at a time or queue up multiple songs and have them play back to back (including stings jingles etc) - I think the Segue Editor enables this?

- run a show from a playlist (e.g. overnights, or a 2hr slot during the day), with ads and stings

- have a separate music library for station A and B, with the audio stored on the workstations in those studios (so if the network goes down, music and ad playback won't be disrupted)

- software in the production studio that will allow remote management of both the station A and station B systems

- music, ads and prefade on separate outputs (so a list of usb or pci-e soundcards that are supported would be useful)


Hello Dave,


PlayIt Live can do at least most of what you list.


The fundamental question is how much support you need behind your playout system.


If cost is the primary driver and you have sufficient resources to configure PlayIt Live then it is stable and works well and does support ASIO multi channel sound cards under Windows.


From my experience, the weakest link is the sound card driver (supplied by the sound card firm) but if that is stable PlayIt Live can run for weeks or months.


If you are talking about a system for a substantial business where playout problems will cause significant losses I would get a commercial system where they supply all the hardware and offer a support contract and manage the computer configuration.


For a less "business oriented" system PlayIt Live is fine.


After a little more thought Dave,


What PlayIt Live doesn't have is a neat way of getting "fader starts" or "physical buttons" to trigger player starts. This may or may not be a problem for you.


As for sound cards, the two that I have tried that I would recommend you look at are the ESI UDJ6 ( http://www.esi-audio.com/products/udj6/ ) and the Hercules DEEJAY Trim 4 & 6 ( https://www.hercules.com/uk/legacy/bdd/p/102/deejay-trim-4-6/ ) both of which have decent (and seemingly stable) ASIO drivers.


I haven't tried it but I suspect the ESI Gigaport HD Plus ( http://www.esi-audio.com/products/gigaporthd+/ ) is OK as well.


The music location is a local drive for PlayIt Live (or at least somewhere that seems to be a local drive) and it isn't really a "client - server" system, it all wants to be on one machine.


Thanks Mark


Have you tried it with any balanced output soundcards? Being broadcast, this is our preferred option.


I've been looking at the PlayIt Manager option - that looks like the best way of doing it (have PlayIt Live and the AudioStore on the PC in the studio, and use a web browser to upload tracks and manage content using a browser over the network. Is a trial licence for this available? I think the only way to decide if it can do everything is for me to run up an installation at the station (using basic PCs, just as a proving ground) with our Director/Ops Manager (plus another contract has experience of this system).

Hello Dave, From the look of it, PlayIt Manager can be yours for £10 a month so that would give you a trial at modest cost. To get maximum value from the month get the basic setup working first. I've not tried "professional" multi channel audio cards but I'm fairly sure you are essentially asking about the quality of the ASIO driver for your chosen card. If you have existing hardware (old playout systems often have the Digigram PCI card) see if that has an ASIO driver although as I recall drivers were a continuing issue in the earlier versions of Windows. In the lower end of broadcast (Sonifex, D&R etc.) line level is often phono sockets now and the upper end AES (or perhaps AES67 or Dante) so line level balanced is a bit "legacy" now. If you have one of the old workhorse desks such as the Alice you may well want balanced although a phono to xlr lead might suffice.

Hello Mark, Hope you're well.


Just a follow up from Dave's messages to you, does your software allow the following:


- Can the software be used in 'presenter' mode rather than in 'automation' - We play songs manually without any automation.

- Can we specify hook part of songs? (As a preview for songs) 

- Can songs be altered in volume after they have been uploaded on the software?

- Is your software compatible with traffic software, Nachural?

- Can we manually create playlists for overnights?


Thanks.


Hello Raj


It's not "my" software it's Jason's, but leaving that aside.


- Can the software be used in 'presenter' mode rather than in 'automation' - We play songs manually without any automation.


Yes, the live assist can handle various methods for starting the next track including a keypress.

- Can we specify hook part of songs? (As a preview for songs) 

No, you would have to make clips yourself, that would be better in my view anyway.

- Can songs be altered in volume after they have been uploaded on the software?

You can do that by playing out to separate mixer channels. Philosophically, your songs should be "finished" when you load them into the playout system. There is a processing plug in at the player level but ideally your tracks should not need further level adjustment.

- Is your software compatible with traffic software, Nachural?

There isn't an interface to a commercial scheduling system.

- Can we manually create playlists for overnights?

You can either have rules based rotations (so generate a playlist from the available tracks) which can differ by the hour or potentially stack up a big list of tracks to play overnight. What you can't do is import a playlist created by a different method (say iTunes) into the system.