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Old 16th September 2013, 05:35 PM   #1
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Default School Radio Solution - Please help asap.

Hey,

So I need some help with a dilemma at work.

Essentially I work in a school and we have an internet Radio Setup installed which consists of a basic Mixing Desk with;

A rack style, 2-disc cd player on the first two channels,

2 Mic inputs,

And four other faders ( Red, Blue, Green and Yellow ) which matched some software installed on the PC ( which was provided by the company who installed all the gear ).

Essentially, whatever song you load into the green cart on the PC-radio software, plays out through the green fader on the desk. Pretty straight forward.

However, the PC has gone bang hard drive / mobo smoked ( cover has ran out on all the equipment ) and now we need to work out a new solution to get the radio back up and running.
I'm thinking, do I replace the PC and hook it up to the current mixing desk until it decides to die aswell, or do I setup a new system from the ground up.

Being more of a music producer / Club DJ person, a lot of this multichannel soundcard stuff evades me. I have a USB mixing desk at home for my vocal recordings and input / output recording to PC, however when it comes to multi-track soundcards, I would like some help with what I need.

I'm aware I need a new computer with some sort of multi-output Soundcard that lets you have four carts with music loaded, essentially just like a radio station. But i'm kinda lost with which type to buy and will it work in the way I want it to.

I'm pretty sure the current card that was used was connected via Parallel port? I may be wrong but it looked like it. Does this sound about right.

Any input on this would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 16th September 2013, 06:41 PM   #2
dmills is offline dmills  United Kingdom
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Find out what is in there at the moment, the card might be fine.

It will not be a parallel port (except possibly for fader start inputs), but might be something like a delta 1010 which uses a D type connector to a breakout box (A very, very common card for low end radio).

Lots of delta1010 out there at the low end as well, which tend to do fine.

Depending on budget and what the cart wall software is, the AudioSciences boards are very common in radio installations, for all that at the cheap end a USB7.1 card can get you 4 stereo outputs (unbalanced line however).

A big part of the deciding factor will be what you are running as a playout system, as not all of them will work with all sound cards, and you sometimes encounter things like that system Clyde brodacast was selling a few years back where actually all the work is done in the PC, totally unlike a conventional broadcast setup.

You need to figure out what you are going to be running software wise first, as you probably do not want to have to re-import thousands of hours of audio to a new system, let alone deal with setting segue markers and dayparting rules for everything all over again.

I am guessing that the mixer is probably an airmate or similar, which are fine and are easily replaced if it eventually dies, as it is you just have a dead automation playout computer, no big deal and easy to sort (For all that the licensing for the automation suite MAY be the most expensive bit to sort out, depends on the vendor).

If you are looking at replacing the automation system software (Think carefully this is a big commitment), and have someone around with Linux knowhow, Rivendell Rivendell Project Home Page is solid and is a free download (It also knows how to import from the libraries of quite a few other systems so you avoid having to re enter all the metadata).

HTH.

Regards, Dan.
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Old 16th September 2013, 06:54 PM   #3
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Thanks Dan. Essentially the gear was from a company called psquared and the software was provided by them, it's designed to work with the desk.... Well, the Whole solution was in place by this company even the pc which basically caught fire.

It's basically down to me to come up with a radio solution. I know replacing the desk could be a big job so im going to evaluate it all carefully before I do anything.

The hard drives are smoked anyway so I'm going to have to re do the jingles. Nothing was backed up because its the only pc in the school not on our network.
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Old 16th September 2013, 07:08 PM   #4
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I Suppose I have the option of getting a new pc and just replacing the unit and hope p2 give us the software again. Then link it back up with the desk. Or do a new solution.

It definitely is a d type connector I just looked. If p2 give me the cart software would you, in this position, just replace the pc unit and re build it?
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Old 16th September 2013, 07:23 PM   #5
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Sorry I also should have added the pc was a windows 7 machine with p2 software running. It's like a four, coloured music system nout too complicated. I did notice windows like, detects 1/2, then a 3/4 then a 5/6 and a 7/8 if I remember right. Suggesting windows detects the multiple output capabilities of the card.

Either way, I think tomorrow I'm going to get a pc from my office and test the sound card in the smoked machine.
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Old 16th September 2013, 08:43 PM   #6
dmills is offline dmills  United Kingdom
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Myriad I assume?

Assuming you have one of their studio packages (seems likely) probably at a guess with their SRM mixer (which, good news) will interface with just about any standard kit, so no immediate need to replace it even if you go for something else, and assuming you can still sort out the myriad license details there is probably no real reason you cannot just replace the PC (Put a backup strategy in place this time for both the audio and the database files).

You should have the software license keys for myriad somewhere, they are the sort of things school administrators tend to hang onto as it is not a cheap package.

Regards, Dan (Ex Broadcast automation engineer).
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Old 16th September 2013, 09:14 PM   #7
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Thanks Dan. Yes Myriad, that's right. The desk is only two or three years old, even though it is a bit battered. Kids don't appreciate stuff. I would have had it all backed up if it was up to me but all of it was installed a few years before I became the media and audio technician so naturally, it's all been out of my hands until now. If anything its a blessing in disguise because the pc is crap anyway and full of junk. Will be a worthwhile refresh to install myriad on a clean build.

So assuming the card is shagged, should I just get a delta 10/10 and connect it up, re install myriad and bobs your uncle ?
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Old 16th September 2013, 10:29 PM   #8
dmills is offline dmills  United Kingdom
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It usually does not go quite that easily, Windows and drivers are after all involved....

The card probably is not shagged, they are usually pretty robust, now finding a PC with an old school PCI slot.....

Check the Psquared web site for their current hardware reccomendations (I am a few years out of date), and I would strongly suggest that a broadcast automation PC should be solidly locked down, as in nothing installed except that required to handle the core task of running the automation suite.

In particular the kids should not be able to install anything and there should be no web browser, that alone will cut out about 90% of the sillyness.

Broadcast automation is a classic case where the computer should not be viewed as a general purpose machine, far better to have a single purpose box that is only used for this one thing.

Regards, Dan.
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Old 17th September 2013, 06:50 AM   #9
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Exactly what I was going to do Dan. As I say, this was all there way before I got there so I will be making some changes. Having said that the machine was in a sealed cab and as I say, separate from the network. When I said loads of crap on it I meant, unorganized audio files on myriad. It was just messy.
Regarding connecting the new pc, I am aware about the drivers and all the back ground changes, I just meant in general, should it work.
I should be able to get a suitable machine easy from my office , I'm also an I.T techy. we have loads of gear lying about, even if its just to test it.

Thanks for your input so far mate.
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Old 17th September 2013, 06:58 AM   #10
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In addition, I should mention given the fact the pc caught fire, and p squared have said they dont offer any hardware cover of any type for their gear and that basically, were on our own ( which is ridiculous ) as you can imagine going back to p2 for anything at the moment is going to be a tough task. The school are not happy. 2 year old gear setting on fire..... Dangerous. At most we'll try and get the software off them again or find our activation codes, but with regards to giving them any more money, you've got more chance of Birmingham City winning the Championship this season.
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