[RDD] Configuring Jack For v2.10.2 Appliance

Chuck dj.chuck.w at googlemail.com
Sun May 24 19:22:36 EDT 2015

On Sun, 24 May 2015 08:56:27 -0400
drew Roberts <zotzbro at gmail.com> wrote:

> A few thoughts on your setup Chuck, <

  Thanks much for those tips.  At the moment Rivendell is not
implemented yet as the main playout system.

> You may want to let jack use the ESI as the main card and do the alsa_out
> trick with the onboard card for your cue feed. <

  So far, I have not been able to access the ESI card with alsa from
either JACK or Rivendell without using "alsa_out" to make it appear in
JACK.  But at present, RD is not running on the machine that would be
the main studio playout.

> So, if I get this setup right, you are doing your stereo processing before
> hitting your board? If so, is there a reason for this? <

  Correct.  The reason is that this is strictly a test/demo/training
setup, and Stereo Tool is in this chain just to mimic the processing of
our airchain, so it sounds somewhat closer to what we air.  The
standalone Stereo Tool adds a full second of latency, which would be a
problem in live situations.  However, for those who stream 100%
unattended, it could be an option.

  Our station has been on-air for about 7 years, and started with only
CD players and a turntable.  Unattended operation was done via 'relay
play' on a couple CD machines set up to do that playing MP3's on CD's
(Stanton equipment).  After about 6 months, unattended playout was moved
to Winamp, where it has been stuck for the duration to now.

  We have several blocks of paid programming during the week, and the
current setup requires attended operation during those periods.  I am
the one pushing Rivendell, as programming demands are increasing to the
point that we cannot realistically staff a board op for the growing load
of paid material.  When proper automation steps in, processing will be
our normal airchain and JACK and Stereo Tool will not be a part of the
playout system.

> If so, and if you bring the Omnia into play, will it sit between the sound
> card and the board? <

  Good question.  We already know that a growing part of our daytime
audience listens to streaming at work.  At present, the stream comes off
a feed before PPM encoding (for a really complicated reason but it
eliminates a computer).  We're pretty sure we are losing anybody with a
Nielsen meter listening to the stream at work.  But then, as a non-comm,
we eventually want to be able to run commercials separately on the
stream, so we would again lose the PPM encoding if we split from the
PPM-encoded audio channel for those.  We have measurable ratings, but
they are admittedly not large, so every little bit of PPM juice helps.
Any brainy ideas on how to handle all that would be greatly appreciated.

> I may have an idea that would let you hide Stereo Tool while it still lives
> on the same box. After I see the answers to the questions just above I will
> try and think it through more carefully and get back to you. <

  I'm from the creative side.  About half our volunteers are retired;
the other half still working.  Our currently employed tech types are,
however, in telecom and EE fields, not really radio.  The retired radio
engineers have been out of the loop for a good 5 to 10 years and are
unfamiliar with the move to digital and automation, although they knew
it was coming.  I have heard some pretty good processing over the years,
but from my side (creative), I have never believed stacking a bunch of
processors in series right before the transmitter was the best way to
get the best sound.  Why should microphones be run through a channel
strip before the board, then processed once again before the
transmitter?  Seems to me that different sources require different
processing--mics being one source, music another, produced spot content
yet a third.  But then that calls for submixing (which we could do in
TV, but I have never seen in local radio), and then Rivendell would have
to be able to play music and speech tracks on different channels.

  Anyway, I am super-impressed with Stereo Tool.  Orban has an
identifiable sound, our Omnia One has one but less distinctive, while
Stereo Tool increases detail but leaves behind no tracks of its presence
at all.  There is a guy near me, who built his own box with Stereo Tool
and a Marian Trace Alpha card and that is the only processing on one of
his stations.  Awesome sound.

  Thanks again for your thoughts on this.

--Chuck W.

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