[RDP] Which mixing desk - other HW?

Dan Mills dmills at exponent.myzen.co.uk
Tue Oct 23 20:22:08 EDT 2007

On Wed, 2007-10-24 at 01:25 +0200, Marcel Hecko wrote:
> Hi guys,
> we are starting a new radio station in Bratislava - Slovakia. Since we
> are in very early stages of designing the whole system I really need the
> most information you can give me. Refferences, case-studies. We want to
> make the radio fully open source based using minimal commercial software
> and hardware solutions. We have experience with Aurdino boards,
> Procesing, PureData and programming experience and we also administer
> several Linux based servers, however we have very limited knowledge of
> how to run radio - especially from the hardware side.

First (and in some ways hardest) question: Budget!
Second: Revenue model? Making single station radio pay for itself is
HARD, and I don't think the networks have it all that much easier (Fred
would know more about that).

> Is there a way to wire RD to hadrware mixing desk and control the
> software from the desk? (automatically play song upon sliding up the
> slider, volume control...)

Of course, you will need a GPIO card in the computer (Most broadcast
desks have contact closure interfaces for all sorts of useful things),
or a suitable set of GPIs on a serial interface box, and a multi channel
sound card (or cards). As for volume control, that is the desks job!
There are ways to make RD do it, but if you go entirely in the box, what
happens when the server crashes?

>  - this should have hw-sw and sw-hs
> communication. If yes, which desk do you prefer? 

What in the broadcast desk line can you get serviced over there, in the
UK market I would look to Soniflex, Alice and Soundcraft in no
particular order for an analogue based station, but there are others.

> Connections to the ON
> AIR sign, connections to the external CD DECKS?

No reason not to switch the on air sign with a gpo and a macro I
suppose, but most people over here use a dedicated offer/accept logic
box for this as that still works even if the computers are offline.
CD decks generally take a fader start signal as a dry contact closure
which any broadcast desk can generate. You would connect the audio from
the CD decks to the desk, not to rivendell (well, I suppose you could,
but it is a bit roundabout).

> We want to use 2 screens for DJ - both of them touch-sensitive - is RD
> designed to support multi-screen environment and which touch screen do
> you recommend?

I would run rdairplay on one (the main log interface), and put rdpanel
on the other for a cart wall style interface. You would probably have to
run two X servers (one for each screen) to keep the touch geometry
straight as the X sever can be a right pain in this regard. This is more
X server then RD however.

> We want to stream and archive playout via darkice and dedicated Linux
> set-up with NAS.

Not a problem, plenty of folks doing that. Fred has recently committed
automated podcast support which may be interesting (never used it

> Can you please direct me the right direction? 

What is the licensing regime like other there (Both for the transmission
gear and the copyright clearances for radio?).  This varies widely so I
am mostly just curious. 

The BBC actually published a book on how to set up a small radio studio
some years back that may be worth tracking down (it will be a bit out of
date, but advice on acoustics and studio design will not have changed


Regards, Dan.

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