how to use the iTunes db?

Totally new user here, so I might be missing something.

I first downloaded the 3.x community edition. Its configuration utility doesn’t seem
to allow configuratoin of the database at all.
Then I downloaded the 2.2 trial. I used its configuration utility to set the database to iTunes, and
the “Test” button says it was ok.

But then going back to the main mairList GUI, I’m still lost. A lot of blank rectangles, and none
of them are populated from iTunes. All of the context menus (click right) and other open menus
seem to want either an individual audio file, or want to open a proprietary mairlist file (an album
or whatever).

So how do I get my iTunes playlists to show up?


Access to iTunes is provided through mAirList’s database layer. You need to click the arrow next to “Add” button above the browser area (at the right hand side of the main window) and add a “database” browser (to browse your archive) or “database search” browser (to perform a full-text search).

In mAirList 3, database support, including iTunes, is only available in Professional Edition and Personal Edition:

I have no idea what “black rectangles” you are talking about though.

Thanks; that worked; I now can browse my iTunes playlists!

By “blank rectangles” I mean the layout :(.
Rectangles 1 to 6, and A and B.
I’m sure for someone familiar with the app (or similar ones), it is obvious what
these are, but it isn’t to me. Unless I’m blind, I can’t find a basic intro
entitled “What Am I Looking At?” :slight_smile:
The online docs at seem to be gone.
The wiki seems to focus on the trees instead of the forest.

So unfortunately I’m kind of lost. I also don’t understand why the “auto” button
sometimes starts flashing red, or how the start/stop buttons there relate to
the start/stop buttons in a lower player rectangle.

The rectangles are the players. They can be loaded by dragging a file into them. The main players can also be automatically loaded as soon as you insert some files into your playlist, depending on the player configuration.

The “AUTO” and “ASSIST” buttons are to toggle between automation and assist mode. In assist mode, the DJ is supposed to start and stop the players manually, e.g. using the separate start/stop/pause/etc. buttons in the players (but it’s also possible to use hotkeys or other remote facilities for that). When you switch into automation mode, mAirList will automatically play the items from your playlist one by one, using all available players (or only one of them, whatever you prefer - can also be toggled in the config). In automation mode, the start, stop and next buttons next to the AUTO button are used to start or stop playback or fade to the next item.

When the AUTO button is red but not flashing, it means that automation is engaged but in “stopped” mode. Once you click the Play button, the button will start flashing, which means that the automation is now “playing”. Even if the playlist is empty, the button will flash - as soon as you drag a file into the playlist, it will be played.

The small players labeled “1” to “6” are the so-called cart players which are used to play jingles, IDs etc. They are independent from the playlist - you need to drag a file directly into them, use the buttons (or again, remote commands) to start or stop them, and later use the Close button to remove the file again.

Files can either be dragged from one of the browser windows (click “Add” to open a folder in the browser section) or from Windows Explorer. Just give it a try, it’s pretty straightforward once you got the idea.

I agree that there is a serious lack of documentation. I’m very busy implementing the remaining features for a stable v3 release, so I can’t do anything about it at the moment. Once v3 is released and stable, I will take the time to write a new manual.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Your questions, and the answers, will also be useful for anyone else looking for help in the forum. Part of the answers might later be copied into the manual.

Thanks a bunch Torben.

You explained rectangles 1 to 6.
As for rectangles A and B,
it seems they correspond to what is playing now, and what is next, respectively, in the playlist.

Some operations I found myself wanting to do but couldn’t:

  1. if I want quickly skip some material in a file, I didn’t see a slider for that. This would
    be to skip builtin intros in some files, for example. I would sometimes want to do this
    (in an emergency) while it is playing live. Other times I might want to do this for an
    upcoming file (say “B”). I guess this might be “cueing”? If I’m doing it for an upcoming
    file, then I’d want the audio to go to a secondary device while I work on setting the start point,
    so I don’t interfere with live audio.

  2. i don’t see a way to go backwards in the playlist. If for example I press the >| button
    which seems to go forward, by mistake, I can’t easily undo it?

  3. I expected the “cart” buttons 1-6 to automatically mute the live play in “A”, then resume “A”
    when the cart is done. But I guess not? I have to manually pause the “A”, then start the cart,
    then resume “A”? I’m sure that can’t be the way it is supposed to be done.

I discovered by accident that clicking on the leftmost icon in a playlist row gives a completely
different popup from clicking elsewhere on a playlist row. When would I use one or the other?

I realize you are busy hacking on 3.0, so you can consider this just fuel for the docs when
you get to it. Or fuel for some experienced customer to write an overview doc for you :slight_smile:


Hi mda, welcome to the mAirList forums.

Rectangles A and B are the main audio players, play an item in A while previewing in player B (if you have enough outputs on a soundcard). The other six in your layout are carts (instant access to jingles etc as mAirList is primary for use in Radio). btw:Once you move to a custom layout the number of players and carts is entirely up to you.

To answer your other queries.

  1. There is no slider to skip parts of the audio as you describe.

  2. You can move through a playlist in any order during live assist (in automation there would be no need)by highlighting the audio required and dragging it into an empty player (A/B). the >| button is standard fast forward, to skip through audio || is pause.

3.Carts will not mute the main players hence the need for a soundcard/soundcards with multiple outputs.

The popup you mention is the PFL player which is used for tagging audio with in/out cues (among others) to enable neat segues during automation and during live assist lets presenters talk up to the vocals.

Lots more to discover i suggest you look at the wiki:

It will give a better insight to mairList and radio than room here allows.

mAirList is designed to be used with a mixing console. A common setup would look like this:

First, you need a PC with multiple sound cards, or a single multichannel sound card offering 3 or 4 stereo outputs (e.g. a 5.1 card) - two outputs for player A and B, and one for the cart players all of which play on the same sound card. In mAirList’s configuration software, set the audio device configuration accordingly. (Note that mAirList 3.0 supports multichannel sound cards only in the paid versions.)

Each stereo output is connected to a separate fader on the console, so you have three faders “player A”, “player B”, “cart”. The mixing console is used to set the volume of the players as needed. This is why the main players keep their volume when you start a cart player - the DJ is supposed to that on the console. After all, it’s live assist :wink:

The players A and B are used to broadcast the music files one by one (which was loaded into the playlist). If your desk offers remote start (all radio desks and some DJ desks do), you can even wire it to the PC (there are multiple options available, e.g. using a USB gamepad) and make mAirList start the players instantly as you open the faders on the desk. No need for a mouse or keyboard anymore. Jingles, IDs, etc. can either be inserted into the playlist, or you can use the cartwall to play them on the third fader.

Cueing is done by using the “PFL” feature. There are two ways to perform PFL: You can either load the item into a player and start that player in PFL mode (clicking the small “headphones” icon in the bottom left corner), or you can double click the item to bring up its Properties dialog - there’s an embedded player on the last tab page, sometimes referred to as the “PFL player” or “Extra PFL player”. As you already noticed, clicking a playlist item’s icon brings up the Properties dialog and starts PFL instantly. That’s just a shortcut, which can be disabled in the config.

The PFL output of all players, including the embedded PFL player, can be routed freely among the available sound cards. Have a look at the “audio devices” page in the configuration software, it’s pretty straightforward.

During PFL playback, the “PFL cue dialog” pops up which is use to set the various cue markers (cue in, cue out, fade out, etc.). If you want to skip part of a file, say the intro, this is the place to do it. Once an item is on air, there is no way to skip audio - this is something you would never do in a live situation anyway.

Automation mode is meant for unattended operation, although you can still click the Next button to skip a song manually. The automation system will start and stop your players just like a DJ would do manually. If you want the songs to be crossfaded, mAirList will only do so if the “start next” or “fade out” marker is set on the items. You can either do so manually, or you can enable the auto cue feature in the config (Misc -> File Import) and let mAirList set the marker automatically according to some dB threshold.

There is no way to go backwards in the playlist, but all played and deleted items are moved to the Recycle Bin which can be accesed from the browser, so you can easily bring back an item which you deleted accidently. You can also set the “number of items to keep in the history” in the configuration to, say, three, which means that a buffer of the last three items will be kept at the top of the playlist, displayed in gray and with a trash can symbol - for reference, but also to restore them easily if needed (click “Recycle” in the context menu).

This is how all major stations are operated - at least here Europe. I heard that in the US, you rather have some sort of “automation” mode without separate faders even in live situations - is that true?

Thanks everyone, I think I’m getting a grasp on the big picture now.

My experience with “real” radio (versus internet-only) is limited, but I’ve seen both
models. There are some stations that have no live programming; they
are entirely computer driven and have no use for external sources or multiple audio
channels coming out. They just rotate through top-40 or whatever, with an
occasional station id.

Yes, the stations you describe at the end are ‘fully automated’ stations, and this is something mAirList is particularly good at!

Once you have ‘tagged’ your audio as Tony described above (basically marking the fade points), mAirList will smoothly segue between the tracks. mAirList can automatically set these for you, based on a target level which you decide and set up in config. When you load a track for the first time, mAirList will look ‘back from the end’ of the track until it finds your target level (e.g. -30 dB) and will set a cue point there. Next time that track is played in Automation, and that time poit is hit, the next tack will start and the first one will be smoothly faded out (again, you can set the fade time—like almost EVERYthing in mAirList—in the config.).

Naturally this mode requires playlists to be set up in advance, and most stations of this type will prepare hour-long playlists, which mAirList can load automatically each hour, using its scripting features. Playlist prep can be done manually, but most stations use a proper music scheduling package. A good and relatively cheap one is StationPlaylistCreator, but if you have $000s to spend, you can buy something like RCS Selector. If you have no money at all ;), look at things like Amazing Clockwheel and Bleu Canard software’s scheduler programs. In essence, you create ‘hourly’ M3U files which mAirList loads.

‘Rotation’ of music, and scheduling, is really a topic of its own: as you will discover if you start researching it online! :slight_smile:

Hope that helps?