newbie here / many questions / setting up webstation ...


I’m Dirk Renders from Belgium, I used to be a radio-guy, but now I work in an advertising agency.

I’m tinkering with the demoversion of mAirlist because a client (not a radiostation) of us asked to investigate setting up a webstation for him (for branding a new product).

As I have my roots in radio, I’m the guy they put on the project …

So I would have to install mAirlist on a server (in the cloud) and have it running playing songs and commercials every day, encoding it into a stream and pushing it over a Shoutcast server into cyberspace ! :slight_smile:

First of all, I noticed that there is a streaming encoder built in mAirlist, but I don’t see an “MP3Pro” encoder (to bring down the bandwith while preserving the quality), should I change something to use this ?

Furthermore I noticed that we can make playlists with Powergold or SPL … a few questions on that :

Should I use the M3u format and uploading the M3u files to the cloud server, so mAirlist can play them, or use the database ? what’s pro, what’s con ?

If I don’t use the database, how should I store the different cue points of the songs ?

What happens if there is a song in the playlist (M3u) and the song isn’t on the server (yet), will it stop, or will it move on to the next item in the playlist ?

Same with " empty containers" … ?

I ask about the “containers” because we need to schedule the commercials with a different scheduler, so what’s the best way to “merge” the Powergold musiclog with the “traffic” spotlog ? These containers ?

Should we merge them before uploading to the cloud server for playout, or can mAirlist handle this, so we upload the musiclogs and the spotlogs and mAirlist takes care of it ? (we would prefer this because they would be scheduled by different people, 1 for music, 1 for traffic)

can this be “last munite”, or does it need to be done before the playlist gets loaded into mAirlist for this hours playout ?

We would make a commercial block after each song, so it’s possible to schedule commercials after every song, if needed … if no spot is scheduled in a certain block, mAirlist should ignore it and just move on to the next item in the playlist …

Every hour mAirlist should load the next hour schedule, but NOT interupting songs for a Top Of Hour jingle, we don’t want to interrupt songs for that (so it should “play next from here” or something)

Another thing, can I split up the output to different streams and use the “regional containers” to aim certain commercials to certain streams ?

many more questions, but with these I can start experimenting and setting it up …

As you see my terminology is still a bit rusty, it’s been years, but the general knowlegde is still there :slight_smile:

if all works well, I hope the client likes it and gives a green light to the project !



Hi Dirk, and welcome here :slight_smile:

So many questions in your first post - I will try to answer all of them, but if something remains unclear, don’t hesitate to ask.

mp3/mp3PRO format: The main issue about MP3 is patents/licensing. To avoid the really high royalty fees, the default package of mAirList does not come with any MP3 technology; for playback, the MP3 ACM decoder installed in the Windows system is used. For encoding, no encoder is shipped at all, but the user may choose to download and install LAME if he thinks that patents are not an issue in his country or environment. LAME does only support standard mp3, not mp3PRO. There might be a commercial mp3PRO encoder available that is compatible with BASS (the audio library used by mAirList), but I would have to investigate that.

m3u vs. database: Generally, to make your program sound good, you will want to have cue points on your tracks, in particular the Fade Out cue point. (Without Fade Out set, mAirList will play the song until the very end before it starts the next one.) When you insert a track into mAirList, the relevant cue points will be detected automatically (Auto Cue). This takes some time though, because the file needs to be scanned and analyzed. When you load a whole hour or day worth M3U file, you will notice a very long delay as all files are being scanned by Auto Cue.

When you set up a mAirListDB and import your audio library into it, Auto Cue will only be performed once, namely during the initial import into the database. The cue points are then stored in the database, and when you open an M3U file, mAirList will look up the cue points in the database, which is much faster than performing Auto Cue again. Moreover, you can manually adjust the cue points if Auto Cue produced a non-optimal result.

As an alternative to the database, you can use MMD files which are small XML files stored along with the audio files that contain the metadata. However, since the introduction of mAirListDB, MMD files haven’t been so important anymore.

To conclude, even if you plan to load the M3U files generated by Powergold directly into the mAirList playout module (see below), it is favorable to register all audio files in a mAirListDB first to speed up the process and avoid delays.

Ok, now what about the import? I assume your music (Powergold) and traffic scheduler software produce an M3U file for each day or hour. How do you load and play these automatically in mAirList? Generally, there are two solutions:

  1. Load them directly into the playout module. This is achieved by using a naming convention like yyy-mm-dd-hh.m3u, and an event using the “Load and play playlist” action and variable substitution. However, merging the traffic log into the music log is not trivial here. You will probably need a custom script for that.

  2. Import the playlists into mAirListDB first, and then let the playout module grab the next playlist from the database each hour. mAirList 4 offers a new feature called “playlist categories”: You can import music and traffic (or other content) into seperate “sub-playlist” firsts, and then let mAirList’s Mini Scheduler generate the master playlist from these sub-playlists. For example, you can set up one sub-playlist for the music, and one sub-playlist for each ad break. Then for the master playlist, you tell the scheduler to pick the first item from the music log, then all items from the first ad sub-playlist as a container, then the second item from the music log and so on. This solution is very elegant, although it requires some manual work for the import (merely selecting the playlist files for the next x days clicking OK here and there), it cannot be fully automated.

In essence, I’d say that it all depends on how “automated” your station is supposed to be. If you only want to upload the M3U files and let everything else happen automatically, the first solution is probably the way to go. If you want to have some manual influence (but also manual work), the second option is better. The custom scripts can be written by us as a paid service.

Regarding the other questions:

Missing files: mAirList will just skip them.

Loading the next playlist without interrupting the current song: can be achieved using “soft fixed times”

Regional streams: Yes, that’s possible in mAirList 4 using the Regionalization add-on. You can set up a number of regions (up to 255), add content for them using Region Containers, and then, for every Shoutcast server connection, pick which regions should be audible on that stream (usually the non-region master signal plus one of the regions).


Can I recommend that you do NOT use MP3Pro. It’s really be replaced in high quality/low bandwidth by AAC+. Not many players can handle MP3pro natively, in fact even Winamp required a plugin that broke AAC+ as I recall. Very few stations now use it.

While any MP3 player can decode the MP3Pro stream, they will get a lower quality audio feed as they “extra” bits in the Pro variety do need the proper decoder.

AAC+ is a whole new issue again due to licensing…

if my mAirlist is running on an internet-server (in the cloud, as we say), how do I PFL the songs for importing in the database (e.g. setting hooks and “start next” cues) ?

can I do this on my home machine and then upload them to the server ?

also other database maintenance and playlist creation … can I do these jobs on my home machine and then “sync” to the cloud ?

what is the best way to control a “cloud” mAirlist is basically the question …