Suggestions for improving mAirList music import workflow? (Mainly checking/setting fade points)

Hi, I’m experimenting with mAirList again and I’m interested in any suggestions that experienced users might have for improving and speeding up the import of music to the database.

I have a lot of music I’d like to add but I’m finding the process slow. The main problem is the cue editing, in terms of making sure these are set correctly and then that they sound good.

While of course I understand cues should be checked manually, mAirList’s use of dB for the auto fade out doesn’t yield especially consistent results. I’ve played around and settled on 22dB or so for the fade out (higher sounds too much like a crash, lower fades too much and doesn’t have a radio sound), but it still often sounds bad, without significant tweaking per track, especially when other songs just cut right in on a vocal. I’ve actually found better automatic settings in old software like OtsAV, which seems to more specifically analyse the waveform and gets it right more often, meaning less playing around to fix it myself.

The other time-consuming element of setting the fade points is the desire to then test them. I cannot, as far as I can tell, easily test how the song sounds into another song wthout basically playing them or using another editor. With so many song combinations, like songs starting on vocals, quiet intros, sudden cut-in intros, etc, it’s very hard to be confident in anything I set manually.

The other niggle I find is that the cue editor window isn’t the best UI. I think one of the big niggles (the continued fade out when you move elsewhere in the waveform) has just been fixed for mAirList 7.x, but it’s difficult to use when compared to VirtualDJ, for example, where I feel I can much better visualise where the correct point is to cut out from.

I’m therefore wondering if anyone has any tips for improving this workflow and making it viable to actually import an entire library, if others for example did it another way or used supplementary software.

One thing I’ve wondered is whether there’s an external software maybe, even paid software, that can be used to process and manage these tracks, and can then feed the settings to mAirList. I know it’s possible to take cue information from the filename so the infrastructure is there, however is there software that will generally do a more analytical job of getting the fade points right, so there’s less need to tweak later?

Any other workflow suggestions are welcome to make adding music, especially an initial import, a less stressful process of trial-and-error. It’s very worrying to think that if I do get to a point of using mAirList for more than offline play-around, that I may be setting hundreds of terrible-sounding fades.

I’m afraid there’s no way to get pleasing results without manual editing the cue points. How and when stations cue is an important characteristic of how they sounds - imagine if all would sound the same because a of a algorithm that set all the cues and fades :wink:

Personally i’m using -15dB as my fade out point and it sounds good for “normal” titles of my mainly played 80s and 90s. But whenever there’s a cold/vocal end or some special acoustic behaviours you need a manual edit.

I imported around 2500 songs at the beginning and started mAirlist’s rotation and it definitely sounded better than a static “fade three seconds before the end of file”.

I’m now refining songs of my database when I recognize bad fades. Often I just need to delete the fade point and set a “start next”-marker to avoid fading into endings with vocals.

Yes, I understand that it’s a time consuming activity but (most) radio stations need to check the song informations, to declare the type of endings for scheduling purposes and have to setup ramps and hooks anyway.

And to be honest: It often needs no more than 15-30 seconds for each song to set all ramp markers, cues and fades for me, especially if you already know the song.

I agree, the GUI of the cue editor looks to me like a WIN 3.1 application compared to other software. But it works fast and like intended - and that may be the most important thing for most users.


Well, let me ask you in some provocative way: If you refuse to deal with the programme’s content in any way, why do you bother to run a broadcast station at all? We call these operations editorial tasks, which is something you have to use your your brain with. And there just isn’t any automation to undertake this in place of. And never will be. (Gladly.)

Editing the songs’ cue points gives your programme your personal flavour. If you leave this to some auto-gizmo-thingy you are sawing off the branch you are sitting on, making your station obsolete. You may want to hear Spotify instead.


The main thing about the Cue Editor that is annoying me permanently is the zoom function focusing on the center of the whole audio. It rather should focus on the playback position or, at least, on the center of the waveform window.


Perhaps one of the issues I am facing is that it’s very hard to find tutorials or guides to where the best point is to fade out from when you check. It’s probably second nature to a lot of people, but I find it’s very easy to get it wrong when doing it manually.

I know to not set the fade out in the middle of a vocal line, although on some tracks there’s no way to do that, but other situations are trickier. I think what I find hardest is getting the fade out point right when the song has its own gradual fade out, not setting it too soon so it sounds like it crashes, and not setting it so late that the music gets too quiet. All of this takes more than 15-30 seconds and makes me feel I need to check tracks with other tracks. The end result is that it’s a fairly laboured process.

It’s a shame that no YouTuber or blogger has never made a general detailed tutorial on how to set the fade points on various types of track, such as finding the optimum point on long faded-out tracks, handling slow-building faded intros, handling guitar feedback outros, etc. I’m sure this would be useful to people using other software, not just mAirList.

I’m not sure how mAirList itself could improve this process, of course. Improving the UI of the window would help a bit. Some sort of built-in tool to easily test fade outs with another song, rather than just having the test button that jumps to the fade point, would also be a nice idea. So you could in settings pick a song in the library to use as a test track, and then press a “test with song” button when editing any given track, and hear how that would sound. It would take away the hassle of basically playing songs in mAirList itself to hear how they sound.

I’m surprised that people get fade out points like -15dB to sound good because that always sounds like a horrible crash to me. I ended up with -21dB as anything more aggressive just sounded bad almost all of the time. This is always tested into another song, though, so unless other people only ever mix into jingles and so on, which may sound better in those situations? Or unless there’s another setting that affects how things fade.

Yes, because that depends on your personal style. Like with any DJ doing live gigs, of course.

First: A lot of (radio suitable) songs have repeating refrains at the end where you easily could set a fade out.

I don’t know what type of music you want to play in your station but a lot of songs uses the same schemata of verse - bridge - refrain - repeating refrain.

May i ask if you have any experience as a host / Radio DJ / Gig DJ? Because then you would just listen to it and set the fade out where you would do it by hand everytime you’re playing manually. That’s just experience based and some sort of feeling for the right moment.

TBH… this sounds like a member of a generation that wants other people to do their work in general so they don’t have to and just can participate without lots of own effort.

As stated by me and @Tondose it depends on your style and how YOU want YOUR station sounding…

And I bet you’ll get more experienced hour by hour doing this - like we all did as radio hosts or DJs over months and years.

Generation point proved? :wink:

You can, of course, use the mix editor to test different songs (if it’s available in your mAirlist edition). Or just listen to a test playlist. We all listen our own stations and once and there stumble across songs after editing that could need some improvements :wink:

As this may be a good idea for a beginner’s software, mAirlist is intended for professional users. The main target group of the software doesn’t need this feature b/c they are able to set most fade out points by experience (like described at the beginning).

mAirlist offers different kinds of normalization routines. I’m using EBU128 with a -23db Loudness. mAirlist often detected the -15dB some seconds right after the song’s own fade-out started…

Example “Mike Oldfield - Moonlight Shadow”
Bildschirmfoto 2022-05-18 um 17.23.45

Example “Shalamar - The Second Time Around”
Bildschirmfoto 2022-05-18 um 17.26.27

Example “Taylor Dayne - Can’t get enough of your love”
Bildschirmfoto 2022-05-18 um 17.24.27

So that’s exactly how I would kick in the next song manually as a DJ or radio host to avoid unwanted silence or a too low noise floor between songs without talking.

That may depend on your normalizing settings…

Building an own radio station is hard work. There’s no easy way and no one will do the work for you. No software on the market will do (and, by the way, there were times not so long ago where no auto cue / fade-settings were available and we had to edit EVERY song before we could play it in a rotation, not speaking about CD/Vinyl-based playouts)…

There are none. Period. The way you should go for it is experience: Trying and trying, one song after the other. It is helpful to have a mixing console at hand – that is how we have begun, playing thousands and thousands of records of the most various kind, one after the other. If you have the slightest sense of musical feeling you will do better with every following record. Set attention to the timing, the measure, the beat, whatever you might call it. Set some attention to the words, too.

At some point in time I was able to run flawless transitions live with the Technics 1210 and fader start. These experiences are helping enormously with setting correct cue points.

This is the point: You cannot transmit experience by watching some video. You will have to work it out yourself. These skills do reflect a craftsmanship.

Fine. But try to get rid of the theory in your head. Feel it. (I do not repeat myself. I do not repeat myself!)

Not at all. It’s you who’ll have to improve. mAirList is – pardon me – nothing else like dumb tooling.


Mairlist fade out routines don’t bother about normalisation but take the nominal level into respect.

But why do you want to set fade out marks on a song that is fading already? A start next alone does the trick, usually. (You see: Lots of different ways to get it all done. Flavour.)

Usually is the keyword here. Today‘s songs may have a stronger fading made for radio playback but in my datase there are so much songs from the 80s and 90s with really smooth fade-outs.

And if you have a three second audible fade-out playing underneath a softly starting title or a vocal intro it really needs some restrictions.

Although there are songs where I set a „start next“ and then a fade out after 1-2 seconds. That really sounds like a manmade transition.

Btw my standard fade time is set to 1700ms.

@Kati The point for me is:

If you have no experience

  • hire someone who does and pay him equally for his knowledge
  • build your own experience by trial-and-error.

I“m a self taught freelancing photographer in my main job. No one showed me how things worked, I had to learn it the very hard way to make money for my living.

25 years later there’re novice photographers often asking me for help. But unfortunately they aren’t interested in basics to find their own way by improving and testing. They want me to tell them how to setup flashes, what kind of lenses to use and what settings the camera needs for that one specific upcoming shooting.

No offending but for me there’re slightly parallels here with your question… :nerd_face:

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Salut a tous alors je suis français, et pour répondre Katie, pourquoi ce processus n’est pas automatisé, c’est simple qu’il faudrait investir dans une “IA” ( Intelligence Artificiel), car chaque titre est different, alors oui c’est un travail long et fastidieux mais nécessaire.

Traduction :slight_smile: Hello everyone so I’m French, and to answer Katie, why this process is not automated, it’s simple that you would have to invest in an “AI” (Artificial Intelligence), because each title is different, so yes it It is long and tedious but necessary work.

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