Using mAirList in Assist Mode

I have been playing about with mAirList a lot recently, and it sounds great in automation but I was just wondering how mAirList is designed to be used in Assist mode.

For example, if you wanted two songs back to back with a sweeper inbetween while you nip to the toilet. I have found that if you click on “auto” when your in assist mode, half way through an item, it wont continue onto the next item itself, instead it stops because you havent clicked the play button on the auto menu.

The reason I say this is because in my local radio station I am used to using a peice of software called Myriad. They solve this problem simply by putting a button next to each item, so if the item has a red dot it will stop after it, if it has a green dot it will continue onto the next item.

I would find a feature like this very useful as mAirList fading into the jingle and the next song itself will sound a lot more slick than most presenters can do.

Is there any plans to have a feature like this in the future? It would be really useful and I think it would make it a lot more presenter friendly in assist mode as having to fire jingles and sweepers off at the right times manually sometimes just doesnt sound as great.

Many thanks

Ste Crook

Steve, I understand what you mean.

As you say, going AUTO while an item is playing will not do what you need, because you need to click AUTO PLAY—which will start the next item in the Playlist.

The workaround (or ‘trick’) is to only click the AUTO PLAY button while mAirList is idle—i.e. nothing is presently playing out. So when you plan to ‘take a break,’ you make sure your next few items are in the Playlist and then click AUTO. When your ‘pre-break’ track ends, you fade it out or whatever, THEN click the AUTO PLAY button to start the next item. You can then go off for your comfort stop.

When you return, you click AUTO STOP to fade out the final ‘auto’ item, then click ASSIST to ‘set the doors to manual’ again.

Perhaps there is a need for a new mAirList Config. option, so that when you click AUTO PLAY, mAirList will not automatically start a new item if any players are already playing out; instead, it will wait for any currently playing item to end before starting a new one. I don’t think there is already an option to do that?


I tried that here… it works fine. If you manually start a cart-deck in manual mode, and halfway through, you click Auto (or a keystroke that activates the AUTO ON or AUTO ON/OFF command), mAirList will continue until it runs out of items (or encounters a Stop marker).

As Cad says, you could just ensure that you always start items with the Auto Play button - there is also a “Break” option which can be triggered by a custom key, but this (as yet) has no visible status on the screen. This is similar to your stop/go icons on Myriad as mAirList will halt at that specific segueway only.

I tried that here... it works fine. If you manually start a cart-deck in manual mode, and halfway through, you click Auto (or a keystroke that activates the AUTO ON or AUTO ON/OFF command), mAirList will continue until it runs out of items (or encounters a Stop marker).

As Cad says, you could just ensure that you always start items with the Auto Play button - there is also a “Break” option which can be triggered by a custom key, but this (as yet) has no visible status on the screen. This is similar to your stop/go icons on Myriad as mAirList will halt at that specific segueway only.

Hmmm when I try it it doesnt do it itself unless I click the auto play button while nothing its playing, perhaps I need to make a keyboard shortcut to make it go into auto while in manual to get it to do that.

Perhaps the dot system that Myriad had would be a good feature for mAirList to include in the future.

Technically, mAirList already has it - You simply insert an Automation Stop marker in the playlist.

Technically, mAirList already has it - You simply insert an Automation Stop marker in the playlist.
Yeah, however really its not that friendly to other DJ's that dont know computers that well. Something visual would just be a little more user friendly.

This is something I also mentioned a while ago when mentioning the features in Wavcat Dualplay.

The break function has proved confusing to presenters who have a stack of audio in the playlist that have clicked auto.

The playlist has gone into auto but at times the presenter forgets to cancel auto and audio continues to play out under/over his v/o.

We would like to see the ability to chain audio in the playlist like the principle in Dualplay or Myriad so you can link together audio. Click auto and then only these linked items play. (Much like a cart stack).

That would probably require a third “Live Assist” mode - whereby in Live Assist, the scheduled stop-points are adhered to, and in Auto - they are not. This is how, for example, Master Control would operate - you typically schedule a stop marker on a song before an Ad Break, and when there’s a presenter in the studio, they operate in Live Assist - and overnights would be Auto mode.

Personally, I think it’s OK as it is - but the BREAK option really needs a place on the GUI (screen) as it’s impossible to see (at a glance) whether it’s been activated (or cancelled). As for stop-markers/points in the playlist - what’s so hard about 2 clicks… Insert-Automation Stop ? :wink:

I suppose the scheduled stop-points would be the sort of thing created in Torben’s new scheduler package - as that would almost certainly be able to handle/push-forward all the extended info that mAirList can handle within a file (stop/backtiming/special etc).

Trying to keep things simple for as many as possible, set the options required and play.

Inserting a Automation Break Point adds a mouse/key click to drop into auto mode and then the same to drop back into live assist.

All things that may get forgotten.

Much easier to link all the items beforehand and click play. Dualplay works like this, even letting you select the order in which the items play.

Migrating from this method for those not very computer wise is taking time.

These posting are now getting me confused. what im about to ask may be what is being said.

  1. Could we have an option so that we can insert an automation break file via a hotkey?

  2. Could we have it so that when a break is added you dont get the pop-up window, you instantly get the break in the playlist. Some people obviously like it this way so this could be an option.

  3. Could there be a way to make the break a seperate colour permanently in the config? currently you have to change all the different breaks colours via the properties pop up box.


Well, looks like Steve’s little ‘how do I?’ enquiry has become a full-blown Heated Debate!

Could someone please tell me: what is this BREAK option people are referring to? Is this a hotkey, some ‘hidden’ recent function, or just a good old-fashioned BREAK item in a Playlist? If the lattter, I don’t understand how that is ‘not visual’ in the GUI?

I think we have two distinct PsOV here: Charlie and I are used to sticking in BREAK points in playlists/schedules and/or clicking AUTO/ASSIST at the correct times, whereas Tony and Steve are used to/prefer software which allows/encourages you to set up a ‘chain’ of audio items which like a cart stack will play all those items and then stop.

Personally, I’ve only tried one system which allowed ‘item chaining’ and it drove me mental; it was thoroughly confusing and counter-intuitive, plus I could never work out what order I’d ‘instructed’ things to play out in. But for those who like that sort of thing, isn’t chaining one of the uses of this Containers feature in v2.1, or did I misunderstand that? In other words, isn’t a Container of n items treated as/played out as if it were a single item?


BREAK is a Hotkey action that halts the playlist during Automation at the end of the current item - However, there is no display/indication on the screen that it’s been triggered - So you have to have your wits about you when using it.

Cad - Yeah you pretty much understand it all but all I am trying to say is that Myriad has a little Circle next to every item in the playlist, when its green it means it will play the next item after it (and it will seague them together) if you click it it turns red, which means it will stop after it, and if you want it to continue you click the red dot during it and it will go green and continue.
That method of doing it that Myriad has means that you know what its going to do just by looking at it.

Just so you know, regarding the various modes, myriad has 3 types of mode:
Live - You have full control, if you green dot things it will continue, if you red dot it will stop.
Auto - ALL red dots become green and it will continue until a user puts it into live or unless it loads an hour thats tagged with a Live Assist Tag
Standby - It stands there looking pretty and just lets you play things in the carts.

I understand the break tag that mAirList contains makes it stop, but I feel its not as easy to rekognise break tags as the dots, with the dots you can just scroll down and click the items where you know you want to do a link.

Hope this makes it a bit clearer to some of you :slight_smile:

Oh yeah…the dots…
In case you wondered, if you delete an item and you have played the item after it the dot goes pink to say it wasnt played…on all the items you have played the dot goes blue…I think, or its something like that.
…Im sure you can see all the uses of that when your 5 mins short and are looking for any songs you have dropped in the previous hour !!

Hi Cad and all, please forgive if I have unintentionally would things up, the following also carries no such intent.

Containers are also confusing to use as its not a simple drag or click from the browser to make a container.

Instead it opens a file browser to add items.

Another failing is you cannot actual see what is in a container once its in the playlist (unless that’s something I have missed).

In Dualplay you can stack upto 5 items in any order you like (with each song title/artist displayed in the window)

Click or drag audio to player, once all 5 slots are full you ccan change the order they play in by clicking each order so items A-E could play A_C_D_B_E or any combination of chosing.

Click play and go for your break.

Our hr presenters have used this for 10 years or more, its hard moving away (due to soundcard issues) especially for those not regular PC users.

To Steve: Yes, I see what you mean. We did look at Myriad but a) it can only use WAV files and b) it insists on renaming ALL audio to nnnnnn.WAV and we frankly didn’t fancy that—a DB which forces renaming of files is a Very Bad Thing IMHO and also a somewhat painfully antiquated way to build a DB of items!

To Tony: I also see what you mean (and no offence taken BTW!). That said, can I tactfully add that if you are definitely changing from one system (Dualplay) to ‘something else,’ there will be lots of differences, no matter which playout system you eventually decide to use. I also appreciate that esp. for the less computer-literate, there will be a potentially major learning curve when you do so. As an ex-IT-trainer myself, my best advice is:

  1. Prepare a good cross-training course which emphasises the common features of the two systems (they both play music tracks, they both play jingles etc.) and only then move on to cover the practical differences in detail.
  2. Look at how presenters actually use the old system and come up with a ‘how-to’ list for the new system, covering all the things they do currently in Dualplay. Develop this in tandem with the more computer-savvy presenters to make sure it’s conprehensible and that you haven’t missed anything out.
  3. Ideally, have at least one ‘not on air’ practice PC system set up to look and work exactly like the on-air one and allow presenters lots of practice time with it. Again ideally, have a ‘guru’ on hand to help them out (but only if they make a mistake they can’t figure out, or if they get totally baffled): you want to let them learn and deduce things for themselves as much as possible, rather than spoon-feeding them or worse, doing a ‘look, let me show you, THIS is how to do it properly’ takeover bid >shudder< which will leave them feeling inadequate, disempowered, and hating the new system before it even goes live.

I hope that is of some help, and sorry if I’m teaching Granny how to suck eggs again! It strikes me that you will have potential problems like those regardless of the system you settle on to replace Dualplay, so the above is offered purely as (hopefully?) a helpful way forward for you to use or not as you choose.


Sorry that I have not been able to take part in this discussion, as I was away on vacation.

There are three different states/modes mAirList can be in. First, you can either be in ASSIST or AUTO. Second, being in AUTO mode, the automation can either be “enganged” or “playing/active”.

“Engaged” means that mAirList is not playing any item, and it is waiting for you to click the PLAY button (or issue the corresponding AUTOMATION x PLAY command). In the default config, the AUTO button will be displayed in red in this mode.

“Active” means that (at least) one item is playing at the moment. This is indicated by a flashing AUTO button (unless disabled in the config). While in “active” mode, mAirList will continue to process the whole playlist until it encounters an “Automation Break” item, or you issue an “AUTOMATION x BREAK” command. It will then fall back into “engaged” mode.

When you switch from ASSIST to AUTO while no player is active, mAirList will go into “engaged” mode. Otherwise, if at least one player is active while switching to AUTO, mAirList will automatically go into “active” mode. There is no need to click PLAY again then.

In assist mode, all players must be started and stopped manually. (Actually, it should rather be called “manual” mode than “live assist”.) There is no support for chaining specific items in assist mode at the moment. I have seen this feature in Zenon a while ago, and I find it very interesting, but I still need to figure out how to implement this in mAirList.

By the way, as of 2.1.38, you can hold Shift during drag&drop in order to create a container item on the fly.

Cad, many thanks for the advice and tips on how to teach new users of mAirList that are not so PC savvy.

Having a second PC is just how we are tackling this issue.

Tony, I’m delighted that you took my posting in the spirit it was intended.

It can be difficult to ‘persuade’ people from piece of software A to piece of software B in any walk of life, and much trickier when as you say some users are not very computer literate.

People will always try to cling for dear life to what they know and are familiar with :), so it’s usually necessary to emphasise what is the same before adding ‘and look at what extra stuff this new thing can do for you, compared to what the old thing did!’

I’ve seen a lot of otherwise good cross-training fail by starting from the well-meaning but wrong premiss of ‘Right everyone, forget that old thing, here’s a much better new thing …’ >shudder<. That approach just makes everyone frightened, nervous, and hostile: and worse, they will form a united front against the new software, often to the extent that the new thing gets, er, ‘dropped’ as a result.

Best of all is if you can get one of your ‘respected’ users onside quickly, and use him/her as a ‘product champion’ and/or ‘white knight’ to spread the gospel to, and reassure, everyone else. What we used to call the ‘Well, if Jimmy says it’s good, it can’t be all bad …’ method ;).

[THINKS: Wonder if I’ll ever persuade Charlie Davy that the correct spelling of segueway is segue despite the word being pronounced ‘segg-way’? ;)]