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Sound, soundcards, TV-tuners

What soundcards are supported by Digispot II?

Any soundcards that are available in Windows XP or are ASIO 2.0 compatible.
For Antex, Digigram and Marian cards API drivers can be used to access additional features.

What soundcards are recommended for rebroadcasting?

Producer name Description on producer's website approximate cost in Russia Analog input/output Digital input/output Mixer sound
(1-3)
Comments
ESI July@ http://www.esi-audio.com/products/julia/ ~5 000 р 1/1 bal jack 1/1 SPDIF + 2
Creative Labs SBLive/Audigy 1 parameters vary substantially from model to model
Marian Trace Alpha http://www.marian.de/en/products/trace_alpha ~9 000 р 1/1 bal jack 1/1 SPDIF + 2
Marian MarcX http://www.marian.de/en/products/marc_x ~14 500 р 1(+2)/1(+2) jack 1/1 SPDIF,
ADAT
+ 2 with ANX expansion plate(2 inputs, 2 output),
which is useful for own broadcasting, assymetric
Marian Trace PRO http://www.marian.de/en/products/trace_pro ~23 500 р 1/1 bal XLR 1/1 AES + 2
YellowTec PUC2 http://www.yellowtec.com/PUC2-page-153.html ~23 500 р 1/1 bal XLR 1/1 AES 2
Digigram VX 222 HR http://www.digigram.com/products/product_infos.php?prod_key=13950 ~25 000 р 1/1 bal XLR 1/1 AES 3
RME DIGI968 PAD http://www.rme-audio.de/download/968pae.pdf ~10 000 р 1/1 bal jack 1/1 SPDIF,
1/1 AES
2

What TV-tuners are recommended for Digispot II?

Producer name Description from official website approximate cost in rubles TV-tuner type (interface) Signal type Comments
ASUS My Cinema-US2-400 http://ru.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=yH77uwYfuvG8PvlE&templete=2 ~ 2310 USB TV + FM, hybrid 4 Gb of built-in flash memory
AverMedia AverTV Volar GO http://www.avermedia.com/avertv/RU/Product/ProductDetail.aspx?Id=448 ~ 2300 USB TV + FM, analog
AverMedia AVerTV Studio 709 http://www.avermedia.com/avertv/RU/Product/ProductDetail.aspx?Id=433 ~ 1830 PCI TV + FM, analog RDS support
AverMedia AVerTV Studio 809 http://www.avermedia.com/avertv/ru/product/ProductDetail.aspx?Id=449 ~ 2210 PCI TV + FM, analog RDS support
AverMedia AVerTV Volar HX http://www.avermedia.com/avertv/RU/Product/ProductDetail.aspx?Id=293 ~ 2730 USB TV + FM, hybrid
AverMedia AVerTV Satellite Trinity http://www.avermedia.com/avertv/ru/product/ProductDetail.aspx?Id=441 ~ 2700 PCI Express TV + FM, hybrid open satellite channels viewing (DVB-S)
AverMedia AVerTV Super 009 http://www.avermedia.com/avertv/ru/product/ProductDetail.aspx?Id=459 ~ 1300 PCI TV + FM, analog
VideoMate VideoMate U2600F http://www.comprousa.com/russian/product/u2600f/u2600f.html ~ 1960 USB TV + FM, hybrid
VidoeMate Vista U2800F http://www.comprousa.com/russian/product/u2800f/u2800f.html ~ 2270 USB TV + FM, hybrid

Which audio formats are supported?

Audio formats: PCM, flac, MPEG 1 Layer 1/2/3 with stable bitrate (no VBR) and sampling frequency of 32, 44.1 and 48 KHz.
File formats: *.wav, *.mp2, *.mp3, *.flac.

Important: Sampling frequency for one radio station must the the same for all files.

What are SP-devices?

SP-devices is an add-on for standard soundcard driver that interacts with the card by means of small clipboards and allows for pre-processing of audio with small lags (identical to ASIO). This technology, in particular, makes it possible to quickly adjust the volume during playback, regardless of the type of soundcard used. The other side of the coin, however, are somewhat higher system and OS requirements.

How can I change the audio format (convert the files), retaining the tags (Title, Autor, Type, etc. )?

For this, a special utility called AFConvert.exe can be used. It is found in our delivery package.
The utility allows to convert multiple formats, retaining all tag data (all metadata) that is read and recorded by Digispot II software.

Schedule, planning, skeletons

After upgrading to 2.14/or installing 2.14 schedule skeletons become unavailable, although the module is active in Components and Licenses.

A new Grids module was introduced for version 2.14. This module has many advantages and was designed to substitute skeletons for situations with a complex type of broadcasting, database use, Mag or Media-Planner Sales use. Because of this, all new schedules are created using Grids by default, not Skeletons. If you wish to use Skeletons as default schedule building tool, you need to specify the path to a respective skeleton in Global settings/Schedules.

What should I do when the transition to summer time and / or winter time is performed?

In practice it's quite simple. If the clock is moved backwards, one hour in the night is planned as a real two-hour interval. If the clock is moved forward, one hour is omitted.

one hour backwards

The clock is moved back to 3 a.m. The hour that lasts from 2:00 to 3:00 a.m. is repeated.

Own broadcasting
  1. The last block of an hour, for instance the one that starts at 2:55, is filled with material that lasts for 1 hour and 5 minutes. This means that the block will have excess duration of 1 hour.
  2. The type of the block is specified as "any, except musical". Otherwise, the player may omit excessive elements (depends on player's settings).
  3. The next block (that starts at 3:00 a.m.) is freed of the right to break the block. Otherwise, it may interfere with the previous "long" block.
Main program + inserts

There is no way to configure inserts during hour transition. Therefore, the schedule for inserts remains unchanged. As the inserter player never loads the blocks repeatedly, all blocks from 2:00 to 3:00 a.m. will be broadcasted according to "old" time periods. After the clock has been adjusted, the program will not load and broadcast any blocks precisely for one hour.

This means that during the "excessive" hour, main program will be broadcasted in the regions. The "long" block will be broadcasted then, preliminarily filled with specially prepared items.

Cancellation of winter time transition

If the transition to wintertime is cancelled, the following situation may appear: during the shifting of an hour on a computer, one hour of the schedule will be lost. To avoid this, do the following:

Update all Windows operating systems on Windows servers. The latest available updates are listed on the following Popular DST information sections page: (http://blogs.technet.com/b/dst2007/) (EN) KB 914387 knowledge base articles «How to configure daylight saving time for Microsoft Windows».(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/914387)

Update all Windows operating systems on separate workstations. The latest available updates are listed on the following Popular DST information sections page:\(http://blogs.technet.com/b/dst2007/) (EN) KB 914387 knowledge base articles «How to configure daylight saving time for Microsoft Windows».(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/914387)

Update all meetings affected by the update in the calendar using Exchange and Outlook applications. This may be done in several ways depending on your needs. The tips for choosing the right method may be found on the following page: Это можно сделать разными способами в зависимости от ваших потребностей. Инструкции по выбору правильного метода можно найти на странице «Daylight saving time help and support center».(http://support.microsoft.com/gp/cp_dst#tab3)

To search for other Miscrosoft software updates please refer to the following page: «Available updates for Microsoft products».(http://support.microsoft.com/gp/cp_dst#tab4)

What are the reasons for difference in time during playback (soundcard quartz? bitrate? others?)

  1. Some soundcards have quartz crystals that are not precise enough. This means that the working frequency for DAC/ADC will contain a small error which leads to sound being played back with a slightly increased or a slightly decreased speed. The error tends to accumulate and increase with the passage of time. In other words, by the end of an hour, we may get an error of as much as dozens of seconds or even one minute (we had to deal with one such case).
  2. Variable Bitrate audio file. The audio file length is calculated based on the assumption that the mpeg-stream bitrate is constant at the beginning of the file and by the number of mpeg-frames. If the stream is variable, the evaluation will be incorrect. This may lead to playback stopping earlier or later than expected. It is impossible to calculate the exact length in this case because a decoding of the file will be needed which would require considerable processing power. File information, including mpeg-stream data, can be viewed with the following free utility: http://digispot.ru/support/tools/encspot.zip.
  3. A broken audio file (frame break near the end of the file or something similar). This may also lead to the playback process breaking off earler than expected according to initial calculations.

The day has not converged. Why?

Situation

The program includes a fragment of totally automatic broadcasting starting from the T0 time control point and up to the end of T1 interval.
The schedule is fully planned.
The program shows calculated time as equal to planned (T1).
In reality, the last element of the interval stopped playing back at T2, with considerable divergence (more than 1 second). The error X = T2-T1.
During the T0-T1 interval the broadcasting is fully autonomous with no human interventions.

How to clarify the cause
  1. Let's check if the T0 point was observed. Suppose the point was the starting point. If the element began playing back with an error equal to X, then it is exactly the cause. Stop. The cause has been found. Then you have to find out why the element didn't start in time.
    If the moment of real start coincides with the panned one, the error accumulated later. Let's proceed.
  2. If MPEG files are used, various analysis software can be used such as the EncSpot Basic, to analyze all audio files included in the schedule. The inclusion of variable bitrate (VBR) files is a most likely cause of divergence. Please exclude these files from the schedule.
  3. An unexpected failure or pause happened during broadcasting. It may be caused by network problems. If the length of the pause is equal to X, the cause has been identified. Stop. It is now to find out why the pause happened in the first place. The fact of a pause in broadcasting can be easily confirmed using the debug log or engineer's reports.
  4. We should now make sure the time is synchronized at all on a computer. If it is, how often does it happen? Let's analyze logs of time synchronizing software (for this, help from engineers or administrator may be needed).
    If the clock synchronization analysis shows that:
    1. Correction is executed with alternating time shifts: each step has time shifted aither forward or backwards. In this case, the very process of synchronization is most likely not working correctly, bringing more harm than benefit. This may well be the cause.
      Alter (or turn off) synchronization process and watch the system for several days.
    2. Correction is executed with considerable time shifts (more than 1-2 seconds). In this case synchronization frequency should be increased to avoid big "leaps" in time, beacuse the main problem lies in the moment of clock alteration. It is safer to alter the clock for half a second 10 times than to do it once for five seconds.
      If the computer's frequent time synchronization process is configured correctly (several times per hour), the clock may be considered "ideal", and real time precision may be discarded.
      Please alter the synchronization process and watch the system for several days.
      As evidenced by the practice, some motherboards have real time not coinciding with the ideal time, the difference being more than one second. If the clock is not altered, the difference may reach 10 minutes in just one day!
  5. Let's analyze former schedules if the situation with the time divergence is repeated day after day with a similar shifting ratio. In this case, the cause may lie in quartz difference between PC clock and souncard clock.
    An example: as PC clock counts 1000 seconds, soundcard clock counts 1001 or 999. PC clock precision is not important in this case, only the difference counts. This is a stable situation because the frequency ratio will always stay the same. Therefore, it can be anticipated by calculating the results of the divergence. For instance - 4 seconds in one hour, 8 in 2, etc.
    There's only one workaround. You have to alter the schedule taking into account the divergence. The schedule will then contain slightly more or slightly less material.
    If the time is not synchronized, it's a good idea to turn the synchronization on and see what happens.
  6. If the error within the same interval is always different and is either positive or negative, the most likely cause is incorrect time synchronization.

We listed above the most common situations that couse such errors. However, more exotic situations have been recorded, such as incorrect soundcard operation. One example had soundcard frequency fluctuating within a relatively wide range.

Anyway, to make sure you know the roots of such problems, it is a good idea to observe the software operation for a period of time, not forgetting to log a wide variety of data. The absence of any structured useful information hinders the seach for a cause of estimated and planned time divergence.

Why doesn't the player load schedule blocks on time?

This may be caused by the following:

  1. It is prohibited by the player's configuration.
  2. The system may include several broadcasting schedules. It is possible that a certain schedule is specified in the player's preferences while the schedule window settings have another schedule specified. In other words, one schedule is the one that is displayed (and the one the block is created in), and another schedule is the one the player is trying to work with (and the one that has no blocks at all).
  3. It is possible that the option is blocked by the license (Help/Components and License).

Is there a possibility to import schedules from PowerGold, Selector and other external schedule planning systems?

Yes, definitely. Our system has a special module for importing the schedule from a text file. It provides extensive possibilities in terms of the number of options and settings. There are many variants to organize the process of import. You may read about this in the complete description of the system. Here, we will only briefly describe the very basic options. Main requirements for text file format are as follows:

  1. Each line contains description of only one schedule element. The file should not contain empty lines or lines with any additional information.
  2. Description fields for each element should go in a row, via spacer, preferedly enclosed in quotation marks.

When organizing the import process it is vital to first define where the audio and file descriptions are stored. It affects the type of information that will be transferred together with a schedule, as well as the way the audio files will be identified, the folder they will be accessed in and so on.

Can the software generate reports for Authors' Society?

It sure can. For this, you need to have the Schedule module installed and a separate license for Reports module (you can check availability in the "Components and License" window). The type of software you're using (DJin, Mag, Media-Planner Sales) does not affect reports. Also, make sure that you have report templates available from the SYSTEM/Reports subfolder of program folder(for example: C:\Program File\Digispot II\DJin\System\Reports). The reports module can be accessed from the schedule module menu (the three-dot button).

The reports can be generated for schedules and for logs. To get reports for logs the element's DB-ID should be inserted in the log. Otherwise, it will be impossible to include additional fields in the log, such as Publisher, etc. There are no such restrictions for reports based on schedules. However, for both types of reports, all information is taken from the database, so the element's properties should be changed in the database, not in the schedule. The price of reports can be checked in current playlist.

The templates are below (for Russian Federation only):
  • attachment:RAO.xsl
  • attachment:RAO_hdr.xml
  • attachment:vais.xsl
  • attachment:vais_hdr.xml

Settings, parameters

Where are the hot key settings stored and can they be copied (for versions 2.12 and newer)?

The hot key settings are stored in the <installation directory>\SYSTEM\djin.keys file. Note that the file only stores those settings that are different from the default ones. The file can be freely copied and transferred from one workplace to another.

The Media Database (MDB) table structure: how to match element with ID "X" and artist "X" from the table - ATTRIB_VALS?

The "many to many" connection for PH elements (audio files) and ATTRIB_VALS (attribute values, including artists) is implemented via the PH_TO_ATTRVALS table that stores all data about interconnected elements.

How to save waveform displaying mode in audio file properties window?

I set the mode I want but when I re-open the window, the old mode returns and I have to switch it again.

If you go to the audio file properties window and select the Layout tab, you will find a special button that allows saving all current window modes as default mode.
This button is specified as and can be found among the group of buttons, all of them changing corresponding window modes.

Troubleshooting

Digital noise appears during recording / rebroadcasting. I use TracePRO soundcard with ASIO devices.

Unfortunately, this problem has been confirmed by the developer and originates from communication bugs between soundcard and a number of motherboard brands. In most cases, the problem is solved by using a special version of driver that can be downloaded from the company's website: http://drivers.marian.de/trace_pro/tpro-nt6-216-dbg.zip

Apart from that, you will need to specify DMA buffer size as equal to 16 ms in the ASIO driver settings and then restart your computer.

Image recognition does not work correctly or is unstable. Is there a solution?

The main reason for recognition failure (more than 90% of cases) is substantial difference between the image and the signal. If the recognition failure happens only sporadically, there may be three reasons for this:

  1. Floating signal. That is, the jingle is always the same but it gets distorted along the way. This situation requires thorough study of each particular case. We can only recommend to roughen the thresholds in the settings dialog (especially in main frequency range) and to carefully record and mark the jingles, as specified in the documentation. Don't forget to create the roll-in and roll-back zones. If the jingle is long enough, you may try to make 2 or 3 images for each part of the jingle. Watch the settings dialog for trigger events, the images that trigger these events and conditions under which they are triggered.
  2. It often happens that several similar jingles are used instead of only one jingle. You need to find out what jingles are used at the start and at the end of commecrial blocks and if possible, to get the original files for these jingles. Some radio stations make these jingles freely available on their FTP servers.
  3. It is possible that the jingle that should trigger events is cut by the DJ of parent station or is eclipsed by the song that follows it. In this case, recognition of signal is considerably more difficult, because the original jingle hasn't been broadcasted. The success of the recognition process will then depend greatly on how much of the original jingle was left intact.

The main approach in all of these cases is based on finding out the cause of trigger failure in each particular case. That's why we recommend to always record the original satellite signal with the help of a logger and to study each failure case separately by listening to recorded sound and comparing it with expected jingles.

The program periodically freezes or hangs, sometimes with all sounds muted.

At 15:09:15 it freezed for several seconds, there are records in logs for 15:09:22, but I haven't been able to find out what it means.

The debug log having the following record:

00000854 @ 08-07-2009, 15:09:22.301 @  @ Get_AudioData @  @      3425 : ASIO: ASIO DIGI96 Serie:(1/2)-1 D96 PAD (1) 

The server has been trying for too long (3.4 seconds) to read data for currently played file.

Another reason may be the long opening of file. Usually, the problem manifests itself in the form of pauses that appear during the launch of a new schedule element.

00000E78 @ 14-06-2009, 00:05:49.569 @  @ Create_File @ CreateFile_FK @     41813 : 'X:\ROOT_AIR1-WSR\SND_TMP\2009-06-14\13 06 filename.tpr' SUCCESS 

It may be caused by the following:
  1. Insufficient network channel capacity
    1. Inadequate equipment or server settings
    2. Badly crimped cable
  2. Sever is overloaded with other tasks
  3. Third-party software (usually antivirus) eats up PC resources (both on server and workstation).
    The following atnivirus software is known to significantly slow down system performance: Nod32, Kaspersky, Symantec.

Try to find out what is more relevant in your particular case.

The application does not open

Please, look here: here

Schedule skeleton cannot be created

Schedule skeleton cannot be created - there is no "Skeletons" menu item in the menu that opens after pressing the (...) key.

There may be several reasons for this:

  1. There is no active license for working with skeletons. You may check the license in the window that can be accessed from the following menu: Help\Components and License.
    What you need is the "Skeletons and Grids" license.
  2. In the Schedule settings (Service\Global settings\Schedules tab) the path to skeleton storing directory must be specified.
    Open the window Service\Global settings\Schedules tab.
    In the Skeleton column the path to skeleton storing directory must be specified.
    If the path is not specified, Grids will be used for automatic schedule creation.
    If you want to use Skeletons instead of Grids, select the needed schedule and click on Change button at the bottom and specify the path to skeleton storing directory.
    Then restart the application.
  3. In the configuration (*.vid) the module that works only with schedules and not with skeletons, is used.
    1. The following command: CREATE_OBJ_PLAYLIST_PL creates module that works with schedules only, with no skeletons.
    2. The following command: CREATE_OBJ_PLAYLIST_SK creates module that works with skeletons only, with no schedules.
    3. The following command: CREATE_OBJ_PLAYLIST creates a universal module.

DJin loads faster than the HaspHL driver and displays a "no protection key" error.

This problem usually appears on automatic broadcasting stations when DJin (Logger, etc.) is launched via "Autolaunch" Windows folder upon OS start. The OS boot happens simultaneously and there is a possibility that the DJin will load faster than the protection key driver. Solution: slow down the loading of DJin for several seconds (say, 30 or so). You may do this by launching the application via special sript, for example:

Create a sleep.js file in directory ..\Digispot II\DJin\. The file should contain the following line:

WScript.Sleep(30000);

Then in that same directory create autostart.bat, containing the following:
cscript sleep.js
start djin.exe

In autolaunch you need to specify autostart.bat instead of Djin.exe.

The settings are lost after restarting the application.

Windows user, working with the software can not change files in the following directory: <program folder>\SYSTEM.
You need to recursively grant the user with special rights to access this directory and all subfolders.

For this, it is best to use a special user group inside a domain.

Technology

How to organize internet broadcasting with DJin v.2.12?

It is only possible by using third-party software for internet broadcasting. For example, to convert audio stream to IP-stream you may use SimpleCast (http://www.spacialaudio.com/?page=simplecast). This software emulates the audio device DJin is referring to. This audio stream is then fed into broadcasting server, such as IceCast for example (http://icecast.org/), and delivered to listeners. If the broadcasting is not automated and you are working with a live DJ, another scheme would be required: DJin feeds the audio to a soundcard that transmits the signal to a mixing board. All microphones, telephone hybrid devices, etc. are also fed into the same board. The mixing board's output is connected to soundcard's input. SimpleCast is then configured to convert audio signal from the soundcard input to IP-stream. The rest of the process can be copied from the initial scheme.

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