Tutorial: mix pointers for dummies!

Do you know about mixed points? It’s a crucial function for the quality of your program. Indeed, when you upload your raw mp3 files, they sometimes have, for example, half a second of silence at the beginning, and sometimes much more at the end. Shoutcast’s RadioManager can’t guess that. If you generate a schedule with tracks whose mix points are not edited, you run the risk of having catastrophic on-air sequences. Whereas if you set the mix pointers of each of your tracks precisely, it will be perfect! It’s tedious, it’s hard work, but it’s these little details (not so little in fact) that will make the listener feel like they’re listening to a real radio station!

Let’s get to the heart of the matter. After clicking on the little mix icon,

you’re going to come across this screen

This is where things need to be explained.

So here is a reminder of the different features and how to use them.

You have five pointers (one of each color), which you can position with the cursor on the timeline of the song at the bottom, but also, for more details, using the + and – on a blue background.

Fade in: This function allows you to have a sound that gradually rises from the purple icon to the green icon (intro). It is this pointer that marks the beginning of the track’s playback in your programming. If your track starts after one second of silence, you will need to set Fade In one second after the start of the track.

Intro: This is when the sound reaches its maximum level from the Fade In slider. If Intro and Fade In are superimposed (one on top of the other), the sound of the track starts directly at its maximum level.

(Logically, the Fade In cursor cannot be after the Intro cursor)

Let’s take our example again:

Here you see that the track will start playing at the purple cursor (Fade In). The sound will then gradually increase to the green fader (Intro), i.e. after 13.5 seconds. Please note that the time written in seconds next to Fade In (11.3 seconds) corresponds to the “fade time” (i.e. the number of seconds between the purple and green sliders).

The Play Intro function allows you to pre-listen to the song as it is going to be played on the air (and thus allows you to pre-listen to your eventual Fade In).

Mix: This is simply when the next song will start playing. That’s easy. That’s the yellow slider. It’s up to you to position it at the moment that seems most convenient for you to switch from one track to another.

Extro: This is the moment when you can start lowering the sound gradually. The volume will decrease until Fade Out, which marks the end of track playback.

Fade Out: This is, as said above, the end of the track playback. To be adjusted according to any seconds of silence at the end of the track. If Extro and Fade Out are mixed up (one on top of the other), the song will stop abruptly (without Fade Out).

(Logically, the Mix and Extro sliders cannot be after the Fade Out slider.)

Let’s take our example again:

The yellow slider (Mix) is 12.08 seconds from the end of the title (as indicated in the box that appears next to the yellow box).

But it has been chosen to start a Fade a bit earlier (from 7’03″700 as indicated in the box next to the red Extro box).

From the yellow cursor, the next title will start to be played. So there will be two tracks on the air at the same time (for a very short time) up to the light blue cursor which marks the definitive stop of the track we set.

Please note that the time in seconds next to Fade Out (24.78 seconds) corresponds to the “Fade duration” (i.e. the number of seconds between the red and light blue sliders).

The Play Extro function allows you to pre-listen to how your song will end on the air (i.e. your eventual Fade Out).

The Play Extro Mix function adds the triggering of a test track which is an excellent example because its intro, which starts with two drum strokes, is very clear.

So, this time, we hope you know everything you need to master these famous mix pointers. It’s a precision work that marks the talent of a good programmer. When you’ve set them right, it changes everything on the air!