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Field Report: Barix Exstreamer 1000
Put into use
When configured as an STL, the Exstreamer 1000 acts as a high-quality audio streamer. The source can be mic or line level and either mono or stereo. Depending upon the application and available bandwidth, the user may choose to encode audio as PCM MSB, PCM LSB, µ-Law or A-Law. Sample rates range from 8kHz to 48kHz.
The data buffer provides some degree of smoothing for less dependable IP connections. Master volume, mic volume and A/D amplification controls are provided for fine tuning levels.
The audio storage and playback function uses a local USB thumb drive or memory stick for storage. A master text file created and stored on the memory stick directs the behavior of the unit. It defines the location where playlists and audio files can be downloaded. This text file also defines the details of playback or restricted playback (day parting), file updating and device monitoring. File transfer via HTTP, FTP and RTP (Real Time Protocol) are supported.
An extensive set of commands are available for customized control of audio playback, rotation, timing and volume levels. The Web browser can be used to make configuration changes on the fly and monitor current variables.
You might wonder if there are any known security vulnerabilities. The Exstreamer 1000 uses a proprietary kernel and TCP implementation called Cobos by Lantronix. It is built on the same source code as IP adapters (device servers), and it has been customized by Barix for further protection against certain DOS issues, making it appropriate for streaming applications. As an attack point, the functionality is very limited as opposed to a Linux or Windows system.
Out of the box
Basic functions like the STL mode are simple to configure and use. Advanced features such as the ABCL and FTP store/foward are a bit more esoteric but can be powerful tools once mastered. When powering for the first time, a human voice greets the user over the audio output port announcing the IP address of the unit. Customize the unit by recording and replacing the IP address announcement with your own voice.
The Barix website is replete with information on the device as well as sample configuration files. A wiki page provides additional topics beyond the manual. Technical support is currently limited to e-mail and/or long distance to Europe, but the fine folks in technical support are helpful and willing to be contacted via Skype should the need arise.
The reboot function was a very desirable feature; however, the device automatically reboots when changing between applications, thus there is a bit of a wait time before audio can be restored. Interestingly, Barix hosts a free service where one can remotely monitor the device for program delivery assurance. Should the IP connection drop, audio is restored within about a second once the connection is renewed.
Chestnut is assistant chief engineer at Entercom Kansas City.
Editor's note: Field Reports are an exclusive Radio magazine feature for radio broadcasters. Each report is prepared by well-qualified staff at a radio station, production facility or consulting company.
These reports are performed by the industry, for the industry. Manufacturer support is limited to providing loan equipment and to aiding the author if requested.
It is the responsibility of Radio magazine to publish the results of any device tested, positive or negative. No report should be considered an endorsement or disapproval by Radio magazine.
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