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Field Report: Barix Exstreamer 1000
The Internet daily redefines the boundaries and applications of audio delivery. Point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, multipoint-to-multipoint - the combinations are endless. Add to that the job of transporting timely data and contact closures. The Barix Exstreamer 1000 encodes and decodes audio, data and closures over IP at an affordable price. It is easily configured and robust. The firmware fills a low-cost niche for flexible STL operation, program syndication or Internet streaming.
Zurich-based Barix supplies audio, data and control products for a variety of industries. Its IP interface devices transport audio and closures for program syndicators as well as two-way intercom and control for public address and security applications.
Whether your data path is LAN, WAN/VPN, Wi-Fi or DSL, the Exstreamer 1000 can get audio there using a modest amount of bandwidth. Data bandwidth requirements range from 50kb/s to 2Mb/s with latancy ranging from 20ms to 300ms depending on the compression scheme used.
The hardware layer
The Exstreamer 1000 can function as both an encoder or a decoder. It has both balanced analog and AES3 audio interfaces on DB9 connectors. Two data ports provide RS-232 (DB9) and RS-485 (Eurostyle) connections. There are four dry contact closures and a USB flash interface for local audio storage. The Exstreamer family of products are packaged in modular metal cases that can be rack-mounted or bracketed to a wall. It is powered by an external 24-48Vdc supply and uses very little power (about 8W).
Barix products are versatile and can be customized for specific applications like broadcast, public address and intercom/security. The Exstreamer can serve up high-quality stereo PCM linear streaming for broadcast transmission, or it can decode compressed audio streams and files such as MPEG-1 and 2, Layer 3 (MP3), A-law or µ-law with sample rates from 8kHz to 48kHz. It can stream audio continously as an STL or be modified instantly to store and forward audio from a playlist.
|Performance at a glance|
Supports MPEG-1 and 2 Layer 3 (MP3), PCM linear and A-law, µ-law
8-48kHz sample rate support
USB 1.1 interface for flash memory
Wide-range power supply input with low power consumption
AES3 and balanced analog stereo I/O
Two independent serial ports (RS-232 and RS-485)
Four contact closure inputs and four relay outputs
The software layer
The Audio Barix Control Language (ABCL, similar to BASIC language programming) offers a higher degree of control and customization. It can be used to monitor, switch audio sources or control audio levels. Sensing for silence, the ABCL program can switch to an alternate audio source on the Internet or play back audio stored locally on a USB drive.
A standard Internet browser is all that is needed to control and configure the codec. Pull-down menus display factory-designed applications, system settings, a reboot function and firmware updating.
The Web GUI Application menu displays the preprogrammed STL and store-and-forward operating modes germane to the Exstreamer 1000. Several other unique applications (not available on the Exstreamer 1000) are shown in the menu, including full-duplex audio, conference and Internet Speaker modes, which are applicable to other Barix products.
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