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Breakaway Broadcast

I am a strong proponent of non-computer based air chain processors.  Something about listening to dead air while the computer reboots is annoying and every computer needs to be rebooted every now and again.

All of that being said, I recently had a chance to play around with Breakaway Broadcast audio processing software.  I have to say, as a low cost, very versatile platform, it can not be beat.  I would put it up against any of the high end FM audio processing, provided one uses a high quality sound card with an adequate sample rate.

Claesson Edwards Audio has developed several software based audio processors for a variety of end uses.   They make several recommendations for hardware and operating systems, Pentium 4 3.2 GHz or better, dual core preferred.  If one is interested in used the sound card to generate composite audio, then any sound card capable of true 192 KHz sample rate will work.  They list several that have been successfully tested on their web site.

For approximately $1,200 dollars or so, one could buy a decent computer, the Breakaway Broadcast software and the Airomate RDS generator software.  For a Mom and Pop, LP or community radio station that is looking to do some high end audio processing and or RDS, that is a good deal.  I would add a UPS to the computer and keep back up copies of the software installed on an emergency computer just in case.  One can never be too safe when it comes to computers, viruses, hackers and other malicious persons.

Things that I like

  1. Inexpensive, the fully licensed version is $200.00.  The demo version is free but there is a 30 second promo every thirty minutes.
  2. There are several factory presets, but everything is fully configurable, changes can be named and saved allowing some experimentation.
  3. Audio cards with 192 KHz sample rate or greater can be used to generate composite audio, eliminating the need for a separate stereo generator
  4. RDS capable with additional software (Airomate2, approximate cost $35.00)
  5. The same processing computer can be used for streaming audio and or AM audio processing simultaneously.
  6. Full set of audio calibration tools for AM and FM transmitters, allows correction for tilt, overshoot and linerity.  Can add pre-emphasis at any user selectable rate.
  7. Fully adjustable phase rotators.

Things that I don’t generally like:

  1. Computer based system using Windoze operating system

WXPK in White Plains, NY has been using this software to process their streaming audio for about 2 years now.  The software itself is extremely stable running on a stand alone Windows box with XP service pack 2.

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4 comments to Breakaway Broadcast

  • J. Aegerter

    I would be one to agree with the administrator on hardware type boxes being my choice over software based processing. But, it is becoming a digital world with computers running auto ignition systems, shifting auto transmissions, and running radio stations. I guess I would exercise caution with any software product as there is always a bug somewhere and it usually can be troublesome. And the latency can be hard to get used to. Also, maintaining computers with Chinese switching power supplies is another annoying hurdle. I tend to be conservative and like proven analog products; however my mind is always open to new ideas.

  • B. Smith

    I just found this site. Quite nice.

    I would,however, mention that many of the newer “hardware” processors are PC based. The difference is that the hardware boxes use industrial components, suitable for harsh environments and 24/7 usage. I believe the new Omnia11 falls into this category.

    As for the OS system being Windows, I’m wouldn’t be too concerned, provided you configured the computer as an “appliance” computer; that is, the computer performs one function (processing) and one function only.

    IIRC, the LinearAcoustics processor for TV (about $14,000) uses industrial PC components and Windows XP embedded.

    In short, I do believe a Breakaway processor could be extremely stable, provided it were built and configured properly.

    [no, I don’t work for Breakaway :)]

  • Michael Knight

    I have to say that WXPK’s stream sounds fantastic.

  • Jesus Uribe Espinoza

    Dear. i like these audio software beadkaway, i don´t how download if i Like, how pay the $200 for licency.

    Regards.

    Jesus Uribe Espinoza
    Lima Peru.
    (redacted)

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