Playout Lite operates in a similar manner to the freeware version which you can download for a 30 day evaluation now. The key difference is that it whilst the freeware version only provides access to a single folder of audio, the Lite version will traverse sub-folders as well. It also ncludes full extraction capability so title, artist, album etc. details are visible within Playout.
In terms of the PC used to run Playout, the most basic machine available in the shops today has enough processing power to comfortably run the software. Disk space is another factor (to hold the compressed audio files) but again most modern PCs come with ample enough disk space for most users.
You may also need to use some third party software in order to create the compressed audio files (mp3 files typically) to be used with Playout, especially if the audio needs to be converted (or "ripped") from CD. All modern versions of Windows include Media Player which include this capability and OAS particularly recommend the Audiograbber software for this purpose. Either way, a key thing to take advantage of is in making use of the online internet CD databases (CDDB) which can automatically retrieve the metadata (track Title, Artist, Album etc.) for CD's as they are being ripped. This saves a large data entry process and the data is then automatically available for use within Playout.
Playlists are fully supported within the Lite version - the package includes an automated playlist generator which allows the creation of semi-random playlists based on your music collection; it also offers the ability to tailor the output according to a playlist template. Detailed information on this is included with the package in the form of a dedicated user manual. In addition, playlists may be manually created via any other third party application which supports the m3u standard - eg. Windows Media Player, Winamp etc. then loaded into Playout. These can them be used as a running order for presenter or automated (unattended) playback.
You can try out the Lite edition free for a 14 day trial period, after which time you will need to contact us to purchase a license if you wish to continue using the software.
Mobile discos and small scale radio stations.
Playout Lite will comfortably run on any modern laptop making ideal for the mobile disco market. These machines also provide ample hard drive space for the storage of enough music for all occassions.
Most laptops (in line with desktop PCs) include on board sound capability so to take advantage of Playout's dual channel output you will probably want to attach an additional card, typically via a USB interface. However there may be merit in attaching either a dual card or two identical ones as the onboard cards tend to be of low quality. Playout does not include any mixing capability (aside from a basic volume control for each player), the twin outputs from are designed to be fed into an external mixer (along with other audio sources). They are then fed to an amplifier for broadcast. Alternatively, in the case of small scale radio stations to a transmitter or internet stream.
Of potential use particularly in this market is Playout includes independent speed (pitch) controllers for each player. This allows for a limited form of beat matching/syncronisation between tracks on the two players.
The speed controls allow a fine adjustment of playback speed between +/-8% of normal.
Shops, restaurants etc.
Playout may be ideally suited towards these markets if there is a need for the playback of two different channels of audio eg. for two distinct parts of the building. This can all be managed within the single Playout application. The automation (unattended) operation of the software, including the ability to loop playlists indefinately also makes it ideal for this purposes.
Any modern PC will be more than capable of running Playout successfully, although you will need to fit a second sound card to take advantage of the dual channel capability. These are available through most mainstream PC outlets, from £10 upwards and simply fit into a spare slot in the computer. The outputs of each card are then fed into a seperate amplifier and then speakers located in the relevent areas of the building.