Barix Exstreamer with internal content memory
icon4 01 27th, 2012| icon3Comments Off

It might not been known well .. so i take this opportunity to explain the concept behind the Barix Exstreamer 105/120/205 “MicroSD” card slot – ideal devices for retail radio applications.

Thousands of the Exstreamer devices are in use in instore audio applications, both for realtime/live IP streaming as well as store and forward applications. Backup content (in case of realtime streaming) and offline content (for the store and forward applications) is typically stored on a USB stick.
Customers have asked for the content storeage to be “secured” by some mechanical means, and this is the main reason we came up with the Exstreamer devices supporting the MicroSD card.

A MicroSD card can be purchased by the system integrator, loaded with content or song libraries, without Barix or Distributor involvement, which is a big plus. The MicroSD flash card then can be inserted into the Exstreamer device.

Intentionally, the card completely hides in the slot, so it can not be easily removed (if you want to remove the content, use the USB version of the product). The system integrator or content provider can then secure the slot with a tamper-proof sticker, or – and this is largely unknown – use a different frontplate, available at a nominal fee, to completely hide the MicroSD card in the device !

So, with the Barix Exstreamer family you can have both – those who want removeable content, please use the “USB” device variant, those who want the content memory to be inside the device, use the MicroSD card versions.

.. and by the way, visit us at ISE in Amsterdam next week (Jan 31-Feb 2, booth E70) to talk to us in person and check out our new products we launch !

Johannes

All,

as you  might have heard in the past, Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremen (awi) has been using Barix products (namely, Barionet and Instreamer) in a science mission (PALAOA) in antarctica since quite some years now. The Barionets are used for general control and power management, while the Instreamer is used to realtime encode audio from Hydrophones and stream to Neumeyerstation located in Antarctica as well.

There is a very nice, detailed paper available from the PALAOA website (link: here), explaining details and difficulties of the whole setup.

Here is another link to the story, this time in german, with more the scientific view, sound samples etc: PALAOA.

And here is a direct link to the live stream from Antarctica, encoded by a Barix Instreamer: http://icecast.awi.de:8000/PALAOA.MP3

One thing to notice .. Barionet and Instreamer, both standard “consumer temp range” Barix products, work flawlessly since years in the setup in Antarctica, being operated sometimes at -50′C, constantly (24/7) delivering control and monitoring of the station and an IP Audio feed of the hydrophone(s).

What works that reliably in this remote location under extreme conditions should do well for you too, ain’t it ?

Johannes

When Barix announced the Reflector Service, our customers wondered what this would be useful for …
Barix is well known for its Audio over IP streaming products such as the Exstreamer. So far so good – the devices are perfectly useful and reliable for a host of IP Audio applications, from STL (Studio Transmitter Link) to Paging, Intercom and Surveillance applications.
The AoIP (Audio over IP) devices from Barix are easy to configure and use, but setting up Audio Distribution over the Internet is not very easy for non- IT techies.
In addition, “static IP” addresses are needed for a reliable link – something often not easily available from the ISP, if at all, or at a cost.
Barix realized there is something to do .. and invented the Reflector Service. Because we are not hosting providers – this is not our core know how – we teamed up with the leading, high quality partner Streamguys to provide a reliable service to Broadcasters and other customers who easily want to set up a point-to point or point-to-multipoint audio distribution solution over the internet.
StreamGuys are a professional hosting organisation with all the necessary infrastructure in place to operate and support the service 24/7. Customers who are interested in the Reflector Service just need to purchase a Barix encoder and a Barix decoder device (for example, 2x the Exstreamer 500, which can serve both purposes). Depending on the device type, firmware might need to be loaded to support the Reflector service (Exstreamer 500 comes preloaded !).
From there, things are very simple – at least for 90% of the customers:
- Install the encoder and the decoder at the locations between which you want to establish the audio feed
- Go to the reflector website, set up your project, add the two MAC addresses of the device, specify encoder and decoder
- you can do some tweaks in regards to the encoding quality, attenuation, output level and buffering, if you dislike the defaults
.. and that’s it ! The devices will, within seconds, start establishing the tunnel for audio and contact closure forwarding and streaming will commence.
The “zero config” capability of the devices, of course, only works if your local network where these are installed supports DHCP and a “free view” of the internet. This is the case in most places where a DSL or cable router is used. If you need to manually configure an IP address, net mask, router, you can of course do so using a standard web browser.
To find out more about the Barix Reflector Service, visit http://www.barix.com/Reflector_STL_made_simple/1551/
To sign up for a trial, customers can simply request an account using the following links:
StreamGuys will then contact the customer and arrange all the necessary details.

So, do not limit your imagination about where to use the Reflector Service to Broadcast, Studio Transmitter Links ! The service can universally be used where Audio needs to be reliably transported from “a” to “b” over the Internet, being it for contribution, commentary or STL in the Broadcast area, being it for remote surveillance, or being it to deliver Audio to a remote bus or train station … wherever you want to distribute Audio over the Internet, the Barix Reflector solves the mystery of IP and lets you focus on the important things of your business !

Johannes

All,

there is a new application firmware out for the Barix IP Audio devices. SIP Client version v01.07 brings a major change intended to make the use of the devices much more easy.
The Web UI, through which the device is configured, now offers “profiles”, to allow easy configuration of different use cases

1) SIP phone
This profile is intended for applications on bidirectional devices, for applications which are similar or identical to a SIP phone. The Barix devices can be used ideally in call stations, help points etc, preconfigured numbers can be called using the contact closure inputs etc.

2) SIP paging endpoint with Background Music support
This profile works on all devices which provide output capability (all Exstreamer and Annuncicom devices) and is typically used for “IP Speaker” application or to drive a paging amplifier.

3) SIP door station
This profile enables typical door station functionality, is able to operate in automatic “half duplex” mode to support simple door intercom panels (Aiphone), and also allows to activate a relay via SIP Info/DTMF to open the door.

4) SIP gateway
An interesting “glueware” application, when this is selected, the device can work as a “SIP to standard Multicast RTP” converter, will serve as an endpoint, and re-broadcast (or multicast) the received audio stream so it can be used with any device which can play audio from a standard RTP stream.

5) SIP based audio monitoring
This mode is typically used for audio surveillance, covert operations, etc. In this mode, the device can establish a call silently to a configured destination if it picks up audio above a certain level.

The SIP application firmware now supports the PS16, the desktop IP paging station from Barix, and on the Annuncicom 155, even the microphone and speaker supervision are supported.

The firmware can be downloaded, as usual, from our website free of charge and devices can be updated via browser.
Johannes

All,

the Barix Exstreamer P5 now starts shipping. This very affordable IP Audio device is actually .. an IP Speaker. And at the same time, it is not .. the loudspeaker is missing.

IP Speaker from Barix

So … why ? What is the reason behind this ?

As we all know, architects want to have the choice of design, form and color if it comes to selecting a speaker. Installers need to pick a speaker with the right environmental specs. And the price, or a specific manufacturer, may be a decision criteria too for the selection of the speaker.

Other manufacturers offer “IP Speakers”. Such an IP Speaker limits the choices for the installer drastically, as the speaker design part is fixed, and eventually already installed speakers, which would be perfectly useable, need to be pulled out and replaced.

The Barix Exstreamer P5 solves this dilemma. It is EVERYTHING an IP Speaker needs to be, with the exception of .. the speaker ! You can use almost any commercially available loudspeaker, being it round, square, outdoor, indoor, brown, white, shiny, expensive or cheap … as long as it has 8 Ohm impedance (the vast majority is of that type) and it can accept min. 5W RMS driving power.

The installation is incredibly simpe – two loudspeaker wires are connected to the Exstreamer P5 (screw terminal block included), and the device is hooked up to the network a Cat5 cable (PoE providing switch, or use an in-line power supply). NO need to wire power and network separately to the device. Also, if space is a constraint, you can separate the speaker from the Exstreamer P5.
A lot of flexibility – and the good news is that the combo “Exstreamer P5 plus reasonsable ceiling speaker” costs less than the typical combined IP Speaker device !

This IP Speaker solution from Barix supports all the standard stuff others do – SIP, priority multicast stream etc, and in addition, our devices can also play MP3 or even AACplus streams, resulting in CD quality background music, if wanted.
And – last not least – the Barix Exstreamer P5 also has a local interface port for an affordable volume/source control. So you can even select a background music channel, set the volume – and of course, even if you turn down the volume and listen to background music, a priority page comes through at a predefined level.

Check this out now .. the Exstreamer P5 is the better IP Speaker ! Coming from a trusted brand in the IP Audio and VoIP space since 10 years .. Barix ! The same technology used in the Exstreamer P5 also runs evacuation systems in nuclear power plants and oil refineries, it is rock bottom stable, so there is no need to power cycle your ceiling mounted IP speakers or find that reboot button ever …

“The IP Speaker without the speaker”(TM), now from Barix.

Barix IP Audio devices are an excellent solution when it comes to special SIP interfacing applications. Being it an audio monitoring application, where a call should be placed if a microphone picks up sounds above a certain threshold, or a SIP door station – the standard SIP application, which can be loaded on all Annuncicom and Exstreamer devices, serves well.

But do you know that you can also use a Barix device as a SIP gateway to traditional, multizone paging systems ?

How do you then select a zone ?

The SIP firmware can control local relays on the device, if existing (Exstreamer 500, for example, offers 4 relays). These can be commanded in the SIP call by means of standard signalling (SIP Info and RFC2833). Many IP PBX’es also allow you to send specific commands when you initiate a call, this is the perfect time to select a zone automatically.

The Barix wiki contains a nice article describing the exact configuration necessary of an Asterisk instance to offer the luxury of direct zone selection by extension. If done this way, a user of the phone system can just dial one of a selection of extensions, and the Barix SIP Gateway (actually, an Exstreamer 500 or Annuncicom 1000 device) will select the specific zone(s) to page to automatically, based on the actual extension called.
Here is a link to the general overview of how this is done: SIP Paging

And here is the article detailing the bits and pieces on how to configure Asterisk to directly control the relays from SIP

Greetings !

Johannes

Innotrans 2010 Outside Exhibits

A Barix OEM Product could be spotted at Innotrans in the Goldenpass panoramic carriage in the outside exhibition area.

Goldenpass Carriage at Innotrans

Goldenpass Carriage, Innotrans

The product, called “Annuncicom VME”, is effectively an Annuncicom in a VME card form factor, which fits in a common 19” VME rack and draws the power from the backplane. It features a ruggedized design, able to be compliant with EN50155, -40..+70′C temp range etc, with balanced audio, 2 RS-485 interfaces and digital I/O.

Goldenpass Carriage, Inside view

The Annuncicom VME is used by Railtec Systems GmbH in various projects as part of their Passenger Information Systems (IP based PIS). It is already the seccond product from Barix which is compliant with EN50155.

Hmm, in here:

Barix Annuncicom VME in here

In here .. which one is it ??

Being an OEM product, the Annuncicom VME is not available to the general market, if you have projects where you think this product can be of use, please contact me.

Johannes

the Annuncicom VME card

Hello,

here is a nice photo picturing a large installation of Barix Exstreamer 1000 devices (hundreds, this is only a part of the installation) …i can’t disclose as of now where that is – a press release and success story will follow :)

Johannes

Barix Exstreamer 1000 Installation

Barix Exstreamer 1000 Installation

Barix at Innotrans 2010 in Berlin
icon4 09 23rd, 2010| icon3Comments Off

Hi,

we are currently exhibiting at Innotrans in Berlin, Hall 4.1 – swing by to check out our offering, and the first one referring to this blog entry, approaching us at the booth, will be treated with a coffee :)

The favorite for our visitors is the brand-new Annuncicom 155, the first Barix Audio over IP product which is EN50155 compliant and thus fulfills the stringent requirements for on-board equipment in trains, busses, vessels. With IP65 rating and -40… +70′C operating range, it is also suitable for outdoor installations, bus stations etc. A great product for IP Audio call boxes too, especially when used with the SIP firmware …
Here’s a pic of our booth.

Greetings

Johannes

Innotrans Booth of Barix

Barix Booth at Innotrans

New STL IP software for Barix devices
icon4 09 20th, 2010| icon3Comments Off

Folks,

a new STL firmware is now available here. This software provides a host of new features, yet simplifies the use. It can be downloaded freely and installed on all our standard Barix IP Audio devices (Exstreamer, Instreamer and Annuncicom). Not all features are working on all hardware (for example, on an Exstreamer 100 you can only use the decoding functionalities, obviously). Best performance and full features are available if you use it on Exstreamer 1000 or Exstreamer 500 hardware.

Here’s a screenshot:

STL Firmware screenshot

STL Firmware screenshot

Major improvements and new features:
- New WEB User Interface with profiles (Locations) and single Apply
- Full Duplex PCM (uncompressed), up to 48KHz sample rate
- Analog Audio Output Silence Detection
- Analog Audio Input/Output VU meter bars
- Low Latency Frame Buffering
- Selectable high quality A/D converter (at 32 and 48 KHz)
- USB playback as fail-over or by relay trigger
- Reflector Client included in same load (either/or selection)

The camouflaging algorithm which takes care of dropouts has been further improved as well, brief dropouts due to RTP useage (which is unidirectional) are practically unhearable. It’s probably a quite well hidden secret that our devices do this since many years …

Greetings

Johannes

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