Myriad Playout v5.27 introduces another powerful new feature to running-to-time: Time-stretch and Time-shrink.
This feature is very easy to configure and can dramatically improve your station sound, especially if you need to run exactly to time - for example to take a real-time news bulletin at the top of hour.
Time stretch/shrink is only activated during AutoFade hours, and can produce a dramatic improvement in running to time by allowing Myriad to adjust the play rate of songs, so it does not have to add additional "fill" songs if underrunning, or play songs slightly slower so that it doesn't need to fade early.
Myriad's Time Stretch is also "pitch-safe", so users will not hear a "Mickey mouse" effect when it is activated.
Time-stretch is used by Myriad to help hit Absolute Times, Soft Times, and also the end of the current hour depending on the settings in the AutoFade tab in Station Settings.
Time-stretch requires the Media Engine to be in SMXv5 mode, so first make sure that any workstations that will playback the Scheduled Log are configured to use the SMXv5.
Note: SMX v5 is only supported on computers running Windows 10.
In Myriad Playout, click on the Settings menu, then Media Engine Settings, then select the Advanced tab:
Select the Advanced - SMX v5 (Experimental) option and click OK. You will need to restart Myriad for this setting to take effect.
Next, click the Station menu, then Station Settings and click on the AutoFade tab:
Turn on the Experimental: Enable time stretching/shrinking of Songs option and set the limits on how much you are willing to allow Myriad to stretch by. If you activate the time stretch feature and play the scheduled log on a workstation that is still running SMX v4, then Myriad will fall back on just dropping and fading. You will see a warning message on the Station Settings on that workstation if this is the case.
For most radio stations, typically a stretch or shrink by up to 3 to 5% will not be obvious to the listener. However, if you play a lot of fast tempo music such as electronic dance or pop songs, then you may find that stretches over 1 or 2% are more noticeable to some listeners, but you can often "shrink" songs by a higher percentage.
These percentages are the MAXIMUM that is allowed, it is very possible that Myriad might not need to use that much so you will often see that it is only adjusting by a smaller amount.
In the example above we have limited Myriad to be able to shrink songs by up to 5% but to stretch by no more than 3%. For example, a song that is 4 and half minutes long has a duration of 270 seconds, so can be stretched to last up to 278 seconds, or be shrunk down to only last 257 seconds - this gives an adjustment of over 20 seconds.
When you consider that the the stretch factor will be applied to all songs across an hour, this will dramatically reduce the need for any songs to be added, or to be faded early except in the most extreme circumstances.
Click OK to save the Station Settings and the change will take effect from the next segue onwards during AutoFade hours.
Log and Media Player display
When an Item has Time Stretch or shrink applied, you will see an icon next to it's duration that shows the adjustment is active, and you can hover over it to see how much it is being adjusted by. In this example the dashboard and log are showing a Shrink icon and hovering over that icon in the dashboard shows that it is being shrunk by 3%:
Effect on AutoFade (running to time)
When Time stretching is active, Myriad uses the following process to determine how best to hit an Absolute Time marker (or the end of the current hour) :
If the hour is underrunning:
- Determine if the maximum amount of time that could be gained by stretching all songs would be enough to fill the underrun. If so, calculate exactly the stretch % needed and apply that to all songs. Process finished.
- Choose a suitable song using the Category Goals for the current hour, and add it to the log, then return to step 1 and try again until the hour is now running to time. After adding this song, if the log is now slightly overrunning, then proceed to the next section.
If the hour is overrunning:
- Determine if the maximum amount of time that could be removed by shrinking all songs would be enough to correct the overrun. If so, then calculate exactly the shrink % needed and apply that to all songs. Process finished.
- Use the normal AutoFade dropping process to drop items until we are close the required time.
- Time shrink as much as possible to get as close to the required time.
- If we have been limited in how much shrink can be applied (for example, it would have needed a 7% shrink, but we are limited to 5%) then shrink to the maximum allowed, and then use the normal AutoFade Fading rules to determine which item or items should be faded early to correct the remainder of the overrun.
Important: Myriad will not change the stretch or shrink of an item once it has started playing as this would sound very odd on air. So if you have a long program segment that you want to be adjusted - for example a 15 minute prerecorded show segment - then you should place piece of audio BEFORE it in the hour in the Scheduled Log so that Myriad can do it's calculations during that hour. A typical example would be during a news bulletin prior to a pre-recorded show.
Alternatively, you can watch this video to see how to setup time stretching as well as see it in action.