Multichannel internet broadcaster specifies Barix Exstreamer 500 devices for reliable, cost-efficient and high-quality HD2 broadcasts at radio stations nationwide
IP audio and control specialist Barix is helping multichannel internet radio broadcaster Soma FM grow its presence in the over-the-air broadcast space, with Soma FM specifying reliable, affordable Barix IP Audio solutions for radio stations receiving its programs.
Soma FM is a multichannel internet radio broadcaster offering 27 channels of indie-leaning programs exploring rock, electronic and other music formats. The listener-supported, commercial-free service streams its programs on its website and via a Roku streaming app in addition to supporting over-the-air HD Radio side channels, otherwise known as HD2 feeds.
Soma FM owner and president Rusty Hodge says that Barix helps to minimize costs for his over-the-air radio clients, which include KPBS-FM in San Diego, while providing radio stations with reliable, high-quality audio streams.
“The only other solution we considered for signal decoding and playout were desktop-class machines with professional grade audio cards, and these were three times the cost of Barix,” said Hodge. “Barix eliminates the need to worry about problems like software upgrades and security issues. They are compact, and don’t consume much power. Foremost, they are extremely reliable.”
The last point is the most tangible benefit for Hodge, as he also employs Barix Instreamer audio encoders for remote broadcasts. One recent remote project focused on encoding live broadcast feeds from the Kennedy Space Center to cover space shuttle launches. Soma FM also recently produced live broadcasts from the DEFCON hacker conference in Las Vegas.
Additionally, Soma FM encodes police scanner feeds to enhance certain electronic music programs heard on its website. “Think of it as using Barix as a mixer,” said Hodge. “We connect the scanner to the Instreamer, which injects a priority stream over the music feed. It allows us to do something that you often hear in live or recorded electronic music but is unique for radio broadcasting.”
Hodge also acts as a consultant for large commercial radio networks, and he often specifies Barix solutions for these stations based on his experience. He especially likes the Exstreamer 500, which offers broadcast-quality inputs and outputs among other professional features. Reliability aside, Hodge points out that Barix produces excellent audio quality, with flexible format and bitrate options to meet various network and bandwidth requirements.
“We rely on Barix solutions to feed the broadcasters, as they typically don’t want super hi-fi feeds due to network congestion issues,” said Hodge. “They simply plug in the devices at the stations and get great sounding broadcast audio. And to date we have never had to reboot or power cycle one of their devices.”