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Who’s On First?

Where files live, sync, and play

Unlike several other automation systems, Rivendell “owns” its audio assets (aka audio files). With some of those other automation systems, one simply points the “library manager” (or player) to a folder full of audio files. Rivendell is different. You must first import the audio assets into the Rivendell Library. It works this way for several reasons:

  • audio quality
Rivendell transcodes your audio files into a professional-grade audio format; you set this format on a “per-host” basis, then all audio files are converted to this format when you import audio (note, that, while it is unusual, you can have a Rivendell audio library containing files in different formats)
  • organization
importing audio assets affords you the opportunity to organize your library and make sure things like metadata are in proper order before putting an asset into production
  • work flow support
many stations have adopted a work flow in which they import audio into a “holding tank”, or temporary category (Group in Rivendell terms); this gives staff (volunteers) a chance to preview the audio (for things like explicit language), clean up the metadata, and set Markers (like segue points, talk points, fades, etc.) before placing the audio into production
  • data integrity
Rivendell keeps track of the integrity of the audio files by maintaining a SHA1 Hash of all the audio files‘ contents; this hash is stored in the Rivendell database

Asset (Audio File) Storage

Rivendell users (show hosts, traffic managers, music directors, etc.) don’t really need to know this, but as a Rivendell administrator you should know where the audio files “live”. True to the Linux tradition of flexibility, the audio library can physically reside anywhere on your network. By default, Rivendell expects audio assets to reside in the folder (directory) /var/snd.

This folder may represent a physical disk partition or a volume shared over your network (with any Linux-support network file system, like NFS, CIFS, IPFS, etc.).

Metadata Storage

Rivendell audio files DO NOT contain metadata. All the data about the audio tracks (e.g., title, album, composer, record label, etc.) is stored in the Rivendell database.

This separation of metadata from the audio assets has consequences.

  • consistent metadata editing
using the Library manager, it is simple and straight-forward to change metadata for individual tracks or groups of tracks
  • sharing with other apps
it is difficult, though not impossible to share the Rivendell audio library with other (non-Rivendell) audio applications. You will have to be comfortable with the idea that you have to use Rivendell in order to play a track in the Rivendell library

Playing Audio

Rivendell supports several ways to output your audio:

this is the “normal” way to play audio; that is, it is the most common way to play Logs that have been prepared using RDLogManager or RDLogEdit (the Rivendell playlist creation tools)
allows you to programatically schedule playout of audio
similar to an old-fashioned cart machine, this player enables you to stack up a bunch of tracks and play them one after the other
  • RDPanel
a dedicated “panel” of buttons used to play specific tracks (or fire specific Macros)
  • Advanced: rdvairplay
this is Rivendell’s so-called “headless” player -- it is functionally equivalent to RDAirPlay, but has no graphical user interface with which to control the player; as of early 2020 this player is relatively new to the scene: while you can control some aspects of its operation more Macros are needed to fill out the control side of this player