Z/IPStream A/XE FAQ's


AACLC Encode Test

For this test, Windows Media Player played an audio file to one end of the Virtual Audio Cable driver. 8 AAC encoder instances were then set up. Each instance read the audio from the same Virtual Audio Cable. The audio was processed with the ‘Music 24 kbps’ preset and then encoded to AAC?LC (MPEG4) at 32kbps, stereo. The audio was made available though the internal stream server but no client connected and received those streams. A client connection may bump up the CPU and memory usage slightly but not by a significant amount.

Encoder CountAverage CPU usage for the A/XE service
1 7.4%
2 14.4%
3 20.2%
4 25.5%
5 32.1%
6 37.4%
7 42.7%
8 48.8%

The memory usage for the A/XE service went up to 34 MB.

Can I change the settings in Options.xml manually?

We do not recommend editing Options.xml manually. If this becomes necessary for some reason then make sure to stop the A/XE service before editing the file. Restart the A/XE service once the changes to Options.xml are saved back to the file. The same procedure can be used to restore Options.xml from a backup file: stop the A/XE service, restore Options.xml and restart the A/XE service.

Can I install two copies of A/XE on the same computer?

There is always only one copy of A/XE installed per PC. If you need to process multiple audio inputs on one PC then you just enter all license codes into A/XE on that PC. The number of audio inputs is limited by the license entered in A/XE (and by PC’s available resources).

Can I process/encode multiple input audio sources on one PC?

Yes, the number of input audio sources is determined by the licenses purchased and configured in A/XE. One instance of A/XE can process and encode multiple streams at the same time. The available PC resources will also limit the number of processors and encoders that can be run simultaneously.

Can I use A/XE for audio processing without encoding the audio?

Yes, A/XE can be configured to process the audio then send the processed audio to a sound card or to another application on the same PC without needing to encode the audio.

Can I use A/XE with a third-party encoder?

Yes, using the Virtual Audio Cable (VAC) driver A/XE can send the processed audio to other application on the same PC. A/XE would send the audio to one end of the VAC driver and the third?party encoder would read the audio from the other end of the same VAC driver.

Can I “tag” the encoded audio with metadata information?

Yes. A/XE can accept metadata from automation systems or other sources through a TCP/IP connection. A TCP/IP server accepts connections from metadata sources and then tags the encoded audio with the information received.

Do I have to be a programmer to create my own metadata filters?

No. A/XE includes a number of filters that you may be able to use as provided or adapt for your use. You may also check the A/XE product page for additional filter downloads or contact Telos support for assistance.

Does A/XE use the SENSUS technology for encoding?

At this time A/XE does not utilize SENSUS™. We plan to add this in a future release.

How do I configure Z/IPStream A/XE to work with IceCast?

Short version is you have to tell IceCast that you are sending it a ShoutCast style stream. I did that by adding this to my main icecast config file:

<listen-socket>
<port>8000</port>
<shoutcast-mount>/example.aac</shoutcast-mount>
</listen-socket>

The mount and port obviously have to match what you have the encoder [A/XE] setup to output...

Long version: a big copy and paste from the IceCast manual describing this in more detail:
The following shows how we can extend a single listen-socket to work with ShoutCast style source clients. There are two issues ShoutCast source clients have over IceCast source clients, one is the lack of mountpoint and the second is the requirement of two ports. Both of these issues are handled by a simple addition in the listen-socket.
<listen-socket>
<port>8000</port>
<shoutcast-mount>/live.mp3</shoutcast-mount>
</listen-socket>
As before, the port specified is allocated but this time the shoutcast-mount implicitly defines a second listening socket whose port number is always one higher than the port defined, this also informs IceCast of which mountpoint the ShoutCast source client on this socket will be using. Using this approach you can allow multiple ShoutCast source clients to connect at the same time. The following is just to show the longer approach to defining ShoutCast compatibility.
<shoutcast-mount>/live.nsv</shoutcast-mount>
<-- You may have multiple <listen-socket> elements -->
<listen-socket>
<port>8000</port>
</listen-socket>
<listen-socket>
<port>8001</port>
<shoutcast-compat>1</shoutcast-compat>
</listen-socket>

Note that multiple listen-socket sections may be configured in order to have icecast2 listen on multiple network interfaces or multiple ports. If a bind-address is not specified for a particular listen-socket, then the socket will be bound to all interfaces (including IPv6 if available).For most people, the bind-address option will not be required and often confuses people.

Configuration Options

port

The TCP port that will be used to accept client connections.

bind-address

An optional IP address that can be used to bind to a specific network card. If not supplied,then it will bind to all interfaces.

shoutcast-mount

An optional mountpoint setting to be used when ShoutCast DSP compatible clients connect.The default global setting is /stream but can be overridden here to use an alternative name, which may include an extension that some clients require for certain formats. Defining this within a listen-socket group tells icecast that this port and the subsequent port are to be used for ShoutCast compatible source clients. This is an alternative to the shoutcast-compat approach as this implicitly defines the second listening socket and allows for specifying multiple sockets using different mountpoints for ShoutCast source clients. The shoutcast mountoutside of a listen-socket group is the global setting of the mountpoint to use.

shoutcast-compat

This optional flag will indicate that this port will operate in ’shoutcast-compatibility’ mode.Due to major differences in the source client connection protocol, if you wish to use any of the ShoutCast DJ tools, you will need to configure at least one socket as shoutcast compatible.Note that when in this mode, only source clients (and specifically ShoutCast source clients) will be able to attach to this port. All listeners may connect to any of the ports defined without this flag. Also, for proper Shoutcast DSP compatibility, you must define a listen socket with a port one less than the one defined as ’shoutcast-compat’. This means if you define 8001 as shoutcast-compat, then you will need to define a listen port of8000 and it must not also be defined as shoutcast-compat. See the example config file in the distribution for more info.

How do I configure Z/IPStream A/XE?

Since A/XE works as a service in the background, it has no visible user interface (as a standard application would). A/XE can be configured and managed through a web browser from any computer that can reach the A/XE PC. In order to display audio meters and a rich graphical interface, A/XE’s management console uses a Microsoft browser plug?in called Silverlight. If your PC does not have Silverlight installed, you will be prompted to do so the first time you access the A/XE with your browser.

How do I start Z/IPStream A/XE?

A/XE is designed to run as a Windows service. Services run in the background and are always available as long as the PC is on. You do not need to log in or manually start the A/XE application.

How do I start the Omnia A/XE application?

One way to start A/XE is to use the ‘Services’ applet as described above and select the ‘Start’ action. Another simpler (but slower) method is to restart the PC.

How do I stop Omnia A/XE?

 

  • Open Windows’ Control Panel.
  • Select ‘Administrative Tools’.
  • Open the ‘Services’ applet.
  • Find ‘Omnia A/XE’ in the service list and select it (click it once).
  • Right?click on the ‘Omnia A/XE’ line and select ‘Stop’ from the pop?up menu. (You can also select ‘Stop’ from the ‘Action’ menu at the top of the program or click the ‘Stop’ icon in the toolbar if displayed.)

 

How is A/XE licensed?

A/XE is licensed by the number of input audio sources. Each license purchased allows you to process and encode one input audio source. The same input can be processed and encoded in multiple ways. It can also be sent to multiple servers at the same time. For example, if you need to process/encode two streams, then you purchase two licenses. You can choose to configure both licenses on one computer or you may install the software on separate computers.

How will I find out if there is a problem on A/XE?

If A/XE encounters an error it can notify you by email (if you configure it to do so). A/XE writes information to log files (one log file per day) which are available for review at any time.

I have an Axia system installed. How can I get my Livewire audio into A/XE?

A/XE includes a copy of the IP-Audio driver. This allows you to receive audio from and send audio to Livewire devices over the network without the need for a physical audio card.

Is the audio processing in A/XE different from the one in A/X?

The processing section in A/XE is identical to the one in A/X.

MP3 Encode Test

This test used the same setup as above but set the encoding to MP3 at 96kbps, 44100 Hz, stereo. The results were very close to the AAC?LC test above.

Encoder CountAverage CPU usage for the A/XE service
1 7.7%
2 15.0%
3 20.5%
4 26.1%
5 31.1%
6 36.5%
7 41.8%
8 47.2%

The memory use went up to 30 MB.

The CPU usage seems to jump up when I open the Control Panel page. Why?

Omnia A/XE will only process and encode the audio if there is a client connected. If no clients are connected A/XE will shut down the audio processors and encoder to conserve system resources. When you navigate to the Control Panel page, A/XE will start all processors/encoders for the streams currently ON so that it can display the meter information thus causing a spike in the CPU usage. When you leave the page, the encoders with no other clients will be turned off and the CPU usage will go down again.

What are the system requirements to run A/XE?

OS: 32?bit Windows XP and later. A/XE has been tested on XP, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7 Enterprise Edition (build 7600). A network interface card is required.

NOTE: On Vista and Windows 7 the IP-Audio driver has an issue with device names. All device instances appear with the same name so it is difficult to tell them apart. We are working on resolving this issue.

The sections below show CPU usage under different usage scenarios. All tests were performed on a PC with the following specifications:

  • CPU: Intel Core2 Quad Q9550 @ 2.83 GHz
  • Memory: 8 GB*
  • OS: 32?bit Windows 7 Enterprise (build 7600)

*The test PC has a large amount of memory in order to support future testing on other 64?bit OS versions. As you can see under the test results below, A/XE uses a rather small amount of memory.

 

AALC Encode Test

For this test, Windows Media Player played an audio file to one end of the Virtual Audio Cable driver. 8 AAC encoder instances were then set up. Each instance read the audio from the same Virtual Audio Cable. The audio was processed with the ‘Music 24 kbps’ preset and then encoded to AAC?LC (MPEG4) at 32kbps, stereo. The audio was made available though the internal stream server but no client connected and received those streams. A client connection may bump up the CPU and memory usage slightly but not by a significant amount.

Encoder CountAverage CPU usage for the A/XE service
1 7.4%
2 14.4%
3 20.2%
4 25.5%
5 32.1%
6 37.4%
7 42.7%
8 48.8%

The memory usage for the A/XE service went up to 34 MB.

 

MP3 Encode Test

This test used the same setup as above but set the encoding to MP3 at 96kbps, 44100 Hz, stereo. The results were very close to the AAC?LC test above.

Encoder CountAverage CPU usage for the A/XE service
1 7.7%
2 15.0%
3 20.5%
4 26.1%
5 31.1%
6 36.5%
7 41.8%
8 47.2%

The memory use went up to 30 MB.

What formats can A/XE use for encoding?

A/XE can encode audio to MP3 (8kbps, 11025 Hz, mono to 320kbps, 44100 Hz, stereo) and AAC. Low complexity AAC (AAC?LC) and high efficiency AAC (HE?AAC) are both supported. AAC has been standardized under both MPEG?2 and MPEG?4. The format most commonly used is MPEG?4 AAC?LC. Often this is called just ‘AAC’. HE?AAC adds Spectral Band Replication to AAC and it is sometimes called AAC+ (sometimes seen as ‘aacPlus’ or ‘AACplus’). There is also an HE?AAC v2 format which adds parametric stereo optimizations to HE?AAC. Sometimes this is called AAC+ v2 or Enhanced AAC+.

What is license “activation”?

License activation associates a license to a computer. Each license may be installed on a single computer. During the activation process a request is sent to a Telos server. The server returns an activation code that unlocks the software on the installed PC. The request code contains no user identification information. Due to the nature of IP communications the public IP address of the requesting computer is communicated to the server.

What is the difference between Omnia A/X and Z/IPStream A/XE?

A/XE extends Omnia A/X in many areas. Where A/X could only process one audio input per PC, A/XE can handle multiple audio inputs at the same time. In addition to audio processing, A/XE can also encode the audio to MP3 or AAC and send the encoded audio to multiple servers at the same time. Using the included virtual audio cable, A/XE can accept audio from other application on the same PC without needing to go through a physical sound card. It is also able to feed audio to other applications on the same PC (e.g. third?party encoders).

What is the Virtual Audio Cable driver?

The Virtual Audio Cable driver, included with A/XE, simulates a sound card and allows the audio to be sent from the output side of the driver to the input side. This forms a “patch cable” that applications can use to pass audio from one to another. Multiple cables can be configured at the same time.

What metadata formats can A/XE understand?

A/XE’s metadata parser is very flexible and can be customized for your specific needs. Metadata is parsed through user?editable “filters”. Filters are small programs written in a simple programming language named Lua (see http://www.lua.org). The filters can process the received data one character at a time or one line at a time. The filters can also parse and understand XML?formatted metadata.

What servers can A/XE feed?

A/XE can directly feed SHOUTcast?style servers (SHOUTcast, Icecast, Steamcast, etc.). The Wowza server is also supported for streaming to Flash clients. MP3 encoded streams can also be sent to Windows Media server. Adobe Media Server is NOT supported at this time. We are considering this for a future version.

Where are the application settings stored?

All application configuration information is stored to a single file named Options.xml. This is a plain text file that can be viewed (and edited) using Windows’ Notepad or another text editor. Options.xml is stored in the application data directory. This directory resides in the Microsoft?recommended location. This location is different for different version of Windows. On XP it is under ‘C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Telos Systems\Omnia AXE’ while on Window 7 it is under ‘C:\ProgramData\Telos Systems\Omnia AXE’. For this reason we include a program shortcut named ‘Locate Options.xml’. When selected, it will open a new Windows Explorer window in the directory that stores Options.xml.

Where are the Presets, Metadata Filters and Logs stored?

The processing presets, metadata filters and log files are stored in subdirectories in the application data directory. This directory resides in the Microsoft?recommended location. This location is different for different version of Windows. On XP it is under ‘C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Telos Systems\Omnia AXE’ while on Window 7 it is under ‘C:\ProgramData\Telos Systems\Omnia AXE’. For this reason we include a program shortcut named ‘Locate Options.xml’. When selected, it will open a new Windows Explorer window in the directory that stores Options.xml. (see Where are the application settings stored? ). NOTE: The original copies of the processing presets and metadata filters that shipped with the application are also stored in the program installation folder. These are provided to allow the customer to recover the original files if the working copies get corrupted somehow (deleted by mistake, eaten up by Notepad, etc). It is important to perform all edits on the copies in the data folder and not the ones in the program folder.

Will Z/IPStream AX/E work on the Windows Server 2008 OS?

Yes, but Windows 2008 server has its audio subsystem disabled by default. When you set up fresh server, Z/IPStream A/XE will not show any audio devices under "Audio Sources". To enable the audio subsystem, open the volume mixer (from the icon near the clock) and you should get a question "This computer cannot play audio because the Windows Audio Service is not enabled. Would you like to enable the Windows Audio Service?" Click "Yes" then restart the Z/IPStream A/XE service. It will then show all the audio devices. In the Server Manager, under Configuration -> Services, set the "Windows Audio" service to _Automatic_ to make audio load every time on boot.



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