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The Silence Detector

Posted by Jamie Woods on

Ever noticed something different playing out on the radio/stream than what’s going on in the studio? Chances are you’ve encountered the emergency programme, controlled by the aptly named silence detector.

Essentially, if there’s silence (or very very quiet) output from the live studio for about 20 seconds, the silence detector switches to the emergency programme. Historically, this has been Bohemian Rhapsody, but it’s now shuffled and could be any song from its playlist.

So what counts as very very very quiet? If you leave the studio and Myriad reaches a stop, it will kick in after 20 seconds until the presenter gets a chance to either press Go or talk (or both). Songs that over-use stereo (like Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd) may trip it if, say, the left channel is quiet. And, finally, songs that just have a really really quiet intro or ramp.

It’s always a good idea when uploading music to make sure that tracks don’t have a long, quiet introduction.

So what do I do if it trips?

Essentially, play some music. If the song isn’t peaking at 5 on the meterbridge (the retro looking dials), adjust the green knob (trim) to turn it up. After about 5 seconds of content in the studio, it will switch back to regular programming.

There’s another silence detector that sits at the transmitter, which will continue to play music on 103.2FM if there’s an emergency at the studio. This one kicks in after 30 seconds of silence, or immediately if the studio goes off air. In this case, the stream will probably sound different to FM.