As BestOfDance.FM is looking forward into the future we are looking for 24/7 streaming options and services on Cloud and virtual servers. As first option we tried Spacial's ( Spacial is manufacturer of SAM Broadcaster Software and Cloud Service) offer to use a 7 day trial with their Cloud Audio Streaming solution called "Sam Broadcaster Cloud".
Our major expectation: "Sam Broadcaster Cloud" handling is similar to previous "Sam Brodcaster" PC solution ... But we were wrong ! A total different cloud interface did not match any of our expectation - as the web interface is totally different. It is very clear after our trial that this new Cloud Version was developped from different people than the people from the PC solution.
We had a look into the web: Even support in Sam Broadcaster Forum was not able to give solutions for forum members because forum support had no glue about the Cloud version ... BUT: Sam Cloud version is available since... I guess 2015 ? According Spacial there are a lot of stations using Sam Cloud. But we don't believe that. Indications for wide spread software and solutions are lots of Forum activities, were we found a lot for Sam Broadcaster PC versions but not for the Cloud Version. Even Spacial Forum does show only a handful entrances, there is no main category present ... Additionally on Spacial's Facebook and Twitter account: Some comments about Sam Cloud cannot be viewed ... just try it for yourself to get them visible. Very mysterious.
Our inital thoughts were to give a detailed review for Sam Cloud version but we think we can reduce it because our definitive negative summary lead us to minimize our feedback.
Let's Start our Review with SAM Broadcaster Cloud Audio :
What's important for a webradio ?
1) Good Music
2) Good Audio
For Option 1) we suggest the webradio operator will do his best for his listeners.
For Option 2) there is need to get the knowledge of dealing with the Audio configuration / settings within your broadcasting software.No big issue with SAM Broadcaster PC version as you have multiple choices to do so.
But: SAM Broadcaster Cloud is very limited - I will say it is impossible - to change anything in the Audio settings menue. What is sold as "Audio Setting Configuration" is nothing more than "Track Setting Configuration"! Just view the promotion video placed from Spacial on Youtube (which is the same as in our trial version) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2c5zI365-k&t=3s If watched: anthing found for Audio ?
Below is a screenshot of the "Audio Settings" Menue, Click for large picture.
For comparison of Audio output from both PC version and SAM Cloud listen / watch our Youtube Video below. The first Audio sample belongs to our BestOfDance.FM Stream. The sceond Audio sample is SAM Cloud audio output. Both samples are streamed with same streaming conditions and recorded with same settings to show the difference. As a background info: If you upload an audio file to SAM Cloud then this file will be atomatically encoded into AAC format ! Additionally all audio output is normalized according EBU R128 standard finally creating those lousy, muted, dynamic less audio output.
Despite all findings before, there are important QUESTIONS:
1) Who will use Sam Broadcaster Cloud ?
2) And: As a potential Cloud user: How do you get your music files (Don't forget: if you have a few thousands tracks, you will have a few GB data to be uploaded !) to your Cloud Service ? Any suggestions how to do it from Spacial ?
ANSWERS to the questions before, we will begin with answer for the second one:
2) If you have few hundreds of tracks and more you will feel the upload pain if you do have a upload speed of a regular internet connection provider. So Question Number 1) is already answered as I don't believe a large amateur web radio station with thousands of tracks can do this. And, - important -, No solution is provided from Spacial to solve this upload problem.
Finally we will close ou review here as all important questions and things needed for web radio operation have been monitored and failed.
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