The Orban Optimod-PC 1101e professional Microsoft Windows audio processing card for PCI bus systems offers dedicated, broadcast-quality digital signal processing on-board for audio processing, mixing, and routing. Optimod-PC processing is more reliable than software-based processors that run native on the computer’s CPU because the operating system can never starve Optimod-PC’s processor or mixer for processing cycles. This allows more instances of an encoding application to run glitch-free on the computer’s CPU, which provides higher reliability and lower operating costs because fewer CPUs are required for large operations.
Optimod-PC works great for both live streaming and on-demand programming. Its three on-board Freescale DSP56367 DSP chips provide a loud, consistent sound by performing stereo enhancement, automatic gain control (AGC), equalization, multiband gain control, peak-level control, and subjective loudness control. Optimod-PC boasts professional AES/EBU digital inputs and outputs, plus balanced analog inputs and outputs that can operate at professional +4dBu reference levels while resisting pickup of hum and noise.
Optimod-PC’s audio driver allows it to appear as two standard sound devices to the computer’s operating system. With one Optimod-PC, netcasters can replace selected content (such as commercials in a program originally created for radio broadcast) and inject watermark encoding for ratings. This approach maintains the same audio processing path on both program and inserted audio, delivering a polished, consistent sound while eliminating the number one listener complaint: loud commercials.
Optimod-PC audio processing works with all digital transmission media and channels. It tailors your audio signal to help you compete in audio netcasting, HD Radio (both primary and multicast digital channels), DAB, DRM, and other dedicated digital radio services, FMExtra and other digital subcarriers, mastering, audio production, and many others.
Without Optimod-PC processing, audio can sound dull, thin, or inconsistent in any combination. Optimod-PC’s multiband processing automatically levels and re-equalizes its input to the “major-market” standards expected by the mass audience. It also helps overcome background noise in mobile listening environments.
Optimod processing algorithms simultaneously control audio gain and peaks, artistically, musically, and naturally, to give the illusion that processing is not taking place. Optimod algorithms intelligently adapt themselves to the input program material. Once Optimod-PC is tuned for the sound texture required for the broadcast or netcast format (which is made easy by the many format-specific presets), it will provide excellent consistency regardless of the level or texture of the original program material. Its automatic gain control and equalization achieve a consistent sound, while accurate peak control maximizes loudness. Booming bass is tightened; weak, thin bass is brought up; highs are always present and consistent in level.
Professional-grade netcasting requires audio processing similar to FM broadcast (although there are some important differences in the peak limiting because of the different characteristics of the pre-emphasized FM channel and the perceptually coded netcasting channel). Your listeners deserve to get the best quality and consistency you can provide. Combining Orban Optimod-PC with Orban Opticodec-PC Streaming Encoder will deliver stunning sonic results for Internet streams that can be at least as good as or better than HD or satellite radio.
Orban’s PreCode technology manipulates several aspects of the audio to minimize artifacts caused by low bitrate codecs, ensuring consistent loudness and texture from one source to the next. PreCode includes special audio band detection algorithms that are energy and spectrum aware. This can improve codec performance on some codecs by reducing audio processing induced codec artifacts, even with program material that has been preprocessed by other processing than Optimod. There are several factory presets tuned specifically for low performance, low bitrate codecs.
Optimod-PC is also an excellent mastering processor, offering soft knee multiband compression with knee and ratio controls available separately for each band. This is followed by a low-IM look-ahead limiter that can typically achieve 12 dB of gain reduction before it produces objectionable artifacts (this limiter is exceptionally loud and clean).
Digital mixing is crucially important to a netcaster who needs to control commercial content and insertion. Unlike most sound cards, Optimod-PC lets you mix an analog source, two digital sources, and two Wave sources. For example, you could run a playout system on your computer while using the three hardware inputs for a live microphone feed, commercial insert, and network insert. Or you could run the commercial insert playout software on the same computer as the main playout system, using Optimod-PC’s second Wave input to separately route the outputs of the two playout systems to the card. In most cases, an external mixer isn’t needed, making Optimod-PC a more economical system solution than a low-priced sound card combined with a bunch of external hardware. This is also perfect for podcast production.
Optimod-PC comes with over 20 great-sounding presets that make it easy to create a sonic texture that’s just right for your target audience. If you want to customize a preset, you can start with an easy LESS-MORE control, and, if that’s not enough, tweak over 50 parameters to hone your sound to perfection. Optimod-PC’s deep interface will never hold you back as your processing expertise increases, yet its carefully crafted design insulates you from the details if you need great sound right now.