Orban (audio processing)

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Orban is an international company making audio processors for radio, television and Internet broadcasters. It has been operating for over 40 years since founder Bob Orban sold his first product in 1967.[1]

History[edit]

The Orban company started in 1968 when Bob Orban founded Orban Associates. However, the first Orban product was sold the previous year to WOR-FM in New York City. Over its years of trading, the Orban company has released many well-known audio-processing products, including the Orban Optimod 8000, which was the first audio processor to include FM processing and a stereo generator under one package, an innovative idea at the time, as no other processor took into account the 75 μs pre-emphasis curve employed by FM, which leads to low average modulation and many peaks.

This was followed by the Orban Optimod 8100, which went on to become the company's most successful product, and the Orban Optimod 8200, the first successful digital signal processor. It was entirely digital and featured a two-band AGC, followed by five-band or two-band processing, with phase cancellation of clipping distortion. Processors were also made for AM and digital radio as well, including the Orban Optimod 9200 and the Orban Optimod 6200, the first processor made exclusively for digital television, digital radio and Internet radio.

During the 2000s, Orban followed up the 8200 by creating the Orban Optimod 8400 in 2000 and the Orban Optimod 8500 in 2005.

The Orban company was acquired by Daysequerra in the summer of 2016.

Present day[edit]

The company's current product line includes its flagship audio processor, the Optimod-FM 8700i. Other processors include the Orban Optimod-FM 5500i/5700i, the Orban Optimod 6300 for digital, internet and mastering applications and the Orban Optimod 9400/9300, primarily for AM radio.

The function of these processors is normally to reduce dynamic range, which is particularly important for AM broadcasting, in which noise and interference can be obtrusive during quiet passages. The interference is much less of an issue with FM and digital radio broadcasting. To the listener, the overall sound appears louder, which is useful to commercial broadcasters as it draws attention when the casual listener is tuning across the band. However, it does introduce artifacts to the sound, which is an irritation to those with a good musical ear, especially when listening to classical music.

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