Orban (audio processing)

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Orban is an international company making audio processors for Radio, TV and Internet broadcasters. It has been operating for over forty years, with founder Bob Orban selling his first product in 1967.[1]

History[edit]

Orban, as a company, started in 1968, when Bob Orban founded Orban Associates. However, the first Orban product was sold the year before, in 1967, to WOR-FM New York City. Over its years of trading, Orban has released many well known audio processing products, including the Orban Optimod 8000, which was the first audio processor ever made 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 lead to low average modulation and a lot of peaks.[2]

This was followed by the Orban Optimod 8100, which went on to become Orban's most successful product, and the Orban Optimod 8200, the first successful Digital Signal Processor (DSP) to be made. It was entirely digital, and featured a 2 band AGC, followed by 5-band, or 2-band, processing, with distortion cancelled clipping. As well as digital audio processors being made for FM, processors were made for AM and Digital Radio too, including the Orban Optimod 9200, and Orban Optimod 6200, the first processor made exclusively for Digital TV, Digital Radio and Internet Radio.

During the noughties, Orban followed on from the 8200 by creating the Orban Optimod 8400 in 2000, and the Orban Optimod 8500, which was released in 2005.

Orban was acquired by Daysequerra in the summer of 2016.

Present day[edit]

Orban'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 the dynamic range of the audio being handled. This is particularly important for AM broadcasting where noise and interference can be obtrusive on quiet passages, it is much less so on FM and digital.

To the listener the overall sound appears louder, which is useful to commercial broadcasters as it draws attention to them when the casual listener is tuning across the band. It does introduce artifacts to the sound, which is an irritation to those with a good musical ear, especially for classical music.

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