One thing that I find a little annoying is the continuing need to reboot everything at some interval. Computers in the studio, audio vault servers and workstations, e-mail servers, files servers, network routers, and so on. Got a problem, first thing to do is cycle the power off and on…
One of the most irritating pieces of equipment is the audio processors on one of our FM stations. A few years ago, we purchased the whiz-bang Omnia 6 processor. Every 6 or 8 months the thing losses its mind and sounds terrible. The station gets all bassy and the high-end sounds distorted. I have tried everything I can think of to prevent this, including installing a UPS, extra grounding, extra shielding, software updates, etc. In the end, it just has to be rebooted, which of course, means several seconds of dead air. Naturally, this processor is at the FM transmitter site, which it is difficult to get to.
Truth be told when it is working, it does sound pretty good on the air, but is it $10,000 dollars better than the older Optimod 8100A? No, it is not.
The old Orban Optimods sound pretty good as long as they are re-capped and aligned every so often. If fact, our number one billing station has an AC format and uses an Optimod 8100A and nothing else. Our other station in the same market uses an Optimod 8100A and a pair of Texar Audio Prisms. In the ten years, I have been working for this group of radio stations, I have never had to reboot the Optimod or the Audio Prisms, they just seem to work continuously without problems. Imagine that.
I have seen this called a “retro audio chain” by some. Nothing retro about it, but a little care and feeding and I’d stack this equipment up against an Omnia 6 any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
This is a grainy video of an 8100A in action:
That was taken in our rack room using off-air audio on the rack room speakers and a cheap video camera. You get the idea.
So here is to Frank Foti and his marketing gurus that have sold all of the program directors in America on the need to “update” their air chain processors, because, you know, the Optimod, that is old skool.