LAFAYETTE, LA. — KRVS is a 100 kW public FM station serving 12 parishes across southern Louisiana. The heart of Cajun and Creole country, this region is also known as Acadiana, and our programming reflects it with a mix of Cajun, Zydeco, blues, jazz, Swamp Pop, Swamp Rock and other distinctively-Louisiana musical styles.
I’m chief engineer here, but I’m seen as the “go-to” guy regionally for audio processing questions and setup, so I also help some commercial stations on occasion.
We were recently in the market for a new audio processor to replace our aging Orban Optimod 8500, which had been in service at KRVS since 2005. Ever since Orban came out with the 8000A, I’ve been using their products; so selecting their latest flagship Optimod, the 8700i, was the logical step for me.
My focus has always been on audio quality and dynamic range rather than loudness, and when I looked at the 8700i’s specs, I knew this was the right product for us.
Prior to actual installation at the station, I set up the processing off-site and let it “burn in” for a week, during which time I tweaked and set-up the unit. Since I have been familiar with Orban for many years, I know the sound I like and how to get it easily.
The 8700i comes with a number of presets for quickly establishing audio processing parameters, and I tested many of the presets on the unit. For KRVS, I have settled on the “Gregg Open” preset. Before putting it on the air I tested it in my recording studio thoroughly on my Genelec 1032AM speakers.
At this point my favorite sound is achieved by turning off the AGC and doing all my processing in the multiband section based on the “Gregg Open” preset. Previously, on my 8500 I used my own preset named “KRVS” based on the “Rock Smooth” preset. I tweaked the “Rock Smooth” in the advanced mode and delved into the multiband compressor attack and release parameters in the multiband settings. Another thing I like to do is decouple the FM and HD processing and set the HD parameters separately. I can achieve a smoother and fuller HD sound that way.
Once I decided we were ready for final installation, that process was quick and easy. I especially liked the audio pass-through feature that Orban offered. This kept off-air downtime to an absolute minimum when installing the unit.
I’m really pleased with the sound the 8700i is producing for us. We have a number of audio engineers who listen to KRVS; one caller stated he noticed the increased openness, clarity and sound staging. That caller happened to be Tony Daigle, a six-time Grammy-winning audio engineer who is an avid fan and listener of KRVS. With that kind of endorsement, I know we have the sound we need for our station.
For information, contact Mike Pappas at Orban in New Jersey at 1-856-719-9900 or visit www.orban.com.