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User Report: Omnia Takes on Many Tasks for SkyWest - Radio World

User Report: Omnia Takes on Many Tasks for SkyWest

Processor Does More Than Process for This Western Broadcaster
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The author is chief engineer, SkyWest Media.


Versatility, ease of use, excellent sound quality and attractive price point have placed the Omnia One at the helm of many of my SkyWest stations. If it isn’t an Omnia One, chances are that its big brother, the Omnia 6, took its place.

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From FM classic rock to AM adult standards, Omnia processors have operated loud and proud without a single problem since I purchased my first unit almost a decade ago. Consistent software updates and free 24/7 support keep my mind at ease and confident that I have an up-to-date product.

To the rescue
When faced with the problem of not being able to have a traditional 950 MHz STL link to ourtransmitter site, an Omnia One and Axia Audio Node together with unlicensed wireless link came to the rescue.

The hop was 17 miles with little possibility of a traditional STL frequency being available. An Axia Audio Node was installed in the studio to output the digital LiveWire signal. We employed a Motorola PTP 600 Canopy to hop the signal to the site and utilized the LiveWire port on the back of the Omnia One to receive it. The Omnia One then fed the exciter composite. We had the units talking and delivering beautiful uncompressed audio within minutes.

During the initial rollout of the Omnia One, the AM style was not yet developed. After I expressed my burning need for an AM version, my wish was granted.

Omnia supplied me with the Omnia One AM beta software for my major-market AM. After unzipping my e-mailed firmware from support, I uploaded it to the unit and swapped my old audio processor with my new Omnia One. Instantly my phone starting ringing with questions of “how did you make it sound so much better?”

As embarrassing as it is to admit, my beta software sounded so good and was so stable, I am still using it more than a year later.

The Omnia One is also available in “Studio Pro” and “Multicast” styles.

The Studio Pro is exactly what the name implies. It delivers minimally delayed processed audio for applications that don’t require absolute peak limiting. It’s also the first studio processor to include a four-band compressor/limiter. The accuracy and flexibility of this processor make it an invaluable tool for any signal processing application, not just on-air audio.

The Multicast version includes a new audio conditioning technology that Omnia calls Sensus. The primary application of this style is for situations where little transmission bandwidth is available. The idea behind Sensus is to breathe life back into bit-reduced audio. This processor can be so preciously customized that we will maintain our signature sound even under the constraints of bit-reduced transmission.

A home in my rack
This highlights a valuable feature of the Omnia One, style switching.

I’m not talking about loading different presets or filters, but the ability to completely repurpose the processor into any of the application styles needed for use in the studio, transmission and even networked applications.

Frank Foti and the gang thought way out-of-the-box when developing this processor. Instead of building a different product for each application, they developed the Omnia One as a “universal hardware platform.” All of the I/O, processing power and other hardware requirements are integrated into this single rack-unit box. This includes wideband AGC followed by four bands of AGC and four bands of peak limiting, browser-based remote control and configuration, analog XLR balanced I/O, digital AES/EBU input, output and external sync output, input fail-over on audio loss and even an Ethernet/Livewire IP audio connection.

Omnia has made the processing styles available for download, for free. All I need to do is load the software into one of the two memory banks, and fire up the style I want. I can literally change this from a full-featured FM processor to AM, with the advanced functionality that I need, in a matter of minutes. With future format or hardware requirement changes, the Omnia One has the ability to adapt easily to my needs.

Omnia’s approach to the Omnia One followed the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid), yet with the ability to open up the hood and play around as much as you like. From simple interfaces to groundbreaking technology, Omnia products will always have a home in my rack.

For information, contact Omnia Audio at (216) 241-7225 or visit www.omniaaudio.com.

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