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Product Review: Omnia 11


The Processing Challenge

This fiscal year, I had decided it was time to replace the processing of both Radio stations. The major factors that determined my decision were:
My existing processors are at least 10 years old.
All major manufacturers of processing equipment have released new models featuring the latest in processing technology.

Several new stations have signed on in our market.

I decided that I would demo the current model from each major manufacturer. This would include the Omnia 11, the Vorsis Air Aura, and the Optimod FM 8600.
All the testing would be conducted on our classic rock station. The current audio chain is processed with the composite output feeding the STL.

The first box I tested was the Omnia 11. I adjusted the input level and the composite output level and picked GC smooth as a preset. It was very impressive. The program feed was almost identical to what I was hearing from the off air monitors. I immediately noticed more fullness and width. The high end was clear, the low end had some definition to it. My lacklustre radio in my truck was actually sounding good. I had arrived at a definite improvement in the radio station sound with little effort.
I was definitely on the right track. I could not wait to try the other manufacturers products thinking that it would be tough to decide which one would replace my old processing.

The Vorsis Airaura was next to arrive. I placed the Vorsis inline exactly as I had placed the Omnia. I adjusted the input levels and set up the composite level. I used the basic setup preset as a starting point as suggested by Vorsis. The audio was not clear at all. I tried several other presets, all were not very impressive. Both the Omnia and Vorsis processors were tested by our sister station in Edmonton. In the end,they decided to go with the Omnia. Since I placed each unit in exactly the same audio part of the chain, I concluded that there must be something wrong with the Vorsis. I was hoping that it was going to be close enough in clarity that I would have a challenge deciding which one to purchase. It was not even close. I contacted Vorsis and they agreed to send out a new one as I believed this one was bad. Once the new one arrived, I placed it again on the air and did not really notice much difference. The Vorsis staff were very supportive in helping me with the setup. I described what I was missing and they were able to explain how to achieve the sound I was looking for. They had all the answers and what they told me to adjust helped obtain the sound I thought it was lacking. They seem to really know their product. I left it on the air for a couple of weeks while I waited for the Optimod to show up. I had some concern that I had to make a lot of adjustments to end up with what I liked.

When the Optimod 8600 arrived, I placed it in the same audio flow as the previous processors. It was for sure the loudest one on the air right out of the box. But it still lacked the clarity of the Omnia. I worked with the various presets and did not get too excited by what I was hearing. It was a little better than my old Optimod 8400 processor, but not by much. I would have a hard time justifying that amount of money to only achieve a small improvement of the off air sound.

I found out that they still had not installed the Omnia in Edmonton, so I decided it was time to compare all three processors. I picked up the Omnia from Edmonton and started to wire all three up for testing. That is when my Technical Director was driving through the area. I placed each one on the air one at a time.

I had not had the Omnia on air for quite a while. Once it was placed on the air, my Technical Director was impressed by how clean the high end audio was coming through. I had to agree. The whole audio spectrum just came alive! In the end, the decision turned out to be a no brainer. The other two manufacturers have some work to do.

Well Done Omnia!

Technical Supervisor CKGY/CIZZ FM
Cliff Wheeler