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Audio Processing: Your Ears vs. Specs and Features

Posted by Denny Sanders on Feb 25, 2013 4:45:00 PM

I once heard a story regarding a certain ski team during one of the Olympic Games. Not sure if it is true or not, but it went something like this: This team was determined to be the first ski team from their country to bring home some medals. They studied every book about skiing. They read up on the proper techniques, equipment, stance, timing - everything.  Later they practiced on simulators. On the flight to the Olympic Games they were already counting their medals. Only one problem: They never actually skied on an Olympic course before! They hardly skied at all on any course.

You can figure the rest. 

One by one, the members of the team fell off the side of the ramp, skied into the crowd, and, generally, made fools of themselves. On the flight home, nursing various bruises and broken bones, they shared the same bewilderment: We studied the books, we saw the pictures, we picked the equipment with the best specs. What went wrong?

Now, what does this have to do with processing? Plenty.

While specs and feature lists are great reference points, ultimately your ears will be the judge of how effective an audio processor will be for your particular station. Just like the ski team couldn’t possibly judge the quality of their performance without doing some test runs on an actual course, how on earth can anyone judge a processor strictly on specs, features and promises without putting it up on air and putting it through its paces? All processors of all varieties from all companies should be evaluated with your ears and the ears of your associates.

Top engineers and processing consultants do this regularly; they compare audio processors on-air. More often than not, they choose an Omnia processor. Which processor will you choose? How will you compare? Comparing and judging for yourself – with rested ears and an open mind – will always result in the right choice for you.

By the way, a word about presets: Never mind what the preset labels say. The Omnia.11, for example, avoids labeling music presets by format. Only YOU can know what is right for your Country station or CHR or Soft AC. What your PD likes. What is best for your market. Your sonic signature. Once again, let you ears be the judge.

Also, avoid pre-judging an audio processor based on price during your evaluations. You may discover that a small powerhouse like the Omnia ONE will do the trick just fine. You may find yourself and your associates blown away by the Omnia.11 or Omnia.9 and magically… the budget appears!

Remember, you need to win on the course not in the classroom.

And your ears are your best guide.

Topics: Audio Processing


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