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Orban 8700i

Optimod-FM/HD Audio Processor with Dante AoIP & AES67


Orban 8700i
Orban 8700iOrban 8700i
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OPTIMOD-FM 8700i is Orban’s flagship processor. Featuring versatile five-band and two-band processing for both analog FM transmission and digital media, the 8700i provides the industry’s most consistent sound, track-to-track and source-to-source. This consistency allows you to create a sonic signature for your station with the assurance that your signature will stay locked in, uniquely branding your sound.

The 8700i builds on 8600 V4’s outstanding reliability and industry-leading sound quality. It adds Ravenna audio-over-IP connectivity (100% AES67 compliant) and a hot-swappable, dual-redundant power supply with automatic failover. A digital MPX output using a 192 kHz AES3 connection is now standard, as are two digitized SCA inputs. A new program-adaptive subharmonic synthesizer ensures punchy bass, even with older program material. An important feature is a phase skew corrector/multipath mitigator that ensures crisp reception when receivers blend to mono and minimizes energy in the stereo subchannel without compromising separation. The phase skew corrector uses a proprietary multidimensional processing algorithm that can simultaneously correct multiple phase problems, like a combination of analog tape gap skew and comb filtering caused by multiple-microphone pickup of a single instrument in the original recording session.

Orban’s exclusive MX peak limiter technology decreases distortion while increasing transient punch and high frequency power handling capacity. Compared to the 8500’s limiter, the MX limiter typically provides 2.5 to 3 dB more power at high frequencies, which minimizes audible HF loss caused by pre-emphasis limiting. Drums and percussion cut through the mix. Highs are airy. “Problem material” that used to cause audible distortion is handled cleanly.

The 8700i’s main goal is to make FM analog broadcasts more competitive with the cleanliness, punch, and open high frequencies of the digital media against which FM analog transmissions now battle. The FM loudness wars represent 20th-century thinking; in the 21st century, the new competition is digital media. Thanks to its crisp, punchy sound, the 8700i helps level the playing field between analog FM and its ever more aggressive digital-only competitors.

The 8700i offers 8500-style processing presets too. Because the input/output delay of the MX peak limiter is too long to permit talent to monitor off-air on headphones, 8500-style is useful for remotes and outside broadcasts where off-air headphone monitoring is desired and the 8700i’s low-delay monitor output cannot be brought to the talent.

In addition to subharmonic synthesis and phase skew correction , the 8700i provides stereo enhancement, HF enhancement, equalization, AGC, multiband compression, low-IM peak limiting, stereo encoding, and composite limiting — everything that even the most competitive major market station needs to stand out on the dial.

Processing for digital media like DAB+, netcasts and HD Radio™ is supplied standard. The FM and digital media processing paths split after the 8700i’s stereo enhancer and AGC. There are two equalizers, multiband compressors and peak limiters, allowing the analog FM and digital media processing to be optimized separately. The bottom line? Processing that optimizes the sound of your FM channel while punching remarkably crisp, clean, CD-like audio through to your digital channel audience.

More than 20 excellent sounding, format specific factory presets get you started. You’ll find all of your favorite 8500 presets, plus “MX” presets designed by Bob Orban to exploit the exciting possibilities inherent in the 8700i’s MX peak limiter technology. Although the factory presets are fully competent “out of the box,” you can customize them with easy one-knob LESS- MORE control or with more than 60 advanced controls whose versatility will satisfy even the most finicky on-air sound designer.

If you choose to use the 8700i’s superb DSP-based stereo encoder and composite limiter, be assured that they deliver an FM analog signal that is always immaculately clean and perfectly peak limited, with full spectral protection of subcarriers and RDS/RBDS regardless of the amount of composite limiting.

A full-featured RDS/RBDS generator that supports dynamic PS is standard.

The 8700i includes ITU-R BS.1770-3 loudness meters and loudness controllers for use in countries that enforce a BS.1770 loudness limit on FM radio broadcasts. There are independent loudness meters and loudness controllers for the FM and digital radio processing chains. For our European customers, a second-generation ITU BS.412 multiplex power controller yields the best possible coverage while flawlessly complying with the standard. You can adjust it to maximize loudness within the constraints of the BS 412 standard or to produce less gain change at the expense of slightly lower loudness. The 8700i applies MPX power gain reduction after the clippers so that the texture of the processing can include more “clipper sound” when desired. Regardless of how you adjust the multiplex power controller, you can be sure that you will always meet the BS 412 requirements flawlessly.

A loop-through connection is provided to enable a ratings encoder (such as Arbitron®) to be inserted between the output of the audio processing and the input to the stereo encoder. You can insert either after the AGC (allowing one ratings encoder to be used for both the FM analog and HD processing chains) or just before the stereo encoder (driving the ratings encoder with the highest possible audio level).

Silence sense on the various inputs allows automatic failover between inputs, as specified by the user. The silence sense detectors can drive the 8700i’s tally outputs and send SNMP traps/alerts.


An intuitive joystick, knob and button navigation system and a bright, active-matrix color LCD makes it easy to set up and program the 8700i from its front panel.

Ethernet connectivity is standard, as is an easy to use PC remote control application that runs on Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7 and 8 and that can control many 8700is on a TCP/IP network. In addition, programmable contact-closure (GPI) control plus ASCII terminal control via the 8700i's RS232 serial and Ethernet ports and give you total freedom to interface the 8700i with your facility's remote control infrastructure, whatever it might be. The simple, ASCII-based API can be used to allow custom third-party applications (including automation systems) to recall presets, view status and set the controls.

The SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) features allow you to monitor your Optimod's status and to send Alarm notifications via your Optimod's Ethernet connection to your network.

Digital MPX

Optimod-FM 8700i Digital MPX provides a digital composite output using a 192 kHz AES3 connection. This output appears on a male XLR-type connector on the breakout cable supplied with the Optimod. This output is fully compatible with and interoperable with the de-facto industry standard digital connection being implemented by transmitter manufacturers and others.

Several processor manufacturers and transmitter manufacturers have already implemented a system that uses the left channel of the AES3 signal to pass the FM stereo part of the composite baseband, leaving the right channel available. The original implementation does not allow the entire 99 kHz composite MPX signal to be digitized into a single bitstream. The Nyquist frequency of 192 kHz is 96 kHz, and practical anti-aliasing filters limit the flat passband to a frequency significantly lower than Nyquist. Hence, any subcarriers above about 80 kHz (in particular, 92 kHz SCAs) must be injected and digitized separately.

Orban’s implementation is a 100% backward-compatible superset of the original left-channel-only system and can be used with all such hardware, although its full benefits can only be enjoyed if the hardware receiving the signal is designed to take advantage of it. Orban’s system removes the bandwidth limitation while using the same AES3 192 kHz transport as the original system. We sample at 384 kHz and multiplex the samples in an even-odd sequence between the left and right channels of a 192 kHz AES3 link. Thanks to its 384 kHz sample rate, this system has sufficient bandwidth to pass the entire FM baseband (up to 99 kHz) without aliasing. The link uses straightforward 192 kHz stereo AES hardware, and relies on the fact that the AES3 standard allows the left and right channels to be sample-locked and time-synchronized with each other both to prevent both phase cancellation in a mono mixdown and widening of the stereo image.

A wordclock/sync reference input appears on a female BNC jack at the end of the breakout cable that connects to the digital composite connector. It accepts a 1x 5V p-p squarewave wordclock signal at 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, or 96 kHz, or a 10 MHz sinewave or squarewave signal, 0.5 to 5 V peak. 10 MHz is a common output frequency produced by GPS and rubidium frequency standards. You can configure the 8700i Digital MPX to lock its 19 kHz pilot tone and output sample frequency to this input. The digital MPX hardware also provides two new SCA inputs on BNC jacks. These are digitized at 384 kHz sample rate using 16-bit converters and can only feed the digital composite output. (If you need to use both the digital and analog composite outputs, you must split the outputs of your SCA generators with Y cables so that each generator output drives one digitized SCA input and one non-digitized SCA input.)

“Multipath Mitigator” Left/Right Phase Skew Correction The phase skew corrector maximizes the quality of a mono mixdown or blend that might occur in a receiver. At higher frequencies (where audible comb filtering of the mono sum is most likely to occur), the corrector removes phase differences between the left and right channels, converting the HF signal into “intensity stereo” while preserving phase differences at lower frequencies where these differences are important for psychoacoustic “envelopment.”

By removing phase shifts between the left and right channels, the process minimizes the amount of energy in the stereo subchannel, which consequently minimizes multipath distortion without compromising stereo separation. It can allow more stereo enhancement to occur for a given amount of multipath distortion. The process also minimizes the amount of peak overshoot during SSB/VSB operation of the stereo encoder, thus minimizing the amount of composite limiting needed to constrain peak modulation to 100. This process can not only correct problems due to phase skew between the left and right channels of an analog recording due to head gap misalignment, it can also correct comb filtering caused by spaced microphones feeding the left and right channels, which can occur on drum kits and other sources that have been multi-miced.

Main Features:
• User-Friendly Interface
• Large (quarter-VGA) active-matrix color liquid crystal display (LCD) Makes setup, adjustment and programming of the 8700i easy. Navigation is by a miniature joystick, two dedicated buttons and a large rotary knob. The LCD shows all metering functions of the processing structure in use.
• Locate joystick Used to navigate through a menu that lets you recall a preset, modify processing (at three levels of expertise), or to access the system's setup controls.
• Absolute Control of Peak Modulation
• Universal transmitter protection & audio processing for FM broadcast The 8700i provides universal transmitter protection and audio processing for FM broadcast. It can be configured to interface ideally with any commonly found transmission system in the world, analog or digital.
• Pre-emphasis limiting The 8700i provides pre-emphasis limiting for the internationally used pre-emphasis curves of 50 µs and 75 µs. Compared to its predecessor, its new clipping/pre-emphasis-control technology preserves 2.5 to 3 dB more frequency energy while significantly reducing audible clipping distortion at all frequencies. This produces a clean, open sound whose subjective brightness more closely matches the original program.
• Tight peak control at all its outputs The 8700i achieves extremely tight peak control at all its outputs — analog, AES3 (for both the analog FM and HD channels) and composite baseband.
• Stereo encoder integrated with audio processing
• Eliminates the overshoot problems that waste valuable modulation in traditional external encoders.
• Two outputs The stereo encoder has two outputs with independent level controls, each capable of driving 75 Ω in parallel with 47,000 pF, (100 ft / 30 m of coaxial cable).
• Stereo encoder By integrating the stereo encoder with the audio processing, the 8700i eliminates the overshoot problems that waste valuable modulation in traditional external encoders.
• Bandwidth limiting & overshoot compensation The 8700i prevents aliasing distortion in subsequent stereo encoders or transmission links by providing bandwidth limiting and overshoot compensated 15 kHz low-pass filters ahead of the 8700i's audio outputs and stereo encoder.
• Internal DSP-based stereo encoder The 8700i has an internal, DSP-based stereo encoder (with a patented “half-cosine interpolation” composite limiter operating at 512 kHz sample rate) to generate the pilot tone stereo baseband signal and control its peak level. The composite limiter is a unique, "you can only do this in DSP" process that beats composite clippers by preserving stereo imaging while fully protecting the stereo pilot tone,
• RDS/RBDS and subcarriers.
• Loudness and True Peak Control The digital radio and analog FM processing chains each include an ITU-R BS.1770-3 Loudness Meter and Loudness Controller for use in countries that enforce a BS.1770 loudness limit on digital radio broadcasts.
• The 8700iHD implements “true peak” control in the HD processing chain by oversampling the HD peak limiter's sidechain at 256 kHz. This allows the 8700i to prevent clipping in a playback device's analog signal path by predicting and controlling the analog peak level following the playback device's reconstruction filter to an accuracy of better than 0.5 dB. For typical program material, accuracy is 0.2 dB.
• Flexible Configuration
• Digital MPX A 192 kHz AES3 digital composite output that is compatible and interoperable with the 192 kHz standard being implemented by several transmitter manufacturers. These implantations use the left audio channel of the AES3 connection to carry the baseband, but their 96 kHz Nyquist frequency makes them unable to convey 92 kHz SCAs without aliasing. Orban’s fully backward-compatible implementation extends the standard by using the right audio channel of the link to provide bandwidth extension that accommodates the full 0-99 kHz baseband when used with hardware designed to use this extra information.
• Two additional SCA inputs that are digitized and can be summed into the digital composite outputs. A 10 MHz reference input allows the stereo pilot tone frequency and digital composite output sample rate to be locked to a 10 MHz reference signal (like GPS), facilitating single-frequency-network operation.
• Analog & AES3 left/right digital inputs & outputs OPTIMOD-FM 8700i is supplied with analog and AES3 digital inputs and outputs. The digital input and the two digital outputs are equipped with sample rate converters. The pre-emphasis status and output levels are separately adjustable for the analog and digital outputs. Each output can emit the analog FM processed signal, the analog FM processed signal with diversity delay applied, the digital radio processed signal or the low-delay monitor signal.
• A loop-through connection (from the AES#2 output to the AES sync input) is provided to enable a ratings encoder (such as Arbitron®) to be inserted after the AGC, or between the output of the audio processing and the input to the stereo encoder.
• Ravenna™ Audio-Over-IP Connectivity 100% AES67 compliant, Ravenna uses a dedicated Ethernet connection for two stereo audio inputs and two stereo outputs, each with a dedicated level control. Sample rate conversion is provided for both the inputs and the outputs. AES67 compliance allows the 8700i to interoperate with many other devices, and more and more proprietary networks and networked devices are being upgraded by their manufacturers to support AES67 connectivity.
• Defeatable diversity delay A defeatable diversity delay can delay the FM analog processing output up to 16.2 seconds. Delay can be trimmed in intervals of one sample of 64 kHz to match the analog and digital paths in the HD Radio system, eliminating the need to use the delay built into the HD Radio exciter and permitting the 8700i's internal stereo encoder and composite limiter to drive the analog FM exciter. Both the 8700i and 8700iFM offer this feature, making it convenient to use the 8700iFM in dual-processor HD installations where the digital channel receives independent processing from a processor like Orban's OPTIMOD 6300 or OPTIMOD-PC. Each output (Analog, Digital 1, Digital 2, Composite, and Ravenna) can be independently configured to emit the delayed or undelayed signal.
• AES11 sync input An AES11 sync input allows you to synchronize the output sample rate of either (or both) AES3 outputs to this input. You can also synchronize the outputs to the AES3 digital input or to 8700i's internal clock. The sync source of each AES3 output is independently selectable. Transformerless, balanced 10 kΩ instrumentation-amplifier circuits The analog inputs are transformerless, balanced 10 kΩ instrumentation-amplifier circuits. The analog outputs are transformerless balanced and floating (with 50 Ω impedance) to ensure highest transparency and accurate pulse response.
• Two independent analog composite baseband outputs The 8700i has two independent composite baseband outputs with digitally programmable output levels. Robust line drivers enable them to drive 100 feet of RG59 coaxial cable without audible performance degradation.
• Two analog subcarrier inputs The 8700i's two subcarrier inputs are mixed with the output of the 8700i's stereo encoder before application to the composite output connectors. One input can be re-jumpered to provide a 19 kHz pilot reference output. Both inputs have internal level trims to accommodate subcarrier generators with output levels as low as 220 mV.
• Precise control of the audio bandwidth The 8700i precisely controls the audio bandwidth of its analog FM processing to 16.5 kHz. This prevents significant overshoots in uncompressed digital links operating at a 44.1 kHz-sample rate or higher and prevents interference to the pilot tone and RDS (or RBDS) subcarrier. The bandwidth of the 8700i's digital radio output is adjustable in 1 kHz increments between 15 kHz and 20 kHz.
• Defeatable multiplex power limiter The 8700i has a defeatable multiplex power limiter that controls the multiplex power to ITU-R BS412 standards. An adjustable threshold allows a station to achieve maximum legal multiplex power even if the downstream transmission system introduces peak overshoots into the 8700i-processed signal. Because this limiter closes a feedback loop around the audio processing, it allows the user to adjust the processor's subjective setup controls freely without violating BS412 limits, regardless of program material. The multiplex power limiter acts on all outputs (not just the composite output). In its most common configuration, it reduces clipper drive when it reduces power, simultaneously reducing clipping distortion. However, to accommodate customers who wish to use heavier clipping to achieve a certain sound, the MPX power controller can be configured to reduce gain after the clippers.
• Single Sideband Because of broadcaster interest in this topic, we have implemented an experimental compatible single sideband/vestigial sideband mode in the 8700i's stereo encoder. SSB/VSB operation suppresses the upper sideband of the stereo subcarrier above 38,150 Hz, which reduces the occupied bandwidth of the FM-modulated RF signal. In SSB/VBS mode, the subchannel modulator acts as a pure SSB generator for L-R material in the frequency range of 150 Hz to 17 kHz and as a vestigial sideband generator below 150 Hz.
• RFI-suppressed connections All input, output and power connections are rigorously RFI-suppressed to Orban's traditional exacting standards, ensuring trouble-free installation.
• International safety and emissions standards The 8700i is designed and certified to meet all applicable international safety and emissions standards. Adaptability through Multiple Audio Processing Structures
• Processing structure A processing structure is a program that operates as a complete audio processing system. Only one processing structure can be on-air at a time, although all are active simultaneously to permit mute-free switching between them. The 8700i realizes its processing structures as a series of high-speed mathematical computations made by Digital Signal Processing (DSP) chips. By minimizing coupling between the control microprocessor and the DSP hardware, this architecture achieves outstanding reliability.
• Six processing structures The 8700i features six processing structures. Four of these are the same as OPTIMOD-FM 8500: Five-Band (or “Multiband”) for a consistent, "processed" sound with 17 ms delay (typical), Low-Latency Five-Band (12 ms delay), Ultra-Low-Latency Five-Band (3.7 ms delay) and Two-Band (17 or 22 ms delay) for a transparent sound that preserves the frequency balance of the original program material. A special Two-Band preset creates a no-compromise "Protect" function that is functionally similar to the “Protect” structures in earlier Orban digital processors.
• Two "MX" structures The 8700i's two new "MX" structures (five-band and two-band) are similar to their 8500 counterparts except that they use the 8700i's MX peak limiting technology to decrease distortion while achieving substantial improvements in transient punch and high frequency clarity. This advanced technology requires more input-to-output delay than the older structures, so it is impractical for talent to monitor these structures off-air with headphones. The 8700i offers a special low-delay monitor output for this purpose.
• Phase-linear The 8700i's Two-Band processing structures can be made phase-linear to maximize audible transparency.
• Rides gain The 8700i rides gain over an adjustable range of up to 25 dB, compressing dynamic range and compensating for both operator gain-riding errors and gain inconsistencies in automated systems.
• Increase density and loudness The 8700i can increase the density and loudness of the program material by multiband compression, limiting and clipping — improving the consistency of the station's sound and increasing loudness and definition remarkably, without producing unpleasant side effects. Controllable
• Remote control The 8700i can be remote-controlled by 5 - 12V pulses applied to eight programmable, optically isolated GPI (general-purpose interface) ports.
• Serial port #1 The 8700i is equipped with a serial port to interface to an WIndows® computer running Orban's PC Remote software. The connection can be either direct or through an external modem.
• Serial port #2 The 8700i has a second serial port that allows the user to set up security and communications parameters through a simple ASCII terminal program running on any PC.
• Built-in 100 Mbps Ethernet port The 8700i can be connected through its built-in 100 Mbps Ethernet port to a TCP/IP network.
• SNMP The SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) features allow you to adjust the diversity delay, monitor the 8700i's status, and send Alarm notifications via the 8700i's Ethernet connection to your network.
• Telnet client The 8700i includes a Telnet client that allows presets to be recalled via batch files using the free PuTTY and Plink applications. The commands are simple ASCII strings, facilitating interface to automation systems that can emit such strings through an Ethernet or RS232 serial connection.
• PC Remote control software 8700i PC Remote software is a graphical application that runs under Vista, 7, 8, and 10. It communicates with a given 8700i via TCP/IP over modem, direct serial and Ethernet connections. You can configure PC Remote to switch between many 8700is via a convenient organizer that supports giving any 8700i an alias name and grouping multiple 8700is into folders. Clicking an 8700i's icon causes PC Remote to connect to that 8700i through an Ethernet network, or initiates a Windows Dial-Up or Direct Cable Connection if appropriate. The PC Remote software allows the user to access all 8700i features and allows the user to archive and restore presets, automation lists and system setups (containing I/O levels, digital word lengths, GPI functional assignments, etc.).
• Bypass Test Mode A Bypass Test Mode can be invoked locally, by remote control (from the 8700i’s GPI port, its PC Remote application, or ASCII API), or by automation to permit broadcast system test and alignment or “proof of performance” tests.
• Built-in line-up tone generator The 8700i contains a built-in line-up tone generator, facilitating quick and accurate level setting in any system.
• Versatile real-time clock The 8700i contains a versatile real-time clock, which allows automation of various events (including recalling presets) at pre-programmed times. To maintain accuracy, this clock can be automatically synchronized via the Internet to a reference time source.

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