The Omnia CD Processor

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by Michael Fossenkemper, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Ok, After spending months and months of coming up with my own technique, I decided to take the Omnia for a spin. I gave up on the L2 as a limiter and after the round of tests here, I didn't like the MD4 any better, well maybe a touch better on some things. I felt I came up with something on my own that I felt pretty happy with but still felt that certain things could be better. I'm not talking about eq or compression or color, I have some great boxes that I paid a lot for and I think they are fantastic. I'm talking about volume and detail or detail and volume depending on who's asking. Here is my journey into the most expensive "volume maximizer" ever created by man.

    I called Mike Bogen at Dale pro audio in NYC and asked him if I could demo the unit. He told me that Omnia didn't really demo this unit and was reluctant to send one out without a quarantee that they would take it back if I didn't want it. After a little haggling, they agreed to take it back if I decided not to purchase it. It's a $12,000 limiter, I can't take it for a test drive???? After I plunked down my credit card and secured the $12,000 security and hoped I didn't like it, they put one together because they didn't have one built. Here is a series of posts as I dive into this black box!!! (by the way, If I like it and you buy one too, mention my name. I'm hoping for a couple of hundred bucks off the price.....)

    I just got the Omnia today. I haven't plugged it in yet as it took me most of the day to just get through the manual (clients will be happy to hear that I didn't finish their CD today :roll:) . It's a freakin book and it's not filled with meaningless type. I read it once, then read it again. There is no way you can do a meaningful comparison between this box and any other box. It's just got too many variables. It's so complex that you can't even set it up from scratch, you have to start with a preset and work from there.

    Here is a BRIEF rundown of just the main processing, not even mentioning the parameters you can adjust within each of these process's. there are parameters in here i've never even heard of much less seen in any box.

    Upsampling>input stage(lots of parameters)>wideband AGC compressor (typical with a couple thrown in)>Xover network (more parameters)>multiband AGC compressor (lots of parameters)>AGC mixer>enhancer(3 bass enhancers and 1 stereo enhancer)>limter xover network (weee, more choices)>6 band limiter (more crap, it's not a brickwall unless you want it to be)>limiter mixer>2 band bass clipper>main clipper (3 options)>ouput section...

    I'm not kidding, it takes 2 pages to just show the flow chart.

    I've never seen anything like this. I thought the weiss DS1 had a lot of stuff, but this takes the cake. I'm going to reluctantly plug it in tomorrow and run some audio through it. There is a section just on security control (3 levels) to keep people out of certain areas and from seeing certain setup parameters.

    There is no way you can have a meaningful comparison unless I just pick a preset and run the audio through it. Every parameter in each section is not only adjustable but intelligent also. So if you adjust the release of 1 band of the compressor, it interacts with the attack and ratio of not only that band, but the other bands. They even state in the manual that they don't give realworld values to anything because it doesn't relate to exact values. for example attack isn't measured in ms, you get a pot that goes from 0-7, less to more. At least he printed the entire article that Rip Rowen wrote about rush's vapor trails CD in the manual to discourage abuse of this box. After I've sat with it for a few days, I might have a handle on it and what it can do. I'll keep you posted.
     
  2. slowjett

    slowjett Guest

    Well? =]
     
  3. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    well, I sent it back. did sound nice but nothing special and definately not worth 12 grand, unless you have no gear at all and want the most expensive all in one box. overall, it didn't have or do anything that I didn't already have.
     
  4. TrilliumSound

    TrilliumSound Active Member

    Mike,

    So in term of sound quality or similiarity, it sounds like what other gear ? Does it have its own sound or it does the job well and that's it ?

    Richard
     
  5. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    it definately does it's job well, it has a sound and tends to make everything sound similar. Basically it's a series of wide band, multiband, wide band, multiband, wide band. so by the time it gets out the end, it's pretty leveled out. It does sound good but it's based on their fm broadcast unit which is designed to make everything even out for radio. has some cool stuf for low end enhancement. The best all in one box out there but not better than hand selecting great gear. The price isn't a deal either.
     
  6. Sanity Inn

    Sanity Inn Guest

    Hey Michael

    not that i really know what any of this gear is hands on, i did post this find in the Plug in section

    some guy who used the Opti and Omnian figured a way to use 25 plus plugs chaimed to get the sounds
    and different result configs

    thought I'd post it for you to check out

    http://www.soundprocessing.nl/chains.html

    hope it's interesting for you

    Sanity Inn
     
  7. iznogood

    iznogood Guest

    that chain will reduce ANYTHING to utter crap.... :?

    just the amount of plugs is so degrading for the signal that i think half of them are in there to compensate for the other half! :shock:

    in my world this is uglier than a picture of satan himself :twisted:
     
  8. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    Well, the unique and good things about the omnia CD doesn't exsist in other plugs. The nice thing about the compression both wide and multi is that they have an adjustment that retains the relationship between dynamic sections and soft sections. The makeup gain can be set only to come up to a certain point durning a selected amount of time. This greatly reduces any pumping effects and verses will stay quieter than the chorus's if they already were. The bass enhancers were like nothing i've ever heard before. fantasic sounding! There is also a special algo that filters harmonic distortion so that it doesn't alias back in. It's these things that make the omnia special, not that it's a series of compressors and limiters. But if you want to even everthing out in a series of gentle steps, then that chain looks like it will do it. Granted that it's not good for mastering, but for lowend broadcasting, it could work.
     
  9. iznogood

    iznogood Guest

    "But if you want to even everthing out in a series of gentle steps, then that chain looks like it will do it. Granted that it's not good for mastering, but for lowend broadcasting, it could work."

    yeah but 32 plug's :?

    BTW i'm in no doubt that the omnia sounds better than plugins... most hardware DSP sounds better than plugs anyway...
     
  10. dpd

    dpd Active Member

    I wouldn't call $12K low end broadcasting. That's about $1K more than Omnia's most expensive box and right in line with Orban's top of the line box. Now, if you were inferring broadcasting itself is 'low end'... :D

    As soon as I read Michael's description, I'm saying to myself 'that thing is an FM audio processor without the stereo multiplexer.'

    And, now you know why guys like me in FM broadcasting just shake their heads when we try to use these boxes for classical and jazz stations. I have an Orban Optimod 8100 (10 years old) and I don't use half the processing available to me for two reasons:

    1) it's just too damned hard to dial it in working part time
    2) it sounds better to me to do the basic modulation limiting function and just not use all the blocks. (We pay the price for not being loud on the dial. But our audience isn't after 'loud'.

    Why did we buy the thing in the 1st place? I wish I knew, but I don't think you can find a pro-quality FM stereo generator without copious processing.

    I use Optimod 1100-PC cards for streaming processors and they are quite an improvement. Of course the difference being having a clean 15 Khz channel to the transmitter for broadcast, vice a very low bit rate mp3 Shoutcast stream over the net.
     
  11. Michael Fossenkemper

    Michael Fossenkemper Distinguished past mastering moderator Well-Known Member

    I was referring to the 32 plugin setup as a cheap alternative to the omnia. I think the omnia is top notch for what it does. Just isn't really geared towards mastering like it should be. It's more of a frankensteined unit.
     

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