Next-Gen AM Processing, On Display At NAB Show


Looking for the most modern way to manage the audio processing for your AM radio stations?

A new tool from a longtime audio processing firm may be of interest to you.

Orban is now making available the XPN-AM, and it will be demonstrated at Booth N4120 — and at the Nautel booth (N5924), at the 2019 NAB Show in Las Vegas.

XPN-AM is the result of more than five years of research by processing pioneer Bob Orban. According to the company, the tool exploits a psychoacoustic model to maximize the reach and intelligibility of AM transmissions while lowering distortion and reducing listening fatigue.

“AM broadcasters have been fighting RF noise at listener locations for decades,” said Orban President David Day. “An appropriate solution to counteract noise from lighting or computers is to adjust audio processing for more apparent loudness. All audio processors produce more distortion when they do this, which ultimately limits stations’ potential coverage. XPN-AM substantially improves this loudness/distortion tradeoff, maximizing the number of listeners who can receive entertainment-quality service.”

At NAB, Bob Orban will conduct a demonstration of XPN-AM versus other current AM processors, utilizing a Nautel J1000 AM transmitter to most accurately show real-world conditions. As Orban switches between the processors, attendees will be able to hear the differences in both loudness and distortion.

XPN-AM will also be demonstrated in the Nautel booth on an NX-5 transmitter running Modulation Dependent Carrier Level (MDCL). “This demonstration will show in real time the power savings that can be obtained with the combination of XPN-AM and MDCL,” said Day.

Orban first introduced its disruptive MX limiter technology in Optimod-FM 8600, in 2010.

He says, ”The MX limiter uses a psychoacoustic model to significantly lower distortion, increase transient punch, and improve high frequency power handling capability. Orban’s XPN-AM now brings this same revolutionary limiter technology to AM radio, providing an unprecedented combination of loudness, cleanliness, crispness, speech intelligibility, and coverage. Additionally, XPN-AM’s design is informed by everything we have learned in our 42 years of AM processing experience, starting with the original Optimod-AM 9000 in 1977.”

In Day’s view, this proves that AM “is most definitely NOT dead,” at least in North America.

“Some of the top billing radio stations in the USA are AM operations,” Day said. “We have been testing XPN-AM for the past year with broadcasters around the world, and they have been enthusiastic about the results. Now that XPN-AM is shipping, AM stations everywhere can claim their rightful place as leaders on the dial.”