ORBAN, manufacturer of broadcast audio processing, made its first public comments on VOLTAIR, which is manufactured by competitor 25-Seven, an affiliate of THE TELOS ALLIANCE. The company urged radio stations to proceed with caution with the VOLTAIR, even though its compatible with ORBAN’s Optimod processors.
The statement read, in part: “Some have argued that VOLTAIR is ‘just another form of audio processing.’ However, we believe that there is an essential and fundamental difference between audio processing (like that done by our Optimods) that increases the opportunity of the NIELSEN encoder to insert audibly undetectable watermark tones, and processing that directly manipulates the level of the watermark, potentially breaking NIELSEN psychoacoustic masking model and allowing the tones to become audible. Based on their testing, NIELSEN concluded that VOLTAIR can degrade perceptual quality. In an environment where traditional radio is suffering ever-increasing competition from new media, we believe that it is unwise for radio to degrade its audio in an internecine battle whose ultimate winner could be non-broadcast providers.
“Because NIELSEN is a large, global business that depends on producing credible audience measurements, we expect that it will soon solve any problem (if it actually exists) by making improvements to its encoder. Accordingly, we have decided not to add processing to Optimods that directly manipulates the NIELSEN watermark signal because we expect that any such effort would degrade audio quality and would soon be rendered obsolete by NIELSEN’s encoder improvements. Moreover, we trust the MEDIA RATING COUNCIL to thoroughly evaluate any such improvements, as they have already done for the NIELSEN PPM system in its current form.”
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