Finally eliminating all of the semi-pro musician friendly boxes, I discovered the Omnia One. Omnia knows its customers are pros who need professional I/O. Not only does it include AES digital (Radio Systems' Studio Hub compatible), but it also offers balanced analog I/O and can even become a node in an Axia Livewire AoIP network environment. It has an excellent Web-based remote control, is rack mountable, priced right and can easily be configured to ride gain or to rock the house. Its easy to use single-knob control is immediately familiar and the displays are simple, clear and adequately verbose. If that's not enough, did I mention that its sound is first-rate, too? I auditioned nearly every preset and am impressed. The One can be big or small, thick or thin, tall, grande or venti. I also put the thing on the air for a while and I can say that it really gets it done!
Setting the One apart from its musician-targeted brethren are features like a Web remote interface, user and preloaded factory presets, the ability to store and recall I/O setups, of course the stereo generator and associated composite audio capabilities, automatic input failover, and immediately noticeable is the designer's familiarity with the handsome and professional radio engineer.
I almost feel guilty giving the wholly capable processor the prosaic task of riding levels for the PPM encoder. The unit seems almost too good for such yeoman's work. A welcome side effect of its installation is that our programming department loves the sound. I sleep better knowing that the PPM system is now spitting out more codes than ever before. At least that's the theory.
The folks at Omnia are right to point out just how dead center they've hit the bull's eye with the processor. The fact that they've now sold more than 5,000 units speaks not only to the unit's broad appeal, but tells a story of a marketplace that needed this particular product at this price point. You can see why they've chosen the tagline "Everybody wants One!" I suspect I'll always need One more.
Kernen is the chief engineer of WCSX, WRIF and WMGC, Greater Media Detroit.
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