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Orban Introduces Penteo Surround at NAB 2010

Pictured during the NAB 2010 press conference outside the Orban mobile broadcast lab are (L-R) Robert Orban, Orban Chief Engineer; John Wheeler, Penteo President and Founder; and Chris Stone, Penteo CMO. Photo by David Goggin.

New Optimod 8685 converts Stereo to 5.1 for Broadcasters Worldwide

Broadcast leader Orban and Penteo held a major NAB 2010 press conference to introduce the new Optimod 8685, which now makes possible the automated conversion of stereo to 5.1 Surround for broadcasters worldwide. The revolutionary new process was demonstrated for the press and public with such classic original stereo soundtracks as “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” converted to full 5.1 Surround Sound.

The proprietary Penteo stereo-to-5.1 audio process works in tandem with the Optimod 8685 to make it possible for television broadcasters to effortlessly and automatically upmix

locally produced stereo shows, legacy stereo programming and stereo commercials into discrete 5.1 surround, while remaining fully true to the original stereo mix for ongoing stereo and mono viewers. Unlike other upmix methods, Penteo 5.1 is also compatible with televisions that have only stereo or mono audio systems, downmixing to the original stereo that was applied to the Penteo process.

Robert Orban, Chief Engineer of Orban stated, “When choosing an upmix algorithm to complement Orban’s Optimod-Surround 8685 audio processor, I auditioned a number of different processes. Of these, only the Penteo Surround upmix sounded like discrete five-channel while preserving the balance of the stereo source without coloration. I was particularly impressed by its ability to place dialog firmly in the center channel even when the mix included other elements placed around the stereo soundstage. Penteo was the hands-down winner of my shoot-out.”

The Orban Optimod 8685 is also ideal for mastering 5.1 audio from stereo for productions intended for media such as DVD and Blu-ray.

John Wheeler, Penteo, LLC founder and inventor of the new technology, commented, “We are very excited to be working with Orban on this new product developed from the ground up to offer broadcasters a turnkey, automatic tool that creates truly exceptional surround sound. The Penteo system is based on entirely new stereo analysis and we’re thrilled that broadcast leader Orban has chosen us for this major product introduction at NAB. We view this as strategic validation of our technology and with their stature in broadcast technology we have a perfect launching pad for Penteo’s leading presence in this new era of quality television, radio, and modern media delivery.”

Penteo has developed a system of processes and patent-pending proprietary technology that cleanly and efficiently converts any stereo mix of music, film, and TV soundtracks directly into quality 5.1 surround sound. At the core of this system is the new stereo “panorama slicing”(tm) algorithm that Wheeler says creates a much cleaner, clearer, more discrete 5.1 surround experience than any other 5.1 conversion technology available today. “Most importantly, our surround masters downmix back to stereo with absolutely no sonic artifacts,” Wheeler said. “Our approach absolutely respects the vision of the original mixing engineers.”

Penteo, LLC, based in San Francisco, California, has created cutting-edge technologies and services that convert any stereo audio into 5.1 surround sound, with automatic downmixing back to stereo. The company has developed proprietary, patent-pending technologies and applications that allow television, film, and music industry professionals to convert and deliver their stereo content and assets into superior-quality 5.1 surround sound automatically, setting a new standard in completely downconvertible, stereo-compatible 5.1 audio processing. Penteo is a registered trademark of Penteo, LLC.

Orban leads the industry in the design and manufacture of audio processors for radio, television and Internet broadcasting. Recognized for its standard-setting Optimod(r) digital audio processors and Opticodec(r) codecs, the Orban name has become synonymous with reliable, high performance products. From ESPN to CBS to BBC, its versatile audio processing equipment and codecs are the products of choice in fast-paced production and broadcasting environments worldwide.