You Can't Fool the Ears


The last time WBVR-FM in Bowling Green, Kentucky put in a new audio processor, Ronald Reagan was President, Madonna still topped the charts, and VHS was in. iTunes wasn’t even on the radar, and the Internet as we know it was years away.


The world looked — and sounded — a lot different. 

“The old Orban was designed when record companies put out dynamic material. We didn’t even know how dynamic it was because the Orban just smoothed things out,” commented Jeremy Wilkinson, chief engineer for WBVR-FM, which plays a variety of country music, from Conway Twitty to Faith Hill. WBVR-FM installed an Optimod 8100 in the mid-80s and soon after added the Optimod XT multiband processor.

That is how things stood until March of this year, when Wilkinson put a new AirAura on the air chain, and kept it there.

“It had consistency; it was smooth from new song to old song. It was as close to the consistency we wanted, yet had that good stereo separation. That was the biggest difference we heard: stereo separation. The placement of instruments in stereo fields was much more pronounced,” says Wilkinson, who learned to play the drums and guitar “by ear.” In addition to gigs as a sound engineer, he has performed for more than 20 years and for venues such as the “Live at Libby’s Show” in Daysville, Kentucky, where music greats like Garth Brooks performed.

He says the 31-band AirAura is the only digital audio processor he’s tried that can handle today’s already overly compressed audio.

“I held out for so long because I found digital processors to be inflexible when it came to all the different program types. But when I put this on, it was all there: the consistency, the separation. You might be able to fool the eyes, but you can’t fool the ears,” comments Wilkinson.

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