Orban’s 5501e is an FM stereo audio processor that provides the functionality of Orban’s stand-alone Optimod-FM 5500 on a PCIe card for Windows computers. It implements two-band and five-band processing, a stereo encoder with Orban’s Half-Cosine Interpolation composite limiter, and a low-latency monitor output. In addition to this classic Optimod-FM audio processing, the 5501e provides a BS.412 multiplex power controller to comply with European regulations.
Because the 5501e implements audio processing via onboard DSP chips, it uses few CPU resources. With the addition of the Orban OptiEXP PCIe expansion chassis, one computer can run as many as eight 5501e cards, or any mix of Orban PC 1101e streaming cards and Optimod FM 5501e PC cards
Via a multi-pin connector on its rear flange, the 5501e offers a full complement of hardware inputs and outputs, both analog and AES3 digital. In addition to the usual left/right analog and AES3 digital inputs and outputs, the 5501e supplies two analog composite outputs and two analog SCA inputs.
It has two sync inputs: AES11 sync, and wordclock / 10 MHz (automatically selected). These allow the 5501e’s output sample rate and pilot frequency to be locked to an external reference like GPS.
Additionally, the 5501e appears to Windows as a sound card that provides a Recording input and Playback output, so it can accept a left/right audio input and emit a processed L/R output through the normal Windows Sound mechanism. For example, a 5501e can directly accept the output of playout software that runs on the same computer. Moreover, integration with Windows Sound allows the 5501e to be interfaced to an audio-over-IP distribution system using an Ethernet port and audio-over-IP distribution driver on the host computer.
Like Orban’s popular 1101e audio processor / soundcard, the 5501e can be controlled via 5501e PC Remote software running on the same computer as the 5501e, or on a network. This software supports a connection list that can include multiple 5501e cards, so it can easily connect to a given card, whether local or in another computer on the network.