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Oct 1, 2005 12:00 PM, By Kari Taylor, senior associate editor

Do you remember?

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Scully-Metrotech, the recording division of Dictaphone, manufactured the 280-B recorder around 1974. The unit offered a signal-to-noise ratio up to 72dB on full track �" tape at mastering speed and 68dB on two-track �" and four track �". The recorder also featured flat bandwidths of �2dB, 30Hz to 18kHz. Solid-state circuitry and mother-daughter board architecture provided greater reliability, and made testing and repairs easier. All signal electronics were in slide-out drawers.

Using Optac motion sensing, tape motion was smoothly controlled to reduce tape wear and stretching. Users could go from one transport mode to another without touching the stop button, which was a departure from earlier reel-to-reel designs. They could also enter and leave "record" while transports were in play.

That was then

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The humble patch bay was once the premier method of switching audio sources within a facility.

This BBC control room in Belfast was equipped with a home-made console built from a four-channel remote mixer. Two sets of patch bays were used for source switching. One was built into the center of the console for line termination and test equipment and the other set was in the equipment rack shown here. This was made up of about eight bays: some commercially made bays and some custom-made from angle iron. Photographed in March 1936, much of the wiring was taken direct to the jackfields without going via mounted terminal blocks.

These patch bays were replaced that same year with standard bays. Because the racks were placed 18" from the back wall, this was not an easy task. In addition, the bays were active with audio circuits during the upgrade.

Today's routing has been simplified with the use of electronic routing systems, which make source changes and system upgrades much simpler.


Sample and Hold

How familiar are advertisers with Arbitron's Portable People Meter Initiative?

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Source: RAB/Forrester Consulting Phone Survey, April 2005.