Television Sound

TC6 in 1985

These pictures show the sound desk in Studio 6 at Television Centre in September 1985.

It was a 44 channel / 8 group mono desk. Note the quadrant style faders. TV sound supervisors preferred them to the flat faders offered by the manufacturer. They were conductive plastic track rather than the old stud variety. Each channel could be assigned to any group, which in turn could be routed to Independent and/or Main outputs, or made into a sub-group.

Left-hand "source" jackfield was for patching sources (studio mic points, grams, incoming lines from VT, OBs etc) to channels. Next come channel modules. Moving up from the faders were Cut and AFL (PFL was on the backstop of the fader), studio foldback and audience PA sends. The sloping panel housed EQ and coarse gain, with group routing above that. At the top were four compressor/limiters.

The right hand side was the same except that the "insert" jackfield was for, you've guessed it, inserting auxiliary apparatus into the channel or group. It was unbalanced so that one jack lead could be used for both send and return.

The triangular panels left and right housed, on one side, an 8x8 group recording matrix, whereby the 8 groups could be routed in any combination to any of the 8 matrix outputs. On the other side was an effects switcher unit. This was linked to the vision mixer and allowed effects amplifiers to be switched in and out in sync with the cutting of shots. For example, in a two way telephone conversation in a drama, the audio distort unit would follow the shots so that the out of vision person was distorted but the in vision was clean and vice versa. Also in these sections were red and blue light controls, tone to line, intercoms to crew and other control areas and an EMX.

The central panel, from right to left, houses 10 more channels, 8 group faders (blue) with foldback and PA sends, 4 echo returns (yellow) and the main and main clean feed faders (red) The monitoring panel in the middle has two mono PPMs with rotary source selectors, LS dim/cut keys and desk/line selector for PPM and LS.

Left of the PPMs is the EQ for the echo returns and 4 small PPMS showing the level of the feed to the plate. When the desk was installed, remotely controlled plates were still the main source of reverb. Electronic delay/reverb units were taking over at the time of this picture. There is such a unit on top of the left-hand segment.

There are two TV monitors; one colour carrying studio output, the other monochrome for previewing other sources (which for one Supervisor every Saturday would be a courtesy feed of Match of the Day's OB!).

Either side of the monitor stand is an LS5. There were always two speakers, even in mono days. The small speaker further right carried the talkback from the production gallery. A similar speaker out of shot on the left was fed with the pre-hear.

Further out of shot on the left were two full size jack fields for doing all sorts of clever stuff.

This area has since been rebuilt.