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

Do you remember?

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The Harris Phase Fixer consisted of two compact rack-mounted units. The first, a pilot encoder, injected an inaudible pilot signal on the audio as it was recorded onto tape. The second unit was the time base corrector. When an encoded tape was played, the time base corrector was automatically enabled, electronically reducing stereo phase error and flutter to insignificant levels. Tapes that were not encoded were played normally.

According to ads, the Phase Fixer improved the on-air sound by eliminating cancellation drop-outs and retrieving missing musical notes. The system used existing cart recording and playback equipment, and carts without modification. In 1985 Harris advertised that the source material could sound five to 10 times better. One Phase Fixer system could accommodate all the tape source machines at a station.

That was then

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This photo of the NBC Master Control Room at 111 Sutter St. in San Francisco was taken sometime between 1927 and 1942. At the extreme left is the Morse code operator's position, where the NBC Pacific Division communicated with New York, Chicago and other cities in the network. In the center is a panel containing the studio amplifiers, bridging equipment, power and testing equipment. This area also houses a panel with the incoming broadcast lines and audio lines from other points in San Francisco. On the far right wall are generator controls with a cable cabinet. To the right of that is the supervisor's desk, and the dc switchboard is at far right.

Sample and Hold

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Source:, San Francisco Radio History Photo Archive