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Feb 1, 2006 12:00 PM, By Kari Taylor, senior associate editor

Do you remember?

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In 1981, tape loops were common technology for use as a profanity delay. Thus, a snapped tape was a common problem for radio engineers. Eventide's BD955 broadcast delay offered a digital memory to replace the tape loops. The unit's �auto catch-up� feature eliminated the need to fill the delay period. Instead, as the Dump button was pressed, the delay instantly went to zero and the objectionable material was deleted. Then the BD955 automatically rebuilt the delay as the program continued.

When not in use as an obscenity delay, the system could be used as a production tool. Any delay from 6.5 milliseconds to the unit's maximum could be set from the front panel, so the engineer received a variety of reverb, doubling and other vocal and musical production effects. The unit was available with maximum delays of 1.6, 3.2 and 6.4 seconds and with 15kHz or telephone-compatible 7.5kHz response.

That was then

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According to a magazine ad for the Zenith tubeless pocket radio, the Royal 500 offered seven transistors, �up to 15 times more volume than radios of equivalent size and up to 30 times more sensitivity to bring in more distant stations.� The radio provided 400 hours of battery life from one set of mercury batteries. A user could also operate the radio for a �fraction of a cent an hour� on four long-life penlite batteries.

Introduced in 1955, the Royal 500 was 5.75"H x 3.5"W x 1.5"D and weighed 19 ounces. It sold for $75.

Sample and Hold

Portable music has evolved from the first transistor radios to integrated media players on cell phones. One in five people worldwide listens to music on his cell phone.

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Source: TNS Research,