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Eventide Delay Takes Affordable Route

Eventide, inventor of the digital broadcast obscenity delay, has introduced a low-cost broadcast delay that will give stations that cannot afford a more costly delay system a means of protecting themselves during live-caller programs.

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24-bit 48 kHz sampling.

AutoFill function

Price point

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Does not “ramp”in and out of delay for seamless transitions

Price: $1,995

For more information from Eventide, contact the company in New Jersey at (201) 641-1200, or visit Eventide, inventor of the digital broadcast obscenity delay, has introduced a low-cost broadcast delay that will give stations that cannot afford a more costly delay system a means of protecting themselves during live-caller programs.

The BD960 retails for $1,995 and replaces the earlier BD941/942 units. There are a number of major improvements – most notably an AutoFill function that replaces deleted material with prerecorded material, such as a jingle. Audio quality has been significantly improved, with 24-bit 48 kHz sampling.

The BD960 delay occupies one rack unit. It is programmable and controllable from the front panel.

History lesson

From the first time a radio station aired a live telephone call, the problem of preventing obscenities and other objectionable caller material from reaching the air has been a challenge.

While all the words on George Carlin’s infamous List of Seven may not be absolutely prohibited in this day and age, the problem still exists. Today, however, the bigger problem may be that of slanderous statements made by callers that can get a station licensee sued.

Over the years, broadcasters have taken differing approaches to dealing with the issue, all of which have, in one form or another, involved delaying the audio in a program in which live calls are aired.

The endless-loop tape cartridge was for years a practical and dependable means of analog delay. When the digital age arrived, it became possible to sample, store and buffer program audio in a digital delay, providing four or more seconds of time for a host or producer to react and “dump” the delay, thus preventing the objectionable caller material from airing.

Cost has been the big factor with digital delays from their introduction. Small-market and some medium-market stations quite often were left with no choice but to take their chances and hope that their hosts and producers were enough on the ball to shut down a caller before things got out of hand.


The cost of the BD960 is kept reasonable by the absence of advanced features, such as delay rebuilding following the dumping of objectionable material.

In addition to the front-panel controls, the delay unit can be controlled remotely via rear-panel RS-232 and TRS connectors. Connecting to remote dump buttons on the on-air or host consoles should be a snap. In addition, software updates can be loaded via the rear-panel RS-232 jack.

Balanced audio connections are made via rear-panel XLR-type connectors. The inputs are high-impedance bridging types, while the outputs are low-impedance (less than 50 ohms).

The published specifications report a dynamic range of greater than 100 dB, crosstalk of better than -95 dB and total harmonic distortion of less than 0.008 percent.

Input gain is set via front-panel controls. The unit is put into the “command mode” using a combination of front-panel switches. Input levels are then set with front-panel + and ( buttons.

Choices for deletion

The user has two choices for audio to replace deleted material: silence or prerecorded material.

To replace deleted material with a jingle or other recorded material, the unit is first placed into the Command mode. The Record button is pressed and held while replacement audio is fed to the unit.

Once the recording is complete, the Record button is released. The length of the delay then is set to be the same as the length of the recorded replacement audio.

The other option, silent filler, is selected by pressing a front-panel key combination. In the same manner that replacement material is recorded, silence can be recorded, thus setting the length of the delay. Maximum delay in either circumstance is eight seconds.

Normal operation of the unit is in either delay or bypass. In the bypass mode, the input is routed directly to the output. In the delay mode, input audio passes through the A/D converter, the delay memory area section and out through the D/A converter.

If during the course of a live talk program the BD960 is running in the delay mode and a bad word makes its way into the program, the host or producer presses the Delete key between the time of the offensive material and the length of the delay.

For example, if there is a four-second jingle recorded as replacement material, the producer or host would have four seconds to react and hit the Delete button, either on the front panel or remotely.

The contents of the delay then are switched out, and the replacement audio, whether silence or otherwise, is played. Whatever audio is fed into the unit immediately after pressing Delete will be the first audio to hit the airwaves.

Remember there is no feature that allows the delay to slowly build when it is put into the circuit and ramp back down to zero when done. Most stations likely would leave the unit in the delay mode all the time. Otherwise there will be silence on the air while the audio makes its way through the delay after it is taken out of the bypass mode.

Also, note that there is no option to simply dump the delay and jump directly to real time with no silence or filler material. As such, the on-air sound of a “dump” operation may not be as smooth as that of the more expensive delays. (According to the manufacturer, a bypass button can be used for dump and jump in real time. Bypass and delete are independent, so they can both be hit at the same time for “extra insurance.”)

Even though it lacks some of these features, the BD960 is, nevertheless, a quality product that will allow stations to protect themselves from airing objectionable material.