Recollections of BBC engineering from 1922 to 1997
The British Broadcasting Corporation
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Television Sound

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Until 1969 television sound was monophonic and conveyed to transmitters on analogue audio circuits provided by the General Post Office.  The picture was sent on separate video circuits.

A BBC Engineering development called Sound-in-Syncs enabled a digital representation of the sound to be conveyed to the transmitters using the circuits that were already carrying the video.  This development saved the BBC a great deal of money, it was recognised by a Queens Award For Industry and the system was taken up by many broadcasting organisations worldwide.

Digital distribution of sound for radio services followed in 1972 and an improved system called NICAM started service in 1983 (details here). This experience enabled a new version of Sound-in-Syncs to be developed using a ruggedised version of NICAM that was conveyed all the way from studios to domestic television sets.  The specification was finalised in 1986 and the BBC service was launched in 1991.

Raymund Angel

The origination of stereo sound was also a significant challenge and BBC sound engineer Raymund Angel played a major role in developing the techniques which were adopted.  He became known by his fellow workers as the "stereo man" and his daughter Sonja Angel has kindly agreed to the publication of some of his work on BBCeng.

In 1981, well before stereo TV sound transmission became feasible, Raymund carried out work that he reported in his document titled "A Practical Exposition of Sound Balance, Recording Techniques and Presentation for Stereophonic Studio and Oustside Broadcast Productions".

In 1989 he wrote "A Manual of Television Stereo" and here is a rehearsal for a paper he presented to the Institute of Broadcasting Sound (now called the Institute of Professional Sound).