Subsidiary Equipment

Subsidiary Equipment

Accommodation has been found at Broadcasting House for the installation of apparatus which has only come into general use since the building was designed. For example, control cubicles have been provided on the seventh floor where musicians can control outgoing programmes, and hear them on loudspeakers, without it being necessary for them to sit at a control position in the main Control Room. Recently, the B.B.C. has made use of the Blattner-Stille system of steel-tape recording of programmes. Accommodation for the recording machines (and for the storage of the steel-tape records) has been found on the same floor, the apparatus being connected with the Control Room so that any outgoing programme can be recorded or played back on to a transmission or into any studio in which the performers are rehearsing. There are also a number of quality-checking rooms, which have received special acoustic treatment, quite apart from those next to the studios. In these rooms engineers can sit and listen by wireless to any outgoing programme as an independent check, in addition to those responsible for handling it at the studio, Control Room, or transmitters. Quality-checking is mainly carried out on loudspeakers, as the majority of listeners use them. 

There are also two Listening Halls designed for the use of Press critics or others who may wish to hear any particular transmission under satisfactory conditions of reception. These, like the other rooms designed for high-quality reproduction, are acoustically treated.

Mention should also be made of the two Dramatic Control Rooms which take their place in the chain of transmission between the studios and the main Control Room. Their function is to enable dramatic producers to use any number of studios up to eleven simultaneously on one transmission, and to mix their outputs in synchronisation and strength as may be required. In this way stage management is facilitated in the studios and a completely mixed programme is passed into the Control Room for distribution to the various transmitters. It would be quite impossible to undertake some of the elaborate dramatic productions broadcast in recent years if the ‘effects’, incidental music, supers, and principals, had all to be accommodated in one studio.

Sixth Floor

Desk with a floating microphone; behind, a double-storey circular set of windows bowing inwards
41 ❧ Studio 6D, the main Effects Studio, occupying a depth of two floors, showing the Gramophone Effects Studio, 6E, through the bow-window. The table in the foreground is divided into six surface sections, each with a different finish to enable various sounds to be reproduced by friction.
View through the bowed window out into the studio
42 ❧ Another view of the Effects Studio, 6D, as seen through the window of the Gramophone Effects Studio, 6E.
A curved desk with 6 turntables
43 ❧ Studio 6E, Gramophone Effects. Studio 7E, another similar Gramophone Studio, is directly above it. This photograph is by Shaw Wildman.
A short carpeted corridor
44 ❧ A Corridor in the 'Tower' in the Productions Group of studios on the sixth floor, showing the entrance to a small alcove Lounge on the right.
A sofa and a rounded shelving unit
45 ❧ The Lounge, the entrance to which is shown on the right of the previous picture.
A very long bank of batteries
46 ❧ Part of the Control Room Battery Room. The battery in the foreground supplies currect to operate the relay-switches and signal-lights in the Control Room.
A very long line of what look like very large car batteries
47 ❧ Storage Batteries for the high tension supply to the Amplifiers in the Control Room.
Generators and switchgear
48 ❧ Motor-Generators and Switchgear: for charging the Control Room Batteries.