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Broadcast practice - why should faders work the wrong way round?

A post by David Mellor
Monday January 02, 2006
Faders are closed when they are closest to you and open when they are furthest away. But things haven't always been like this...
Broadcast practice - why should faders work the wrong way round?

Considering that more sound engineers are employed in broadcasting than anywhere else, it doesn't hurt to have an awareness of broadcast practice.

'Broadcast practice' is in fact a term used by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation - the biggest public broadcaster in the world). It means that the faders on a mixing console work the other way round than normal. They are closed when they are at the top of their track, and open when they are closest to the sound operator.

The reasoning behind this is that in broadcasting it is the worst thing in the world for a channel to be open when it is not meant to be, with potentially millions of viewers and listeners hearing what they perhaps shouldn't. And it was considered more likely that an awkward elbow would push a fader towards the top of the track than the other way round. So it would be better for this accidental movement to close an open channel rather than open a closed one.

Having said that, the BBC now use what they call 'commercial practice', like everyone else.

And actually, you don't have to watch live TV or listen to live radio, from any broadcaster, for very long before you do hear an unintentionally open channel.

Perhaps the BBC were right in the first place.

A post by David Mellor
Monday January 02, 2006 ARCHIVE
David Mellor has been creating music and recording in professional and home studios for more than 30 years. This website is all about learning how to improve and have more fun with music and recording. If you enjoy creating music and recording it, then you're definitely in the right place :-)
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