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Radiophonic Workshop

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Radiophonic Workshop

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:50 am

I stumbled across a report describing the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop from an engineering perspective, which some might find interesting:

https://whitefiles.org/rwx/rws2.pdf
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Re: Radiophonic Workshop

Postby MOF » Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:20 am

I stumbled across a report describing the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop from an engineering perspective, which some might find interesting:

https://whitefiles.org/rwx/rws2.pdf

Thanks Hugh, I’ve got it in Books on my iphone to read later.
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Re: Radiophonic Workshop

Postby Folderol » Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:09 am

Thanks a lot for that. I've had a quick skim through, and saved it for future enjoyment :)
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Re: Radiophonic Workshop

Postby forumuser653351 » Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:39 am

Thanks for sharing, looks really interesting :)
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Re: Radiophonic Workshop

Postby ConcertinaChap » Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:47 am

Likewise.

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Re: Radiophonic Workshop

Postby The Elf » Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:16 am

Fascinating reading!

Skimming through this document, I think it could have done with a few Robjohns 'this makes it clear' diagrams! :geek:
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Re: Radiophonic Workshop

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Nov 02, 2019 11:26 am

Yes, it is a bit of a 'brain dump' with a fair bit of assumed knowledge of BBC working practices... But some interesting insights nonetheless.
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Re: Radiophonic Workshop

Postby CS70 » Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:40 pm

Nice read. What a world! Somehow it managed to evoke the looks and feel of the 60s and 70s - or at least how I think of it since I either wasn't there, or was in diapers :D

The finale is a bit sad The once-innocent ‘auntie’ BBC has donned her new lurid lipstick and become a harlot. Such is life

It strikes me like once upon the time we considered the specs of the computers and the software so critical that they're often noted down. I remember that well thru the 80s and the 90s. These days I have more computers that I can use and I have not much idea what's really inside... every time I need to update graphics drivers I need to go and check which card it's in, not to mention which version of Word I'm even using.

Fun how the world changes.
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Re: Radiophonic Workshop

Postby Martin Walker » Sat Nov 02, 2019 6:24 pm

Thanks for that link Hugh - I enjoy reading a docunent from a time when standards were standards and technicians wore lab coats :beamup:

I'm serious - I wore a white lab coat in my first engineering job :mrgreen:


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Re: Radiophonic Workshop

Postby desmond » Sat Nov 02, 2019 6:29 pm

Thanks for posting - interesting and comprehensive. Works well in conjunction with the other BBC Radiophonic Workshop articles from SOS and others...
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Re: Radiophonic Workshop

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Nov 02, 2019 6:33 pm

Martin Walker wrote:I'm serious - I wore a white lab coat in my first engineering job :mrgreen:

Posh... in my first engineering job I had to wear a grey lab coat. But it did have my name embroidered over the chest pocket!

H
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Re: Radiophonic Workshop

Postby Arpangel » Sat Nov 02, 2019 6:48 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
Martin Walker wrote:I'm serious - I wore a white lab coat in my first engineering job :mrgreen:

Posh... in my first engineering job I had to wear a grey lab coat. But it did have my name embroidered over the chest pocket!

H

Thanks Hugh, in i Books for reading tomorrow.
I'll dig out my GPO brown coat especially....

:)
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Re: Radiophonic Workshop

Postby nathanscribe » Sat Nov 02, 2019 7:46 pm

Ooh nice! Thanks Hugh, that will make excellent reading later!

Coincidentally I've just repaired an ex-BBC Yamaha TX816, just running through the calibration routines right now :) It's got a few stickers on still, and I've spotted photos of this unit in a few places, including an old SOS with the RW's MIDI studio on the cover – not sure how many the RW owned back in the day, but there's at least one TX816 with the modules numbered with big stickers on the front panel. Nice to work on something that's been somewhere well known, even if it did only get used for background noises on Newsround or something :D
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Re: Radiophonic Workshop

Postby The Elf » Sat Nov 02, 2019 7:59 pm

If you'd been at Synthfest last year you would know how the Newsround theme was made! ;) :thumbup:
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Re: Radiophonic Workshop

Postby nathanscribe » Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:28 pm

The Elf wrote:If you'd been at Synthfest last year you would know how the Newsround theme was made! ;) :thumbup:

Argh! I managed to miss every talk last year!

I did get to chat with Dick Mills a while ago about some of this stuff though, that was interesting.
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Re: Radiophonic Workshop

Postby N i g e l » Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:31 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I stumbled across a report describing the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop

Excellent work [s]Homes[/s] Hugh !
That is a great find.

{ spoiler alert ! }

A very sad ending where the cutting edge made its way from the studio to the accounts dept.
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Re: Radiophonic Workshop

Postby N i g e l » Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:42 pm

The Elf wrote: how the Newsround theme was made!

The end title closing bongo blips use John Bakers NEw World but in the actual New World song I cant get my mind round the blips as not being a cut 'n shut add on.
Maybe J.Cravens N.R. corrupted me. Anyway, its a song that cries out for a digital synth !

IMHO
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Re: Radiophonic Workshop

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Nov 03, 2019 9:35 pm

N i g e l wrote:A very sad ending where the cutting edge made its way from the studio to the accounts dept.

In reality, it was the introduction of MIDI and the computer sequencer that killed it off.

John Birt's 'Producer Choice' cost-centre accounting schemes certainly highlighted the problem, but fundamentally there was no way an in-house BBC department could possibly compete on a cost-basis with the burgeoning mass of independent composers/musicians using the latest synths sand sequencers at home...

...and the same was true of so many other highly specialised and revered departments all across the BBC which have all dissolved away over the past few decades. :-(
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Re: Radiophonic Workshop

Postby Arpangel » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:30 pm

I think that the workshop, up until Midi etc, was a truly unique place, doing things that no other studio or individual could do, inhabited by some truly talented and genius people, when Midi and digital came along it was competing with a lot of other people that muscled in on the action, but with nowhere near the talent and imagination of the workshop.
Also, when voltage controlled synthesisers came along, some of the workshop team jumped ship, as they were more into musique concrete, and the manipulation of real acoustic sounds, and they saw synthesisers as a less interesting "ready meal" type of shortcut.
I know Delia Derbyshire was very concerned about this.
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Re: Radiophonic Workshop

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Nov 04, 2019 9:08 pm

Just got around to glancing at this. It looks amazing, thanks Hugh. I'm looking forward to a proper read later :thumbup:
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