Alice TBUs

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  • #15190
    AvatarFogbrain Freefairy
    Participant

      Could Ted (or Eric) help with info about Alice TBUs?

      I am planning an article on using Post Office lines in broadcasting for the Telecoms Heritage Journal, so any info about the facilities they offered would be most helpful. ISTR they were called TBU1, 2 and 3, and had manual R and C adjustments?

      Thanks,

      Geoff

      #15547
      Ted FletcherTed Fletcher
      Keymaster

        I don’t think we ever manufactured a fixed balance TBU; although we might have played around with some very early ones in 1972/3…. Come to think of it, it is possible that the TBU1 was manual balance.
        Certainly the TBU2 was an automatic TBU, it worked by minimising sidetone during the moments when ‘transmit’ was taking place. It worked very well on local ends, but, as with all those analogue auto systems, they could never cope with the delays inherrent in digital transmission. The TBU2 had auto correction for both level and phase, and I believe this was where I started to use a partial ducking circuit.
        It worked reasonably well, and was a competitor of the Studer unit.
        In the early 80s I used a more sophisticated version of the TBU2 with very fast acting balance, in communications systems for money brokers. These multi-line ‘broadcast’ systems were very successful until everything went digital!
        I’m afraid I don’t have any pictures of these old units.

        #15548
        AvatarFogbrain Freefairy
        Participant

          Thanks for the info. I had no previous knowledge of the principles you used.
          @Ted Fletcher wrote:

          The TBU2 had auto correction for both level and phase, and I believe this was where I started to use a partial ducking circuit.

          Was the ducking in addition to ‘balancing’ (as in a pair of hybrid transformers or the electronic equivalent)?

          It worked reasonably well, and was a competitor of the Studer unit.

          IMHO a tin can on a string would have been a good competitor to the Studer! (No insult to the Alice TBU intended!). By co-incidence I have recently opined on the Studer in a thread on a broadcast engineering forum – naff balancing, no on/off hook switching, XLR for phone line connection, ect. I have only worked with Studer TBUs at one station, which in another co-incidence, was also the only station at which I have worked with an Alice TBU.

          In the early 80s I used a more sophisticated version of the TBU2 with very fast acting balance, in communications systems for money brokers. These multi-line ‘broadcast’ systems were very successful until everything went digital!

          Ironically, fixed balance TBUs really came into their own once the whole inland PSTN had gone digital. The SLICs in the exchanges are very good at balancing and thereby preventing echoes getting back into the network. The TBU only has to deal with the local line and the reactance of this doesn’t vary so once the R and C have been correctly set they work very well. International calls are obviously a bit hit and miss, and for calls to/from mobiles even an ISDN codec on G.711 can’t touch a new digital TBU. Phone lines have become so good that they can be used with simple TBUs, but the TBUs have become so complex that they can be used with poor phones lines – the technologies rushed towards each other, but missed and continued hurtling in opposite directions!

          I’m afraid I don’t have any pictures of these old units.

          I have little doubt I had the A4 glossies. Moved house several times since, but they may still come to light! (Virtually certain I have one for a 12.48).

          Thanks again for the reply.

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