BD980 Obscenity Delay - Eventide Audio

The Old World Standard For Policing Talk Show Programming

(The NEW world standard is the BD500. Better and less expensive. The BD980 has been discontinued, and info is for reference only.)

Advanced Catch-up circuitry For Unprecedented Performance

Eventide’s patented automatic catch-up feature, first introduced on our now-classic BD955, solves the problem of getting back into delay after a segment is “DUMPED.” The DUMP button is pushed to prevent obscenities or other undesirable utterances from reaching the air. The obscenity is deleted and delay goes to zero. Then, without further operator intervention, the unit starts imperceptibly adding delay back into the program audio, with no program interruption. Thus, the delay “safety margin” is automatically rebuilt.

In the BD980, this catch-up process has been dramatically enhanced, employing intelligent algorithm digital splicing techniques, field-proven in our famous Eventide Harmonizer® audio effects devices. As a result, the BD980 provides catch-up quality light-years ahead of earlier designs. Catch-up can be accomplished far faster and cleaner. With the BD980, the process is virtually undetectable, even to the careful listener. Two modes of catch-up are available, each adjustable for catch-up rate. In PAUSE mode, the unit adds delay for catch-up only during silent periods.

Unlike other schemes which manufacturers have attempted, the BD980 calculates the optimum length of each delay “slice” to be added, so that natural speech patterns are maintained. In PAUSE/OSCILLATE mode, the BD980 operates on the audio itself, as well as the pauses. This mode is especially useful when working with music or fast speech which has few true pauses. Patented Eventide circuitry makes the process amazingly fast and clean, far better than catch-up has ever been before. And, as you can see from the specs of the BD980, audio quality is better than ever as well.

RAMP TO ZERO Mode Gets You Out Of Delay Effortlessly.

With previous broadcast delays, getting out of delay could be quite a hassle. Typically, the operator would have to finish the delay segment audio, immediately switch the monitor from pre-delay to post-delay, wait until he heard the last delayed word, then switch the digital delay out of the line and continue with the program. No fun in any case, and especially in combo operation – things could get quite hectic.

To accomplish the same thing with the BD980, just push the RAMP TO ZERO button, and go right “on with the show.” It’s that simple. The RAMP TO ZERO mode initiates a “catch-down” process which automatically (that’s easy) and inaudibly (that’s the hard part only Eventide does perfectly) decrements delay until it reaches zero. With the BD980’s RAMP TO ZERO mode, frantic switching and monitoring hassles are a thing of the past.

WAIT & EXIT Makes “Impossible” Switches Easy.

Switching from delay operation to a traffic report, remote broadcast or another event that waits for an on-air cue to start (and then getting back into delay afterward) is really tough with conventional broadcast delays. Many stations don’t even attempt such switches, certainly not on a routine “traffic report every 20 minutes basis.” The BD980’s exclusive WAIT & EXIT mode solves this problem ingeniously. When it’s time for traffic, for example, just say your last word and push the WAIT & EXIT button. The BD980 automatically “plays out” the remaining stored audio delay and then, after your last word comes out on-air, the unit DUMPS to real-time. The traffic reporter in the field hears the on-air cue and starts talking. At the end of the traffic report, you just push the WAIT & EXIT button a second time and the unit goes into CATCH-UP mode, quickly rebuilding delay. This feature is also ideal for sports remotes and network news on the hour (so that it really starts precisely on the hour).

It’s A Time Compressor, Too!

The BD980 can also be used to shorten or lengthen an audio segment by up to ten seconds. For example, a 60-second national commercial spot can be easily compressed to 55 1/2 seconds to accommodate a local retailer’s tag. Or a too-short or over-long music bed can be time-compressed or expanded to fit a promo. TIME-SQUEEZE operation is simple. To delete 4.5 seconds, as in the example above, just switch to MANUAL DELAY mode, enter 4.5 seconds on the alphanumeric display, and start your tape. At the start of audio, push the RAMP TO ZERO button. When the spot is over, it will have been compressed by exactly 4.5 seconds.

The BD980 offers several key advantages over conventional stand-alone time compressors for audio. Unlike these devices, a variable speed tape recorder is not required for time compression with the BD980. That means you can go cart-to-cart, disc-to-cassette, even live-to-tape. Also, the BD980 eliminates phasing problems that plague conventional stereo time compressors, especially when listening in mono. And the BD980 costs many thousands less than single-purpose conventional time compressors.

Variable Delay Time for Maximum Flexibility.

For routine, automatic operation, such as when CATCH-UP, RAMP TO ZERO, or WAIT AND EXIT modes are employed, the BD980 can be set to provide 4, 6, 8, or 10 seconds of delay. This unusually wide range of delay times affords maximum flexibility to the program director and talent to choose the amount of delay which best fits their operating style (and reaction speed). To prevent unauthorized tampering, this delay adjustment is an internal DIP switch.

In MANUAL delay mode, the BD980 can be set from the front panel to any delay from zero to ten seconds in one-millisecond steps. In this mode, the BD980 functions as a conventional digital delay, ideal for production effects such as echo and double tracking. This mode is also used to precisely set the amount of time to be added or deleted when the unit is used for time compression.

Readout And Remote Capabilities Add Operating Ease.

The BD980’s large alphanumeric display can be easily viewed even from across the studio. The readout displays >>SAFE<< whenever the maximum delay margin is active. After a DUMP to real-time, the readout is continually updated to show the present amount of delay, as catch-up proceeds. The display also indicates current settings in other modes, and functions as part of the BD980’s extensive self-test facilities.

A rear-panel remote socket provides remote access to major operating functions of the BD980. This socket is pin-compatible with the remote facility of the Eventide BD955.


  • Two Channel Stereo Operation.
  • Full 10 Second Maximum Delay.
  • Incredible Catch-up Quality.
  • Ingenious New Delay Entry/Exit Modes.
  • Timesqueeze® Time Compression Mode.
  • Multifunction Alphanumeric Display.
  • Extensive Self-Test Capabilities.
  • Convenient Remote Facilities.
  • Virtually Transparent Audio Quality.
  • 20kHz Audio Bandwidth.
  • 16-bit Linear PCM Yields 90dB Dynamic Range.
  • 50 kHz Digital Sampling Rate.

BD980 Images

1994 Eventide Broadcast Ad
1989 Eventide Ad

Want More?

Interested in more BD980 history? Check out our Flashback blog.


Analog Inputs
Analog Outputs
  • Impedance nominal 10k ohms, balanced.
  • Maximum level +24dBm.
  • Full dynamic range from -4 to +24dBm levels.
  • XLR-type female connectors.

  • Electronically balanced.
  • Maximum level +20dBm into 600 ohms.
  • XLR-type male connectors.

Recorded Signal Specs
Remote Control Connectors and Interfaces


Dynamic Range


Less than .02% @ 1kHz, reference level.

90dB from clipping to noise floor.

  • 2 Channels, each with 10 seconds maximum delay.
  • Internal DIP switches adjust maximum delay in automatic modes to 4, 6, 8, or 10 seconds.
  • Manual delay adjustable 0-10 seconds from front panel in 1 millisecond steps.
  • Internal DIP switch allows manual delay adjust to 20 microsecond steps.

8-pin rear panel DIN socket (pin compatible with Eventide Bd955 remote) provides:

  • Remote activation of DUMP button.
  • Relay contact closures (both normally closed and open) when delay margin is 0 to 1/2 maximum time.
  • Relay contact closure (normally open) upon count down to 1 in WAIT & EXIT mode.
  • Remote activation of either WAIT & EXIT or RAMP TO ZERO mode (chosen by internal DIP switch).



  • Standard 19″ (48.26cm) rack width.
  • Height equals two rack spaces – 3 1/2″ (8.89 cm).
  • Depth 12 1/2″ (31.75cm).
  • 115/230 VAC.
  • 50-60 Hz.
  • Nominal power dissipation 40 watts.