3 Institute of Broadcast Sound

Institute of Broadcast Sound

The Institute of Broadcast Sound (IBS) is the only organisation in the UK dedicated to the maintenance of the highest standards of professional audio for broadcasting, and was founded in 1977 by sound balancers in BBC Television and Radio and Independent TV. Its membership comprises audio practitioners working in all areas of broadcast audio including radio, location, and post-production sound, and currently (2008) numbers over 800. The IBS is managed by an executive committee drawn from the membership and elected annually.

The Institute is a company limited by guarantee (with a dispensation not to use the term Limited in its title), as well as a registered charity. It publishes a journal, "Line Up", five times a year through a wholly owned subsidiary company called Line Up Publications Limited.


Membership runs in calendar years and is available in several categories. A Full Member (MIBS) will hold, or have held, a position with full responsibility for the sound output for broadcast productions, including planning and post-production work where appropriate, and is the only category entitled to vote at General Meetings. Other categories are listed on the web site.


Members’ meetings are held between September and May, and include visits to manufacturers and broadcast facilities, craft-based discussions and masterclasses in operational techniques. A residential weekend is held every year in January.

IBS Directory

The website hosts a directory of sound professionals, all having reached the criteria for membership of the IBS.


Started in June 1995 with just 10 participants, the IBS’s own internet email conference now has nearly 500 participants – over half of the membership – and has proved to be a very successful recruitment tool as well as a source of information and feedback to members on a wide range of subjects. With membership ranging from the UK to Germany, Austria, North America, Malaysia, Australia, Japan and New Zealand, IBSNET regularly provides international comment and feedback for members enquiring about standards, working conditions, visa requirements and – apparently inevitably – radio microphone frequencies in other countries, in addition to putting location recordists in contact with one another and with the dubbing mixers who may ultimately use their work.

Residential Weekend

Now established as a regular event every January, the IBS Residential Weekend has become the most important annual fixture in many members’ calendars. Every Weekend offers a mixture of informative seminars and practical demonstrations combined with an opportunity for members to meet their peers and discuss operational techniques and business problems in a relaxed atmosphere – something rarely available in today’s largely freelance marketplace.


The iXML specification emerged as a direct result of the 2004 Residential Weekend, entitled “Source, Sync and Storage”, which featured an experiment in which recordings made on a variety of non-linear location recorders were presented for editing and assembly to a number of workstations, and the results offered for assessment by attendees. The problems identified in the file transfer processes were revisited and discussed at a seminar in June and a meeting was facilitated by the IBS in London on the 8th July 2004 which was attended by all almost all the relevant manufacturers of recorders and DAWs, plus most of the independent software companies involved and several post production companies. An email discussion group set up by the IBS enabled all the participants to exchange information before the meeting and to continue discussions throughout the following year, and a proposal for iXML to be accepted as an AES Standard will be discussed during 2008. The "i" in iXML recognises the part the IBS played in bringing together such a diverse blend of normally competitive manufacturers to collectively solve the increasingly difficult problem of metadata interchange, with an elegant, capable and completely public specification.


The IBS has responded in detail to the various consultation documents issued by Ofcom in its drive to sell off parts of the radio frequency spectrum. It would appear that members’ concerns about the loss of those bands currently used for radio microphones and other communications devices have been largely assuaged by Ofcom’s most recent [http://www.ofcom.org.uk/radiocomms/ddr/ proposals] .

External links

* [http://www.ibs.org.uk/ Official web site]

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