Speed variations of the medium in a recording/reproducing system cause time base distortion (TBD) which is seen as frequency modulation, commonly called -flutter,- or as changes of time intervals, called -time displacement error.- Presently used terminology is ambiguous; clarifications and new terminology are proposed. The ultimate use for the system determines which effects of the TBD are of importance: The effects and their measurement in sound recorders and in instrumentation recorders are discussed. Measurements to compare TBD by standard methods are described, and found not to be closely related to either the causes or the effects of the TBD. The speed variations may be determined and analyzed in designing a transport by measuring and analyzing the frequency modulation produced thereby.
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