Posted by: Paul | June 12, 2010

Vuvuzela fatigue

I don't care how many colours it comes in, it's still ANNOYING

The World Cup is but a single day old, and already I want to shove a Vuvuzela up the backside of every single spectator blowing them. By the fat end.

Honestly, I had no idea what to expect from the World Cup’s first foray into Africa. I was strongly considering attempting to watch every single match, but I’ve now had to nix that idea as my ears are ringing too much. I could always hit the mute button I suppose but then I’d miss the insightful commentary from the likes of Clive Tyldesley and David Pleat :-/

The noise from these awful things is absolutely horrendous. Ground staff are forced to wear earplugs to protect them. I know how they feel. In the matches after the first game the noise has been slightly – slightly – reduced, but during South Africa against Mexico it was absolutely deafening, and I expect it will be the same throughout the rest of the host nation’s games.

It’s a terrible sound, and when these plastic trumpets are blown en masse it makes the stadium sound like it’s filled with a giant swarm of killer bees. A constant, harsh, slightly modulating buzz which is pitched just at the point on the scale where it is marked ‘annoy’. B-flat apparently. I’m sure it creates a great atmosphere in the grounds – I’d just like to be able to hear afterwards, thank you very much.

In sound terms though, there’s absolutely nothing that can be done to remove this from the signal. It’s so all pervasive that any mics the commentators are using are filled with it as the background sound, and it covers such a wide frequency range with the notes continually stopping and starting from the different horns, that any noise reduction applied would be so severe as to destroy what the commentators are saying in addition to mitigating the Vuvuzela sound. As an engineer against this, you can’t win. I’d put the commentators in a soundproofed box behind glass, personally, and have a separate feed from the stadium crowd and try to apply some noise reduction to that to reduce the effect. That, or take the bloody things off people as they were coming in.

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