Can Techies Muzzle the Vuvuzela?

Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/islandchic/4703275213/">Island Chic</a>


When vuvuzelas, those slender, ubiquitous, South African plastic trumpets took over the airwaves last week with the kickoff of the World Cup they quite literally began to annoy an entire planet. Luckily we humans are an industrious lot: When the world complains, entrepreneurs listen. Now broadcasters can buy, for example, buzz-cancelling technology from Tennessee, “a combination of dynamic broadband noise suppression and notch filtering are utilized to create the Vuvuzela noise reduction processing chain,” for $2,900. This type of filtering basically works to remove the low frequency drone, (they buzz in B-flat, apparently) from the broadcast. And, for the fans, there’s the “anti-vuvuzela filter” for roundabout $5 per half of play. The filter is the brainchild of 29-year-old Clemence Schlieweis, a German engineer with time and sound-mixing apparati on his hands. Using a different method, the filter creates an “inverse” sound wave with the same amplitude as the vuvuzela sound, but with the peaks and troughs of the wave reversed. Take a mountain, add a valley, create a level pitch.

In theory these techy methods work, so long as the vuvuzelas are uniform in sound and pitch, but with hundreds of thousands blaring at once the cacophony might be hard to match in real time. A professor of acoustics tells the UK Telegraph: “My advice is to football fans is to be Zen about it; accept vuvuzelas as part of the World Cup soundscape and pour another beer.”

Still, if you want to try a free app and you have a Mac check out VuvuX, and you can follow the latest in filtering apps at vuvuzelafiltering.com.

MORE HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.