World Cup broadcasters take on the Vuvuzela

Audio filtering technology increasingly used to drown out the drone.
A French supporter blows his own trumpet.
A French supporter blows his own trumpet.

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Broadcasters around the world are using technology to counter the ever-present Vuvuzela horns at World Cup matches.

The BBC received more than 500 complaints from viewers in the UK about the instrument, which is a traditional feature of South African sports events.

International viewers are far from enamoured however, with many complaining that the combined drone created by the instruments in the stadiums makes it difficult to hear the commentary.

French audio lab Audionamix has created a specialised filter designed to remove the Vuvuzela frequencies from a broadcasters mix, without distorting or dampening the rest of the atmospheric sound of the fans.

Pay TV network CANAL+ was the first to apply the technology to its coverage of the competition.

“We were watching the World Cup and found our enjoyment of the experience hindered by the loud drone created by the blowing of thousands of Vuvuzelas,” said Olivier Attia, CEO, Audionamix. “Our engineers immediately went into the lab and emerged 48 hours later with a solution that removes the higher frequencies created by the instrument.”

Broadcasters in Germany and the UK are set to follow suit.

For those at home with a customizable EQ, Vuvuzelas can be silenced (nearly) by turning down sounds at 233, 466, 932, and 1864Hz – the main frequencies produced by the horn.

Alternatively, try a more novel approach from antivuvuzelafilter.com, which offers a 45-minute MP3 Vuvuzela noise that its creator claims can provide active noise cancellation. Unless consumers can play the MP3 exactly out of phase with the random fluctuation in the drone coming from the TV, this may not be the most effective solution.

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