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How To Save The Music
Rohit Gupta, 24 Feb 05

crishna.jpgSometimes, the technologies which enable us to communicate as a distance are the perfect choice for bringing us together, side by side.

After closing the venue for the annual Independence Rock festival at Bombay's Rang Bhavan, the authorities then tried to clamp down on the Banganga music festival. They argued that the music festival creates noise pollution, a serious problem in Bombay. Vickram Crishna of Radiophony stepped in, offering a solution to save the music and reduce the noise overload. (He also happens to be an old friend and guide.)

Crishna's solution to the traditional mixer-loudspeaker arrangement was simple. He piped the live music into an FM transmitter and scattered hundreds of small, low-powered FM radio receivers among the audience. An excerpt from Crishna's personal essay, Le Canard Dans Le Banganga, describes the result:

Using about a hundred commercial devices (made by Philips, and donated for the purpose) placed much nearer to the audience, sound levels similar to the usual loudness, but much lower in absolute terms, created a total surround effect as good if not superior to traditional open air audio handling systems.

As a serendipitous benefit, the total amount of energy needed for a concert of this nature is just a fraction of the normal approach.

The audience was far more satisfied than they are usually with traditional appratus because:

One fantastic side benefit of this acoustic solution is that it really makes no difference where the seating is placed, since everyone gets effectively the same sound - and at exactly the same time, no latency.

A small solution to a particular problem, to be sure, but the world is often changed one small solution at a time.

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