World Cup 2010 Tech: Tired of the Vuvuzelas? Filter Them Out!

If you’re like me and the rest of the world, you’re probably watching the World Cup. And you’ve probably also noticed while watching that it sounds there’s either a massive swarm of bees, some type of air raid going on, or a bunch of pissed-off elephants in the background during every game.

That noise, my friends, comes from an air horn called a Vuvuzela. While it’s no stranger to sporting events (and you’ve probably even seen them before if you’ve gone to a stadium sporting event), having an entire stadium filled with vuvuzelas blaring can be quite an earful (though the South African Vuvuzela Philharmonic Orchestra may beg to differ). If vuvuzela music isn't quite your thing, though, there are steps you can take to make it less obnoxious.

Vuvuzelas: A Primer

How much of an earful? Just to put it in perspective, a vuvuzela can output around 127 decibels according to Wikipedia, while a referee’s whistle can barely output 121.8 decibels at full blast and the average human voice ranges up to about 75 decibels.

Regardless of whether you like or dislike the sound of the armies of vuvuzelas playing in the background, it doesn’t seem like they are going to be disappearing anytime soon. There have been plenty of efforts so far to ban the instrument, but none have had any success.

No disrespect to the fans and their enthusiasm, but the vuvuzelas aren’t just bothering us at home, they’re also bothering some players as well. Argentina’s Lionel Messi complained to The Times of London, saying that it’s hard to communicate with his teammates.

Get Rid of the Vuvuzela

Consumer Reports posted a few tips to “improve” your viewing experience:

  1. The Anti-Vuvuzela Filter ($3.50): This is supposed to be a kind of specialized noise-cancellation MP3 file that you play in the background on your home stereo or computer while watching the games. It’s supposed to cancel out the sound of the vuvuzelas. However, according to Consumer Reports, this really doesn’t do anything and in fact makes the sound of the vuvuzelas even louder, so Consumer Reports recommends skipping this. Your mileage may vary.
  2. Lower the Treble on your Television: This method will not completely remove the sound of the vuvuzelas, but it will lower their presence during gameplay because of their high-pitched frequencies. Lowering the treble should at least help out somewhat. (Just don’t forget to change it back after you’ve finished watching!)
  3. Play around with the equalizer on your sound system: Some televisions have a built-in equalizer (EQ) that will allow you to modify how you speakers play back specific audio frequencies. Just like the treble-lowering method mentioned above, this may help reduce the sound of the vuvuzelas.
  4. If you have a Surround Sound System, Lower the Volume of the Left and Right channels: One of the testers at Consumer Reports says that he was almost able to eliminate the sound of the vuvuzelas by lowering the volume of his left and right speakers. The left and right channels carry the sounds of the crowds while the center channel carries the sound of the commentators. Give it a try.
  5. If all else fails, hit the Mute button: When it all comes down to it, do you really need to hear what’s going on or what the commentators are saying?

Or, even better, for those of us here in the states who have to get up at like 4am to watch some of the games, just leave the volume on so that you’ll stay awake. See? There’s a positive side to everything!

Good luck! Enjoy the games!

[via Consumer Reports]

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