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Trumping the Trumpets: How Audio Engineering Helps Tone Down Vuvuzela Disruption

By Queen Mary, ­niversity of London

June 23, 2010

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A new filter will enable soccer fans watching the 2010 World Cup online to remove the sounds of vuvuzelas playing in South Africa's stadiums.

Researchers at the Center for Digital Music (C4DM) at Queen Mary, University of London developed the "devuvuzelator" filter and have made it available for download. The vuvuzelas produce an invigorating and dramatic volume level that makes it difficult for TV viewers to hear the commentary of play-by-play announcers.

Although notch filtering can target the specific frequencies of the vuvuzela, it also removes some of the sound energy of the commentator's voice. "Our approach was to make a filter which estimates the amount of energy in the signal contributed by vuvuzelas, at the specific frequencies expected, and then subtracts just that energy," says C4DM's Dan Stowell. "This 'adaptive' approach potentially preserves the voice energy in the signal and helps preserve voice quality."

The filter can run in real time and be used for live broadcasts.

From Queen Mary, University of London
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