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Author Topic: How can we make station announcements understandable?  (Read 6874 times)

Offline thedoc

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"The train standing at platform mgph is the phuy-hfgjy to mmughpyhmm..."

We meet a sound simulation system that can improve the clarity of railway station announcements and recreate the "cocktail party effect" to help build better hearing aids...
Hear this Interview on our Podcast
« Last Edit: 13/01/2010 17:18:05 by _system »


 

Offline litespeed

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How can we make station announcements understandable?
« Reply #1 on: 06/02/2010 20:16:31 »
This is one of the great frustrations in modern life, and I don't know why it has not been easily solved. I have a couple of ideas. The new system would include a microphone that would pick-up ambient noise and do one or two things.

For instance, the new system could simply narrow and shift the announcement frequencies AWAY from the dominant ambient noise frequencies. Second, the announcement system could actively suppress the ambient noise with already extant sound suppressant technology, then superimpose the announcement.

I think there is really really big money to be made by anyone who can invent and patent a simple 'black box' device that could be spliced into the existing system. For instance, let us consider the drive-in fast food ordering station.

The system already includes both sending and receiving circuits. Splice in the new black box and it uses suppression technology to reduce the ambient noise at the ordering station, and then adds clarification 'algorythms' to the output signal as well.

Another, less complicated approach is for the announcement system to create its own background noise then superimpose the announcement on top of it. Consider a simple, but rather loud 60HZ hum to overwhelm the ambient noise. Then superimpose the announcement.





I doubt any of this is very high tech.
 

Offline Geezer

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How can we make station announcements understandable?
« Reply #2 on: 07/02/2010 00:42:57 »
An even less Hi-Tek solution would be to train the announcers to actually speak properly. For example, allowing sounds to emerge from the mouth rather than the nose (or other orifices) would make an enormous difference. There used to be a whole science in this field. As I recall it was called Elocution http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elocution

Sadly, it seems to have died out. For example, some people think it's quite appropriate to drop "H"s all over the place while inserting nonexistent "R"s whenever they feel like it - not to mention the tortured vowels. It's quite possible to retain an accent without totally butchering the language.
 

Offline syhprum

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How can we make station announcements understandable?
« Reply #3 on: 07/02/2010 06:33:04 »
I think the best solution is an abundance of LCD display screens so that you can read the relevent information.
 

Offline techmind

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How can we make station announcements understandable?
« Reply #4 on: 15/02/2010 22:59:26 »
King's Cross station has some rather interesting column speakers about 4metres tall by 20-30cm wide, with 30-odd actual speakers in a row in each. These will tend to emit the sound in a "flat pancake" pattern, directing the sound energy usefully along the platform, but not up into the roof/ceiling where it would serve no useful purpose but would contribute a lot of echo.

Another solution often seen these days is just to have a very large number of very low-power speakers eg every 5-10 metres along the platform. Again you're concentrating the energy where it's useful, and not putting excessive noise into the environment to reverberate.
 

Offline DrChemistry

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How can we make station announcements understandable?
« Reply #5 on: 27/02/2010 19:21:27 »
Duct tape everyones mouth.

For more sensible solutions I could agree with syhprum. LCD's is probably the best solution. However, since the majority of us are walking with headphones and mobiles... Send the information to the mobiles.
 

Thomas A Frazee

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« Reply #6 on: 20/09/2010 20:13:07 »
Great stuff.  The start of this thread is enticing because it says speakers in train stations. Another huge issue is the one off show or event that idiot event producers book into these "fancy, old historic barns" and expect the audio company to make everything sound like a nice conference room.  We zoned the Union Station in St Louis with 10 lollipop speakers with time delay, but really worked to make sure the "zones" didn't overlap so time delay wasn't an extra issue to poor acoustics.  Still sucked.  The "hub-bub" effect pushed the spl between 800-2K well past the 75 db we were averaging when I scoped the room with my spectrum analyizer in every zone.  We achieved really good zoning...almost no cross talk from overlap.  But still is was a cluster ****.  Another great process would be to educate the client to only use these great looking halls to feed or licquer people and keep the award shows, talking heads, auctions (the absolute worst)to acoutically dry places that have little or no standing waves.  Put some screens up and puke sponsorship all night, but don't bring a mic in!
 

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« Reply #6 on: 20/09/2010 20:13:07 »

 

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