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Turn off bad shop music at will
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(+2, -1)
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Shops, bars, nightclubs and so on often have incredibly bad choice in music. Several times i've been dissuaded from entering an otherwise attractive shop by their music. Wouldn't It Be Nice If they'd just turn it off for a few minutes?

But this isn't a rant or a WIBNI. This is a solution. The Predictive Broadcast Anti-Music System allows you to turn off the music (or any other publicly broadcast sound) whenever you like. It has two parts:

The owner of the shop or bar installs the broadcast part. It plays the same sound as their sound system, only it pushes it over a radio frequency just a few seconds *before* the actual sound. This shouldn't be too hard to make.

The customer wears a pair of headphones. When activated, they listen to this radio frequency, and match it up with the music they hear, at whatever distance and whatever volume to create a perfect anti-sound match. They can decode and cancel three or four sounds at the same time, so you can use them to cancel out the sounds of multiple shops at once.

Unlike simple anti-noise, which only works on predictable noise patterns, this system specifically cancels the sound which is most annoying.

So next time you can't hear what your loved one is saying, just hit a button.

sadie, Dec 20 2002

Ant Music http://s1.amazon.co...026-6031895-5642800
Oh...I'm sorry... [DrCurry, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Bose noise reduction headphones http://www.bose.com...ersonal/qc_headset/
Try these. [Isis, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

A similar idea http://www.halfbake...a/SpeakOver_20Music
Yours prompted me to write this one up [BunsenHoneydew, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]


       Turn off your hearing aid
thumbwax, Dec 20 2002

angel, Dec 20 2002

       // Turn off your hearing aid //   

       No no no. I want to actually be able to *hear* things - like somebody talking - that you can't because of the music.
sadie, Dec 20 2002

       It's another idea from [sadie] featuring headphones and yes, it begins with 'A'. I'll email you the number of my therapist - he's very good.
sild, Dec 20 2002

       I'm not listening...
sadie, Dec 20 2002

       "Several times i've been dissuaded from entering an otherwise attractive shop by their music."   

       It's nearly impossible for me to imagine caring enough about the music to have this reaction. It'd have to also be painfully loud to dissuade me.
bristolz, Dec 20 2002

       Same here. I hate supermarkets and muzak uniformly; the latter is merely one of the annoying aspects of the former. Bars are another matter; any bar which has oppressively loud / annoying music is probably not the sort of bar I would use anyway.
angel, Dec 20 2002

       [bris]: maybe the shops near you just have less painful music?   

       Or perhaps i just have wierd taste. It may be revealing that any hint of a carol, cheesy pop song or other cringeworthy item is likely to send me running into the street to barf.   

       But whatever your preference, somebody somewhere is going to be playing what you hate.
sadie, Dec 20 2002

       Feel free.
sadie, Dec 20 2002

       Agree, "cringeworthy" is great, almost Dickinsonian.
bristolz, Dec 20 2002

       I live in Dickensville right now. For some reason, the locals have a habit of dressing up and marching around the streets three times a year. Yuk. With children. Extra yuk.
sadie, Dec 20 2002

       Couldn't this lead to going deaf?   

       If you are in a club playing really loud, bad music and thus have to play really loud anti-music, wouldn't the actual sound waves end up hurting abit.   

       Or maybe I am just ranting, anything is better than listening to Christmas carols, even deafness.
psiko_q, Dec 21 2002

       Noise cancelling headphones certainly exist. The notion of an RF broadcast to cancel only specific sound is interesting (quite unlikely to actually be used in this particular case) but seems very difficult -- acoustic delays and echoes will change the character of the sound quite a bit by the time it reaches you, and a processor that can adapt and correct for all that in real time would have to be extraordinarily sophisticated.
egnor, Dec 21 2002

       // If you are in a club playing really loud, bad music and thus have to play really loud anti-music, wouldn't the actual sound waves end up hurting abit. //   

       Hmmm, I don't know. If the sounds were perfectly matched, then the sound you get is really zero, and you're safe. I don't know what the effects are if the match isn't perfect, though. And as pointed out, the chances of getting them perfect are fairly slim.   

       I may have to resort to the opposite of this idea, where the music is only broadcast on radio and people need headsets to hear it, but I think that's even less viable. The music is there for a reason, after all. Quite what the reason is, i can rarely decipher...
sadie, Dec 23 2002

       The music is generally presumed to make you purchase more. Clearly, that doesn’t work for some of us. See link.
Isis, Dec 23 2002

       Noise cancelling headphones do increase the pressure on the ears. It's a constant pressure, not sound (think "DC" not "AC"), but it gives some people headaches. I don't know if long-term use has health ramifications; I'm guessing not as long as you don't actually burst your eardrums.   

       Note that noise cancelling headphones only have a limited amount of power; they can't remove arbitrarily loud noises.
egnor, Dec 23 2002

       I have also avoided going into shops when the music has been particularly hideous. Over the years I've developed an intense dislike of Slade's 'Here it is, Merry Christmas' for example. So I sympathise entirely with sadie's viewpoint and with angel's point about music in pubs and bars. However, there's no way that I'm going to stop and put on a pair of headphones everytime that I go into a shop.

My solution to the problem would be to force all retail premises to purchase a hideously expensive Public Broadcast License if they want to play music at their customers. I think that that would put a stop to most of it.

bristolz, Dickinsonian? Dickensian, surely?
DrBob, Dec 24 2002

       No, I'm pretty sure he meant Dickinsonian. have you SEEN Angie Dickinson these days?
dbsousa, Dec 24 2002

       [DrBob], I actually asked a co-worker if "Dickensonian" seemed right. He just shrugged. Hey, it was worse, at first I had written "Dickensish."
bristolz, Dec 24 2002

       [Drbob], a lot of people wear headphones most of the time these days. They're really quite small.
As [egnor] implied, the idea as stated would only cancel out the nearest set of speakers, you'd still be able to hear echoes and speakers further away in other parts of the shop as the cancellation wave will have gone by the time these delayed sounds arrive.
egbert, Dec 24 2002

       Anti-muzak, shirley?   

       If we're talking about suitably advanced technology, could we include processors which would recognise genres of music unpleasant to the listener, automatically cutting in when they are to be broadcast? If this is too dificult, perhaps the radio signal could also broadcast header information, which could be compared with a database within the hardware - one click, and the music would be blocked this time, a double click, and it would be added to the every time list.
yamahito, Dec 24 2002

       how big a database do you plan to have, yama? And how soon after the latest hot song gets released is it ripped, added to the catalog and distributed to everybody who already hates it.
sadie, Dec 27 2002


       I'm working late every day this month, and we've entered the dreaded Christmas carol season...I'm having a really hard time coping...
normzone, Dec 16 2005

       I've just had an idea similar enough to this to call it the same.   

       Mine would be an anti-hearing aid type device specifically tuned to the frequency of the telephones in my building. The ones that I need to hear ring (at my desks) have visual indicators, and for the times when I need to actually hear the rings I can remove the device. But I'd be able to filter out the other couple hundred phone rings I hear on a daily basis.
Noexit, Sep 29 2008

       My father-in-law has recently become the recipient of the latest Phonak device. Able to tune out specific frequencies, directional tuning, all sorts of functions you wish your normal ear could have...
4whom, Sep 29 2008


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