MythBusters Test the 'Frequency of Fear' with Meyer Sound’s New 1100-LFC

Oct 26, 2012 5:43 PM

Polls


Education Guide

Mix is gearing up to present its longstanding annual Audio Education Guide in its November 2014 issue. Want to have your school listed in the directory, or do you need to update your current directory listing? Add an image, program description, or a logo to your listing! Get your school in the Mix Education Guide 2014.

photo of MythBusters, Dr. Roger Schwenke

From left: Adam Savage, Dr. Roger Schwenke, and Jamie Hyneman

Meyer Sound in Berkeley, Calif., reports that when Discovery Channel’s MythBusters set out to test the claim that subaudible low-frequency sounds near 19 Hz can instill feelings of discomfort, dread, and even outright terror, they turned to Meyer Sound and Dr. Roger Schwenke, the company’s staff scientist and honorary MythBuster, for assistance. This episode will be aired on Discovery Channel on October 28 at 8 p.m.

Filming for the “fear frequency” segment took place in and around four abandoned cabins at a secluded forest resort in Northern California. To test the theory, the show enlisted 10 volunteers to spend time in the cabins. “One cabin was subjected to infrasonic sound while the other control cabins had no sound,” says Schwenke. “Although the cabins were essentially identical, the idea was to ask the participants if one cabin seemed more eerie or frightening than the others.”

Unbeknownst to the subjects, a U-shaped array of nine modified Meyer Sound 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements was hidden behind one of the cabins to create the ultra-low sounds.

“We used the U-shape to get the 1100-LFCs as close together as possible,” explains Schwenke, “and to direct any higher overtones away from the cabin so we could get the infrasonic level as high as possible without anything being audible.”

photo of Meyer Sound 1100-LFC

A U-shaped array of nine modified Meyer Sound 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements

It turns out that nine of the potent 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements were more than needed. “We had to be careful with the level because, at around 95 dB, we started rattling the cabin walls,” recalls Schwenke. “That would have been a dead giveaway.”

Did the MythBusters debunk or confirm the myth? Schwenke isn’t saying: “I did feel a sense of unease. You could tell when it was on even though you couldn’t hear anything. It was more of a whole-body, change-in-the-air sensation, an undefined ominous feeling.”

To find out if the myth was officially confirmed, busted, or deemed merely plausible, tune in to the Discovery Channel on October 28 at 8 p.m. The 2012 Halloween edition marks Schwenke’s seventh appearance on the phenomenally popular TV series. In previous episodes, Schwenke applied his expertise and Meyer Sound technical resources to urban myths associated with movie gunshots and explosions, extinguishing flames with sound, the echo of a duck’s call, a human voice breaking glass, and the infamous “brown note.”

Visit the MythBusters at dsc.discovery.com/tv/mythbusters and Meyer Sound at www.meyersound.com.






Acceptable Use Policy
blog comments powered by Disqus

Mix Books

Modern Recording and Mixing

This 2-DVD set will show you how the best in the music industry set up a studio to make world-class records. Regardless of what gear you are using, the information you'll find here will allow you to take advantage of decades of expert knowledge. Order now $39.95

Mastering Cubase 4

Electronic Musician magazine and Thomson Course Technology PTR have joined forces again to create the second volume in their Personal Studio Series, Mastering Steinberg's Cubase(tm). Edited and produced by the staff of Electronic Musician, this special issue is not only a must-read for users of Cubase(tm) software, but it also delivers essential information for anyone recording/producing music in a personal-studio. Order now $12.95

Newsletters

MixLine

Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine takes you straight into the studio, with new product announcements, industry news, upcoming events, recent recording/post projects and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

MixLine Live

Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine Live takes you on the road with today's hottest tours, new sound reinforcement professional products, recent installs, industry news and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

The Wire, a virtual press conference offering postings of the latest gear and music news, direct from the source. Visit the The Wire for the latest press postings.