‘Low-powered, high-quality speakers can help limit noise’ | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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‘Low-powered, high-quality speakers can help limit noise’

The throw of a loudspeaker (how far the noise produced by it reaches) depends on the power of amplification.

mumbai Updated: Oct 22, 2012 01:03 IST
Sudhir Badami

The throw of a loudspeaker (how far the noise produced by it reaches) depends on the power of amplification. What we now call conventional was novelty two decades ago. Before that, we had speaker systems with horn-shaped loudspeakers, distributed over a large area. These were fed with high-power amplification and were not of music quality

When the Woodstock culture hit the US, big box-type batteries of loudspeakers began to be used with high-powered amplification and large throws. Music was noise and noise was music to the ears of young generation. Lakhs attended such events. To cover large grounds, multiple units of these loud speakers were used and everyone got the thrills of the loud music.

Today, the scale of garba events is such that perhaps a couple of batteries of box type loudspeakers are used at high power. The same is also used at political rallies.

However, while the Woodstock-like events took place in remote areas in the US, these celebrations are right in the middle of urban settings with high density of people and animals.

The way to maintain the prescribed limits of noise as per the noise rules is to place low-powered, high-quality speakers all over the open ground, which have short throws of 5 to 8 metres. Thus, noise could be contained within the periphery of the event. Celebrations would meet the requirement of 'high decibel' within the open enclosure.

This is not new technology. The only drawback from the Low Powered Distributed Speaker System is that even close to the speakers, the ‘dhak dhak’ that the high powered battery speakers provide is absent.

It it too much of a sacrifice for pleasure of a few as against the rights of people to live peacefully with one's own choices of how to celebrate one's festivals? Let us also not forget Article 14 and 21 of our Constitution, which ensures this right.

Standards need to be evolved by authorities such as Central Pollution Control Board with technical inputs from institutions such as the Indian Institute of Technology. Establish these norms and then permit its use. Currently, the chief justice of the Bombay high court has asked Garba Mandal and Shiv Sena to use this system without knowing what takes to keep the noise within the limits, opening a window for failure.

The writer is an anti-noise activist