Causing Trouble At RedBull Creation 2013

Skullduggery systems (a first time participant) came up with an extremely ambitious idea for their instrument. It was to be a jug, that would have a changing pitch based on water being pumped in and out. Ultimately, they ran into a few issues that meant that the effect wasn’t quite what they were looking for. They shouldn’t feel too bad, a bunch of teams didn’t succeed in making things the first year they participated.

What their instrument did do, however, I found simply delightful. The jug sounded just like feedback from the sound system. The contest was happening during a big music festival called the NorthSide festival.  There was a stage and a huge crowd most of the time.  They were testing their jug and we noticed that the band on stage (with a full crowd at the time), had stopped playing and was checking all their equipment. The sound guys were running around like crazy. They thought they were getting feedback.

We held off for a while and decided we would wait till sound checks to mess with them. While we wanted to cause trouble, we didn’t want to ruin the show for an entire crowd.  As you can see in the video, the sound is very much like feedback. They would begin to play, then stop to track down this mysterious feedback. We even tricked [Tyler] the announcer that was talking over our local sound system in the Redbull tent (by accident, I assure you).

26 thoughts on “Causing Trouble At RedBull Creation 2013

      1. I see it as training for the sound techs. A good sound tech should know if the feedback is coming from their system just from looking at the mixer board and can even tell you what channel. Although with some hacked together band rigs, and depending on Caleb’s timing it could be awful hard to tell.

        Side story: I run sound for my church. One time I kept hearing this ringing feedback that I couldn’t find. It wasn’t until I closed all channels and even powered off the system I figured out it was someone’s hearing aid. Now, I can pretty much tell what it is when I hear it. But I still get looks when it happens and people assume that it is the operator and not someone in the audience.

    1. all you really need to do is blow across the top.

      to emulate theirs, drill a hole in the top section and blow across that. It actually worked better. To get the same frequency, you’ll need to add roughly 3 inches of water.

      1. I thought it was very funny, and it showed the sound guys weren’t lying down on the job as they tried to figure out the rogue sound.

        If you did it whilst the band was playing with an audience you risk getting the same vitriol from internet users as Gizmodo did with their tv-b-gone ‘pranking’ at CES 2008.

  1. First order harmonic for that jug is 25 to 35 Hz. How high is this mode I wonder, of course there is a second hole.
    I can toot on a beer bottle, the mellow tone of course. Blow harder and the note is an octave and a fifth higher, blow harder and the next note is higher and sends sound mixers diving for the knobs! That is as high as I can go, but not the physics.
    I’ll stick to using the jugs for drums. My harmonic flutes can do double digit modes on breath control alone.

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