Does anybody else hear this...?

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  1. #1

    Does anybody else hear this...?

    Ever since the January 2017 Trump's Joint Session of Congress address I've been hearing an annoying noise on satellite delivered audio.

    I heard this during the above mentioned broadcast and the recent NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

    It's a two note (high and low) electronic noise that comes up during pauses of speech/commentary/play by play. (I also just heard it as a local sound bite during a local newscast.)

    Is this a new sound that cannot be corrected with all of the wonderful technology we have today?

    I am not an engineer, but a former employee in radio, so this noise is not in my field of expertise.

    Is there anyone that knows what this is, and why it has appeared in this day and age? It seems like technology has taken a giant step backwards.

    Thanks.
    Mike

  2. #2
    General Manager frankberry's Avatar
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    How are your receiving these broadcasts. Cable, over the air or satellite?
    I am not hearing the tones.


  3. #3
    The tones I heard during the President's Address in January was heard on TV over the air. The NCAA Basketball Finals were heard on AM radio over the air. The local news soundbite was heard over the air on an AM radio.

    The noise, which I will describe as an obnoxious buzz, is not continuous, but during what should be silences. The "buzz" is two notes, high and low, shifting back and forth every second. I don't have an audio file of the noise to share as of this writing.

    During the NCAA broadcast it was heard during the lull in play by play, but also appeared during a commercial break where it was all local except for a national commercial that also had that buzz.

    For a brief moment I thought it would be caused by the usual modern noise suspects in my house, but the fact that it came and went during local and national elements blew that idea out of the water.

    Thanks for your help.
    Mike

  4. #4
    I'm with Frank, never heard such a thing. You've heard it on TV and a local AM station?

    Especially given the limited low and high frequency response of AM, it surprises me that any sort of sub-audible tone would be heard. Tinnitus? Maybe see if you can record an audio sample and post it here.

    Oh and one more thing: If the tones start morphing into voices that tell you to kill Kelly. Please ignore them.

  5. #5
    These are not sub-audible tones. It is an annoying noise on top of program audio mainly during pauses in speeches or play by play.

    The "noise" sounds like the typical European emergency vehicle siren. High note-low note-High note-low note-High note-low note-High note-low note.

    I know what sub-audible tones are having used them in recording music tapes for a Schaefer 800 automation.

    (As a separate quest: I'd love to have access to, or information about, the sub-audible tones on satellite delivered programming. Specifically, who applies them. Is it the board op that runs audio for the show, or a master control operator at the point the signal is sent to the uplink?)

    I'm sorry my initial post was confusing, but I finally figured out how to describe the noise I was hearing. So, if you've seen news items, movies or TV shows that feature said emergency vehicles then you'll understand the the type of sound I am hearing. It is a "siren type" noise with a deeper sound.

    As I said I do not have any audio files of this noise, and I'm not sure I could attach said file to my post.

    Thanks.
    Mike

  6. #6

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    If it makes a sound like "DEE-dull...DEE-dull...DEE-dull", it's often a battery charger of some kind, operating right at the edge of "full charge". Might be from a Solar Power system, a UPS, or just a bank of stationary batteries.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by mike847 View Post
    These are not sub-audible tones. It is an annoying noise on top of program audio mainly during pauses in speeches or play by play.

    The "noise" sounds like the typical European emergency vehicle siren. High note-low note-High note-low note-High note-low note-High note-low note.

    I know what sub-audible tones are having used them in recording music tapes for a Schaefer 800 automation.

    (As a separate quest: I'd love to have access to, or information about, the sub-audible tones on satellite delivered programming. Specifically, who applies them. Is it the board op that runs audio for the show, or a master control operator at the point the signal is sent to the uplink?)

    I'm sorry my initial post was confusing, but I finally figured out how to describe the noise I was hearing. So, if you've seen news items, movies or TV shows that feature said emergency vehicles then you'll understand the the type of sound I am hearing. It is a "siren type" noise with a deeper sound.

    As I said I do not have any audio files of this noise, and I'm not sure I could attach said file to my post.

    Thanks.
    Re: sub-audible tones
    I'm not aware of any satellite service still using subaudible tones. I'm also not aware of board-ops anymore. Contact closures are applied by the programming of the automation systems, and use data that is not part of the audio.
    KSWW (AC) "Sunny" 102.1-101.1 -- KJET (Hot AC) "The Jet" 105.7-93.1 -- KANY (Hot Country) "Bigfoot" 107.3 -- KBKW (NewsTalk) "The Talk of Grays Harbor" 1450-100.5 -- KSWW HD-2 (Classic Rock) "The Quake" 103.9 -- KSWW HD-3 "Timber Country" 94.7<br />Keeping radio locally-owned on the Washington Coast.<br />Still using a microphone - 6:10-7:00 am - www.kbkw.com

  8. #8

    Red face

    Bossbill: Thanks. re: satellite automation. That's confusing to me in that a floating break would not happen at a fixed time ergo a human has to hit the relay. I've read where the relays actually generate the various combinations of 25 and 35 Hz tones to tell the local satellite receiver what to play.

    The last time I was in radio, network programming was on a landline, except in the outlying areas in Arizona where we got the network programming sent to us via microwave of the station's signal in Phoenix.

    Then, we just followed the clock to join the network and listened for outcues to cut away. (Ah. Those were the days.)

    Something else that was confusing to me: There was a three part video that is alleged to be the originating studio of a satellite music service. The host on duty played the music (and recorded these videos), but I didn't see him cue the local station for the local break. He did, however, have a downlinked signal of an affiliate station and at the end of the local break started playing music again.

    Oh how I wish I had knowledge of a club that could tour such a facility. I mean, there's clubs that visit transmitters sites of vintage AM stations, why not visit a company that produces satellite programming?

    Just a thought...and still confused as ever.
    Mike

  9. #9
    There is at least one show, Laura Ingram, that I hear the 25 and 35 hz tones come through on the local affiliate since they don't have a subaudable decoder and there is no filter in the program line. Beyond that show I don't know if any others still use them.

    The tone you report hearing may be your cell phone. I plug mine into a charger in the car and find it makes a similar noise especially in AM reception. When I unplug it the noise goes away.

    I'm glad you brought up strange audio on the air. Starting a year or so ago I noticed a metallic sound mostly on speech on several stations in South Florida. WIOD 610 in Miami was the first I noticed it on. It was sort of like listening to voice being heard through a metal pipe, just a very slight metallic echo. I figured it was an artifact from using a internet STL. I have now noticed it on 820 AM and 102.5 FM out of Tampa. It isn't noticeable on music just voice material like in a spot or the host talking. Anyone else heard this?

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry the radio guy View Post
    I'm glad you brought up strange audio on the air. Starting a year or so ago I noticed a metallic sound mostly on speech on several stations in South Florida. WIOD 610 in Miami was the first I noticed it on. It was sort of like listening to voice being heard through a metal pipe, just a very slight metallic echo. I figured it was an artifact from using a internet STL. I have now noticed it on 820 AM and 102.5 FM out of Tampa. It isn't noticeable on music just voice material like in a spot or the host talking. Anyone else heard this?
    I started hearing something similar on KCBS out of San Francisco. Likewise, the effect seemed more prominent on some news segments over others. It sounds like really bad HD radio artifacts, yet I was listening on an analog radio. Since then I've heard the same type of sound on a lot of large-market stations to varying degrees. Just a suspicion, but it might be the Voltaire device that some stations are adding to increase the frequency transmission of the PPM codes to Nielsen panelists. I'd like to hear an A/B comparison of audio with and without that processing, but all of that is pretty secret these days.

    Dave B.

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