My project to use 24/7 outdoor music broadcast to repel urban hoodlums - don't let your memes stay dreams

Shroom King

kiwifarms.net
o I manually flipped the MP3 player through about 10 or 15 tracks until I finally got it to play "Drei Lilien", the loud German marching song, in hopes of better effect.
I am not quite following you. How did you change the playlist if the mp3 player if it is 14 feet in the air? Are you synching all this stuff together via bluetooth and your smartphone?

Speaking of which, you can probably get some cameras that can communicate via bluetooth and set them to take still photos versus video (which is stored locally on an SD card) and then when you walk past the phone can pull the most recent photos automatically. (Bluetooth is slow but still, better than nothing.)

Most Goodwill stores deal in old electronics. You must be able to find old computer speakers and other equipment for a song at those places.
 

millais

The Yellow Rose of Victoria, Texas
kiwifarms.net
I am not quite following you. How did you change the playlist if the mp3 player if it is 14 feet in the air? Are you synching all this stuff together via bluetooth and your smartphone?

Speaking of which, you can probably get some cameras that can communicate via bluetooth and set them to take still photos versus video (which is stored locally on an SD card) and then when you walk past the phone can pull the most recent photos automatically. (Bluetooth is slow but still, better than nothing.)

Most Goodwill stores deal in old electronics. You must be able to find old computer speakers and other equipment for a song at those places.
hmm, i did not know about the Goodwill stores. I always thought they only sell clothing, furniture, and crockery. Currently I have just been keeping an eye on free stuff on Craigslist, since I already used enough of my own money for this project that I am loathe to put even more in. It's just to clean up the exterior of my workplace, not my home. And I'm actually not 100% sure they will let me drill any more holes through exterior walls to pass electrical conduit through. Even though I made the holes as small as possible and filled the remaining gaps with weatherproof silicone, it seems like the insects are still able to get through it and make a mess of the interior ceiling space. For the last broadcast unit, I actually pulled the electrical through an existing exterior hole that had been drilled for an emergency phone line.

Without drilling exterior holes, the only other way I can get power is to pull it from the exterior conduit like for the lamp posts and floodlights, but we reburied all those lines deep because we thought after the lighting installation we wouldn't have to touch it again.

The security camera situation is not ideal, but it's good enough for now. There's enough angles covering the troublesome areas, the low light capture is passable, and the only real problem is 480p resolution. I didn't know about Bluetooth cameras. Those sound pretty handy. I will still have to lay maybe 10 ft conduit wire for power supply though, which is much easier than laying 50 ft A/V cable to reach a recording box. I will have to keep an eye out for those. Or maybe wait until someone gets wi-fi around here and just get one of those wireless networked camera setups

I was able to reach the mp3 player because I remounted it indoors with a new 6 ft audio cable long enough to reach the exterior mounted speakers.

It's impossible to sync every broadcast unit to the same phone because even with no obstructions, the Bluetooth signal can only go about 20-30 ft, and the broadcast units are mounted much further apart than that, with a lot of line-of-sight obstructions in the way too. So each broadcast unit has its own media player, whether MP3 or SIM-less smartphone. In fact, I think it's even a little better that they are completely out of sync because in the few spots where the coverage overlaps, it's a real noisy nuisance to the ear.
 

millais

The Yellow Rose of Victoria, Texas
kiwifarms.net
I think I will keep the Rina Ketty compilation in the playlist. I was able to use it today to disperse the aftermath of another small scale street brawl. In the moment of the fighting, there's not much short of real police sirens that can disperse them.
 

Kamov Ka-52

аллигатор
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
I think I will keep the Rina Ketty compilation in the playlist. I was able to use it today to disperse the aftermath of another small scale street brawl. In the moment of the fighting, there's not much short of real police sirens that can disperse them.
You should throw police sirens into the mix periodically. It'll scatter them at first, and once they get used to it, and start to tune it out, they might be slower to bolt when the cops actually show up.
 

millais

The Yellow Rose of Victoria, Texas
kiwifarms.net
You should throw police sirens into the mix periodically. It'll scatter them at first, and once they get used to it, and start to tune it out, they might be slower to bolt when the cops actually show up.
I had thought about that some time ago but ultimately discounted it, as the constant music has become part of the local soundscape and it would be very obvious it's a fake siren because it only comes on when the previous song ends, and when the siren sound stops, the next song will play.

Though it's a good idea to save fake sirens for the "no mercy" playlist I am slowly building for the (hopefully) unlikely event that the security situation gets a lot worse and the undesirables build up a total resistance to the relatively pleasant playlist in current rotation.

The "no mercy" playlist will be very simple in composition. Maybe just 10-15 minutes of audio on loop instead of the current hours long musical variety. And only a few types of audio:
-Peking opera
-Yodeling
-Children's songs/lullabies
-Intentionally ear rape distorted music
-Audio of children crying, demonically distorted if possible like in those Vietnam War CIA psychological warfare "Ghost Tapes"
-and maybe police sirens

But it will be a very bad day for everyone if I have to resort to the "no mercy" playlist, because the sound insulation of the exterior walls and windows is actually not the greatest, so it would be audible to the people working indoors.
 

millais

The Yellow Rose of Victoria, Texas
kiwifarms.net
After almost 1 month continual operation, the cheap Walmart-brand bluetooth speaker has abruptly died. I think the rechargeable battery is either not charging properly at all or unable to build up the minimum charge to run even though it is permanently plugged into the 120V electric. I am temporarily retiring it until I can figure out whether it can be fixed. It was not mounted in an especially troublesome spot anyway, so its loss will not cause too much problems, I hope.

But even though I have lost one broadcast unit, I was able to install a new one at a new location. I found an improperly addressed $20 coupon for a local electronics outlet, and with it I purchased a refurbished Logitech desktop 2.1 speaker set, with 50 watt max output and consisting of two small speakers and a bi-directional subwoofer box. The speaker set was originally $50 but it was a refurbished unit so they were selling it for $25, and with the coupon I was able to pick it up for $5. There was a refurbished 80 watt Bluetooth desktop speaker set for $30 that I was debating whether to get instead, but it didn't have a standard model number and looked a bit sketchy, so I ended up going for the 50 watt set.

Also this Bluetooth pairing stuff is getting to be a little too unpredictable for me anyway. Even though the smart phones I'm using as media players and the speakers themselves are not getting system updates or any kind of internet connection, it seems like they can still randomly have changes to the Bluetooth drivers that messes up the pairing out of nowhere. Towards the end of the Walmart bluetooth speaker's life, it wouldn't even show up across multiple phones that I was testing for pairing compatibility.

Anyway, I mounted this new 50 watt Logitech set about 13 ft off the ground in an area where I don't think any of the parkour experts will be able to reach it. It's a pretty heavy load due to the weight of the subwoofer box, so I put the entire set into a metal basket that I then mounted to the exterior of the building. It seems like it will hold up under the weight, but I can hear the whole thing, especially the plastic casing of the tightly packed speakers, vibrating a little at certain resonant frequencies of sound, so I think I will have to keep an eye on it. I hooked it up to the smartphone that had been previously connected to the malfunctioning Bluetooth speaker, so it's using the pretty much the same playlist as I posted earlier, slightly truncated I think.

I thought it was pretty damned loud when I was testing the speaker outside at ground level, but now that it is installed high up in its final location, the sound doesn't seem that powerful for a supposedly 50 watt set. However, it's in a very acoustically poor location, with almost no sound reflecting surfaces in the path of the speaker output, so the sound is only carrying strongly to about 20-30 ft. The subwoofer was obviously intended to transmit the majority of the sound by bouncing it off the floor indoors, since it has a downward pointing speaker to augment the smaller forward facing speaker, but at 13 ft in the air outside, this effect is not having much of its intended impact.

Still, I think it is the best utilization of this more powerful desktop speaker unit, since the raw power of the output somewhat compensates for the poor acoustics of this troublesome area, which none of the other broadcast units I have rigged up would be able to adequately deal with.
 

millais

The Yellow Rose of Victoria, Texas
kiwifarms.net
Some minor technical snags have come up regarding the new broadcast unit with the 2.1 subwoofer speakers. The old playlist I constructed with an emphasis on treble, but the new speakers have relatively weak treble output and most of the power output appears to be devoted to the bass frequencies. So I am in the process of heavily pruning down the playlist to leave only music with strong bass in order to get good level of loudness from the speakers. Marching music and music with strong instrumental diversity is a good starting criteria, so I am having to cut out a lot of the songs with weak instrumentals; the vocals are not strong enough to carry alone.

Also some issues with the old smartphones I am using as media players for this new broadcast unit. Due to EU safety regulations, the Android phone will automatically restrict media output volume to the minimum level after 20 hours of continuous operation because the EU nanny state has decided that 20 hours of music at max volume will cause hearing loss in its citizens, so it's Android's responsibility to pull the plug after 20 hours. Stupid EU regulations should not be enforced on an American phone. This is inherently a major issue when trying to run a 24/7 music broadcast, so I am looking into ways to work around this hardcoded limitation. If I had onsite internet access, it would be pretty easy to jailbreak the phone or install some kind of developer app to bypass it, but right now I am limited to looking for a solution that I can implement offline.

I do have an old Windows phone that I assume doesn't have the EU mandated automatic volume restriction, but the Windows phone has its own issue with a hardcoded volume cap that I can't seem to get at. With Android, at least you can go into the developer/engineer mode to manually fiddle with max volume settings, but I don't think Windows phone OS has anything comparable. Without being able to change the max volume setting, the Windows phone output volume through the audio jack connection is not very good for an outdoor broadcast.

Lastly, due to the location of this new broadcast unit, I am getting more feedback from people than usual since it is located above an area with high foot traffic that most people have to pass by. People think classical music like Mozart or Bach is a bust because it's not loud enough, so I have scrubbed all classical-like music (including movie soundtracks) from the new broadcast unit. The German/French marching music is universally regarded as the most obnoxious, so I'm going to "weigh" those more heavily in the playlist by creating duplicate tracks of those songs. And finally, Anglophones are really bad at identifying the Afrikaans language music. Closest guess so far has been German, wildest guess so far is Korean.
 

Ginger Piglet

Fictional Manhunt Survivor
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
"I Love Horses" would be a good one to add to the playlist.

Also, regarding the sirens thing, how about edit one of the music files to contain sirens in the background and getting louder and louder until they drown out the song then stop abruptly and the song continues?
 

Crichax

kiwifarms.net
"When Universes Collide" by Gogol Bordello would be interesting. Would the bums stay due to the instrumentation, or be scared away by the Ukrainian accent the lead singer has?

Also, where the hell do you live where people would be scared away by Beijing opera?
 

millais

The Yellow Rose of Victoria, Texas
kiwifarms.net
"I Love Horses" would be a good one to add to the playlist.

Also, regarding the sirens thing, how about edit one of the music files to contain sirens in the background and getting louder and louder until they drown out the song then stop abruptly and the song continues?
Interesting idea. I don't know anything about sound editing; I barely remember anything about music theory and speakers/sound engineering as it is.
"When Universes Collide" by Gogol Bordello would be interesting. Would the bums stay due to the instrumentation, or be scared away by the Ukrainian accent the lead singer has?

Also, where the hell do you live where people would be scared away by Beijing opera?
It's just a guess on my part. I'm always hearing white American people complaining about how Peking opera sounds like dying cats and it's an acoustic torture to their ears. I thought it might have a similar effect on the Mexicans and blacks, though I don't think the current situation is bad enough that I have to test it out.

Part of the process in choosing audio selection for the broadcast is that in my own interaction with the undesirable elements, I'm strictly maintaining the pretense that this project is not explicitly aimed against them. Whenever they demand to know why the speakers are going up, I'm telling them that this whole thing is the audio equivalent of those garish "La Raza / Civil Rights Movement Heroes" murals that the municipal government will put up in barrios and ghettoes in order to "encourage positivity and uplift community spirit" and that the "community" was supposed to get a say in the music selection until a few bad eggs ruined it for everyone by trying to destroy the system. And some of them even buy it at face value; they are nasty disgusting crackheads and welfare leeches, but I assume even they would fear the return of gang violence and shootings.

But in order to maintain the pretense of this project being just another touchy-feely artsy-fartsy "need mo' money fo' dem programz" deal, the music can't be overtly negative or threatening to them. All the memey music goes way over their heads, and everything in the playlist has a positive upbeat or sappy sentimental tune to it. Even the most oppressively repetitive Prussian march or historically racist Confederate war song has an ostensibly cheery melody and positive energy in its composition.

But I don't think Peking opera, super ear rape music, fake sirens, and demonic sounds will have that same plausible deniability to it. If things get bad enough, I will gladly fall back on what I consider to be surefire nuclear options, but I think the situation stable at present. Police will make occasional appearances, and every now and then they do bag some dealers or tow a stolen vehicle, so the bigger fish are getting fried a little at a time.
 
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millais

The Yellow Rose of Victoria, Texas
kiwifarms.net
FYI 50 watts peak isn't the same as 50 watts constant. Your desktop speakers are probably more like 20 watts continuous, with most of those watts going into pushing the subwoofer.
Yes I think it was something like 50 / 30. I'm regretting wasting my nonrefundable coupon on this subwoofer speaker, especially as the added weight and bulk required more work and planning to adequately mount. The powerful bass from the subwoofer is good at creating a dominating soundscape when the ambient noise is low or minimal, but since I had to install it on a main-road facing area, the traffic and truck motors will often drown out the bass, whereas a much stronger treble would have been able to cut through the motor noises.
 
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ColtWalker1847

kiwifarms.net
FYI 50 watts peak isn't the same as 50 watts constant. Your desktop speakers are probably more like 20 watts continuous, with most of those watts going into pushing the subwoofer.
Agreed. It's been an old sales trick since forever. You would be lucky to get half of that continuous.

If you are still taking requests please play the most milquetoast white-people song that ever existed for your captive audience please.
 
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millais

The Yellow Rose of Victoria, Texas
kiwifarms.net
Now that I have read a little more about the EU regulatory limits that are handicapping volume control and output on phones, I'm thinking that the relatively unimpressive loudness of the new speakers could be due to the software restriction on the old phone that I am using as a media player. I see there are a lot of Android apps for volume boosting past the default limit, but many of the developers and some of the reviews say that there is a risk of blowing out and destroying the connected speakers if you boost the phone's output volume in excess of a certain point that is different for every setup.

Any audiophiles can comment on whether this is something I should be worried about if I try app-based audio boosting?
 

Wake me up

CωC Club founder
kiwifarms.net
Any audiophiles can comment on whether this is something I should be worried about if I try app-based audio boosting?
Not an audiophile by any means but I believe that as long as you're not hearing distortion from the speakers being unable to process the loudness required, you should be good to go. You'll know what I mean once you raise the volume loud enough that the speaker is physically unable to render it properly. You'll often start hearing noises coming from the setup itself (and not from the song).

To test this I suggest you find a segment of a song that has both lots of loud bass and treble at once (like an uptempo orchestra crescendo) because a speaker will have different limits for high, medium and low notes.

Whether performing below this limit but still high volume is damaging to the equipment or not, I believe only the people who manufacture could tell you 100% but I don't see why it should - as long as it's rendering the music well, it should be within operational parameters, seems self-evident to me.
 
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millais

The Yellow Rose of Victoria, Texas
kiwifarms.net
I ended up swapping out the troublesome smartphone for one of the old MP3 players I was using in another broadcast unit, and replacing that MP3 player with a Windows phone, which doesn't have as many problems.

I wasn't there to see it happen, but apparently earlier today, the municipal authorities (police chief, local cops, city councilmen, prosecuting attorney, building code inspector; very large group) came by on a special inspection tour of the area to issue code violation and traffic warning citations to the Mexican grocery and butcher across the street, and in the process they took note of my setup in action. So now these authorities are going to recommend other businesses and property owners to consider installing outdoor music broadcast systems to combat the homeless and loitering and drug dealing situation elsewhere in the city. It's gotten very bad in many places since they bulldozed the massive homeless encampment aka "Tent City" and dispersed the vagrant troublemaking population, turning a localized problem into a city-wide problem.
 

The 8 of Spades

Pay No Attention To The ♂ Behind The Glassy Smirk
kiwifarms.net
Now that I have read a little more about the EU regulatory limits that are handicapping volume control and output on phones, I'm thinking that the relatively unimpressive loudness of the new speakers could be due to the software restriction on the old phone that I am using as a media player. I see there are a lot of Android apps for volume boosting past the default limit, but many of the developers and some of the reviews say that there is a risk of blowing out and destroying the connected speakers if you boost the phone's output volume in excess of a certain point that is different for every setup.

Any audiophiles can comment on whether this is something I should be worried about if I try app-based audio boosting?

I see that you've taken the Android out of the equation, but if you do need to return to it in the future you could always see if there's a custom rom available for the phone model you're using. I highly doubt anyone is going to worry about EU regulations about sound and leave that in the code.
 
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