Tonight, between 3:30 and 7:00 PM, the University will perform a sound test in Michigan Stadium to determine how the addition of massive structures along either sideline will affect the venue’s acoustics. The purpose of the 140db “cannon shot” isn’t to measure the added volume from crowd noise fto the players on the field (it’s it’s to plan speaker placement for the PA system), but it certainly can provide some information, however obliquely related.
To the crowd-noise-obsessed Michigan fan, this calls to mind the Oversized Metallic Dandelion from last year’s Minnesota game. Associate Architecture Professor Mojtava Navvab was attempting to determine the difference in crowd noise that adding boxes would cause. The results were something along the lines of “2-4 times as loud,” and though I’m sleptical on that degree of difference, 1) I do not have a graduate degree in architecture, and 2) Even without glass last year, the difference in sound was noticeable.
Of course, the Athletic Department is not actively trying to increase crowd noise with the boxes (at least not as their primary goal), so they likely won’t pursue ways in which crowd noise in particular will increase with the added structures. However, if they wanted to really impact the noise on the field, the most effective way to do so would be encouraging fans to make more noise in the first place.
I’m not a fan of my college football events being Minor League Hockey, as Brian would say (translation: RAWK MUSIC, hokey pump up videos, etc.), but there are ways that the AD could promote a louder environment without delving into the corny. Other schools in the Big Ten take this a bit too far, Sparty, Ohio State, and Penn State among them – though I think it’s no coincidence that the latter two have the best homefield advantages in the conference, but there is a happy medium. Pump up videos are unnecessary, but the banner-shaped video board along the bottom of the scoreboards can be used for evil (a word which here means “good”). Step 1) Stop encouraging the GD3DKPT, also known as “God Damn Third Down Key Play Thingy.” Step 2) Change the message on the board, not only during third down, but all defensive downs, to something simple like “Make some NOISE!”
I’ll wrap this post up before it gets off on too much of a tangent (that i’ve covered several times before), but, uh yeah. Sound test in the Big House tonight, huh?1
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