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A doubting Thomas about the Guinness crowd noise record

September 15, 2013: Philip Robertson, right, an adjudicator with Guinness World Records, examines a device used to measure the sound level of cheering fans at CenturyLink Field in Seattle prior to the Seahawks-49ers game. Mmmmhmmm (AP Photo)

I can’t be the only doubting Thomas who thinks the Guinness world records folks are playing us. Seattle broke the world noise record, Kansas City broke that, and now we get another chance.

Oh sure it’s all fun and games, until people lose their voices from screaming. A local math and acoustics whiz didn’t believe the record we broke when I talked to him for this story – Sorry Seahawks 12th Man, the math for world noise record doesn’t add up.

He’s just as skeptical about the next record attempt.

This is a guest blog post from Paul Richardson:

It seems that nobody in this town gets it that Guinness Book is propagating a farce with their so called “crowd noise” record that they are now taking on tour around the NFL.

These readings that Guinness Book is taking are completely illegitimate, inaccurate, and are in no way representative of the actual sound levels of the cheering crowds in these sports venues; still there are many who want another shot at screaming their heads off for no good measure.

Put it this way, it is not proper to measure the noise generated by crowds of more than 50,000 people from a distance of 78 inches (2 meters), which is the Guinness Book standard distance of measure.

That only amounts to measuring how loud a handful of people in one section can scream into a microphone. The greatest majority of the people in the crowd, more than 97 percent, have no more influence on this reading than the guy blasting his stereo on somewhere on Capitol Hill, or in the U-district.

On September 15, after the game against the San Francisco 49ers, having registered a ridiculous decibel reading of 136.6 dB, the 12th Man walked away thinking he had a voice as powerful as a jet aircraft at take-off. It was laughable then, and it is even more so to hear that the fans in Kansas City topped this reading at 137.5 dB.

The problem with both of these is that a jet aircraft measures 140 dB at take-off, from a distance of 50 METERS, not 78 INCHES (2 meters).

It makes absolutely no sense to discuss sound pressure levels (decibels) without a standard qualifying distance.

When we account for a loss of 6 decibels in sound pressure per doubling of distance, as dictated by the inverse square law, both the measurements at Century Link Field, and in Kansas City dissipate to approximately 106 dB at 64 meters, which is about the distance from the end zone, where Guinness Book has taken the measurement at 2 meters, to the 50 yard line, where it is actually being heard by the teams on the field.

So, rather than continuing to be had by the Guinness Book fraud, we ought to tell them to go sell it to somebody else, and get lost.

The Guinness Book used to be a good almanac of world records when it was merely an index of records for which the standards were set by some other entity such as the Olympics etc. But, now that Guinness Book creates these events, and determines the standard by which the results are measured, it has become a silly, and unreliable trash publication.

Let’s leave well enough alone, and move on.

Let some other suckers get in line.


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