Noisy Neighbor

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Noisy Neighbor

Postby zippthorne on Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:55 am

I have a neighbor who recently installed a parrot outside on his deck. Presumably because he didn't want it in the house noising things up, but that hints at the annoyance he has imposed on the rest of the neighborhood. It's not too bad unless you want to open your windows and let the breeze cool you off when inside instead of the ol' AC.

Anyway, the parrot itself isn't really all that annoying, but I'm having trouble resisting the urge to train it to say, "I hope my wife doesn't find out about this."

Is that so wrong?
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Postby Capn Lazarus on Thu Sep 06, 2007 5:46 pm

It would tend to inconvenience the real culprit and it's not as cruel as buying an outdoor cat.
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Re: Noisy Neighbor

Postby Richv on Thu Sep 06, 2007 7:18 pm

zippthorne wrote:I have a neighbor who recently installed a parrot outside on his deck. Presumably because he didn't want it in the house noising things up, but that hints at the annoyance he has imposed on the rest of the neighborhood. It's not too bad unless you want to open your windows and let the breeze cool you off when inside instead of the ol' AC.

Anyway, the parrot itself isn't really all that annoying, but I'm having trouble resisting the urge to train it to say, "I hope my wife doesn't find out about this."

Is that so wrong?


Fight nuisance with nuisance. It shouldn't be too hard with a shotgun speaker and a looped tape on a timer.
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Postby Capn Lazarus on Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:35 pm

Ingenious! You can condition the parrot and never leave your home.

Thereby eliminating incriminating tracks, etc.
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Postby Richv on Fri Sep 07, 2007 10:08 am

Capn Lazarus wrote:Ingenious! You can condition the parrot and never leave your home.

Thereby eliminating incriminating tracks, etc.


I had a friend who built a shotgun mike based on my design. Even without a microphone, you could hold the acoustic assembly up to your ear and block out about 95% of extraneous noise. It won't let you hear sounds you couldn't otherwise hear, but it will drastically improve S/N ratio. A shotgun speaker lets you narrowly focus the audio at a target. The design isn't hard. My friend built his with pieces of scrap 1/4" stainless-steel tubing.

He lived across a bust highway from a shopping mall, and with the shotgun mike, you could hear two people clearly, as long as you were willing to put up with the noise when a truck passed in front of you.
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Postby zippthorne on Fri Sep 07, 2007 3:28 pm

So, ahh.. do you still have those plans?
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Postby Richv on Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:19 pm

zippthorne wrote:So, ahh.. do you still have those plans?


They're in my head. It's basically a log-periodic antenna built like a pipe organ. IIRC, it required 32 sections, arranged in a spiral, with the longest tube being in the center. The whole package fit nicely into a piece of PVC pipe with an open end.
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Postby zippthorne on Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:11 pm

Bah, I'll just build parabolic, and hope my neighbor doesn't notice the giant plastic dish pointed at his aviary.
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Postby Capn Lazarus on Fri Sep 07, 2007 11:14 pm

A shotgun speaker would be a LOT less conspicuous in cross section. Just because your neighbor buys a parrot doesn't mean he's an idiot and if you think he wouldn't notice a parabolic Anything aimed at his house, you're not too smart yourself.

A shotgun speaker could just lie across a couple horses on your back porch and look like you're gonna do some plumbing.

Concentrated directional sound could be a low volumn training tape that your neighbor would never even hear unless he got right in line with it when he fed the bird or some similar situation.

I think it'd be funnier than hell, myself.
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Postby zippthorne on Sat Sep 08, 2007 6:49 am

The problem is, I'm having trouble visualizing it based on Richv's description.
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Postby Richv on Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:52 pm

Imagine a pipe organ, made of 32 pieces of 1/4" stainless steel tubing, all in a row, from longest to shortest. Glue a piece of paper to the tubes to hold them together, and roll it up, with the longest tube in the center. Now, make the paper magically disappear. It looks like a circular staircase. Now slide the whole assembly into a piece of PVC pipe which makes a snug fit.

The speed of sound is roughly 1124 FPS. A common velocity factor is 90%, so inside a transmission line like a tube, you can expect sound to travel at about 1,000 fps. If you choose the lowest frequency as 100 Hz, and the highest 3,000 Hz, the longest tube is about 31", and the shortest is about 1".

If you PM me, I can send more technical details.
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Postby Capn Lazarus on Sat Sep 08, 2007 10:22 pm

You wouldn't need so many tubes and the diameter isn't so critical. The frequency range of voice communication could cut off about 1000 hz and you could use 1/2" pvc pipe which would be easier to cut.

Figure the length as stated and use 16 tubes instead of 32. The cutoff frequency will not be as sharp for each tube as to be disturbing and will enable the user to either hear or to narrowcast sounds readily enough.

The finished diameter would be somewhat larger than Rich's but with fewer tubes, it wouldn't become cumbersome. Using a funnel arrangement to guide the sound in or out would be simple to arrange also.

You could use it as a science fair project and impress your friends and parrots.
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Postby Richv on Sat Sep 08, 2007 11:36 pm

Capn Lazarus wrote:You wouldn't need so many tubes and the diameter isn't so critical. The frequency range of voice communication could cut off about 1000 hz and you could use 1/2" pvc pipe which would be easier to cut.

Figure the length as stated and use 16 tubes instead of 32. The cutoff frequency will not be as sharp for each tube as to be disturbing and will enable the user to either hear or to narrowcast sounds readily enough.

The finished diameter would be somewhat larger than Rich's but with fewer tubes, it wouldn't become cumbersome. Using a funnel arrangement to guide the sound in or out would be simple to arrange also.

You could use it as a science fair project and impress your friends and parrots.


PVC doesn't make a good resonator; you need a material with high elastance, which will not absorb much sound energy. Basically, it's like using a highly-conductive metal versus a poorly-conducting one. Also, 1/2" pipe will make it pretty large. IIRC, we actually made 2 kHz the cutoff. The equations are very complex, but I basically used the same design specs you'd use for a broadband log-periodic antenna. That's why I chose PVC for the "radome;" I needed something that would absorb sound energy from the sides. A shotgun mike is just like a Yagi beam antenna; in fact, the standard TV antenna is a good old-fashioned log-periodic Yagi antenna.

A parabolic dish works well too, but is far more cumbersome. You could, in fact, use a parabolic dish with a shotgun pickup and get the best of both worlds.
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Postby zippthorne on Sat Sep 08, 2007 11:47 pm

Oi, where did you find PVC with an inner diameter greater than or equal to 31 inches?
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Postby Richv on Sun Sep 09, 2007 3:42 am

zippthorne wrote:Oi, where did you find PVC with an inner diameter greater than or equal to 31 inches?


I didn't. The tubes are mounted coaxially inside the radome. The assembly was roughly 1-1/2" across, and fit quite snugly inside a 32" long piece of 1-1/2" PVC pipe. We mounted the microphone on the inside of a PVC pipe cap and glued it in place. Would I really be arguing that a piece of PVC pipe 31" across would be less cumbersome than a parabolic dish?
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Postby Capn Lazarus on Sun Sep 09, 2007 5:03 pm

You probably would, Rich but we know you're using that as a bad example.

Your logic dictates material for the most efficient device possible--expedience would support less efficiency just to get the job done. You could even use PVC as 'proof of concept' and refine it later, if necessary.

I'll admit that I never thought of a shotgun speaker before this. The same design for an efficient directional mike is all I've considered. The same transducer could be used for both with a small sacrifice in efficiency.
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Postby Richv on Sun Sep 09, 2007 8:22 pm

Capn Lazarus wrote:You probably would, Rich but we know you're using that as a bad example.

Your logic dictates material for the most efficient device possible--expedience would support less efficiency just to get the job done. You could even use PVC as 'proof of concept' and refine it later, if necessary.

I'll admit that I never thought of a shotgun speaker before this. The same design for an efficient directional mike is all I've considered. The same transducer could be used for both with a small sacrifice in efficiency.


Then use nylon tubing for the resonators, not PVC. It's cheap and you can cut it with a razor knife. Most speakers make halfway decent microphones, but microphones don't make good speakers. The resonator is equally good for either; most beam antennas work equally well for transmitting and receiving.
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Postby Capn Lazarus on Sun Sep 09, 2007 10:55 pm

I know about speakers acting as mikes--a friend used a radio as an intercom and just used a PTT switch.

Most mikes lack the area to radiate sound efficiently.
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Postby Richv on Mon Sep 10, 2007 1:31 am

Capn Lazarus wrote:I know about speakers acting as mikes--a friend used a radio as an intercom and just used a PTT switch.

Most mikes lack the area to radiate sound efficiently.


Most of the less-expensive intercoms used a single speaker as both a speaker and microphone. When you pressed the PTT switch, the speaker was connected to a transformer with 8 Ohms input and 10 K output. This fed the amplifier input.
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Postby Capn Lazarus on Mon Sep 10, 2007 5:19 pm

What I said.
A government's principal occupation lies in curtailing and eliminating the natural freedoms of its citizens and then flimflamming them into paying for the service. ....Thorax

The only difference between a white man and a black man is his education. ...Poppy Russell
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Postby Richv on Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:02 am

Capn Lazarus wrote:What I said.


It's one thing to point out the use of this principle in a home-made device. It's quite another to point out that it's commonly used in production equipment.

The other reason that microphones make poor speakers is that most microphones are designed to cancel out ambient noise, and have maximum sensitivity at a distance of less than about 2". Thus, reciprocity implies that most of the sound energy generated would be concentrated at a distance of less than 2"; this is useful for a headset, but not for a speaker.
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Postby Capn Lazarus on Wed Sep 12, 2007 4:26 pm

All Hail Richv, the King of the Esoteric and the Minscule!

I needed that info.
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