Martin Audio has waded into the controversy surrounding Big Ben’s Bongs that are currently planned to be silent for an astonishing four years, while essential repair works take place—and at the same time protect workers from proximity to the sound of the bells over time.
The Great Bell has sounded on the hour for 157 years, but the bongs will sound for the final time at midday on August 21 before being disconnected to allow the clock and surrounding tower to be restored.
The uproar from U.K. citizens, some MPs, and media has been significant and so Dom Harter, managing director of Martin Audio, decided to propose a solution to The Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP. He suggested that the deployment of MLA would enable the bell sounds to emanate external to Big Ben while at the same time offering “rear rejection” in order to provide protection for the workers during refurbishments.
A copy of the correspondence can be found below and Martin Audio is currently awaiting a response.
Dear Mr. Speaker,
My name is Dominic Harter and I am the managing director of a U.K. loudspeaker manufacturer and international exporter—Martin Audio.
We have been listening to the ongoing debate around the silencing of Big Ben with some interest, and believe we have an innovative solution that can enable the bell sounds to emanate external to Big Ben while at the same time offering “rear rejection” so as to provide protection for the workers during refurbishments.
Martin Audio manufactures professional loudspeakers for the entertainment industry. This includes our premium large format MLA system, which our customers and partners use to provide the sound for large-format concerts and festivals around the world.
One of the features of MLA is that we are able to steer sound accurately; in addition to this we are able to generate very high sound pressure levels in front of the loudspeakers whilst maintaining a dramatic reduction in sound behind them. This is unique to Martin Audio.
Therefore, theoretically, we could replace the bell over the four-year period with four hangs/stacks of our MLA units and generate the same kind of level and output as Big Ben by playing a recording, which could be fired off on the hour by a computer all this whilst maintaining safe working levels around the clock tower.