Pro audio company banishes the phrase “You’re on mute” to space.

How many times over the last 18 months have you been on a Zoom call, Microsoft Teams meeting, or Google meeting, when someone started to speak without activating their mic? That faux pas is followed by a chorus of “YOU’RE ON MUTE!” If you’re tired of hearing that, then you’ll love this story.

The people at Pioneer Pro Audio were fed up with the “you’re on mute” brigade, too, so they made the symbolic gesture of banishing the phrase to space.

First, they grabbed one of their XY-2 speakers and attached it to a high-altitude balloon. The phrase “you’re on mute” was recorded in English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish. As the balloon and the speaker ascended to 30,000 metres, those “you’re on mute” recordings were played on a loop. The higher the speaker got, the less air was available to transmit sound. Eventually, “you’re on mute” was muted completely by the high altitude.

Then the balloon burst (by design) and the speaker fell to earth at a speed of over 400 kph. A parachute opened near the ground the speaker was recovered, apparently no worse for wear.

Naturally, there’s video.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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