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silent disco via phone?

Dave m

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Had a request for a low budget silent disco type event which is more a drama than 'disco"


Zero budget so is there an alternative that works? I am thinking of an app that could rely on the users' mobile phone and a local wifi?


any real life experience would be good.



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Also do you have the people available to help every audience member get their phone into the right mode and keep it there?

I looked into this a bit ago for doing a live translation in a church service, but while it is technically possible you have to make it really easy for people to hook up to the system. Just getting onto the local wifi seems to be a challenge for some people never mind downloading, configuring and running an app. Also people not having enough battery charge left on their phones is a problem.


We eventually bought a set of silent disco headsets from Silent Disco King which work really well as they are very simple and we can make sure they are charged before the event. Fairly cheap too (and they do hire, but not at zero budget).

If you can stand significant delay, you could live stream the audio on youtube, most people should be able to get that up and running and it is not dependent on local wifi. Delay from transmission can be anywhere from 1s to 30s though.


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I also wondered about latency.

Do silent discos also have latency? I guess it's not an issue if people are bopping to different tunes anyway?


I think it's a student getting a bit over their head

I've been asked by a third party so I don't know all the details

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All the silent disco systems I've seen use regular analogue radio - they're just a different type of IWM system really. So no latency worth mentioning. If you wanted to dance with somebody, as opposed to just doing your own thing, but you're half a beat behind them, I've a feeling it may be rather difficult.
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We looked into something along similar lines - not silent disco, but broadcasting live commentary over wifi to be received by a users phone. There are a few solutions out there such as https://www.limeonair.com/ and https://www.lineapp.pro/ which are just a couple that I looked into.


The main problem being that depending on the number of users you're expecting, we would have had to spend many thousand of pounds installing a wifi infrastructure that would reliably work with potentially thousands of users simultaneously streaming the data. Most existing venue wifi networks just aren't geared up for this kind of usage.


In the end, with all the costs, rigging time required, technical complexities and the enhanced risk that this involves, we decided that an old school FM transmitter/receiver based solution was the answer. Much less to go wrong and can scale to an unlimited number of users without latency or network traffic to worry about - keep it simple!



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