The Sounds of Tabling

Made by Amal Sahay

Created: November 5th, 2014


I (asked permission from and) recorded KGB advertising their Capture the Flag with Stuff event this Friday. The recording took the prime time of 1:25 to 1:35 - you can tell that the tabling tapers off at the end. The recording is too large to be uploaded, as I'm sure you're aware, and it can be found here.

The main thing I noticed about the recording is that you don't get as much of the chatter. That makes sense, but it also makes the recording seem almost faked - you get a bit of the conversation of the tablers, but it is difficult to catch anything outside of that. On the other hand, the tabling experience comes across fairly clearly.

Initially, the sounds were familiar. Everyone walks past Doherty, and it's not exactly a secret that people attempt to attract attention by tabling. I chose the KGB stand because I recall them as having eclectic cheers as they try and attract attention. That is captured faithfully by the recording. What isn't captured by just a recording of sound is the flow of traffic. People move back and forth in their efforts to get to and from class. The most telling difference is that in the recording, it isn't always clear who actually stopped at the stand. It is also unclear how effective the tabling was. Certainly, you hear the shouts for attention, but you don't get a sense of the magnitude of the background noise - not as well as actually being there.

The more interesting part is seeing and hearing what goes on in the tablers' minds. You hear this at the end of the recording in distinctly softer voices, but at the site, it seemed almost as though that would be lost in the wake of all of the background noise. The recording, on the other hand, is good at picking up the sound generated by the tablers - this speaks to both the fidelity of the recording as well as the sensitivity to the "blind spots" as was mentioned at the studio - while the devices may be ineffective in the blind spots, in the "active range", they are quite good!