Old Main Bell Gets Digital Upgrade
For a university with an exorbitant relationship with tradition, the creeping tentacles of modernization have claimed yet another victim in the fight to keep Our Dear Old State, well, old.
The sweet organic chimes of the Old Main Bell have been replaced with a cheesy, almost ringtone-esque ripoff that jars you out of the normal, hazy, walk between classes. What happened to those churchy chimes the Penn State community has grown to love as a constant reminder that we’re late as hell to class?
In an attempt to save some of the historical integrity of the class gift of 1904, the original bell toll was digitally recorded for use in a new, computer-operated sound system. Beside that harsh infomercial jingle every 15 minutes, the high-tech PA system is capable of jamming out the Alma Mater, “Hail to the Lion,” and the iconic Nittany Lion roar, according to The Daily Collegian‘s write-up. According to my own wishful thinking, the digital system is also capable of auto-tuning all of the aforementioned chimes as well as providing a constant Pandora playlist across campus.
However, now when I’m being alerted of my tardiness by the Old Main Bell, the synthesized toll doesn’t offer the same traditional, collegiate feel offered by a real metallic chime. The bell’s advancement into the digital age gives off a Bicentennial Man vibe that just really freaks me out.
What’s next, an android Nittany Lion mascot? Or the actual Old Main Bell being replaced by @OldMainBell on Twitter.
18 Responses to “Old Main Bell Gets Digital Upgrade”
Can you get a recording for a curious alum?
While I agree that I like the traditional chimes, I don’t believe there have actually been bells in that tower for many, many years.
“The sweet organic chimes of the Old Main Bell have been replaced with a cheesy, almost ringtone-esque ripoff that jars you out of the normal, hazy, walk between classes.” Agreed. I can’t stand it. It’s also significantly quieter (maybe has to do with the fact that it’s much higher-pitched)…I used to be able to easily hear the bell over my iPod. It was great, I knew exactly where I should be if I wanted to get to class on time. No longer the case!
I am with Rich, from a tour I was on years ago, I was told it had always been a recording and that the old main bell hasn’t rang in years. The westminster chimes, and hail to the lion, were always a recording.
I believe he meant that the sound used to feel organic and dulcet, but the new ones feel more digital and auto-tuned. The speakers have been using a digital source since at least 2009 when the bell was removed for restoration, though.
Link has a picture that actually shows them removing the old speakers. It was a recording previously as well.
I believe he meant that the sound used to feel organic and dulcet, but the new bell sounds feel digital and auto-tuned. The speakers have been using a digital source since at least 2009 when the bell was removed for restoration, though.
I remember being able to stand at a certain angle from the chimes and hearing the hum of the recording. I always felt ashamed that our bell tower had fake bells. Maybe the next class gift should add real chimes to the tower?
since its a digital system, they should just have samuel l jackson yelling the time
Yes, I remember you could def hear a feedback or static of some sort before the chimes.
There haven’t been real bell chimes in many, many years…that sweet sound you are accustomed to was a digital recording, buddy.
Cheesy is exactly what it sounds like. It freaked me out when I heard it for the first time on campus yesterday.
and everyone is right, it hasn’t been real bells in years. But for heaven’s sake, can we have something that sounds sort of regal, academic, respectable? Haven’t we been through enough in the past few months? Can’t we at least have our bell sounds???
I thought the original digital recording was a bit cheesy, this is aweful on the ears. What is next? Names on the back of our football uniforms!? Please return to the previous recordings!!!
I thought the original digital recording was a bit cheesy, but this is awful on the ears. What is next? Names on the back of our football uniforms!? Please return to the previous recordings!!!
I agree. It sounds terrible. I dread hearing the Lion Roar. Granted, I was used to the old ring. But it was simple, pleasant, and classy. This new stuff is brutal. Not sure what it would take to go back, but I hope they do.
I hate the new stuff. It sounds like crap. The old chimes were awesome and I have been hearing them since I was a kid. Please bring the old chimes back.
Sounds like this.
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