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Dear HackCollege,

Love the blog. I was curious what your thoughts were on having a silent disco in a dorm room, or rather during a hall crawl kinda deal.

Sincerely,
Emory ’10

You got it.

Brief History
A relatively new concept, the Silent Disco [Wikipedia] originated in 2002 in The Netherlands [CNN] and is gaining popularity at several European festivals. Outsiders hear no music. All they see are a bunch of people jumping up and down at the same time, wearing headphones.

Originally developed to avoid noise curfews, the Silent Disco is therefore a wonderful idea for the typical college party.

On a Larger Scale
For a huge music festival, everyone is provided wireless headphones. Two or more DJs are streaming music to FM Stations; each listener can tune in to whichever DJ they choose. This creates a good amount of hilarity when half the party is moshing to Nirvana and the other half grinding to 50 Cent.

Smaller Scale Setup
To set this up for a dorm room party, however, a host would really only need to stream their music library or playlist to one FM Station.

The tools needed:

  • Any audio device with an audio ouput

    Use your stereo’s audio ouput or your mp3 player’s headphone socket. Your PC or laptop probably has a headphone socket as well.

  • Music library or playlist

    This is pretty self explanatory, but to avoid the usual pause between tracks, be sure to set Crossfade: On when playing your mix.

    Or you can download the early set from DJMEDI4′s 2007 Bonnarro Silent Disco Mix.

  • FM Transmitter [Wikipedia]

    This is where the money will be spent.

    Most FM Transmitters for personal use (See: iTrip [Wikipedia] for the iPod) will stream to 15 or 30 feet. That’s probably not big enough. Try, instead:

    Both are priced at $80 – $100. Whole House FM Transmitter has a larger distance but only offers 7 FM frequencies (106.7, 106.9, 107.1, 107.3, 107.5, 107.7 and 107.9). The C Crane FM Transmitter covers almost the entire public FM Band (88.3 to 107.7); this is nice if you have a lot of FM Stations in your area [FMTransmitterReview].

  • FM-ready (wireless) headphones
  • Either fit the bill, yourself, or ask everyone to bring their own.

    Note: The headphones provided at Bonnaroo 2007 were Koss JR170 Wireless Stereophones.

Alternatively
You could also export your mix to a single .mp3 file with Audacity. Simply import each song separately to a project and then export to mp3. Email the single .mp3 file around, and everyone would bring their own .mp3 player and start the mix at the same time.

Or conduct it all via Bluetooth [ninemsn].