Underground Sound

16 July 2018

The voice of Kyiv’s metropolitan subway is about to undergo a remix. In June, the metro declared its intention to re-record the announcements in the train wagons. First, this is because Petrivka station was renamed Pochaina. Secondly, in the future new stations will be opened for which audio content is required. Unfortunately, the former announcer Nikolai Petrenko, whose timbre so pleased the passenger on the metro for 28 years, has passed away. Secondly, the English version has been a source of much ridicule.
Interestingly, the subway refused a number of pop and film stars who volunteered to re-record the announcements. Instead, Kyiv’s tube will be working with “professionals”. For the project it accepted, on a free basis, the studio Tak Treba Production. It singled out six different voices, from which one will be chosen.
The name of the new underground broadcaster however has yet to be disclosed. The idea is to avoid personalising the voice, so that the announcer does not attract additional attention and is not associated with the metro. This will allow, under any circumstances, even if it is impossible to work with the announcer, to pick up a similar timbre and not cause a negative reaction from passengers.
As prerequisites, the new voice must be clear, agreeable, and not irritate. It should not cause an ambiguous reaction, as was the result with children’s voices earlier in the year.
All the audio files have already been passed to the Kyiv metro, which is now in the process of downloading these audio tracks into each train. The delay is compounded by complexity in that the different wagons have differing hardware. So far, as there are many stations and trains, and each needs to download content via physical devices, it slows down the spread of a new voice across the metro. But don’t despair! Kyiv’s new underground will have a new voice, and very soon!

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