back to article South Korea to upgrade national stereo defence system for US$16m

South Korea has issued a tender for a new national defence stereo system. The democratic enclave in North-East Asia has long operated huge banks of speakers on its side of the demilitarised zone it shares with North Korea. South Korea uses the speakers to broadcast propaganda and K-Pop into the North, with troops along the …

  1. John Tserkezis

    Ha. And all this time I thought the South Koreans where slightly more sensible...

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      How sensible could one possibly be with neighbors like the Kim family? It's likely that the further away from the border, the more sensibility there is. Hell, a day a the beach could mean that you'll be shelled by gunboats.

      Icon is when they get all shouty at each other.

      1. g e

        HHG reminder

        Brings to mind Hot Black Desiato (?) who would broadcast his gigs from orbit to listeners in hardened bunkers on the planet below cos he was so loud, iirc

        1. Imsimil Berati-Lahn

          Re: HHG reminder

          "Danger Area" was the name of the band in any of the incarnations I've come across. Hotblack Desiato, their keytar player, was spending a year dead for tax purposes when Zaphod saw him at Miliways.

          1. jeffdyer

            Re: HHG reminder

            Definitely "Disaster Area"

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Hey, it worked on Manuel Noriega (look up Operation Nifty).

      I wonder if the Sorks are going to be interested in more focused audio projection tech as well (you know, those devices that can produce focused sound some distance away without necessarily drowning out everything else in the neighborhood).

      1. wayward4now

        I want that too!

    3. Crazy Operations Guy

      Only spending $16m on military hardware? I'd say that that's pretty sensible. The US military probably spent more than that on a single 1-meter XLR cable for their audio system (They do have to ensure that it have outstanding performance when playing patriotic tunes and painted olive green)...

  2. Ole Juul Silver badge

    Gangnam style

    Great! So the Norks will be hearing K-pop interspersed with McDonald's ads. That'll get their goat. /kek

    1. PNGuinn Silver badge

      Re: Gangnam style

      S Korea's Maccyds contain N Korean goat??

      So which one's the nanny state here?

      You're kidding.

    2. Kurt Meyer

      Re: Gangnam style

      Ole, if I were a North Korean forced to listen to that clown, I might have to order the invasion to commence immediately. A much better investment for South Korea would be large video projectors to display K-pop.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Gangnam style

        Korea would be large video projectors to display K-pop.

        You sure you spelled it correctly? Should have been K-porn.

        By the way, as most dictators of "Kommunist" (quotes really needed) lineage the Kim dynasty regime is more prudish than your typical 16th century convent.

        Comes with the territory - you could pretty much plot the prudishness level in the USSR and ex-Warsaw pact 30+ years ago. The more kommienuts - the more prudish.

        If the goal is to outrage them, showing some "action", especially the one they consider "perverted" is a much better idea than broadcasting Pop. It may end up in an invasion though...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Who

    They could probably "play" North Korea without even visiting.

    You better you better you bet.

    1. Kurt Meyer

      Re: The Who

      @ AC

      Have an upvote for the Who reference.

      I'm thinking "Happy Jack" would go over well.

  4. RIBrsiq

    I had no idea the taint of Slaanesh had so firmly taken hold.

    1. mr. deadlift

      upvote for thee and ...

      Death to the false emperor / Kim dynasty!

      Also interesting to note Samsung have a auto kill bot on the south side, so yeah. Which apparently will not shoot unless you have your hands above your head, how do you know you are being targeted 4kms away?? a bloody 16m PA system should do it...

      I do not think the south have their heads clearly screwed on either.


      or maybe it was this one but it's human op'd either way it's fkn crazy town.

  5. Credas Silver badge

    A better idea to annoy the Norks

    Extensive research, carried out on crowded commuter trains plagued by tinny nose emanating from leaky earbuds, strongly suggests that the optimum strategy for annoying the neighbours would not be a small number of high-powered speaker arrays, but rather a swarm of a million micro-drones equipped with milliwatt-class transducers featuring high-pass filters set at 5kHz. Effects on the subject include irritation, loss of concentration, and feelings of helplessness. Oh, and homicidal rage - probably unfortunately, in the case of North Korea.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A better idea to annoy the Norks

      Don't convince the Norks to upgrade to small-scale EMP weaponry which may then find other uses along the border.

  6. Marketing Hack Silver badge


    You know you want to hear it, North Korea!

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Freeebirrrdddd!!

      If this doesn't bring the Norks to their knees, nothing will.

  7. DougS Silver badge

    What is the point of this?

    Wouldn't North Korea simply not have anyone living within 10 km of the border, other than the guards? It is like two kids fighting by screaming at each other while covering their ears and shouting "I can't hear you! I can't hear you!"

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: What is the point of this?

      That's the exact idea. The guards are the target, the idea being to either drive them crazy or convince them to defect. Either way, that means fewer guards along the border forcing Pyongyang to spend resources restaffing the border.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: What is the point of this?

        Does it work? Has any NK guard ever defected? I doubt it, because the other guards probably shoot them if they try.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: What is the point of this?

          Perhaps, unless they decide to defect en masse, but if they're just driven plumb loco, we'll never hear the story as the loony will be quietly shipped off and replaced with another helpless pawn. And as they probably primarily communicate by radio, it would be impractical to send deaf men over there. So it's still a way to keep Pyongyang irritated and busy.

        2. Bob H

          Re: What is the point of this?

          2.6% of defectors were apparently in military service at the time of their departure from the North.

  8. Elmer Phud Silver badge


    Can I suggest one of the local pizza deliverers?

    Always uses a car, always has the original (drappy) audio turned up to ultimate ditsortion to try and get some bass out of it.

    You can almost track the entire journey of the car just by listening for the boot, bonnet and window rattles.

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Replacement

      Round here we have the ice cream van blasting out the Italian national anthem. Always prompts the neighbour's dogs to howl along with it. And it has conditioned me to look for the ice cream van whenever I hear it (football games, sporting events, etc).

  9. Andy00ff00


    (can't believe I'm the first to crack this)

    What, they bought a pair of living-room speakers from BOSE?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: £16m

      No that's just the bill for the speakers. The oxygen free quantum stablised EMP shielded platinum cabling is an extra $15 billion...

    2. Rob Daglish

      Re: £16m

      Apparently not, they worked for more than three minutes...

    3. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: £16m

      What, they bought a pair of living-room speakers from BOSE?

      Should have gone to Omni Audio

  10. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    I seem to recall seeing Black Sadbbath with a PA consisting only of...

    ... Marshall Hundreds. I'm sure that would do the job - my ears are still ringing...

    1. Kane Silver badge

      Re: I seem to recall seeing Black Sadbbath with a PA consisting only of...

      "my ears are still ringing..."

      What? PARDON?


      *As someone with Tinnitus all my life, I'm allowed to make these jokes. Also you have permission to laugh.

  11. stretch611


    So is the Korean arm of the RIAA being paid royalties?

    After all, they are blasting pop music over the border in what would be a huge public performance.

    And we all know... their greed transcends all governments.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Royalties

      But then again, patriotism and national pride has its place, especially in the East where respecting one's family and government is held in particularly high regard. I would think in this case either the artists and/or studios were compensated for their songs being tapped or the songs were especially contracted by them for the purpose. Either way, it could be an actual case of fair due.

  12. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge


    The reason for this is obvious. The DPRK is just a cover.

    The real reason is that South Korea are going to stage a Disaster Area concert.

    They just don't want to pre-announce it, in case the environmentalists find out.

  13. TWB

    North Korea is a Utopia

    It's just they don't want you to know and neither does the rest of the World (according to a bloke I overheard in the pub)

  14. toughluck

    Too bad the range is so limited

    One thing that has apparently caused East Germany to join the Federation* immediately was television, commercials in particular. When you saw how happy you could be in a new Mercedes, while looking out the window and seeing one or two Trabants or the occasional Wartburg, it has served as a constant reminder.

    There's the obvious caveat that East Germans had television sets (Norks don't have them except for the privileged few) and communist materialist ideology (whereas North Korea, with its Juche and deification of state leaders, makes their citizens wary of all possessions).

    *) Well, other than the vastly better economy, but they needed to be aware of it as well. Apparently at least one Nork was shocked on her first visit to a supermarket and thought it was a ruse.

    1. Queasy Rider

      Re: first visit to a supermarket

      Same thing happened with a defecting Mig pilot many decades ago. He had to be shown numerous supermarkets before he would believe they weren't Potemkin village type tricks.

  15. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    missing a trick

    I assume that propaganda on both sides is a bit repetitive in the literal sense of being on a continuous loop. If you get a good clean recording, invert the phase and then pump that out on your own system, you can get some degree of noise cancellation in selected spots. Of course, when broadcast out over a wide area, some spots will get destructive interference (cancelling out what you don't want heard) while others will have constructive interference (making it louder).

    The other interesting thing about this is that one appropriate response to the use of this tech (assuming both sides rush to use it) would be simply to turn off your own speakers. Then you save electricity and the other guy ends up broadcasting both signals with perfect fidelity.

    Might not be a perfect idea, but at least some "deaf spots" could help shield your guys against the opposing propaganda.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: missing a trick

      South Korea is a pretty small country (about the size of Illinois) yet they have a very strong emphasis on nuclear power generation. Given this is a military operation, I don't think energy use is at the top of the priority list. As for signal cancellation, they can mitigate this with speaker placement to make the sound difficult to counter-phase as well as applying some constantly-shifting effect on the raw recording to keep it coming out slightly different. Not only will this reduce the ability to record and rephase the sound, but subtle tonal variations have been known to play havoc with people's heads.

  16. whitehtj

    Peugeot 106 owners

    Only ‘an audible range of 10 kilometres!’, perhaps the South Koreans should talk to some of the owners of Peugeot 106 who live in Coventry that have fitted boom boxes.

  17. rh587


    Propaganda. Yes.

    I'm sure that if SK ever decided to "go north" a copy of "Ride of the Valkyries" definitely wouldn't find it's way into the broadcast deck... no sir!

  18. razorfishsl

    10 km range.... you don't want to be walking in front of that baby at source....

  19. William Higinbotham

    DMZ-IN Movie Theater

    Wouldn't it be better to put up large outdoor movie screens and play the latest movies and some old ones like Dr Strange Love (subtitled in Korean of course). The politicians and brass up north would not know how to keep their troops eyes and ears focused while watching the DMZ. Tell them not to look in that direction and wear ear plugs! What a hoot it would be.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: DMZ-IN Movie Theater

      Except every now and then things get hot and shots get exchanged. Not unrealistic to think a quick sortie across the border to tear down that screen wouldn't be envisioned.

  20. qwertyuiop

    Time to get this out of storage

  21. wayward4now

    I want two of those Doomsday Devices.

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