Taco Bell: Big Ben

Taco Bell: Big Ben


Taco Bell




Sound design. Speaker system design. Bespoke speaker installation. Live event crew.

As Big Ben was under repair, we were asked to help bring it back to life for the day. We recreated the chimes of Westminster Quarters. We designed and built custom hidden enclosures for a unique hyper-directional speaker system. Wirelessly controlled to chime on the hour, every hour these speakers were hidden around the area to give members of the public the impression that Big Ben itself was working again, bringing one of the countries most iconic landmarked magically back to life.

For 12 hours, we went unfound and fooled the public, politicians and police into thinking Big Ben was working.

“We needed to create the illusion of sound coming from a very specific direction, and in order to do this we needed to experiment and test different sounds and speakers. I researched many speaker options, from pure parametric designs to directional line arrays and even long range, military acoustic devices. I then designed a portable wireless system that could be hidden inside a small space and built a bespoke housing to fit onto the rickshaws, meaning the speakers, and transmitters/receivers were totally hidden from view and the rickshaws seemed totally standard.” Simon Little.

The original Taco Bell chime was made using an old 80’s synth called a DX7. We sourced one of these rare synths and set about recreating the original sound the same way it would have been done in 1989. The final ’new’ chime was made using a balance between the original Big Ben chime and the original 80’s FM synth sounds to create an entirely new sound reminiscent of both the original Taco Bell sound and Big Ben itself. We also added different audio effects to make the sound seem distant, while keeping it powerful and effective.

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