Some artists - the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Pete Townshend - have used it to their great advantage, but The Guardian is reporting that researchers at the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary University of London have developed a piece of software that´s capable of stopping feedback before it happens.
In an interview with New Scientist magazine, the Centre for Digital Music´s Dr Joshua Reiss explains that mixing engineers can set up the software so that it automatically turns down the frequencies that look like they´re about to cause feedback. The suggestion is that the tool is configurable, so if an artist wanted certain frequencies to be left to their own devices, presumably they could be.
Of course, some would argue that a bit of feedback is part and parcel of the gig experience - other developers have actually worked on software that replicates rather than eliminates it. Take Softube´s Acoustic Feedback plug-in for example, which is designed specifically to add authentic feedback to software amp emulations.
If the new software works, though, the screeching, ear-piercing sound of unwanted feedback might just become a thing of the past.
By Ben Rogerson