Pioneer Pro Audio sends a speaker into space in a bid to banish the phrase “You’re on mute”

Following in the rocket trails of Yuri Gagarin, John Glenn and, um, Jeff Bezos, Pioneer Pro Audio has blasted into space. Which is to say that it’s sent one of its loudspeakers - the XY-2 - into space.

After discovering that the most loathed phrase among people who’ve been working at home since the start of the pandemic is “You’re on mute”, the company decided to banish it to the stratosphere.

The company made recordings of the phrase in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish, then played them on repeat through the speaker as it rose to the heavens in a gas balloon, launching from a CAA-approved launch site in Sheffield, UK. It reached an altitude of over 30,000 metres, surviving temperatures of minus 65 degrees celsius along the way.

As the XY-2 rose and air pressure decreased, it’s reported that the sound from the loudspeaker became progressively quieter, until “You’re on mute…” was muted altogether. 

At the apex of the flight, the balloon burst, returning the XY-2 to Earth at a speed of 250mph. The speaker was slowed by a parachute as it neared the end of its 2.5-hour journey, eventually touching down in Retford, 35 miles away from the launchpad.

Pioneer Pro Audio says that the speaker appeared to be no worse for wear following its flight, but had been silenced. As such, the mission was declared a success.

“Our iconic XY-2 speaker did its job, says Pioneer Pro Audio’s Kristian Van Haute, “so let’s hope we can all soon get on with ours without the need to say, ‘Can you see my screen?’ or, worst of all, ‘You’re on mute’!”

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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