Big Ben Chime Lag in Real Life

By Anupum Pant

At 6 PM and midnight every day, radio 4 in London broadcasts the first chime of the Big Ben on radio. BBC has a microphone placed very closed to the source of the sound which sends it across through BBC and then to your radio at essentially the speed of light. Now, if you have the radio right next to your ear and the BBC’s microphone is right next to the source of the sound, you nearly eliminate all the places where the sound has to travel through air at about 340 metres per second.

big ben chime first on radio then in real life

That means, if you are standing on the Westminster bridge, a couple of metres from the source of the chime to listen the Big Ben chime, and on the other ear you have the radio, you’ll hear the chime on radio first. Yes, even before you hear it in real life. Assuming you are using a proper analogue FM radio, where there’s no digital encoding and other lags going on.

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