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"[Science fiction is] nightmares and visions, always outlined by the barely possible."
- Gregory Benford

Sound Nullifier  
  A barrier to sound; the cancellation of sound waves.  

“How is it,” asked the doctor, “that in here we can’t hear the loud speaker in the anteroom, although there is no door?”

“You see those ornamental spear points round the arch.” Nash stretched out a finger. “Well, diagonally between them is drawn a sound nullifying barrier. In principle, it’s not unlike those used in broadcasting except that it acts at audio frequencies. Try the experiment of putting your head through.”

Obediently the doctor stepped forward through the arch. Suddenly he stiffened, shouted to Nash over his shoulder and plunged into the anteroom. Nash, hearing nothing through the sound nullifier, dawdled after him. But once in view of the antechamber, he too quickened his step.

From Prima Donna 1980, by Bernard Brown.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1931
Additional resources -

Compare to the Fenton Silencer from Silence Please (1957) by Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein's hush corner in Double Star in 1956. Also, see the isolation barrage from Wandl, The Invader (1939) by Ray Cummings.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Prima Donna 1980
  More Ideas and Technology by Bernard Brown
  Tech news articles related to Prima Donna 1980
  Tech news articles related to works by Bernard Brown

Sound Nullifier-related news articles:
  - Noise-Cancelling Windows With Piezoelectric Patches

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