Author Archives: Amanda Tung


Millikan Hallway Mock Trial

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Soundscape: Mock Trial Competition


Recording (see above)


The location of this soundscape was in the Millikan building of Pomona College. Coming in from the side entrance opposite the Coop Fountain, the recording was done right by the staircase. This was quite an open space because it is in the middle of a hallway and the building is quite large while the ceilings are tall. This recording was done at around 5:30 in the afternoon on a Saturday, 25th Feb.

Recording Setup and Recording Device:

To record the soundscape, the TASCAM DR-40 sound recorder was placed on the bottom of the staircase on a tripod. It was left there for a total of 5 minutes and 30 seconds and was not touched.

About the Soundscape:

Normally, this location is quite quiet. Since it is by two doors and the staircase, there are a lot of people exiting and entering as well as footsteps going up and down the stairs. At this time of day and this specific day, however, there is much more sound because there was a mock trial competition happening. The teams were all in the classrooms, but the ones that were preparing all stood by the staircase. The teams waiting in the hallway were cuddled in a circle and were whispering to each other discussing strategies and plans. Once in a while, there were people going up and down the stairs.

In the recording, there is not one dominant voice or person making a sound. All you can hear are mutters and small conversations that stay consistent throughout the recording. In addition, once in a while you can hear a voice saying “shh” to quiet down the conversations. There are not much loud noises. Everyone’s volume of speech is at around the same level. You can hear laughter and chuckles throughout as well. Also, there is no silence during the recording the mutters and conversations are apparent throughout but are also all in similar tone, style and volume. It sort of resembles that of an audience or soundscape right before a performance or concert, where the audience knows there is a performance coming so they are quiet in their conversations. Due to the location, the recording picks up the footsteps that go up and down the stairs.

The keynote of this soundscape is the whirring or buzzing noise in the background, most probably from the air conditioning or the nature of the Millikan building. It is consistent throughout that after a while, it just almost becomes forgotten. An example of a sound signal is the footsteps going up and down the stairs, heard in 00:13-00:18 of the recording. Throughout this time, the individual’s distance from the recorder can be tracked due to the gradual fainting of the footsteps as they ascend the stairs. At 00:23, there is a random “boop” sound that does not last long but is unique because it is very different from the consistent sound of chatter. At seconds 00:32- 00:34 is an example of a signal and a soundmark. It is a signal because this “shh” signal is meant to be listened to but also acts as a soundmark because it is a community sound in which everyone is supposed to listen to this cue and quiet down.17175948_859973490811119_651578746_o

Harvey Mudd Cafe Soundscape

Soundscape: Harvey Mudd Cafe


Recordings (see above)


The location of this soundscape was in the Harvey Mudd Cafe. This location is spacious. There are two components. Majority of the space is made for study area where there are students working. There is also a Starbucks attached to it. This recording was done at around 5 in the afternoon on Sunday, 26th Feb.

Recording Setup and Recording Device:

To record the soundscape, the TASCAM DR-40 sound recorder was placed on the table in the study area. It was left there for a total of 5 minutes and 30 seconds and was not touched.

About the Soundscape:

Due to the time and date this was taken, the café had quite a few people there and therefore that also meant more activity in Starbucks. It was a Sunday afternoon when most people are trying to finish up their work so there was quite a lot of action. The soundscape, therefore, was never quiet.

In the recording, most of the soundscape is comprised of the background music playing on speaker rather than people talking. This soundscape promotes a calming atmosphere. It is interesting that in the beginning, the music does not start playing until 00:09. At 00:24-00:25, there is a rustling of paper illustrating that there was someone close by doing homework. At 00:35 there is a fidgeting noise, sounding like somebody clicking on their computer. Surprisingly, there is not much noise coming from the Starbucks aspect of the environment. The one place in the recording resembling something being made is at 00:44-00:46 which is heard very slightly in the background.

The keynote of this soundscape is certainly the music playing in the background. There is also a buzzing sound in the background but that is probably from the fans or the whirring noise from the air conditioning. An example of a sound signal in this recording is a faint laugh in the very beginning at around 0:05. It is very noticeable because the recording starts as complete silent because the music is not playing yet, and then the laughter comes up and it is very distinctive because it breaks the silence. Another example would be the slight background noise of drinks being made or coffee being brewed in the background. This, however, is very faint. There is no specific sound mark happening in this recording. There seems to lack a unique community sound. The rustling of the paper, however, can almost be referred to as a sound mark in this case to the audience of the soundscape due to the lack of significant sounds throughout the soundscape. The rustling of the paper happens closes to the mic of the recording, and therefore it is very clear and crisp and becomes very noticeable. It can be specially regarded because it also provides a clue to the “workspace” atmosphere of the soundscape.


Millikan Bathroom Balloon Pop

reverb-Pomona-Millikan Building-BathroomFeb 25th, 2017

Acoustic Space: Millikan Female Bathroom


Spectrogram (see below)

Waveform (uploaded)

Intensity (uploaded)

Description of the space:

This balloon pop took place in the female bathroom on the first floor of Millikan in Pomona College. The bathroom is not a private stall but a communal one situated right by the staircase and diagonal to the physics lounge. Walking into the space, there is a rectangular area right by the door where the sinks are situated. Then there is a narrow space that extends down where all the stalls are located. The walls of the bathroom are tiled. The balloon pop was done in the middle of the rectangular area.

Recording setup and recording device:

The way it was set up is that after the balloon was all blown up, it was placed right in the middle of the rectangular area. Then, the TASCAM DR-40 sound recorder was placed about three feet away from the balloon on the ground with the tripod attached to it.

Reverberation time:

30 dB decay: 0.368 s

50 dB decay: 0.752 s

60 dB decay: 1.056 s

decay to background level: 3.2 s

seconds until reach minimum: 5.504 s

max intensity dB: 92.069

min intensity dB: 15.0210

Acoustic Description:

Without the balloon and simply speaking in this bathroom, there is an echoic sound in the space. The voice seems clear and crisp and very focused. The sound is not hollow like that in a church space but there is a slight fine echo. The bathroom door was closed was the balloon pop took place. Although the bathroom size is relatively large, the balloon pop sound was still very focused, clean and crisp with a rather loud pop because of the structure. The balloon pop was done in the rectangular area, and this area could “trap” the sound because the other part of the bathroom was a long narrow hallway with stalls sort of like a tunnel. That did not create much opening for the sound and therefore the pop was quite focused in the rectangular area. The sound bounced off the three surrounding walls and did since the other opening was just the tunnel of stalls, there was not much space for the sound to escape. It is interesting because the spectrogram shows that there is a very dominant loud sound in the beginning right at the pop and then the sound rapidly descends. There is a short time a few seconds after the pop that there is a dark grey streak in the spectrogram, but otherwise the pattern seems to be a very high peak at the pop and then a rapid descend.