Author Archives: Erica Martelly

Atwood Dorm Bathroom Balloon Pop

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Location: This recording was taken in the bathroom of one of the suites on the third floor of Atwood Dorm at Harvey Mudd College.

Description of the space: Atwood dorm is known for its gigantic bathrooms. For this recording stood in the shower, which is about 1.5 m wide and 1.5 meters long. There is a door leading into the bathroom hallway that has two sinks. Past the sinks there is a room with a door inside of which there is a toilet. Across from the toilet door is the entrance to the bathroom. The recording device was on a tripod at about chest level attached to one of the towel racks outside the shower. It was about 2 meters away from me.

Reverberation time:

Maximum intensity: 90.99 dB

30 dB drop: 61.4 dB @ 0.5 s

50 dB drop: 40.8 dB @ 1.0 s

Minimum Intensity: 40.8 dB @ 1.1s

Back to ambient: 44 dB @ 1.1 s

Acoustic Description: I expected the bathroom to have a longer reverb time but surprisingly this bathroom dampens the balloon pop sound rather quickly. One explanation for this could be that the bathroom is actually composed of porous concrete blocks (a material used in most Harvey Mudd buildings). Since this material has a lot of holes, it does not reflect sound well and thus reduces the reverb. Furthermore, I placed the recorder outside of the shower so the reverb may have been lost. The decay time was neither long nor short; it only took 1.1 s to reach its minimum intensity, which was also the region of ambient sound. The greatest source of background noise was the bathroom fan that was actually quite loud. This explains why the ambient sound level is so high. As can be seen on the spectrogram, even after the balloon pop, there are a lot of frequencies in the low to mid register.


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Frank Dining Hall Patio, Sunday, March 9 2014 11:45 am

Location: This recording was taken at the Frank Dining Hall patio at the bottom of Pomona College Campus. The patio is located outside the main dining hall area and contains about 10 tables. Approximately 30 people were seated outside. All the tables are quite small, seating at maximum 6 people. All of the furniture is wooden. One side of the patio is blocked off by a wall with windows where the main dining hall is located. There is a metal door on this wall as well which leads to the patio. On the other side the patio is closed off by concrete walls but decorated with plants and other foliage. Frank is one of the most popular Brunch locations on the 5Cs. At this time, there was a good amount of flow of people.

Recording Set Up: I placed the microphone on one of the wooden table facing away from the door. It was parallel to the ground. I sat behind the microphone with the friends that had come with me to brunch. All of the tables facing and next to the microphone had people seated at them.

The soundscape: I took this soundscape in the heart of brunch time so there were a lot of people around. The keynote throughout the recording is the chatter of people as they talk over their meals. The conversations that are easiest to hear come from the table surrounding my table. I sat in a central part of the patio. In front of me was a group of cross country boys who spoke rather loudly and to my right was a group of cross country girls that were chatting and gossiping. Also throughout the recording you can hear the clinking of cutlery, which clearly indicates the type of location the recording takes place in and therefore can be considered an archetype. Another archetype is the chairs moving at 0:19, 2:30 and 2:38. These evidence the fact that there are tables and chairs in this space and people moving in and out of them. There are no real soundmarks apparent in the recording. The laughter heard at different points could be considered a soundmark. The problem is that there is no sound that indicates that this isn’t just any old dining area.