Author Archives: Victor Chai

Pomona College: Hahn Hall Entrance

Description: This recording was taken at 11:22PM on Sunday, September 30th, 2021 at the entrance to Hahn Hall behind Carnegie Hall. This location is located at Hahn, 420 Harvard Ave N, Claremont, CA 91711.

Recording Setup:  The TASCAM DR-40 Sound Recorder was propped up on the floor with a tripod facing east towards the entrance of Hahn Hall.

Acoustics: The sound of crickets chirping during the night is the most dominate sound in this soundscape. There were no students around, but the second floor of Hahn Hall still had it’s lights on. This allowed the microphone to pick up a car in the distant background and, more importantly, the water fountain at the Stanley Academic Quadrangle. In this recording, you will be able to hear the sloshing of water underneath the dominate sounds of cricket chirps. Around 21 seconds into the recording, you will also be able to hear a singular bird chirp. These sound marks are more audible to the right earbud because they occurred north of the microphone, or directly to the right. Since this recording was done at night, the sounds picked-up may not be representative of what you may hear during the day. For example, the splashing of the water fountain about a block away from the recording location may not have been audible when students are walking to class or towards the Claremont Village. Furthermore, there is a parking lot nearby that would have generated much more noise as cars go in and out.


The Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College Balloon Pop

Description: This recording was taken at 10:55pm on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2021 in the courtyard of the newly built Benton Art Museum, which is located at 120 W. Bonita Avenue, Claremont, CA. 91711.

The newly built Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College was completed in 2020, replacing the Montgomery Art Gallery from 1958. The museum holds a collection of more than 15,000 objects from Native American art to Renaissance panel paintings and from 19th-century prints to contemporary commissions. It also includes long-running educational outreach programs to third-grade in Claremont and the Inland school district. The Museum of Art at Pomona College provides a space for some of Southern California’s most compelling and experimental exhibitions and an outdoor venue for many social events during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The 33,000-square-foot facility is located between the Pomona College campus and the Claremont city’s civic center inside the lively Claremont Village. Visitors enter the U-shaped courtyard after declining a small flight of stairs. Here, they can see a statue, small amphitheater, trees, a pavilion, and concrete walls accented with wood, glass, and a distinctive sloping roofline. The U-shape design contributes to the reverberation of sound in this outdoor space as the surrounding enclosure will allow sounds to reflect off the walls and pillars effectively.  

Recording setup: The TASCAM DR-40 Sound Recorder was propped up on the floor with a tripod facing north. The recorder was set facing the seats of the amphitheater in the museum’s central courtyard.  The balloon was popped approximately 3 feet directly from the microphone. In reference to the diagram below, the microphone was located in-between the large green circle directly in the middle and the lighter green rectangle.

Reverberation Time:

Max Intensity: ~92.45 dB

30 dB drop: ~0.503 seconds

50 dB drop: ~1.14 seconds

60 dB drop: nonexistent.

Minimum Intensity: ~32.5 dB @ ~1.97 seconds

Decay to ambient: ~35 dB @ 1.6 seconds

Acoustic Description: The U-shaped courtyard amplifies the echoes of the sound as the microphone picked up a maximum decibel level of 92.45dB. Because the recording was at night, cricket chirping was audible and set the ambient decibel level to around 35dB. As the balloon pops, the sound of the background noise (cricket chirps) dramatically decreases. As the frequencies from the balloon pop decays, the ambient sound level slowly goes back to normal in about 1.6 seconds. These characteristics are largely dependent on the architecture of the amphitheater where I recorded the balloon pop, the hallways surrounding the U-shaped courtyard, concrete floors, wooden pillars, and the statue right next to the amphitheater. A video documenting the balloon pop can be seen below.