Tag Archives: pomona college

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.

Archway of Frary Dining Hall (Pomona College)


Basic Google Maps Placemarks error: JavaScript and/or CSS files aren't loaded. If you're using do_shortcode() you need to add a filter to your theme first. See the FAQ for details.


Location: Frary Dining Hall. Frary Dining hall is located on north campus of Pomona College (Claremont, CA). Because this recording was taken at approximately midnight on a Sunday (after Snack), the steps were completely empty except for 3 other students. The archway encloses the steps leading into West side entrance of Frary Dining Hall.

Description of the space: The steps leading into the West entrance of Frary Dining Hall has tremendously high ceilings making it an optimal space for a number of acapella group practices, and instrument playing. The steps descending the stairs in front of Frary Dining Hall has a mural of “Genesis” by Rico Lebrun.

Recording setup. For this recording, the microphone was placed on top of a round table while the 18” diameter balloon was popped about three feet away. The recording device was TASCAM DR-40 Linear PCM Recorder. 

Acoustic Description: The descending Frary DIning Hall steps enclosed by the archway amplifies sound at a greater capacity that a number of other locations around Pomona College’s campus. Because the space is incredibly vacant with characteristics of an open container, the sound was able to bounce and echo off of the space at a higher capacity. It took the balloon pop approximately 3.33s to decay, which can be explained by the acoustic power of these steps.

Reverberation Times:

  • Maximum Intensity:  86.21 dB
  • Minimum Intensity: 29.42 dB
  • 30dB drop after 1.26 s
  • 50dB drop after 2.61 s
  • Reached minimum intensity after 3.36 dB
  • Reached maximum intensity after 0.224 s
  • Returned to pre-pop intensity level after 3.33 s
  • Frary Steps


Soundscapes: Cardio Room at the Rains Center, Pomona College

Basic Google Maps Placemarks error: JavaScript and/or CSS files aren't loaded. If you're using do_shortcode() you need to add a filter to your theme first. See the FAQ for details.

Location: Cardio Room at the Rains Center, Pomona College. Rains Center is located on the East side of Pomona College’s campus between Smiley Dorm and Big Bridges. The Rains center houses club, intramural, and varsity sports and is also a center for recreational physical activity. The cardio room overlooks 6th street and contains a number of treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, and rowing machines.

Recording Setup. For this recording, the microphone was placed on the tiled floor separating the treadmills from the rest of the cardio room equipment. The recording device was TASCAM DR-40 Linear PCM Recorder and was placed on the tri-pod stand and oriented towards the entrance/exit for the duration of the recording.

About the soundscape. This recording was taken at approximately 4:15pm on a Monday afternoon so there was a decent amount of traffic flowing through the gym including sports teams and recreational gym goers. The cardio room had about 4 people on the ellipticals and 1 person on the treadmill, however, the monotony of the treadmill seems to overpower the sounds originating from the ellipticals (which would be to the right of the recording device). The cardio room of Rains is fairly open with windows comprising two entire walls. the entrance/exit of the cardio room leads to the hallway which continues to an exit, or the rest of the Rains Center gym. Although the majority of the cardio room is carpeted, there is a strip of main walkway that is tiled.

Unlike other rooms of the gym, there is not really much talking going on in this space. There is also a lack of audible music that consumes the space, which means the vast majority of the sounds stem from the use of machinery. This allows for the beat-like hum of a student’s feet hitting the treadmill to be the keynote of the space. If you listen closely, there is a slower, lower volumed ticking that is occurring in the background which comes from students on the ellipticals. One could argue that the sound of the treadmills could also be a soundmark of this space, but I find the sound to be very similar to that of a slow moving train. Therefore, I do not find the cardio room to possess any audible soundmarks.

Of course, with the use of the equipment comes the pressing of buttons which happens sporadically throughout the recording.  I posit that the pressing of buttons coupled with the sound of the exercise equipment would be an archetype sound of gyms or cardio rooms (to be more specific).