A multi-disciplinary designer’s journey in field recording, sound design, and music.

Merry (8-Bit) Christmas!

Posted: December 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: field recording, news

Who knew pine trees grew on sandy Caribbean atolls?

This sound was recorded on Christmas Eve in 2008, on a tiny speck of sand and palm trees in the Caribbean called Glover’s Reef, at the edge of an atoll dozens of miles off the coast of Belize. Someone had hauled a pine tree to the island and decorated it. While palm trees swayed in the wind and the surf broke all around (which you can hear in the background), a small Christmas card sound chip strapped to the tree – so small I couldn’t find it in the dark – played ultra-low-quality Christmas carols all night long.

[I have featured other interesting recordings from Belize before.]

Hope your holiday season, no matter what your persuasion, is filled with love and peace…and a decent signal-to-noise ratio. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


[Zoom H2 recorder, 90° capsule spread]

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Site Maintenance: Old Sounds are New Again

Posted: October 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: news

It’s been entirely my fault that, for some reason, all the pre-SoundCloud audio samples here on Noise Jockey were not showing up (July 2009-August 2009). Now they’re fixed and all hosted at SoundCloud. So, come with me, will you, and walk down memory lane while we…

Thrills! Chills! Stuff! Things! Excessive Punctuation!!!!!

Yours ever so truly,
-The Management

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Say Hello to Sonic Terrain

Posted: September 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: field recording, nature recording, news


I’m thrilled to announce the existence of Sonic Terrain, the world’s first portal dedicated entirely to field recording in all its myriad forms. I’m a co-founder and editor alongside Miguel Isaza (of Designing Sound), and we’ve enlisted the help of Colin Hart and Michael Raphael, surely with more editors and contributors to come. We all think this will be a great place for those who record outside of the studio environment to share and learn from one another. From music to science, from entertainment to fine art, we’ll be covering it all, through both aggregated and wholly original content.

Sonic Terrain has just launched today, but there’s a lot more in store. Oh, yes, do we have plans. Please visit, comment, and drop me a line at nathan [_at_] sonic-terrain [_dot_] net if you’ve got something you’d like to contribute. We’ll see you there!

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Noise Jockey is One Year Old Today!

Posted: July 4th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: news

We ain't tough, but we sure is noisy.

Today marks the first anniversary of Noise Jockey’s very first post. Like any one year old, it can be annoying and loud but have moments of awesomeness that make it all worthwhile.

99.9% of those awesome moments have come from you, this site’s visitors. I’ve gotten back far more than I’ve given, which makes me humbled, honored, and much better informed than when I started.

Noise Jockey is simply the blog of a creative personality that’s driven to explore, share, and learn. I’ve found that its readers are exactly the same. You all amaze me with your own blogs, audio explorations, and even online sound communities…if you’ve not yet done so, check out each other’s online audio goodness in the sidebar.

Here’s to another great year of sonic wackiness, and I hope you’ll continue to join me.

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Field Workshop Notes, Part 1: Video Diary

Posted: July 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: field recording, nature recording, news, video/motion

I’m just back from the 26th Annual Nature Sounds Society Field Workshop. I thought that I’d share some video diary entries that I shot with my new iPhone 4. As far as I know, this is the first time that video of this workshop has ever been seen online.

I’ll be sharing more of the learnings, experiences, and recordings in the coming weeks. For now, I hope you enjoy this set of dispatches from the field.

[You can read about the gear I took with me in a previous post.]

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Preparing for a Field Workshop

Posted: June 24th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: field recording, gear, nature recording, news

This weekend, I’m attending the 26th Annual Nature Sounds Society Field Workshop. Held in the Sierra Nevada mountain range at an SFSU field research station, this year’s instructors will include Gordon “One Square Inch of Silence” Hempton and others, with naturalist and illustrator John Muir Laws as a guest lecturer.

I thought it might be interesting to share what I’m bringing with me to this interesting outing. (Well, OK, fine, I really needed to make a packing list and I just suckered you into reading it.) Later this summer, I’ll not only share some recordings and photos from the field workshop, but will recap the gear used and how it all performed.

So, what am I bringing?

Read the rest of this entry »

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David Sonnenschein Webinar: May 21

Posted: May 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: news, theory

As announced a few days ago on Designing SoundDavid Sonnenschein, author of  Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema, will be hosting a live webinar entitled “Psychoacoustic Tools for Creativity,” May 21 from 9-11am Pacific Daylight Time. It’s open to students, professionals, and hobbyists of all stripes.

David Sonnenschein

David Sonnenschein

Last month, an international group of eight members the online sound community (myself included) attended a “beta test” webinar with Sonnenschein, and it was excellent. The format will be about half lecture and half discussion of attendees’ work, submitted beforehand. I think that the opportunity to learn more about how the human brain interprets audio is essential learning for anyone involved in music or sound, just as the study of visual perception is paramount to visual and interaction design. This class will focus on taking theory and making it practical in one’s work.

Here’s David’s own description of this webinar.

SEMINAR TOPIC:  PSYCHOACOUSTIC TOOLS FOR CREATIVITY

Do you desire to produce really effective soundtracks that reach your audience through neurobiological resonance, tapping into how they subconsciously perceive the world through sound?  Would you like more access to your own brain power for finding innovative approaches and solutions?  Every professional sound designer can benefit from understanding and experiencing the science of sonic storytelling. In this seminar we will explore the neurobiology and psychology of hearing and how these underlying principles can support creative sound design.

WHAT WE’LL DO

In the second half of each unique 2-hour seminar, David will screen, analyze and discuss video clips pre-selected from submissions by the participants (max. 5 min., 100mb file size). If you have something ready or a work-in-progress, send info on the genre, length and any particular area of sound that you’d like to discuss, to dsonn22@gmail.com.

It’s a steal, too: You get access to one of the best minds on sound design for US$40. It’s limited to 25 people, so definitely sign up soon. If you’re active on socialsounddesign.com (see my earlier post about this awesome community), you’ll probably recognize a lot of peeps in the class.

To paraphrase our state’s governor in Predator: DOOO EET! GET TO DA CHOPPAH!

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Who are you?

Posted: May 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: news

According to Google Analytics

  1. You spend an average of 3 minutes on NoiseJockey.net. This suggests you actually listen to the sounds. :-)
  2. 60% of you are directed here from other sites; of that, over 20% of you are arriving from DesigningSound.org.( I thank everyone who runs sites in this increasingly vibrant sound recording/design community who read and support Noise Jockey! You rock!)
  3. 60% of you use MacOS, and 35% of you use some flavor of Windows. I’m gonna assume the 2% of you who visit Noise Jockey on the iPod, iPhone, or iPad are lamenting Apple’s refusal to support Flash.
  4. 42% of you use Firefox, 36% of you use Safari, and and less than 7% of you use Internet Explorer. There’s a word for that: Progress.
  5. Almost half of you use laptops to view this site, but at least a quarter of you have big-ass monitors, too.
  6. Noise Jockey’s visitors are quite international. A hearty “merci beaucoup” goes out to the 10% of you that parlez Français, possibly visiting from SoundDesigners.org. (A personal thanks to Benoit is appropriate here, and apologies for not having taken French since middle school!)
  7. You made post that you found most annoying also the most-viewed/heard. (Thanks to David Hobby at Strobist.com for the pick-up).
  8. You commented the most on the first video I released. More to come…

Numbers only tell so much. How many of you are female vs. male? How many of you are professionals vs. hobbyists? What else do you do for fun? That’s what’s most meaningful, and the statistics above only paint part of the picture.

If you want to share more, do so in the comments below. But more importantly, visit each other’s sites and blogs. Join an online sound community. (Some of my favorite blogs and communities are listed in the “Aural Linkage” sidebar.) Record something and start your own blog!

Or, at the very least, just listen. To where you are, every day. Your life will be richer for it.

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A Quick Thank You

Posted: April 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: news

Just wanted to thank everyone for the amazing response to yesterday’s video. A hearty welcome to all new visitors, and much respect to my longtime readers! More posts and videos are coming in the future.

Speaking of longtime readers, many of them are linked in the Aural Linkage sidebar of this page, and you should visit their sites for Serious Sound Wisdom™. If you haven’t done so, also read Designing Sound’s recent post on the growing online sound design and field recording community. All these links belong to people who are way smarter than I am, and their insights and techniques are legendary. Check ‘em out.

It’s also worth noting that a couple of the sound design elements of yesterday’s clip has been previewed before in previous posts on this site…

Some of the other elements include public-domain soundtracks from 1950′s films, the sound of a struck mezzaluna, and even a DAT tape read error.

Thanks again, all,  stay tuned for more sonic mayhem.

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Social Sound Design

Posted: March 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: news, sound design
Social Sound Design screenshot

Andrew Spitz's new site, Social Sound Design, gathers great talent and attitude...a rare combo.

I’ve been using the new SocialSoundDesign.com for about a week or so, and I’m mighty impressed. It’s a strict Q&A format, but with some spiffy features. Most importantly, it’s got people way smarter than me involved, and I learn something every time I visit. (Ooh, plus it uses a fabulous red and black and white palette like another sound design website I could possibly mention. :-p)

While this is true of other forums (some of my faves are listed in the sidebar), so far SocialSoundDesign.com (SSD) has an extremely low signal-to-noise ratio of content to attitude. Everyone is giving with their knowledge. No one’s copping attitude. Questions range from the remedial to the advanced, and answers are informative and varied. It’s amazing to see many of the major sound design bloggers and active online professionals starting to gather in one place. It’s like a family barbeque for the Online Sound Clan…with very strange noises. Andrew Spitz deserves huge kudos for bringing this great resource to life.

As with any such website, the community is only as rich, giving, and patient as its members. If you’re interested in sound for film, games, and any other medium, it needs your voice. Check it out, register, follow it on Twitter for new-question updates, and join the conversation.

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