A multi-disciplinary journey in music, sound, and field recording.

Thrift Store Sounds: The Zippi Fan

Posted: July 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: found sound objects, sound design

Meet Zippi: Suitable for propeller sounds of all kinds!

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a Thrift Store Sounds post, so let’s take a look at the nifty Vornado Zippi desktop fan!

It features soft cloth blades, a safety feature given the lack of a cage around the hub and its inevitable placement next to coffee mugs, iPads, and human fingers.

The motor’s not very powerful, and that’s really perfect for sound design. You can put your hand on the hub to slow it down. The soft blades let you stick all manner of wacky things in them without damaging the objects or the blades.

Today’s sound, then, is a short takes of sticking a ball-point pen into the fan blades. I think it’s great as a layering element for propeller sounds, be it a steampunk zeppelin or a toy/cartoon aircraft.

(If you want to hear more Thrift Store Sounds, be sure to check out recordings of a wicker basket and a shoe stretcher, or just use the Search too!)


[OktavaMod MK-012 with cardioid cap, inside Rycote Baby Ball Gag windshield, into Sound Devices 702 recorder]

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By Request: More Metal Madness

Posted: September 13th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: field recording, found sound objects, sound design

That’s right, Noise Jockey does requests!

An earlier post spurred a couple of commenters to wonder about hearing some sounds from my shovel-in-wheelbarrow recording session pitched down by an octave. I recorded that session at 96kHz, so the sounds could easily manage to be stretched and pitched down.

So, here are the results, as requested. Definitely leans towards a cinematic feel, and I find that sounds like these have 1,001 uses! Enjoy, and happy Pitchshiftember!

Heavier Metal, By Request by noisejockey

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Thrift Store Sounds: Shoe Stretcher

Posted: August 12th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: found sound objects, sound design
Shoe stretchers are vocal little artifacts.

Shoe stretchers are vocal little artifacts.

I’m always looking for weird things that make noise. Some artists dig in crates for rare vinyl, but I dig for fresh sounds at the thrift store.

If I have one primary skill in life, it’s not being afraid to look or act like an idiot in public. This pays off big time as I go into a thrift store, start handling the merchandise, putting it up to my ear, and then handling an item like I intend to break it. Rinse, repeat. I must be a bundle of fun to watch.

Today’s Thrift Store Sound – the first in an occasional series! – come from the humble shoe stretcher. At the local Thrift Town in San Francisco’s Mission District, there’s a whole box full of them. As soon as I handled one, I looked at its components and realized the possibilities: Multiple springs under tension, a metal joint/ratchet, and several wooden parts, all put together loosely. This curio had a whole language it could speak, if only someone would record it…


[OktavaMod MK012 mic with cardioid capsule into Sound Devices 702 recorder]

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