iPhone noise study

I love finding interesting sounds in the mundane. The other day on my commute back from work in New York, I plugged my mostly dead iPhone into the socket near my Amtrak seat, and hooked up my headphones in preparation for finding something long and interesting to watch on youtube. As I fumbled around on youtube, i noticed a very quiet noise coming through the headphones. I thought I must have accidentally engaged the iPod app, and was now listening to some of my music. I paused to try and descern what it was. I thought it could be Kevin Drum, or possibly one of the sessions on flat grey marked suspended pole holds tree. So I continued to listen, but could not identify the source, which I happened to be enjoying very much.

So I clicked over to the iTunes, and the sound changed. So I clicked on something else, and it changed again. I then realized that the sound was coming not from iTunes but from the device itself. So I grabbed one of my everpresent recording devices, plugged in, and began recording.

While recording, I played around with the different apps and things to investigate how the might change the sound. The sounds are screeches, clicks, bursts of white noise, little rumbles, and some almost turntablist sounding scratches. Playing with the touch screen affects the types of sound made, the volume, and the variation in pitch. In general though you can’t control these discretely, orvery precisely at all. It’s still fairly addictive to play with tho. While certainly not mindblowing, there is a nice range of sounds you can make.

I imagine this is some kind of grounding issue, which really should not happen, but it’s so quiet, it really won’t disturb most users. It also only occurs when the powercord and headphones are plugged in.

This is a pretty nice little study to listen to, and i think i may try playing with this a bit more in the future to see if i can get more sounds.

Enjoy!

- iPhone noise study (amplified using Audacity)

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5 Responses to “iPhone noise study”

  1. rockHEAD Says:

    invasion of the mechanical wasps, arriving in formation overhead. I feel that this may be a suitable soundtrack for the climactic final scene, where a swarm of these wasps devour the lead character in the middle of a desert before flying off.

  2. Mark Says:

    This same exact thing used to happen with my previous laptop, some kind of ground problem…the sounds would change based on the brightness/patternedness of whatever was on the screen. It was such an annoying and disabling problem, though, that I could never hear it as potentially useful noise. Maybe I should revisit….

  3. howsthatsound Says:

    yeah, i’ve had that before. a similar thing happens when you tune a shortwave radio to static, place it next to the computer and use the computer as usual. the radio static modulates based on what’s going on on screen.

    i have noticed something like this happening with the audio out on my mac. at the beginning/end of sounds, mp3s, whatever, there will be a burst of quiet noise. always meant to record some of it, but never have.

  4. Graham Dunning Says:

    Lovely stuff.

  5. Sushil Says:

    I don’t know whether the noise comes from the PC or from in built speakers, but if you like to hear there is a music.
    I love music that’s why I love that sound too.

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