Stories of weird/extreme psychoacoustic spaces or episodes?

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chconnor
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Stories of weird/extreme psychoacoustic spaces or episodes?

Post by chconnor » Sun Jan 20, 2008 12:26 am

Hi -

interested to hear stories people may have of unusual, extreme, etc. spaces. Spaces that were confusing, beautiful, etc. Or just situations or events that come to mind.

My not-very-long list:

- a big spherical room (maybe 40 feet in diameter?) with a walkway through the center. The source of a sound and the perceptible location of that sound were virtually decoupled. It was wild. It was a long time ago, but memory tells me it may have something to do with a Christian Science museum somewhere? (family trip as a younger person.)

- in New Orleans, after Katrina, in one of those enormous canvas hemispherical domes they use at festivals, etc. Similar, but not as disorienting as the sphere-room. Sneakier, though, since you'd often hear someone right next to you and turn and there'd be no one around... the conversation you'd heard was on the other side of the room, but only if you were at the focus point, etc.

- in Sweden, on a small island in a lake dotted with other small islands that all had conifers on them. Any sound, like a little run on my penny whistle, would be echoed back off the trees in stages, like 4 or 5 distinct echoes over time, successively more muted. Beautiful.

-c

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Post by Scodiddly » Sun Jan 20, 2008 6:05 am

Strangest was the couple of times that I've been in an anechoic test chamber. The real deal, a really big space with a woven-wire floor so you can see below and huge foam/fiberglass wedges sticking out of the walls. With the door shut the silence is very heavy, feels like pressure on the ears. And when somebody talks, the sound comes directly and exactly from their mouth and nowhere else.

Another milder experience, probably only I noticed it, was playing around a campfire at a sort of summer outdoor poetry/music ring. Dark, so I couldn't see anything but the trees around the place. But there was a very strong echo from one direction, maybe a pole barn but all I could go on was the sound.

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Re: Stories of weird/extreme psychoacoustic spaces or episod

Post by inverseroom » Sun Jan 20, 2008 6:26 am

chconnor wrote:- a big spherical room (maybe 40 feet in diameter?) with a walkway through the center.
Was that the time Professor Xavier was trying to contact all the mutants? I think I was there too!

This is a great thread idea, BTW.

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Post by tenchijin2. » Sun Jan 20, 2008 6:35 am

At tokyo disney there's a shopping center that has a hemisherical section in the hallway that has parabolic acoustic features. You step into the focal point and all kinds of wierd things happen to your ears.

Also, in High School, there was another nearby school where the choir room had a bizarre feature. Every so often you'd be singing and you'd get this flange effect that would bounce around the room for a second or two. Very dramatic, and people would stop and look around because it was so obvious. Pretty cool, but I never had a chance to figure out exactly how to replicate it purposely.

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Post by Mudcloth » Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:22 am

When I walk too close to something like a thick curtain or anything else that absorbs sound, the ear next to it first rings and then shuts off. I'm pretty sure it's a brain thing and not an ear thing. Something having to do with having an imbalance of sound and my little brain not being able to handle it.
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Post by shedshrine » Sun Jan 20, 2008 8:52 am

Maybe not totally unusual, but there's a long granite floored hallway with bright white reflective walls and very high ceiling at the San Francisco airport we were walking by, and my daughter happened to laugh a short quick laugh only to have it shot right back at her a second later. Her initial response was "who was that?" We spent a good 15 minutes playing in there, getting different echoes and flutter depending on how far in we went. Lindsay liked how it sounded like someone was running towards you when she ran to the end. I got a pretty good simon and garfunkel "cecelia" intro going tapping the floor and walls.lol.

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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:54 am

The big HMV record store in Toronto used to have in-store shows. There was a large semi-circular dome in the ceiling over the part of the store they used as the stage. You could be on stage rocking out as normal but if you stood in a certain spot the sound would almost completely disapear. Very odd and hard to deal with as a performer.

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Post by jackson park » Sun Jan 20, 2008 10:56 am

- a big spherical room (maybe 40 feet in diameter?) with a walkway through the center. The source of a sound and the perceptible location of that sound were virtually decoupled. It was wild. It was a long time ago, but memory tells me it may have something to do with a Christian Science museum somewhere? (family trip as a younger person.)
Is this the one in Boston?

There's a church in brookline, ma where the short hallway is angled down. And when you take a step or make percussive noises, there's a very strange flutter echo. Not subtle at all.

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Post by rjd2 » Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:27 pm

there is a venue that everybody plays at in denton, tx. i cant remember the name right now, but i think its a woman's name? about a 5-600 cap room?

anyway, i played there laast year, and around the corner(from front door, left and then right), there is a bank. you can see it almost from the venue door. i was walking around, warming up my voice in a secluded area-the bank parking lot, as its closed, of course. its a big open area, but the drive-in teller remote windows are underneath a roofed area that has a wierd shape. i hit this wierd sweet spot there, as im walking and singing, and it was SOOO loud, and reverberating, and just insane. but it was only about a 4 square foot area.

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Post by drumsound » Sun Jan 20, 2008 1:56 pm

My Mom had her birthday party in a private room at a restaurant at one of the little airports in the NW suburbs of Chicago. The room is mostly circular with a domed ceiling. There's a lot of weird reflections where someone about halfway around the circle will sound like they're right behind you and stuff like that.

There's a room here at ISU where there's a very distinct slap off the back wall. I remember playing there years ago and during soundcheck I could make the drums sound like eight notes while I was playing quarters.

There's a great parabolic thing at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. There are 2 kind of clam/spoon shaped things on either side of a long room with footprints on the floor telling you where to stands. You stand in one facing away from the other while someone else stands in the other. You speak at regular volume, backs to each other and can hear each other perfectly.

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Post by lg » Sun Jan 20, 2008 2:11 pm

alcove house at bandelier national monument, new mexico.

there are two small alcoves that have been carved out of either end of a natural shelter cave by the ancient pueblo indians. one is just to the left of the kiva in this image:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Bandelier_Kiva.jpg

a person whispering in one alcove can be clearly heard by another sitting in the opposite one (about 50 ft. away) while being completely inaudible from anywhere else in the cave. apparently sound travels very well along the roof of the cave, and the alcoves have been carved in such a way as to augment this natural parabolic effect. they must have made great lookout posts for observing the canyon floor...

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Post by lg » Sun Jan 20, 2008 2:14 pm

haha just read tony's post after submitting mine. same effect, different locale/millennium.

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Post by drumsound » Sun Jan 20, 2008 2:27 pm

lg wrote:haha just read tony's post after submitting mine. same effect, different locale/millennium.
very cool. The laws of physics at work.

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Post by Scodiddly » Sun Jan 20, 2008 3:17 pm

For those of you in the Chicago area - have you ever stood under the jellybean at Millenium Park and tried to find the resonant note? There is one, but my absolute pitch sucks so I don't remember what note. Try it out next time you're playing native guide to relatives or whatever.

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Post by playinbass » Sun Jan 20, 2008 4:03 pm

Quote:
- a big spherical room (maybe 40 feet in diameter?) with a walkway through the center. The source of a sound and the perceptible location of that sound were virtually decoupled. It was wild. It was a long time ago, but memory tells me it may have something to do with a Christian Science museum somewhere? (family trip as a younger person.)
I'm guessing that you are taling about the Christian Science Mapparium in Boston.....on Mass Ave right down the block from Berklee College of Music.

It IS a pretty hairy effect.....it almost soound like microphones are picking up your voice and amplifying it through speakers.


Here's an article about it :

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/20 ... htm?csp=34

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