So, Woot, I’ve said I’ve been done with you plenty of times, but still you suck me in. This time, you made me buy this thing.
And you know what, you jerks? It’s not the first one of those I’ve bought. I bought not one, but two from you last time. And this time I bought not one, but two, again! If you care, I plan on taking one to work to try and drown out the stupid noise leaking from all these cubes. My desk fan is effective, but having a range of potential sounds is also very attractive.
But that’s only a lead in to what I was going to post about. I’d been thinking about this for a while, because it’s been happening for a while. It’s kind of a recent thing, too.
One day, I was explaining this noise device, the LectroFan, to AK and I was saying, “It’s weird. Sometimes when this thing is running and I’m lying in bed, I hear…” and AK interrupts, “voices? Do you hear voices?!” No, it’s not voices. (“awww.”) It’s music. But it’s not exactly music. It’s very similar to turning an analog tuning dial on an old radio, except there’s no points of static. It’s just microseconds of what sounds like songs constantly cycling in my head. And sometimes, it kind of makes sense, like “I’ve heard that before, what is that song?” but it’s gone in a flash and replaced by another song in another moment.
The LectroFan does not use sound samples, it generates white noise. White noise is a random waveform that is constantly morphing with no predictability, as I said, random. And songs are music, full of tones that overlap and interact, and those tones are made of waveforms. Another blog I manage, Relative Waves, actually focuses on the difference in sound between albums by comparing waveforms. For example, one comparison looks like:
All sound is waveforms, and you would think there is infinite variation in waveforms as sound, but in everyday practice, you will encounter sounds that remind you of something else or trigger a memory. And you also might think that white noise is just noise, that it couldn’t be mistaken as voices or music or anything else, but in small enough bites, yes it could.
This phenomena doesn’t happen often, but it isn’t a single isolated occurrence for me, either. It’s a very curious effect, and I find myself trying to make sense out of what I’m hearing, which of course is impossible. But it also makes me wonder if there are people out there that are not as logical and analytical to study the sounds and understand how they are tricking the ear. These people may be the ones becoming obsessed with “hearing voices”. Seems like there’s more of that nowadays?