If you’ve never heard audio from an actual high-end echo chamber experiment, it’s worth clicking around to find some samples. Your everyday echoes are mere whispers in comparison.
Researchers at the National Physical Laboratory in the U.K. are giving online visitors a chance to find out what they’re missing with their CloudChamber project. The lab has hooked up its acoustic reverberation chamber — typically used to test microphones and commercial materials — so that anyone can upload a sound file via audio service SoundCloud.
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Uploaded sound files are piped into the echo chamber during the wee hours; evenings and nights when researchers aren’t using the facility. Audio is played out through a pair of loudspeakers in the chamber and simultaneously recorded in stereo for up to 30 seconds. The chamber itself is tiled with a hard plaster that absorbs very little noise, and no two surfaces in the chamber are parallel. The bounced around sound is then uploaded back online.
“This means sound in the chamber bounces around a lot, and therefore the chamber has a very long reverberation time — a measure of how long a sound is present in a room,” according to the CloudChamber project page.
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Check out the CloudChamber playlist to see some of the audio files that have already been processed. In addition to a lot of minimalist techno tracks, you can hear recordings of various percussion instruments, beatboxing, random whoops and yelps, and even gunshots.
Be prepared to wait a while for your new echo track, though. The chamber is currently offline for, you know, actual research. But according to the official CloudChamber Twitter feed, night and evening service will return soon.