99% Noise

This episode of 99% Invisible is all about acoustic design, the city soundscape, and how to make listening in shared spaces pleasant (or at the very least, possible). It features an interview with acoustic designer Dennis Paoletti.

My Sound: A human whisper ( I was just kidding with the “people are annoying” line).

My Noise: Toothbrushing (you’ll see the irony of this in ep #4). That horrible Kit Kat commercial with the fake foley sounds. Ringing phone. Metal rake on concrete.

  1. Hey, just found your show and have to say that I’m loving it so much I had to go back to the very first episode!

    My Sound: My wonderful bird singing and chirping. I could be totally engulfed in a movie, and just to hear him chirping away makes it that much better. :)

    My Noise: I have to agree, especially in the summer it’s the constant lawn mowing! I’m watching a tv show or trying to get work done and one of my neighbors (up to a block away) decides to mow their lawn. Or the lawn mowing service starts their route. So by the time one mower gets done there’s 5 minutes of peace until the next starts up.This goes on for literally 3-6 hours depending on the weather!

  2. Cathi

    My Sound: Also bird song; we have 2 cockatiels and one alexandrine parrot in the house, and the “happy song” of each brings me joy.

    My Noise: Sirens – primarily Police, but also Ambulance. Living in the outer suburbs of a city of only 1.6million, it seems they are increasing in frequency all the time, and though I know they can also be saving lives, I cannot help that sense of impending doom and disquiet when they blaringly pass by.

  3. josh

    My Sound is the railroad crossing about a mile and a half away from my house on a quiet, still night. Despite the suburban sprawl between my home and the crossing, on those still, quiet nights I can hear the horn and feel the rumble of the trainloads of aggregate passing in the dark.

    My Noise is the booming base in the car stereos that invade every frequency of my peace and quiet at all hours of the day and night.

  4. My sound – footsteps, on any hard surface. I have always loved this sound and it’s been comforting. Carpet makes me sad.
    My noise – cars. The engines, the horns, the wind noise they cause. Especially trash trucks early in the morning on weekends with the banging of trash collecting. Necessary I know but so, so jarring on an early weekend morning.

  5. Harvison Maldonado

    Hi, I just revisited the show, back from the beginning, now with more calm, trying to remind me in 2015 listening to this show.

    My sound is this “Tamales” lady, all Sundays, in the morning, you can tell it’s Sunday just by this sort of Tibetan voice, long in the distance, “Taaaaaaammmmmmaaaallleeeeeeeeeeeesssssssss….. “, you never know where she is coming, but, she is around, I live in a 8 floor building, just in second floor, the sound bounces from all the facades of the neighboring buildings, it´s usually around 10 am, so the sun is up in that small gap between brick and concrete, and lights on my windows, Bogotá is a pretty cold city, so for me that sound is always tied to the warm of my home.

    The Noise… funny enough….. daft punk Random Access memories… hehehe, i know… it was just 2 years ago, a new neighbor came, and he just blasted the same disk over and over… on sundays… just about 10:30am… i started setting posters asking him to turn the volume a bit down… he was on the next building close to mine, but just as a cathedral, that electric beats bounced and focused my ears… ended up changin all my windows to 1″ Insulated Glass, now i lost my noise and my sound… a bit too quiet…

  6. Sanket Shah

    I live next to a water reservoir and they have a small stream running out along the backyard of the house. The the most soothing sound I’ll ever hear. The best part? It’s continuous.

    Don’t have much noise in my area though. It’s heaven

  7. Derick

    Hi!Is there anyone knows the bgm used in the episode?
    The song in 2:00 to 3:10 is just so brilliant!

  8. Einse

    My noise. Because of growing up in a city 100% 360 degrees) surrounded by trains, my noise is the sound of a distant train, low rumble in the dead of night and an occasional horn.

    Note: after listening to every episode for the last 5 or so years I finally listened to Episode 1. Loved so much I posted my noise. Thanks Roman and the 99 PI staff.

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