Field Recordings – electrical sounds in your bed


                The sound of electricity charging through an electric-blanket on its lowest setting.


Winter in Australia. A time to turn on the electric blankets and dive into bed. Stories of defective electric blankets catching fire have never turned me off the pleasure they bring on a cold winter’s night. However a quick listen to the electricity that pulses through them has made me think twice about their well-known safety issues!

I’ve never heeded the warnings to switch the blankets off once you jump under the covers. I prefer to slowly melt into a sweaty mess while the outside world grows ever colder …

… that is until I directed a coil pick-up microphone to them!!

Noticing that my computer was producing some feedback while I was listening to some sound files I wondered if it could be the result of my beloved electric blanket. I directed a coil pick-up microphone close to the mattress whereupon I heard these sounds …

The electric blanket on its mid-setting:


The electric blanket on its highest setting:


I know nothing about the effect of electro-magnetic radiation on the human body but just hearing these sounds has encouraged me to reconsider the casual attitude I’ve had towards it in the past … well at least until I get into bed tonight.

Health concerns aside, I’m really intrigued by the micro sounds that can heard in these recordings and I can’t wait to use them in a composition somewhere down the track!

9 thoughts on “Field Recordings – electrical sounds in your bed

  1. I love listening to your sounds. I have recently started to wear hearing aids and I am hearing sounds I had forgotten for a long time, simple things like drips in a down pipe. Your blog lets me hear such interesting sounds and makes me value even more my sense of hearing.
    Alas, I will still use my electric blanket.


    1. I’m happy to know that you enjoy the posts here, and more so that you have regained hearing through the hearing aids. I hope you continue to drop in to this blog and maybe provide all of us an insight into what it is to not have the benefit of hearing and what it is like to hear the world again. I’m intrigued!


  2. It’s amazing how pick-up coils decode for us the sounds that we can’t appreciate.I’ll be more careful the next time someone offers me an electric blanket 😉


    1. I perfectly agree with you, apenino.
      My mother used one of these blankets and sometimes, being ill, she also put us on them. The tension is, even unheard, nevertheless transmitted, our bodies know …
      For cold winterdays I definitely prefer a sheepskin!


  3. Don’t sweat it – that’s how a PWM heating controller works. Electric blankets are usually open-loop – they control how much power goes in rather than how hot it gets. They use a triac to switch the power on for so many cycles and so many off.

    Odd to think of you guys freezing while we sweat our way towards the summer solstice 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s