Tag Archives: modem sounds

Coil Pickup Microphones, Listening, Place


Spectrogram of a computer modem


With the aid of a coil pickup microphone it is possible to hear what seems to be an entire orchestra residing inside electrical appliances, each object emitting tones and pulses in contrasting frequencies and time signatures.

At first listen you might only hear dystopian chaos however a careful ear will begin to pick out the layers of sound which constitute the whole.  Identifying the auditory structures of the inanimate objects that surround us is a rewarding process, the concentrated listening that is involved in the process connecting us to place in a unique way.

This particular recording is of a computer modem. Here the coil pickup microphone reveals the complexity of the digital signals that pass through our modern day offices as we sit dreaming of the weekend.

Winter Sounds: electrical discharges

How easily we hear the dominant life that surrounds us, but what sounds remain unheard?

It is winter in Australia. The raucous calls of birds and insects have faded. Outside the soft movement of wind can be heard in the branches of the trees while inside sounding objects left unnoticed during the warmer months are rising to prominence.

The quotidian sounds of the domestic sphere are heard.

A computer modem pulses through the microphone. Its steady beat cannot be heard with the ear alone yet its electrical frequencies are now revealed:

An electrical power-board buzzes frantically – the danger of its lethal charge is clearly audible under the attention of the microphone:

After so many years it is heartening to find that this house is still alive with undiscovered sounds. As winter progresses the minutiae of its interior will continue to unfold – the sounds of this domestic space.