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What sound annoys you the most?

I'm not a football fan at all and ever since walking through Galway last weekend and hearing that bloody annoying drone coming from every pub I've been enjoying the hilarity of the likes of Waves releasing ways to get rid of it. Sadly it's all gone down hill with this new button on YouTube. AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

I did suggest we got one at work to put on the match scenes of a football animation we're doing. Don't think my manager was impressed.


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I hated the vuvuzelas at first as well, now I find them quite funny! Can't understand why your boss didn't see the funny side - perfect excuse to get them in your show! – Noiseboy Jun 26 '10 at 7:24
dude…that drone sustains life..everybody would cry if there weren't vuvuzelas – Chris Oct 28 '10 at 4:42
it is kinda cliche, cliche sounds can be the most annoying sounds – Chris Oct 28 '10 at 4:42

27 Answers 27

Being asked by the director to incorporate a cliche into a track. Doors don't always squeak, tires don't always squeal, and I can't remember ever hearing a red tail hawk in the desert...and I live in California.

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Earlier today my regaled me a story about a film shot and post done here in the west of Ireland. Director wanted crickets during the night scenes. Never heard one even during the hottest day here. – ianjpalmer Jun 24 '10 at 20:14
Yeah...the crickets at night always bothers me. And birds in the morning too...always cheerful birds, even in the darkest moments in the film. – Justin P Jun 24 '10 at 21:02
I agree but I've had to do a lot of hands made the edit and touched the faders last..guilty as charged! – Dom Lawrence Jun 25 '10 at 15:24
When someone shoots a gun at night, crickets stop chirping. I was asked to keep them in. I was so annoyed... – Utopia Jun 25 '10 at 20:14
The same horn from a truck must be used in every film I have ever seen its so annoying! – Adrian Millington Oct 27 '10 at 10:24

Drunk people! Especially while trying to sleep.

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And their attempts to sing songs at 2am. – oinkaudio Oct 27 '10 at 14:21

The Wilhelm Scream, when it's not subtle. It should be like a game of Where's Waldo (Where's Wilhelm?), and I think a lot of sound designers are playing "Didja hear that, Ben Burtt?! I used the Wilhelm Scream! Didja hear, didja hear?!", giving it almost a solo performance.

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I agree it's way overused and not terribly subtle. Still it makes me laugh every time my phone goes off though as it's my text alert. – ianjpalmer Jun 24 '10 at 20:13
I just found a really interesting use of the wilhelm scream in a game that was... actually kind of interesting. In "Squid Yes, Not So Octopus" you hear it every time you pick up a multiplier. It actually works really well with the frantic energy of that game. – ragamesound Jan 18 '11 at 2:13

It's interesting, what sounds physically distress people. I'm fine with fingernails on a blackboard, but the sounds that make my spine chill and my body tense up are: teeth brushing with a regular toothbrush; and a straw broom sweeping on concrete.

Ugh, i feel uncomfortable even thinking about them!

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Not a fan of wilhelm screams either as it is now overused. But I hate the sound of metal tearing. It has a very sicking feel to it.

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Plosive popping and sibilance in 'professional' work.

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Amen. I hate hearing that, too. – Utopia Jun 24 '10 at 20:59
Here here. Although my real pet hate is distortion. It's unreal how many times I get that in dialogue recorded in other places. – ianjpalmer Jun 24 '10 at 22:10
Argh, +1 on distortion! Mixing a low budget doco right now, and 80% of the interviews are distorted. Major damage control, i mean who needs high end anyway right? – Roger Middenway Jun 25 '10 at 5:03
@Sound Understanding - do you have iZotope RX? If not then get the demo at least as it is rather good at removing distortion. It wont fix everything and it can be a little hit and miss at times. However when it does work it's amazing. – ianjpalmer Jun 25 '10 at 8:07
@Sound Understanding BUT - It can still win oscars for best sound. Case in point: The bomb disarming scene in Hurt Locker, the main character's dialogue is distorted/popped out and I can hear all the processing they did to it. This didn't seem to bother the academy's ears... – Utopia Jun 25 '10 at 20:17

Plastic bags, they always make me go "eeek" but worst when recording!

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plastic bags.....

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Second on the bad ADR in big budget pictures. The first time I noticed it was in 'Entrapment'. Wow. Really blatant.

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Cheap guitars playing through Crate practice amps with the treble turned all the way up. Excessive tinny cymbals bleeding into vocal mics. I used to do live sound, and those were the bane of my existence.

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That's easy:

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I used to live in an apartment building beside some train tracks (lovely, yes).

There was a gradual bend in the tracks right alongside my building, and in the colder months the slow moving freight trains would make this constant metallic screeching sound that sustained for several minutes as the train went by.

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Drag to live next to it but I hope you got a recording of it! – Jay Jennings Oct 27 '10 at 18:15
Sadly no as I wasn't doing much recording at the time. I really should head back there with some gear though. – unicity Oct 28 '10 at 13:10

The alarm sound on my electric alarm clock is beyind annoying, its deeply disturbing

as it is associated with the horror of having to wake up & get out of bed

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Apparently high-frequency whines don't score very well with the public.

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My answer's really a combination of Haydn and Ryan's answers: Mouth noises and alarm clocks. Both of these sounds send shivers down my spine. I'm not sure why mouth noise is so annoying, but I'm pretty sure, like Pavlov's dogs, we're trained to despise a blaring alarm.

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A metallic wristwatch rattling. Dont knwo why, but I hate that sound =)

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What about the sound of timecode? It is a bit disturbing. Also sanding with sandpaper has always been a source for sore ears for me.

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Car alarms, house alarms, small yappy dogs, people who speak loudly in close proximity, screechy metal. And of course, my true pet dislike- people who play drum and bass in their car at full volume in rush hour traffic for all to hear!!!

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Hmm, maybe seagulls in the summer. I live & work very close to the beach, and in summertime during breeding season those flying rats tend to sit right outside the window of my work room, squeaking squawking and being just bloody damn loud and annoying for a large part of the day. This goes on for about a month, and then they bugger off again (well at least after that they are not so damn enthusiastic and in big groups all of the time anymore). But during that time of the year I always end up looking for bird scaring devices... shame that the most effective ones make noise as well... that doesnt help :)

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If there is one sound that makes me hit the mute or exit button it is guitar shredding -cannot stand it, will not listen to it!! I dont get more than one second into certain promo videos that use it....

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I used to have an old Vauxhall Astra (1992) model. Whenever you opened the door with the lights still left on it would make a well annoying buzzing sound! Kind of felt like the car was mocking me whenever I heard it! lol Guess that's what made it all the more annoying...

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The soundtrack for Annie. For about 2 years when I was a kid, my sister would listen to it while falling asleep down the hall; and would play it so loud that I could hear even when both her and my bedroom doors were closed. It drove me NUTS!!! lol

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Dogs barking! it makes me want to kill them.

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Guess you wont be buying a certain library from Chuck then. – ianjpalmer Oct 29 '10 at 21:52

This probably does not qualify but most of the sound coming from my radio when my local NPR station plays anything from The Annoying Music Show! Fortunately the show is like 30 seconds long. :p

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Any Andrew Loyyd irks me terribly!

That and refrigerator compressors!

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Sound of a mosquito flying around you. Doppler style!

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