You are recording yourself typing right now.

You've just destroyed an expensive piece of equipment during a session, but you're OK with that because it sounded cool.

You accidentally dropped a bottle of something and it broke, smashing everywhere, and the first thought through your head was "Man, I wish I had recorded that..."

These are just a few off the top of my head... Let's start an amazing list!!!

(source: shootfirst.co.uk)

  • Iain, that is an amazing picture...
    – Colin Hart
    Commented May 29, 2010 at 15:27
  • I don't have a photo of it, but something very similar happened to me with a falcon once. The windscreen looked just like the lure the trainer used in the bird's act and to the bird thought it was food--just grabbed hold with its beak and would not let go. Got the whole thing on tape someplace. Commented May 31, 2010 at 2:45
  • Coming back to this a year later - it's hilarious that this picture is on this post, since I have now had a zeppelin eaten by a gator :-)
    – Colin Hart
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 7:12
  • Has it really been a year? Wow. I love SSD. I'm going to buy a t-shirt that says that. And then answer this thread again with that as one of the points ...
    – Utopia
    Commented Sep 4, 2011 at 4:37

47 Answers 47


Great answers so far.

-Your girlfriend knows the exact meaning of "the look" (which she often sees come from your face when traveling abroad) and she immediately says "you want to stop and record this don't you." You try to convince her that it is great for the soul to stop, sit quietly, and meditate on the sounds around you every once and awhile, while you whip out your pocket recorder and set levels. You record an ambience for five minutes and realize that if you go much longer, your relationship will be at risk.

-You feel shame if you use a sound from the Hollywood Edge PE or Sound Ideas 6000 in your design.

-When cooking, you go to pull a pair of tongs out of the kitchen gadget drawer. Instead of removing the near-burning food from the pan, you hold them up to your ears and imagine how you'd use them as a foley prop (as dinner gets ruined).

-You've used more condoms for SM57 hydrophone experiments than their intended use.

-You believe that it is important to record traffic in every city you visit. Because you honestly think that traffic in San Diego sounds different than traffic in Portland, and you want to tell the director that their ambiences are "completely authentic."

  • tongs, you mean...right? Commented May 27, 2010 at 22:09
  • 3
    OMG, Justin: The Girlfriend stare and the SM57 condom reference FTW! Joe: You mean you don't keep spare thongs in the kitchen drawers? And, hey, aren't thongs kind of drawers themselves? ;-) Commented May 28, 2010 at 1:01
  • Opps...yes tongs (you can tell where my mind was at).
    – Justin P
    Commented May 28, 2010 at 16:39
  • Oh boy, I hear that 6030 Big Woosh everywhere these days.
    – Utopia
    Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 19:15

... You make your kids play out in the cold to get them sick so you can record their flegmy throats.

... You wish there was an EQ knob on your mother in-law because when she's angry, that 2.5K zing in her voice is too harsh for you to listen to.

... You have a road case for your wallet and another for your pencil.

... You turn to your date in the movie theater while watching Titanic's most intimate scene and ask her "how did they mic Leo with a lapel when he's neck-high in water?"

... You run up and stop a wedding as the minister says "you may now kiss the bride" to adjust the SM57 to be pointed more directly at the minister while he's at the podium.

... You move someone you are having a casual conversation with to a different corner of the room so that there are better acoustics.

... You tell your wife to stop chewing so loudly because you can't stand mouth noise.

... You get in fights with teenagers at the movies to secure the middle of the theater because it's the "sweet spot"

... You ask for your money back because the theater's right speaker was down .5 dB in the high-end.

... Your license plate says "MS OR DIE"

... Your dogs' names are "Pink Noise" and "1K".

... Your bedroom and bathroom is lined with aurolex.

... You try to hit the undo button after you made a mistake while you're filling out a doctor's information form.

... You've measured your boss' yelling at you with an SPL meter.

... Your doorbell ring is the Wilhelm Scream.

  • The worst theater offender to me was during Source code... it was crashed down to mono playing out of the Left channel only ::facepalm:: Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 19:17

...you keep your ear to the ground to check for cool LFE.

...you are a good listener to everything except the content of what's being said. (That'd make you a production mixer, too, for the record.)

...you wear your cans just to keep your hat from falling off.

...your fists sound like whooshing bamboo during bar brawls.

...when you move slowly or carefully, you pitch your voice down by an octave.

...you're not happy to see her/him, that really is a boompole in your pocket.

...back in Soviet Russia, the sounds recorded you! </smirnoff>

  • amazing. Especially the one about listening intently with no idea of what was actually said. I'm very guilty of that!
    – Colin Hart
    Commented May 29, 2010 at 15:27
  • lol I still laugh when I read this. Thanks, Nathan!
    – Utopia
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 1:06

... you make mental mix notes during real situations, for later reference

eg i walked past a building/construction site a few years ago - they were pouring concrete into a second story floor space & the whole thing collapsed. I distinctly remember the moment of peaceful silence after the collapsing sounds stopped, but before the shouting & sirens started... (thankfully no one died)

eg kissing a girl in a bar & listening to see if the background music goes away/alters...

eg walking along streets looking to people's feet & trying to decide how well mixed their foley is...

eg listening to distant impacts and trying to decide if anyone would let you cut sound FX so out of sync...

  • @tim - "how well their foley is mixed"... lmmfao!!! Now THAT's hardcore. Commented May 2, 2011 at 0:48
  • @tim I think I'm gunna start making a pointy of doing this now ;) Commented Aug 29, 2011 at 22:02

... your friends and family call you before throwing stuff away because they know you'll be disappointed if it had noise-making potential and didn't let you know about it.


... you have a long-standing arrangement with all your beer drinking friends to save their bottles because you can never have too many shatter sounds.

... you have about 100 empty beer bottles in your garage just waiting for the moment their lives will come to a gloriously sweetened end.

... you have your friends trained to report all unique sounds they hear to you. eg. someone runs out of the public restroom to find you simply to say "Oh my god, you have to hear the motor on that paper towel dispenser!"

... you read the phrase "They dumped boiling water and oil on the French troops..." and your internal soundtrack fills in the Wilhelm scream.

  • 1
    Number two is exactly me at the moment hah... well, not beer bottles, but a variety of bottle types. Sitting in a stash in the kitchen ;) Commented Aug 29, 2011 at 22:02
  • 1
    Ha! I have a box of 2 dozen factory-second coffee mugs in the basement awaiting the same fate. Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 17:58
  • 1
    HAH! I collect burnt-out lightbulbs for that exact reason. I have yet to record one of them - but I must have 20 stashed in my studio somewhere...
    – Utopia
    Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 19:08
  • 1
    Been starting to collect those light bulbs too. Shake em and the filaments make a cool sound! Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 19:15
  • If you're really lucky, you can collect those tube lights, too. :) Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 19:39

You end recognizing sounds at 1K. My studio phone's button beeps are 1K, always makes me smile.

You have famous sound effects as your ring tone/text alert on your phone. I love the strange looks I get from people when my phone (Wilhelm) screams when I get a text.

Physically injure yourself because you just had to get the sound right. I found it impossible to find the right object to get the sound of someone falling down some stairs.


... you've ever been caught by normal human beings while recording sounds in odd ways

eg I got caught stomping & jumping on the roof of a car, late at night by a neighbour

(it was a donated car & I had mics inside, but how do you explain that easily?)

  • 1
    eg... I was caught by a neighbor while swinging a 6 foot 2x4 with a giant ball of fire on the end of it in my back yard. Hey, I needed wooshes! (I should probably have a bigger back yard for this...)
    – Colin Hart
    Commented May 27, 2010 at 2:27

...you are in a serious moment talking with someone, you hear a weird sound in the background (like a crash or something). Your brain start thinking about the sound, and you think something like "oh my... I'd like to record that lovely noise!". When the lapse finishes, you realize that you stopped to listen the person in front of you and now you don't know what to say.

...you're working building something with a drill, and it gets burned and you see sparks. You think oh, great sound! Press the trigger again and hear the sparks again. You go for your recorder, press record... and there no sparks anymore. Now you realize that your drill is broken and you can't continue with the initial plan.

...you think about masking of different sounds in your environment, something like want to have faders for everything or a MUTE button to shut up your neighbors.

...you're with someone, an airplane passes by, and you say something like: hey, did you hear that nice doppler, dude!?


...you read this and giggle.

  • 3
    ...and record the giggle. Commented May 27, 2010 at 20:36
  • @NoiseJockey haha! Yes indeed. Commented May 27, 2010 at 21:03

You make odd clicking sounds in rooms just to hear the reverb response. Cue more odd looks from normal people.

  • And later you return to get a recording for your convolution reverb plug-in.
    – user80
    Commented May 29, 2010 at 10:17
  • I do this all the time! In fact, I found a few cool rooms just yesterday!
    – Colin Hart
    Commented May 29, 2010 at 15:26
  • 1
    I do that all the time as well. I did that in the Disney Concert Hall and all these suits turned around and gave me a bad look.
    – Utopia
    Commented May 29, 2010 at 21:44
  • I'm soooo guilty of this (and returning to get an impulse). I usually clap though. I could care less what anyone thinks. @Colin, FS has some amazing sounding spaces in the halls and etc. Hit me up on FB and I'll give you a list of favorites. Commented May 2, 2011 at 0:50

...you've ever frozen contact mics or hydrophones

...you plan an extra couple of hours into your road trip's drive time for amb recording

...your wife is ok with that.

...you'd bring the dog, except that you know she'll make noise

...you agonize for weeks over a mic purchase

...you build stuff to hide mics and recorders in

...you've spent weekends just driving out into the countryside looking for stuff to record

...the sound of thunder triggers a fast twitch mic setup response

...you imagine how that thing you're hearing right now would look in izotope

...you've ever hidden mics in your ears

...you've ever had a cop ask you to pick up your gear and leave

...your non-audio significant other can spot a 57 on TV a mile away

...you go antiquing to look for cool sounding props

...you imagine the sound of the destruction of the furniture left outside that guy's house up the street

...screw it, you go and get that furniture and break it.

...you never oil the hinges in your doors

  • ha! Great stuff - like the hydrophone thing - never frozen one before - good results? Aside from not having a wife, I can relate to every single one of the rest of these :-)
    – Colin Hart
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 6:54
  • "Never oil the hinges.." Hahahaha! Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 20:18

You close your eyes and just listen. No matter what you are doing.

  • 3
    This is really bad when you're driving or riding your bike. Commented Sep 2, 2011 at 19:07

After your first car accident all you could talk about was how cool it sounded and how you wish you could have recorded it (and your second and third accident for that matter).


...you've ever set up more than two mics for one sound source.

...you've ever tried to explain the difference between room tone and ambience to someone.

...you've ever worn earplugs and headphones simultaneously.


Instead of buying your 2 year-old the usual Triangle, Square, Circle puzzle to play with,

you give him the same toy but with XLR, BNC and TRS connectors.

  • 1
    I am so gonna do that when i have kids... Commented May 24, 2011 at 22:13
  • great idea! I should do this.
    – AGZFX
    Commented Sep 26, 2011 at 5:56

... you buy your shoes according to how much noise they make when you walk.

... you keep coins in your back pocket because those pockets move less than the front ones, and the coins make less noise back there. Even if you're not recording...

  • Check, and check Commented May 1, 2011 at 18:20

You can put your headphones on with one hand


... you walk down the street thinking man the world has really good surround sound!

... you find every formant region along your path and take a moment to hit it. Regardless if their anyone with you or not (same goes for cool reverb and echoes)


You go to a party, everyone has cameras and you bring a portable audio recorder. Everyone needs party sounds! Don't they?


you're on the subway and you'd wish people would be quiet so you could hear the train approaching without voices in the background

  • That's my vacation in D.C. in a nutshell. Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 19:47

..you can't sleep because you think all night.. man, I should be up and record that owl.

  • (true story, ask my wife about it..)
    – Markus
    Commented Sep 7, 2011 at 10:46

...you bring your D50 and a 1/8" minijack adapter to your unborn baby's ultrasound checkups to record the heartbeat in 24/96... more than once.

Guilty as charged. :)


You custom-make your 2-beeps at 900Hz instead of the default 1k because you think it sounds better that way.

  • 1
    HAHAHAHA I changed my ADR beeps to be 500 not too long ago for this very reason.
    – Utopia
    Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 6:29
  • Ha! Fantastic! :-) Commented Mar 1, 2012 at 19:45
  • YES!!! That is perfect! Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 20:55

You have mastered the art of not breathing for as long as the red light is on.


... you laugh at the joke:

"There is so much comb filtering in here I can part my hair."


....your willing to spend hours just for a 2sec sfx eg. your willing to go through the pain of defrosting your freezer just so you can collect all the ice and record lots of ice stabs and grinding. Just done it, wasn't fun but hugely rewarding...

....you use a variation of "when someone opens a door on screen, I go out and record the sound of a door opening' analogy to explain what exactly it is you do as a job...

....your often seen loitering around with a phone to your ear while your actually doing some stealthy recording with your 'unusually bulky looking ipod'...

....you take advantage of your surroundings and feed blurays into your $$$ Genelec 5.1 system for 'research' purposes...

  • ''....you use a variation of "when someone opens a door on screen, I go out and record the sound of a door opening' analogy to explain what exactly it is you do as a job...'' True, True, True...
    – GMatijas
    Commented Jun 1, 2010 at 1:06
  • I generally stop at "everything you hear in a film that's not dialogue or music is sound design... including some of the music and dialogue." Commented May 3, 2011 at 15:55

The DOP is freaking because the sun is setting and the light is disappearing and you say: "I don't care as long as it sounds good!"


You go to an Indian restaurant and the thing that impresses you the most is how effectively the tapestries and ceiling hangings are minimizing reverberation in the space.


...you get mad if someone in a public space is making noises, cause you want to be able to hear the background. Like someone talking on the phone on a train... GAH

...you're standing in a fully packed, insanely hot train with an H4n pointed to the speaker just to get the call of the next station, and you're still standing there with your arm in the air after 30 minutes of speaker silence

...you're riding, and recording, a bike thinking your headphones will dampen the fall if you crash, but you won't crash cause that would ruin the recording

  • ...Or you crash on purpose to get that perfect "body fall" sound! Commented Mar 20, 2012 at 20:58

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