Yesterday I found something interesting,

I was setting up for an ADR session where the actor is speaking over the phone, and what better to record this with than a real phone?

So I hooked up my chain and sent it through a tube pre, a vintage LA2A and into Pro Tools.

The LA2A was off and I turned it on to start warming up, but I had accidentally put Pro Tools into record arm.

The phone had been off the hook for about a minute, and what I heard was one of the best warning alarms I have ever heard:

The dial tone had run out of time and it was beeping the "off the hook" beep, beep, beep, beep and what I got into Pro Tools was awesome, distorted alarm "BWAHHHH BWAHHHHH BWAHHHHHH" because the tube was still warming up.

Does anyone else use this technique?

Also, I doubt it's harmful, but if this potentially can hurt equipment in any way, please let me know that, too ;-)

  • 1
    Can you share the wav file? For thanksgivings sake?
    – Chris
    Commented Nov 25, 2010 at 19:04
  • @Chris Sure - if I have a moment the next time I'm at my studio I'll see if I can upload it to Soundcloud and post a link.
    – Utopia
    Commented Nov 27, 2010 at 4:06

1 Answer 1


Yewdall has a great story in his book, about dropping a quarter on a Vocoder by accident and getting some very cool sounds. In "If Chins Could Kill", Bruce Campbell (an AMAZINGLY sound aware director/producer BTW) mentions an open contact leading into an echo chamber on the dub stage that they used heavily on "Evil Dead"(I think Yewdall has that story in his book too). I once was recording some Pop Can crushes and in my inexperience put one of my mics WAAAY to close. The insanely distorted result became great for adding "attack" to just about any sample imaginable. Abusing gear/using broken gear in interesting ways is a venerable tradition in Sound Design! :)

Oh, and I don't think you'd to any irreparable damage to the units... probably not great for the tubes themselves, but they're easy enough to get replaced...

  • Great stories. I also had fun with a busted plate reverb that was creating all sorts of harmonics not too long ago - anything you sent through it sounded great - couldn't get that with any plug-in I own.
    – Utopia
    Commented Nov 27, 2010 at 4:08
  • Thinking of all that made me re-watch "The Thing" last night on Netflix. Sure enough I really paid attention to the opening title, and could hear those quarters hitting the vocoder!
    – Sonsey
    Commented Nov 27, 2010 at 14:25

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