We purchased and installed a new dishwasher recently. It is so quiet that it requires a little red light to be displayed on the floor to confirm that it’s even running. When the machine is on rinse cycle, there is enough sound that one is aware of the motion, of the water, but still it sounds more like your neighbor is running a machine, several walls away, than you yourself are. When the little bell rings to announce that the full cleaning cycle is over, you would be forgiven for having forgotten it was running in the first place. If the previous dishwasher sounded like a stem from an Einstürzende Neubauten remix project, all clangy industrial noise, this new machine sounds like an alarm clock set to play a rainforest storm.
In contrast, our car is a pre-electric, pre-hybrid thing — the appropriate retronym escapes me —Â and it’s not so loud as the friend’s ancient Volkswagen we used to drive to the city in my relative youth, but neither is it as quiet as its 21st-century vehicular brethren.
What this audio track presents is 30 seconds of a 3D printer, perhaps the epitome of 21st-century proto-domestic appliances, doing its magic. It was recorded by qDot, aka Kyle Machulis, of the San Francisco Bay area, during (I believe) his recent stint as an artist in residence at Autodesk. The sound is nothing anyone wants in their kitchen or garage, necessarily, but convenience can trump all manner of other concerns, from privacy to comfort. One is left to wonder if this sound will become as common to a household as that of the microwave and toilet, or if several more generations of iterative improvement will pass and transformations transpire before the technology is welcome in homes.
Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/qdot. More on Machulis at his nonpolynomial.com site.