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SOUND RESEARCH LOG: Sound Design: That Sounds Hot

A lot of the class that I teach about the role of sound in the media landscape focuses on exploring the sonic aspects of organizations, enterprises, and products. This following bit is a good example of a company doing just that:

How does hot water differ from cold water, sonically. NPR listened in as the British firm Condiment Junkie set out to answer the question, in the service of a Twinings Tea advertisement.

Here is a set of examples of their research:

NPR’s summary:

The marketers wanted to know: Would it be possible to make that noise itself more appealing? Can people hear the difference between a hot cup of tea being poured and, say, a cold beer? And is it possible to make a hot drink sound hotter or a cold drink sound more refreshing?

So they did an experiment. They played sounds of hot and cold water being poured into glasses and asked people to guess: hot or cold? The results were kind of insane. Ninety-six percent of people can tell the difference between hot and cold, just by the sound.

Scott King of Condiment Junkie on the takeaway:

“There tends to be more bubbling in a liquid that’s hot,” he explains. “As you have more bubbling, you tend to get higher frequency sounds from it.”

The firm has also developed “interactive music boxes” for Selfridges and sound design for an Adidas spot. More at condimentjunkie.co.uk.

This entry cross-posted from the Disquiet linkblog project sound.tumblr.com.

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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