the quietest place on earth...

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mr. poopyhead
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the quietest place on earth...

Post by mr. poopyhead » Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:01 pm

i stumbled across this article today... thought it was really interesting...
http://www.audiojunkies.com/blog/902/th ... field-labs
In a world where something is always happening, people are always moving, and equipment is always buzzing, most people don't know what silence really is. But in Minnesota, real silence can be found in a room. In fact, the anechoic chamber found at Orfield Laboratories Inc. is the Quietest Place on Earth, as awarded by the Guinness Book of World Records.

How does one achieve The Quietest Place on Earth? Start with a room within a room, within a room: the Orfield Labs six sided anechoic chamber is a small room floating in a pit on I-beams that are on top of springs. A five sided chamber of identical construction surrounds it on the edge of the pit. Both chambers are made of double wall steel-insulation-steel. The anechoic chamber was manufactured by Eckel, the largest anechoic chamber builder in the country.

Both steel chambers are held within a larger room that was built with solid one foot thick concrete walls and ceiling panels. The smaller room is filled with 3.3 feet thick fiberglass acoustic wedges. This approach led to the anechoic chamber found at Orfield Labs being measured by engineers on January 21st of 2004 at negative 9.4 dB (with A-weighting), thus earning it the title of Quietest Place on Earth. By comparison, the low threshold for human hearing is considered to be 0 dB.

Silence is a truly rare thing. All reverberation is removed… all sounds that aren't coming from your own body disappear. After a few moments in the anechoic chamber, you'll begin to feel a touch jumpy. Hearing your heart beat, your blood pulse, the sound of your own ear buzzing and your body functioning like you've never heard before has a tendency to be a bit unnerving. And in complete silence, you lose all sense of space and surroundings. The absence of reflected sound and reverberation makes "feeling out" the room impossible.

The anechoic chamber is federally certified by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) under their NVLAP (National Voluntary Laboratory Accreditation Program) This certification is the reason that Guinness accepted the claim and it is the only certified anechoic chamber (other than private corporate chambers) in the U.S.

Orfield Labs has a very interesting history beyond the anechoic chamber. They purchased Sound 80, a studio where Bob Dylan once recorded tracks for his comeback album "Blood On the Tracks". Sound 80 went on to become the first multi-track digital recording studio. Orfield Labs is also behind a radical concept called Architectural Dynamics: variable lighting, sound, and temperature that can simulate different moods in the workplace, ideally leading to improved worker efficiency and satisfaction. Orfield Labs has a strong background in acoustic research for a wide range of products, including motorcycles, dishwashers and artificial heart valves.

All this makes Orfield Labs one of the coolest places to stop by in the Minneapolis area, and definitely the quietest.
i've heard that super-quiet environments cause people to go crazy. isn't sensory deprivation a form of torture?

maybe spending too much time in that hemi-anechoic chamber will soon drive all the SPCR reviewers a little loopy! be careful, MikeC!

jaganath
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Post by jaganath » Thu Aug 28, 2008 1:47 pm

fascinating article. thanks for sharing! maybe Mike can pick up some tips for Recording Lab Mk2 :)

blackworx
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Post by blackworx » Thu Aug 28, 2008 3:23 pm

I'll second that, thanks :)
i've heard that super-quiet environments cause people to go crazy
I managed to get some time in a local university's anechoic chamber as part of a physics project in my sixth (senior) year at school. I was warned it can feel wierd and sure enough after a while inside I started to feel distinctly queasy. Coming outside, even for a few seconds, was definitely a relief.

thejamppa
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Post by thejamppa » Sat Aug 30, 2008 12:53 pm

I think wether lack of noise is torture or not is pretty much dependable on situation and the persons. But in point of vew of regular person, lack of sense would be tormenting.

Lying in perfectly human temperature water without hearing or seeing anything would probably be... living hell for the peoples. When you lose sense of orientation and time and everything... you will crack fast.

That makes me think though. if going in chamber would cause such thing... How would it feel to loose hearing permanently... That makes shivers run down on my spines. I rather lose eye sight than hearing.

KlaymenDK
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Post by KlaymenDK » Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:35 pm

Me, I'd just love to try that. I really would. But then, I'm the kind of person who's fascinated rather than revolted by the Körperwelten/Bodies exhibits, so being able to listen to my nervous system sounds rather neat. :D

On the other hand, this may just be a reaction of despair, because around here the cars just love to drive around honking their horns in the middle of the night (and no accidental, short honks, either). If only it were legal to shoot cars with high-powered rifles... :roll:

jaganath
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Post by jaganath » Sat Aug 30, 2008 2:57 pm

Lying in perfectly human temperature water without hearing or seeing anything would probably be... living hell for the peoples. When you lose sense of orientation and time and everything... you will crack fast.
actually a lot of people enjoy it as relaxation therapy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isolation_tank

mr. poopyhead
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Post by mr. poopyhead » Sat Aug 30, 2008 8:39 pm

thejamppa wrote:I rather lose eye sight than hearing.
i think there are very few people who share that sentiment... i was having a discussion with my girlfriend about this... losing sight vs. losing hearing. she'd rather lose hearing and i'd rather lose sight...

i think as a society, we've become very visually dependent. even communicating with each other now is dependent on being able to look at a computer screen.... i think that's why in the last 30 years, we've gone through 3 generations of video disk, but we're STILL using cd audio for the most part. people care more about high resolution visuals, rather than high resolution sound.

i think a lot of us share thejamppa's feeling though... valuing hearing over sight. maybe that's why it seems like so many of us are "audiophiles" and why we're on this board in the first place...

SOUND IS SUPREME

thejamppa
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Post by thejamppa » Sun Aug 31, 2008 2:00 am

jaganath wrote:
Lying in perfectly human temperature water without hearing or seeing anything would probably be... living hell for the peoples. When you lose sense of orientation and time and everything... you will crack fast.
actually a lot of people enjoy it as relaxation therapy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isolation_tank
... that is if you do it voluntenary. Isolation is enjoyable if you do it voluntenary. If you do it forced... its completely opposite.

Solid Snake
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Post by Solid Snake » Tue Sep 09, 2008 8:51 am

Look at it this way...

If you lose your vision, you have no use for PCs, but you can still hear them.

If you lose your hearing, you can still use your PC and it's guaranteed to be silent. :)

Erssa
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Post by Erssa » Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:59 pm

mr. poopyhead wrote:i think a lot of us share thejamppa's feeling though... valuing hearing over sight. maybe that's why it seems like so many of us are "audiophiles" and why we're on this board in the first place...

SOUND IS SUPREME
I'd much rather lose my hearing. Hell I'd rather lose my legs, hearing and one eye, then lose my eye sight completely. If I lost my hearing, I could still continue with my life the way I have lived, but losing eye sight makes a person totally dependant on other people. I couldn't work anymore and I'd need someone else to take care of me. I don't know how well I could handle becoming human baggage.

KlaymenDK
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Post by KlaymenDK » Tue Sep 09, 2008 1:23 pm

I'm quite sure that both the blind and the deaf community would argue these last posts. :lol:

But I'm with Erssa, definitely. I think I might be able to enjoy silence, even forced ... but only when I'm having a migraine attack do I crave total darkness, so I don't think I could ever enjoy that. Also, I'm a very graphically minded person.

Reachable
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Post by Reachable » Tue Sep 09, 2008 1:40 pm

Consider also the visual effect of being in that chamber. Yikes!

And the claustrophobia! No windows. Totally sealed.

Well, yes, I could handle it for the brief time required to perform tests.

But I wouldn't volunteer to be in there for an extended period of time, even if it weren't anechoic.


EDIT: I don't mean to imply that MikeC's testing isn't time consuming, but I imagine it's punctuated by breaks.

stevenkelby
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Post by stevenkelby » Wed Sep 10, 2008 4:42 am

jaganath wrote: actually a lot of people enjoy it as relaxation therapy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isolation_tank
Can you pee in it? :wink:

Bing in that chamber with headphones, how would you know anything is special about the room?

Being blind isolates you from objects, being deal isolates you from people.

Ever walked around your house at night with the lights off? Extend that to the whole world, that's all being blind is. You can soon get used to it and your sense of hearing improves no end.

Ever tried to communicate with someone when you don't share ANY language, not a word? That's how deafness feels. Cut off from the human race.

Erssa
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Post by Erssa » Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:36 am

stevenkelby wrote:Ever walked around your house at night with the lights off? Extend that to the whole world, that's all being blind is. You can soon get used to it and your sense of hearing improves no end.
I think you got it backwards. Try walking in the middle of the woods with your eyes closed, or go to a busy airport with your eyes shut. That's what the whole world is when you are blind. The only exceptions are the few familiar places like your home.

Or maybe you got it right. After you go blind, your house becomes your whole world.
Ever tried to communicate with someone when you don't share ANY language, not a word? That's how deafness feels. Cut off from the human race.
Not really. Deaf people can learn to read lips and everyone can speak with the body language. My dad doesn't speak a word of English, yet he has been able to travel across the world by using only his body language. There's no way he could have done it, if he was blind. Sign language is also pretty universal. A deaf Chinese person can pretty much understand what a Finnish deaf person is saying.

Even if we were both deaf, we could still communicate like we are doing now.

If you are blind, and you don't share a language and your chances of communicating are from slim to none.

More on topic... I'd really like to test that Isolation Chamber, or even a regular anechoich chamber. I have hermit-like qualities, so I think I'd really enjoy it.

stevenkelby
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Post by stevenkelby » Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:58 am

Erssa wrote:
stevenkelby wrote:...
You make good points, but I actually work with the deaf and the blind! Believe me, deaf is far worse. Imagine never hearing laughter again.

Anyway, I wonder what that room cost to build, and if those panels are available for home theater use (in moderation!).

lm
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Post by lm » Wed Sep 10, 2008 1:48 pm

jaganath wrote: actually a lot of people enjoy it as relaxation therapy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isolation_tank
OK. I definitely want to try it. Anyone know of any place in Finland, preferably in the capital area, where I can float in such a tank?

Greg F.
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Post by Greg F. » Wed Sep 10, 2008 5:41 pm

i've heard that super-quiet environments cause people to go crazy.

A friend of mine owns land in a very remote area of the Northwestern US. You can't even see his nearest neighbor's lights at night. When I visit it almost hurts my ears. It is like I strain to hear something that just isn't there. A few bird noises don't seem to make up for it.

stevenkelby
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Post by stevenkelby » Wed Sep 10, 2008 11:35 pm

I wonder if simply wearing ear plugs would prevent the onset of craziness?

colm
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Post by colm » Thu Sep 25, 2008 8:27 pm

great place for a blown ear drum...
time goes by, a sound of fluids in the back of the neck...a thump of throb in the skull...memories clear, sense of future, sense of now. the flow that was scared away coming back to heal.

Ahhhh....

I lived in a camp in the winter to spring by myself. very heavy snow into a freeze. Several hours of hearing nothing once the stove went to coals and no longer burning. the screams of spring coming from the earth like a very high pitched whistle. like a 233 with a hole in it. :lol:

stevenkelby
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Post by stevenkelby » Fri Sep 26, 2008 6:21 am

Erssa wrote:I have hermit-like qualities, so I think I'd really enjoy it.
I should have picked up on this! That's why you think deaf would be better than blind, you don't mind isolation from people too badly!

Technology allows the blind to do almost everything, certainly chatting on the net is no problem.

Born deaf, you wouldn't be chatting here. They don't develop those inter personal relationship skills in the same way, deaf people cannot communicate even like this as well as the blind.

Colm, Woah... heavy. :)

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