Clack Clack Clack


Back in September I wrote about recording typewriters, and the generosity of Tom Furrier of Cambridge Typewriter. It only took me six months to finish the material, but there is now a completed SFX Library:

I recorded seven machines from 4 perspectives:

  1. Close
  2. Distant
  3. Under Keyboard, Close
  4. Under Type Bars, Close

With a ton of actions per machine:[1]

  • single keys
  • punctuation
  • jammed keys
  • spacebar
  • spacebar, repeated
  • tabulator
  • fast tabulator
  • shift
  • shift + key
  • backspace
  • backspace
  • carriage return
  • typing, slow
  • typing, medium
  • typing, fast

One of my favorite machines from the collection is the Remington Standard. If you are thinking that the name Remington means “heft” then you would be correct.

The strength of this collection is not just the diversity of the material, but the variety of mechanical sounds that can be generated with simple pitch shifting. Check out the recordings at 1/2 speed.

I am very happy to have this collection in the world, but I can’t say that I was loving life cutting typewriters all of the time. There was a long period where I thought one more key depression my crush my soul. There are over 400 files, with multiple takes in each file, so you can imagine how oppressive the clicking and clacking of typewriters can be. All of the complaining aside, I’m very proud of the diversity of sound in this collection and I owe a big thanks to Tom Furrier at Cambridge Typewriter[2] for access to his collection and his unwavering, magical typing hands. I also owe a big thank you to Mitch Hanley and Kelly Pieklo for their ears and feedback.

I’m looking forward to finding something rather quiet to edit, but sadly it is isn’t on the horizon.[3]

  1. There are slight variations with each machine depending on the age of the machine and its hardware.  ↩
  2. I highly recommend you check out Tom’s blog as well. It is a joy to read.  ↩
  3. It is too bad that I have a ton of rockets to cut next.  ↩

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Michael Raphael December 17, 2013