The sounds of starships
June 9, 2016 8:20 AM   Subscribe

The background engine noises of iconic science fiction spaceships can be remarkably soothing. That is why Spike Snell created 12-hour sound loops of the background hum of the TNG Enterprise (prev.), the old Battlestar Galactica (and the new), a Cylon Basestar, the Discovery from 2001, the Heart of Gold, the Millennium Falcon (made from the sound of a P-51 Mustang), Mass Effect's Normandy, Babylon 5, Serenity, and hundreds more. Strangely, these fake space ship sounds don't sound too different from the actual noise on the ISS or space shuttle Atlantis. And if you don't like any of these, you can always generate your own!
posted by blahblahblah (30 comments total) 100 users marked this as a favorite
 
Evidence that if I were an astronaut I would probably nap the whole time.
posted by beerperson at 8:35 AM on June 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


Don't forget Alien!
posted by agregoli at 8:48 AM on June 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains within the sound of starships.
posted by Splunge at 8:56 AM on June 9, 2016 [11 favorites]


NASA spent billions inventing the perfect white noise machine.

The Russians just asked their therapist where they bought theirs.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:05 AM on June 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


Oh, excellent! My daughter will be born somewhere in the next couple months, and I'm looking for ways to dog whistle sci-fi geekiness to her while slipping it past my wife - who does not approve. No, we're not naming her Leia, no we're not dressing her up as tiny little Rey. (Seriously, woman? For god's sake, totally apart from your feelings on SF fandom, just look at that! I mean come on!)

So I'm in LOVE with the idea of "soothing background sounds to help her sleep" that are secretly building little pathways in her brain that I can activate later. When she's old enough to understand things like Star Wars and Galactica, she'll never even question why they seem so instinctively welcoming, so... just right to her, and my wife will have no idea! Brilliant!
posted by Naberius at 9:13 AM on June 9, 2016 [19 favorites]


Now I'm trying to remember what Farscape's "living ship", Moya sounded like... and whether it had a barely audible heartbeat...
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:19 AM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'll be in my bunk.

Napping.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:24 AM on June 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


Quite a list. Not sure I need an hour of each one.

It's missing Star Trek bridge sounds. I suppose beeps aren't considered ambient enough.

It's not exactly a starship as such, but I always loved the detail on Space Ghost Coast to Coast that Tad, Zorak, and Moltar each have their own signature background noise.

The Firesign Theatre were also very good with this sort of thing. People alway cite the screaming dopplered billboards and Zeno's paradox, and rightly so. But if you've ever driven one, it's pretty obvious that the car Babe bought from Ralph -- the one with the climate control -- is a VW Microbus. That's my idea of a starship.
 
posted by Herodios at 9:36 AM on June 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


Noisy ISS may have damaged astronauts’ hearing. NASA has been working on improving the noise problem.

Robert Frost, Flight Controller at NASA says:
The ambient noise level onboard the ISS is around 60 dB. That noise is primarily caused by fans, pumps, and the hum of electronics.

In microgravity, there is no natural convection, so there are dozens of fans in the ISS that push air through the vehicle, from module to module, and through equipment racks. All of that electronic equipment generates heat. That heat is transferred from the source to space by liquid coolants that have to be pumped around the vehicle.
posted by straight at 9:50 AM on June 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


straight: "Noisy ISS may have damaged astronauts’ hearing. NASA has been working on improving the noise problem.

Robert Frost, Flight Controller at NASA says:
The ambient noise level onboard the ISS is around 60 dB. That noise is primarily caused by fans, pumps, and the hum of electronics.

In microgravity, there is no natural convection, so there are dozens of fans in the ISS that push air through the vehicle, from module to module, and through equipment racks. All of that electronic equipment generates heat. That heat is transferred from the source to space by liquid coolants that have to be pumped around the vehicle.
"

In space... nobody can hear....
posted by Splunge at 9:54 AM on June 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


Sound of starships talk to me
Makes you want to feel like an astronaut
Until you remember the feelings of
A real life emotional astronaut
Then you think again
posted by enjoymoreradio at 9:55 AM on June 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Just in case anyone missed it, the video descriptions link to respective Crysknife007 Bandcamp pages where you can purchase the tracks and support this wonderful project. I bought several at $5 apiece because I know I'll be getting a ton of mileage out of this stuff.
posted by christopherious at 10:17 AM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Still remains within the sound of starships Cylons.
posted by fings at 10:26 AM on June 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


Missing one, the ambient noise heard when terrible movies aren't playing. (It's missing some little touches though, which I think they edited out in later seasons.)
posted by JHarris at 10:38 AM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


The earlier MST3K bridge noise, which they used to play over the A BEST BRAINS PRODUCTION card at the end in the first season, is the first noise in this sound effects collection.
posted by JHarris at 10:42 AM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I actually do play the Dragon Age: Inquisition Astrarium Sound in the background around my house frequently, it's nice.

(DA:I also has some very nice nature/forest/desert/wind/waterfall loops in it, just turn your speakers up, park your character someplace safe and carry on with your life)
posted by sidereal at 10:53 AM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


These soundtracks combine really badly with my tinnitus.

Incidentally, as far as the ISS goes, I once heard that one of the noise problems is that being surrounded by vacuum, sound waves that hit the exterior walls can't transfer sound energy to the exterior like walls in an atmosphere do, so the sound gets reflected back inside. I'm not sure how accurate that is, but it sounds interesting.
posted by happyroach at 11:04 AM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm really grooving on the one for Heart of Gold. It sounds just like a spaceship so amazingly amazing that you'd like to steal it should sound.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:39 AM on June 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


The problem with the Normandy background sound is that it's too quiet for Tali'Zorah.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:45 PM on June 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Regarding my title, you guys are all thinking Simon and Garfunkle, but the inspiration singing in my head when I wrote it was an act much more likely to be into starships:

For the words of the profits
Were written on the studio wall,
Concert hall,
Echoes with the sounds of starships! Of starships! Of starships!
(Start of 10 minute guitar and drum solo)
posted by blahblahblah at 1:47 PM on June 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I routinely put on the ISS soundscape to fall asleep. It's like having an oscillating fan on in a room when it's too chilly to have an oscillating fan on in a room and you grew up where it was too hot to ever not have an oscillating fan on in a room.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 2:18 PM on June 9, 2016


Definitely not a starship, but the EVA-01 has the best ambient hum (software simulation, but close enough). Suitably hypnotizing given the heavy-handed womb metaphor.
posted by dephlogisticated at 2:30 PM on June 9, 2016


From an efficiency standpoint it makes me crazy that people are streaming hours of something that is a small file looped.
posted by bongo_x at 2:39 PM on June 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh hot damn!!! I'm downloading these for the plane.

What about the other not-spaceship SeaQuest? The background noise and the dolphin are like the only things I remember from it.
posted by odinsdream at 2:50 PM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Not having access to a real space ship, I found this recording from inside a shuttle cockpit at launch. The engine roar is pretty satisfying, right up until they break the speed of sound. After that, the booster separation has a very satisfying clunk. There's a lot more radio traffic than any of the OP recordings though :)
posted by Popular Ethics at 2:50 PM on June 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I like this a lot.

The new Galactica is easily my favourite spaceship of forever. I like the creaky, clanky version of it too.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:32 PM on June 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


From an efficiency standpoint it makes me crazy that people are streaming hours of something that is a small file looped.

Talk to me sometime about converting my collection of mod, it, xm files (ranging from 5 to 500 kB each) into several hundred GB of mp3s.
posted by straight at 3:49 PM on June 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


er, several hundred megabytes. I'm not quite that big of a chip tune fan.
posted by straight at 5:26 PM on June 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think I will take a nap to the Millennium Falcon now... Thank you!
posted by Barsoomian at 6:54 PM on June 9, 2016


If I had a spaceship, I'd make it sound like Eno's Thursday Afternoon, because it is the correct way to float through the cosmos.

On the other hand, if you're on a spaceship, you absolutely aren't going to annoy the neighbours, so I suspect that I'd really put on some dirty freak noise.

A lot of dirty freak noise. And not at ambient levels neither.
posted by Devonian at 10:29 AM on June 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


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