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Why your gadgets sound so good

Mike Elgan | Oct. 20, 2015
Companies like Apple and Microsoft go to incredible lengths to optimize everything for appealing, high-quality sound.

Skype is taking a smart approach. It's trying to retain elements of the original sounds, but with better, often shorter and, in every case, more appealing boops, beeps and blurps.

One of the biggest changes, and my favorite, affects the most familiar Skype sound -- the one it makes when you hang up. Right now, the hang-up signal sounds like a tiny space plunger and it ends on a high note. It's ultra recognizable, but it doesn't sound like a call ending.

The new sound clearly expresses the idea that something is coming to a close. And it's shorter. (You can hear the new and old sounds by following the link above.)

I think the new sounds are going to cement Skype's branding. And I'm sure Skype thinks so, too. And that's why it's working so hard at crafting the perfect set of noises.

What's next?

This is all great news. Well beyond the ken of everyday consumers and gadget geeks alike, some visionary companies are locked in an arms race to optimize every sound produced by our electronic devices.

"Good" sound in this contest is defined as sound that appeals to the human mind. So the net result will ultimately be a consumer electronics market filled with devices that we want in our lives, and that we feel good about interacting with.

But don't take it for granted. Stop and listen every once in awhile. Some brilliant people worked very hard to make sure your gadgets sound great.


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