The close-up effects of a sonic boom

Written by David Shapton

LiveLeak

We spend a lot of time and money designing microphone pre amps that are so quiet you can turn the wick up and listen to the grass growing. We spend less time thinking about sound that is so loud it can almost destroy a building.

So it’s for that reason that we’re bringing you this sonic boom.

I’ve heard a fair few in my time. Mostly at the UK’s international Farnborough Air Show. They don’t allow it now, but you used to be able to go along and see all manner of jets zooming past only a hundred or so feet from the ground. And they’d do this supersonically. That was a loud noise, although the sonic boom itself was somewhat masked by the sheer racket from the jet engines.

Then there’s the boom you’d hear from a supersonic jet at high altitude. Often, this was a double bang, much more distinct as the engine noise was more distant.

I’m pretty sure that it was the sonic booms that crippled the commercial success of Concorde, with supersonic flight only allowed over the sea. At low altitudes, even at subsonic speeds, the engines were so noisy that they would regularly set of car alarms at Heathrow airport, leaving passengers puzzled as to why their batteries had gone flat when they returned.

Here’s a video of something you don’t see very often. It’s two jets from the Brazilian Air force, which, for some reason, decided to fly very low over a famous building by the architect Oscar Niemeyer, which makes it even more of a shame when the sonic boom shatters every pane of glass in the building.

What’s fascinating to see is that as the planes approach, they’re completely silent. Then, suddenly, you’re exposed to the noise of the jets, just as they pass overhead. Disappointingly, you don’t really hear the sonic boom distinctly - probably because of clipping or limiting in the recording. But it’s no less dramatic for that.

It must have been an interesting insurance claim. Check it out.

Tags: Audio

Comments

Related Articles

21 July, 2020

Alan Turing invented computer music

Similar to unearthing a time capsule, a recently re-discovered recording by Alan Turing reveals his pioneering efforts in the field of computer music.

Read Story

20 July, 2020

How to reduce embedded wind noise in your audio

Wind noise is the bane of audio recording. Here are some tips on how to reduce it using the tools already in your NLE.                              ...

Read Story

10 July, 2020

VCA Faders: One simple thing that can make your audio mixing much easier

Replay: If you often end up with layer upon layer of audio, how do you make easy sense of it when it comes to mixing? Tim Dunphy takes us through the...

Read Story