Posted by: recordingsofnature | May 4, 2010

Sound of crunched paper – volume calibration

In order to get the highest level of realism when listening to nature recordings, I think it is important to set the volume as close to the original sound as possible. Preferred listening volume, in headphones, is a highly individual preference, so the only way to get the correct setting is to perform a calibration.

Dummy head at desk with paper and pen

Dummy head at desk with paper and pen

Download mp3 crunched paper audio

With  inspiration from the funny sound clip from this page, I got the idea of using things at hand when you are sitting at your desk, namely paper and a pen, to make  well-known sounds at a well known sound level.

Therefore, the following recording is simply made by setting the dummy head with the microphones at a normal head position in front of a work desk (40-50 cm from head to paper). Sitting next to it I produce some sounds; writing with and clicking a pen, wobbling, tearing and crunching a piece of A4 printer  paper. These sound should be possible to reproducible at any desks and thereby allow to adjust the sound level of your headphones accordingly. Having this setting I’m hoping to use this same amplification level for all future sound clips posted here, however it is not yet implemented.

Spectral view of the sound clip

Spectral view of paper sound clip

Spectral view of paper sound clip

As usual playing the audio at reduced speed exaggerates the drama.

Here at 0.25 x speed, downsampled 24 semitones:

Download mp3 0.25x speed



  1. […] standard amplification, so a natural listening volume can be approached by using the calibration in this post. A slight EQ has been applied to compensate for the tooth pick […]


  2. […] Audio sample is 5dB below natural volume when setting the volume as described here. […]


  3. […] of sound clip is at the standard level according to this post. A 45hz low cut and a slight EQ lowering 5-9 khz by 2-4dB has been applied. nature recording […]


  4. […] EQ and conversion to 256 kbs mp3. Sound volume is 5dB below normal listening level, when using this volume calibration. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this […]


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