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Q: Sound realted questions ( No Answer,   12 Comments )
Subject: Sound realted questions
Category: Business and Money > Advertising and Marketing
Asked by: lindstrom-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 22 Dec 2003 20:14 PST
Expires: 21 Jan 2004 20:14 PST
Question ID: 289642
I'm looking for two different sound related questions:
1. Microsoft has for years used a start-up sound, as well as general
navigation sound. Would you be able to identify any reports, articles,
statistics on these sounds, the strategy behind them and how they
affect the user?
2. The sales in Bellagio (The Las Vegas casino) when the sound from
the gaming machines was removed - it was therefore decided to
re-introduce the characteristic sound to ensure an increase in gaming.
Any articles on this particular (or similar) events?
3. How does sound in general affect our purchase behavior and
perception of quality? A lot of articles exist on sound related topics
so please ensure that the articles you find covers sounds effect on
our purchase behavior/perception of product quality.

Individual payment will be given according to how many questions are
answered and the relevance of these.

Good luck,

There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Sound realted questions
From: pinkfreud-ga on 22 Dec 2003 22:30 PST
Hi, Martin!

Regarding the audio component of gambling, here are links to several
articles that mention "cashless" slot machines. Apparently the sound
of coins falling has been reintroduced into some of them.

"Slot gamblers at the Suncoast won't have to worry about silver
fingers -- the annoying feeling bettors are often left with after
digging into coin trays to retrieve their winnings.

The majority of the slot machines at the new neighborhood resort
opening near Summerlin as early as Friday will be using a voucher-type
payout system, which executives hope will be more convenient for

Anders  [David Anders, a gaming analyst for Merrill Lynch] noted that
the echoes of coins flowing out of machines is an important part of a
casino's ambience.

'To visitors, that is a casino,' he said. "It generates excitement and
calls attention to the area. It let's people know other people are
winning. 'With cashless slots, I guess you'd hear the buzz of the
printer,' Anders said."

"5/6/2003: Harrah's will introduce cashless slots, a growing trend
among casinos.  The use of vouchers instead of coins significantly
reduces cash handling expenses, but eschews one of the important
sensory attractions of slot machines - the sound of coins hitting the
tray.  To compensate, the paperless machines simulate the clanging
noise while printing the voucher."

"Casinos could become quieter places if International Game Technology
has its way. No more clink, clink, clink of quarters dropping into
change slots.

The slot machine manufacturer has come up with a cashless slot system
that pays off with paper vouchers instead of coins...

The sound of clinking coins may not go away for good, though: EZ Pay
machines have an audio element that imitates the noise of dropping

"On a recent trip to Tunica, Miss., I was struck by all the cashless
slots. While there's certainly something satisfying about coin slots
-- perhaps it's the look and sound of all that money tumbling out of
the machine, or the feel of toting around a plastic cup laden with
coins -- it's certainly easier dealing with a few small slips of
paper. The missing 'spillout spectacle,' meanwhile, is easily
recreated with sounds and lights."

"The Fever" was an episode of the old "Twilight Zone" series in which
a man who is visiting Las Vegas is driven to madness and death by the
sound of a slot machine. In the sound of the falling coins, the man
thinks he hears the machine calling his name, "Franklin," in an eerie,
metallic voice.

"Franklin Gibbs is not happy about his wife winning a trip to Las
Vegas. A drunk gives him a silver dollar and forces him to play a slot
machine. His attitude changes when the machine pays off. He starts to
hear the machine calling to him, and develops a mania to play it. He
plays till his last dollar, which jams when he attempts to play.
Believing the machine purposefully jammed he pushes it over. Later,
back in his room, believing he sees the machine coming for him, he
falls out of his window. The machine rolls up to him on the pavement
and spits out his dollar." 

I hope some of this is useful.
Subject: Re: Sound realted questions
From: leli-ga on 23 Dec 2003 04:42 PST
Hello again Martin

I hope something here will address the last part of your question,
about the relationship between sound and the consumer's perception of

"This discussion recounts the role of psychoacoustics in product
design and product acceptability and notes the results of that work in
metrics for sound quality and consumer/user perceptions about the

"Product Sound Quality ? from Perception to Design"


"Two important rules of user acceptance are that (1) sound is
information, and (2) noise is as much psychology as physics."

A Sound Guide to Product Acceptance"


"The radiated noise characteristics of products are more important
than ever, as consumers have become keenly aware of such issues. The
perception that a quieter, smoother running product is one of higher
quality has become a reality [...]
These subjective interpretations by the consumer affect purchasing decisions"

"Sound Quality for Hard Drive Applications"

"More customers are beginning to make purchasing decisions based on
the sound quality of information technology products rather than the
traditional metrics."

From abstract of:
Acoustical Requirements for Personal Computers


"A World Leader in a Niche Market
Sloan Flushmate
Ming explains, "The sound created when a toilet is flushed is an
important issue for our customers. [...] Ming continues, "We cooperate
closely with toilet bowl manufacturers and the data from our R&D
investigations is widely used in making design recommendations.
Joseph M. Bosman is Sloan Flushmate's Chief Operating Officer. Joseph
explains, "With our products, 'sound perception' is very important.
We can then modify the model to achieve the optimum flushing sound,
and use the jury test facility to play different sounds to a listening
panel and get their subjective opinions"


"Acura has learned that some of the most powerful luxury cues are
almost completely subconscious. One example is the sound of a door
closing. Acura engineers methodically refined the design of the door
sashes of the TSX to reduce high-frequency resonance when the doors
are closed.
The door latches themselves are carefully engineered to latch securely
with a light closing pressure and to emit a quality sound.
Acura engineers also designed a special ?bumping door seal? that
purposefully transmits a certain low-frequency vibration to the door
itself. This desirable vibration is heard as a substantial sound as
the door closes, evoking the impression of substance and quality.
Even tiny details like a door checker - the mechanism that limits the
door?s maximum opening - play a part in perceptions of quality. That?s
why the TSX doors use a new type of checker that lets the door open
more fluidly, yet has a pronounced detent at the intermediate and
maximum open position."

"In designing the Mondeo Ford?s engineers tested everything in minute
detail. The sound of the doors closing was apparently subjected to
customer clinics in order to get the premium sound and feel just

Interesting subject!

Subject: Re: Sound realted questions
From: knowledge_seeker-ga on 23 Dec 2003 06:32 PST
Hi Martin!

Before I start, I?d just like to say (and I know I?m speaking on
behalf of at least several other researchers) that not only are your
questions are absolutely fascinating and fun to work on, but
additionally we really like the way you are handling the payments to
the various researchers who have offered up useful comments. It?s been
a fun and rewarding project all around.

My example stems from my own experience. I recently bought my first
digital camera and was surprised by the lack of ?click? when you press
the button. I was further surprised that I could turn on an artificial
?click? sound to make the camera sound more ?real.?

Now, as a do a quick search online, it seems that that artificial
sound is available in most digital camera models. It?s advertised as a
feature to make the photographer comfortable ?

?Buttons and controls are ergonomically placed to facilitate
operation. And the familiar click of a film-camera shutter sound gives
a positive confirmation an image has been captured.?

Ironically, amongst professional photographers, quiet SLR cameras were
considered to be better than loud clunky ones ? the Leica, with a
reputation for being silent, reigning supreme.

?Leica cameras have a long-standing reputation of being among the
quietest in their class and are often purchased for just this reason. 
Acceptable sound levels are relative to a camera's function and
operating environment.?

So, the fact that we are now adding back sound to what would be
considered the perfect silent camera, says something about our
attachment to the ?click.?

?The sound a camera makes when fired gives us important feedback. 
Many of us have unconsciously learned the sounds our cameras make when
all is well.  If we don't hear that reassuring click, we suspect we've
lost the shot.?

That said, companies do not just add any old click to their digital
cameras. Though you might think they?d all pick, say a Leica, they do
not. Instead they are careful to choose the sound of their own
high-end models. (Could it be that the sound of a ?click? is

Here are some examples ---------

[mind the translation here]
?Because the shutter sound of flag ship machine HEXAR RF of the film
camera of Konica was adopted, taking a picture that there is not a
sense of incompatibility even in the experience to the film camera
either can be enjoyed.?

?The shutter sound effects were styled on the professional Minolta
Maxxum 9 SLR and the legendary Minolta CLE rangefinder 35mm cameras.?

?one of the new "features" of the Revio is that it "accurately
simulates the shutter sound of the ultra-high quality Hexar RF."

Sound has been added to digital camcorders too ?

?Usually, a digital camera makes no sound, as there is no physical
movement of a shutter; however, the Sony digital camcorder/camera
(Figure 3d) mimics the shutter-sound of an analog camera. The physical
sound of this digital camera makes its function visible thereby
satisfying the user through feedback.?

And, in some places, in camera-phones the ?click? sound is mandatory

Camera Phone to Require Shutter Sound From Next Yr

?The only purpose for such a noise, of course, is to alert people
around you that you're taking a picture. In some ways, this seems
silly, and down the road people will look back on this and find it an
amusing historical example of people over reacting to new

Korea Requires Camera Phone To Add Shutter Sound

?Of course the inability to shut the stupid sound off ever is listed
as a "feature"!?


Hope that helps!

Subject: Re: Sound realted questions
From: bobbie7-ga on 23 Dec 2003 09:14 PST
Hi Martin!

?A study entitled The Influence of Background Music on the Behaviour
of Restaurant Patrons by Ronald E. Millman (published in the Journal
of Consumer Research ? Volume 13, 1985) found:

1. Patrons waiting in line for a period of time to be seated were more
likely to leave if fast tempo music was being played

2. The average bar bill for those dining in the restaurant was $30.36
when slow music was played and 29% less ? $21.62 ? when fast music was
played. The total bill average foer meal and drinks was $55.82 with
slow music ? $48.62 with fast. The fast music had thus had a negative
effect on the very profitable bar tab.

3. The study said, "it would appear that inappropriately loud or
ill-suited music could create an avoidance condition."

4. A different study was cited, saying that people spent significantly
less time in supermarkets with loud music than with soft music (Smith
and Curnow, 1966).

5. In a 1982 study, Millman found that, compared to fast-tempo music,
the slow-tempo gackground music produced a significantly slower pace
of in-store traffic flow and a significantly greater sales volume.?

Source: CBC News

The Power Of Music And Its Influence On International Retailbrands And
Shopper Behaviour: A Multi Case Study Approach
By Michael Morrison - Monash University 

Here are four interesting case studies:

Victoria?s Secret

?The atmosphere of the shopping environment can influence customer
attitudes in relation to perceptions of the overall quality of the
store in terms of the uniqueness of the product, service levels and
price (Baker, Grewal and Parasraman, 1994). Victoria?s Secret is a
good example of this phenomenon. Within seconds of entering the store,
you can feel a sense of elegance and style.?


The in-store music provided a perception of richness and grandeur.
Since playing classical music in their stores, there is the belief
that this has contributed to a prestigious store atmosphere, leading
to a customer perception of higher quality in both merchandise and

FAO Schwarz

?The store is composed of specific themes, each with its own unique music?


?Each area demonstrates the power of music in creating the right mood,
excitement and atmosphere. For example, the music playing in the
Barbie section is up-tempo pop, dance and swing, creating a feeling of
fun, fantasy and happiness, whereas, the music in the Star Wars
department is awesome and dramatic - one can?t help but be spellbound
and enthralled. The music drives customers into the store. The music
plays a big part in catching peoples? attention.?


?When you enter the world of Nike you are exposed to total branding.
The Nike brand is everywhere, on door handles, elevator buttons, floor
tiles, store fittings, video screens, interactive kiosks and even the
?Nike stores are multi-sensory retail environments that excite the
senses with lighting effects, video monitors, gigantic pictures of
famous athletes, interactive displays and powerful music.

?The in-store music is high on energy, vibrant, proactive and
uplifting. The current music definitely boosts the store?s environment
and helps to attract the younger urban customer.?

Borders Books

?The focus at Borders Books is aimed at maximising the amount of time
people stay in the store. On entering a Borders Book store you
immediately get the impression that you are invited to relax.?

?The in-store music is designed to maximise customer visit time.
Research has shown that if shoppers stay longer and travel more slowly
throughout the store, they are likely to purchase more.?

?The tempo of the music at Borders Books is slow and relaxed. The
tempo of the music tended to alter customer perception of elapsed time
in the store. This finding supports Milliman?s study (1982) that found
that the tempo of music can effect shoppers? pace of movement around
the store. Shoppers and sales associates indicated that the soothing
nature of music also helped to facilitate discussions about products
and services.?

Monash University: Michael Morrison 

I hope you find this information helpful!
Subject: Re: Sound realted questions
From: bobbie7-ga on 23 Dec 2003 17:43 PST

?Car industries were the first ones to realise the potential of sound,
and Japanese car builders dedicated a very special care until they
could manage their car doors' shutting sound just like a Mercedes


?Back in 1998, there was a Volkswagen's ad that had written on black
letters over a white surface the word ['pfemf]. This is the sound of
the Passat's doors shutting. And it immediately remembers us of
precision, credibility and quality.?


?BRAUN makes hairdryers and shavers. The company managed to make more
silenced hairdryers, stressing their value. But they didn't try to do
the same thing in relation to the shavers. According to BRAUN, clients
were not sure if it shaved properly.?


? IBM made the same mistake in the investigation towards the abolition
of a typewriter's operational noise. The main goal was to reduce noise
at the offices, making them more pleasant places to work in. The 6750
model was released in the 70's but the clients didn't like it; they
didn't know whether the machine was working or not. So, IBM inserted
Piezo electrical discs to reproduce that functional noise. This was
the first product including artificial sound ever, a sound that
imitated the one they took so long to eradicate.?

?In some products, such as video or digital sound recorders,
operational noises have to be as close to non-existent as possible, in
order to interfere not with the recorded sound.?

Pfemf: The sound of objects by Gonçalo Falcão

Subject: Re: Sound realted questions
From: lindstrom-ga on 23 Dec 2003 18:25 PST
Hi pinkfreud-ga,
Thanks for your information - I know it was a hard one but I think you
managed to get there in the very end. Well done. I've left a payment
for you.

All the best from Martin
Subject: Re: Sound realted questions
From: lindstrom-ga on 23 Dec 2003 18:27 PST
Hi Leli,
Thanks for a good piece of work. Yep it's very facinating - I enjoy
the topic to. Once again thanks for your help on this - feel free to
post more stuff if you happen to find more.

I've left a payment for you.

All the best Martin
Subject: Re: Sound realted questions
From: lindstrom-ga on 23 Dec 2003 18:29 PST
Hi knowledge_seeker-ga,
First of all thanks for your kind words - I really enjoy working with
you guys you are doing a fab. job ;)

The stuff you came up with is great - thanks for that. I've left a payment for you.
Keep up the good work.

Subject: Re: Sound realted questions
From: lindstrom-ga on 23 Dec 2003 18:31 PST
Bobby7 my freind,
You've been working hard again. Great stuff - and substantial better
than the first lot you came up with - probably because it has more
"case" related examples for my book.

I've left a payment for you.

Keep up the good work,

Subject: Re: Sound realted questions
From: leli-ga on 24 Dec 2003 01:16 PST
The Microsoft part of your question is a real challenge!

I could only find these bits and pieces about Windows 95.

Here's what the composer of the Windows 95 startup sound, Brian Eno,
said in an interview:

"The thing from the agency said, ``We want a piece of music that is
inspiring, universal, blah- blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic,
sentimental, emotional,'' this whole list of adjectives, and then at
the bottom it said ``and it must be 3 1/4 seconds long.''

"For Eno's project is to provide the soundtrack, and perhaps even the
logic, for 21st-century techno-capitalism; to be chief jingle-writer
for the cybernetic society, soothing our resistance to the future.
He's already in there, at its very heart. Tap through the icons of
Windows 95 to the Sounds file, and you'll get nothing less than "The
Microsoft Sound by Brian Eno". Never mind the sweaty, fleshy lurchings
of the Rolling Stones on the Microsoft TV campaign. This noise - like
the waking murmur of an unimaginable machine intelligence; bloodless,
precise, ending with a discord that hints of different menace - is
what Bill Gates wants the future to sound like. To these ears, it
sounds scary and inhuman."

"The Sound is not something that would be used to open or close a soap
opera, but would probably be used as a subtle "bridge" between scenes.
 It starts with a gentle crescendo, implying a note of completion but
is unresolved and continues, not to a resolution, but sliding into a
statement that repeats and fades into the background.
That particular quality of the Microsoft Sound is what makes it so
disconcerting.  I often wonder if it taps into some deeply hidden
inner child within us.  "

"I was working at Microsoft as an intern engineer and was approached
to write the music for the hidden Windows 95 Easter Egg. This 'Easter
Egg' was tricky to find (click for instructions), but once found it
opened up a window with all the names of who worked on Windows 95,
with my music as the theme.
The general concept of this song was to be "floating and calm",
basically to match the Windows 95 "Clouds" theme. The music was
MIDI-based, and had to sound 'good' on any generic sound card."

Later tunes have been composed by a Microsoft employee, as far as I can tell.

"Eno created the startup sound for Windows 95 (that"Ta da!" thing)
using a Macintosh computer. A guy named Ken Kato composed "The
Microsoft Sound" in use from Win 98 on."

Best wishes - Leli
Subject: Re: Sound realted questions
From: bobbie7-ga on 25 Dec 2003 09:48 PST
Hi Martin!

Here are two articles related to sound and the perception of quality by consumers.

Sound Quality for Hard Drive Applications is important to the consumer
and affects purchasing decisions.

 ?Over the past several years, the hard drive OEM?s have focused on
improving the radiated acoustic noise emitted from drives in response
to the consumer?s demand for improvements.?

?The radiated noise characteristics of products are more important
than ever, as consumers have become keenly aware of such issues. The
perception that a quieter, smoother running product is one of higher
quality has become a reality for the typical OEM today. These
subjective interpretations by the consumer affect purchasing
decisions, and therefore demand the OEMs close attention to such
product attributes.?


From Quality Magazine:

?Car buyers have long been slamming car doors as one way to
subjectively judge the quality of a vehicle. But as overall vehicle
quality has improved, consumers have become more discerning, and the
important acoustic characteristics of a vehicle today go well beyond
the sounds of door slams.?

According to Bob Baker, staff development engineer responsible for
acoustics at the General Motors Technical Center, companies are
looking for other ways to differentiate their products, and are trying
to give the consumer an unusually quiet or pleasing product

?Focus group studies have shown that even though sensitive
instrumentation may measure overall noise levels to be equal within a
vehicle equipped with different acoustic materials packages, consumers
will often prefer one over another. The mix of high and low
frequencies and spectral content within a vehicle can create an
impression that can affect a consumer's feelings about the quality of
the vehicle, researchers say.?


?Luxury vehicles typically feature the best acoustic performance. But
interior noise levels in all classes of vehicles have declined
dramatically over the last couple of decades.?

Paul Riehle, engineering director at Roush Anitrol (Livonia, MI), states:

?A squeak or a rattle that might previously have gone unnoticed, for
example, can suddenly become a problem when the overall vehicle noise
level goes down. And it can negatively impact a consumer's opinion of
vehicle quality. "Some of these noise issues today are primarily a
perceived quality issue, where it's not so much the general noise
level that's there, but you've got this specific thing that's an
irritant to you, and it happens only under certain conditions."

?Automotive interior noise levels declined from an average of 72
decibels in 1980 in a vehicle traveling at 55 mph to 66 decibels in

?Light weight, sound absorbing fibers and foams are replacing
traditional, heavy sound barrier materials in automotive floor and
dash systems.?,6424,98550,00.html+perception+of+sound+levels+in+products+better+quality+low+noise+consumers&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

Best wishes,
Subject: Re: Sound realted questions
From: sublime1-ga on 26 Dec 2003 23:51 PST
Hi Martin...

It just occurred to me while watching TV tonight, that there
is a sensory branding related to sound being currently promoted
by Ziploc, whose latest bags are being advertised as making a
sound as they are closed, which reinforces the sense of security
that the contents are sealed. There is no documentation on the 
internet of this product or the effect of this sensory branding,
as it is just now being promoted, but it is certainly a product
worth watching in relation to this phenomena.

Now that I think of it, Tupperware utilized a similar promotion
in relation to the 'pop' sound made when the lids to its plastic
containers snapped shut.

A quick search on Google for:
tupperware "~snap OR ~pop" sound

...turns up the independent film site, Wine X Magazine,
touting a new film narrated by Kathy Bates, called
Tupperware!, describing it thusly:

"Admit it, there's nothing in the world that can copy
 the brilliant popping sound when you seal a brand new
 Tupperware container. However, most of us have no idea
 how these kitchen products were invented in the first
 place--let alone, how the concept of organizing in-home
 parties around selling this stuff was ever conceived.
 Directed by Laurie Kahn-Leavitt and narrated by actress
 Kathy Bates, Tupperware! digs deep into the real-life
 drama between the two minds that created this empire
 made out of plastic."

The film's homepage further builds on the sound related
to the product in describing the film:

"'Tupperware!'tells the remarkable story of Earl Silas
 Tupper, an ambitious but reclusive small-town inventor,
 and Brownie Wise, the self-taught sales-woman who built
 him an empire out of bowls that burped. Brownie was an
 intuitive marketing genius who trained a small army of
 Tupperware Ladies to put on Tupperware parties in living
 rooms across America in the 1950s"

Food (products) for thought, I hope...  : )


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