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Reasonably Sound

47 EpisodesProduced by Reasonably SoundWebsite

A podcast about sound by Mike Rugnetta

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45: The World Remade

August 19th, 2019


On flailing in the rising tides, as well as the ecological impact of vinyl records and digital music streaming.


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44: Vrooms And The Lack Thereof

February 7th, 2019


What if your car’s engine could sound like anything?
Find full show notes, with research links, at

43: Hold, Please

September 24th, 2018


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Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line. A customer service representative …

42: The Oddest Thing in the Universe

July 30th, 2018


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Life, The Universe, and A Small, Yellow Leechlike Fish --

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41: A Not So Quiet Place

May 14th, 2018


Exposure to noise pollution has serious health risks, and disproportionately affects …

40: Helpful Mom Voices

February 27th, 2018


On the pursuit of making machines talk, and the quality of digital assistants’ voices.

Find full show notes, with research links, at

39: Automated Copywrongs

January 15th, 2018


Or: Do Androids Dream of Pitch Shifted Music?
We talk about the algorithmic enforcement of copyright, how it works and why we have it. We talk to …

38: Why Are There No New Christmas Songs?

December 23rd, 2017


As of Recording, Wham’s “Last Christmas” was predicted to be the UK #1 Christmas single, but the honor officially went to Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” (not …

37: Boo Who?

November 22nd, 2017


RS Live at Caveat NYC, Dec 2nd 2017:

An examination of when, and why, we boo and some encouragement to maybe boo a bit more.

• Dan Rebellato, ‘B is for Booing’ -

36: Put 'Em Together

October 20th, 2017


“The custom of showing one's pleasure at music by immediately following it with a noise, usually by clapping but sometimes also by the drumming of …

RM02: A Reasonably Sound "Mission Statement"

January 28th, 2017


"Ruminations" (RM) are short[-er] episodes, lightly edited, on topics nonetheless worth discussing.

In this Rumination, I talk for a few minutes about what I want to try to do with Reasonably Sound, and why I think sound …

35: What 2016 Sounded Like

December 30th, 2016


It's the end of 2016, so we'll do the thing one tends to do around this time of year: look back. In this episode, a few bits of audio revelry from the End of 2014 episode return, you can get some insight into what kinds …

34: For Whom The Whistle Blows

December 12th, 2016


This episode contains offensive language.
In this episode of Reasonably Sound we talk about how it is that through repetition, seemingly innocuous sounds come to be laden with meaning and can even guide the …

33: The Braaam™

November 21st, 2016


An episode about the type of sound The Inception Sound is, the controversy surrounding that sounds authorship, and how it’s effectiveness is deeply …

RM01: Slerd Speesh

May 6th, 2016


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A quick rumination on why people slur their speech when they're drunk, and a little thinking on what it …

32: Light Dinner Conversation

November 20th, 2015


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This week, it’s the sounds that surround holiday gatherings and rituals. Mike tackles several sonic …

31: I Nonlinear Vocalization. You Nonlinear Vocalization

October 24th, 2015


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THIS WEEK IT’S ALL ABOUT SCREAMS (AAAAA!!!!) Horror and fear screams. It’s not just talking with some extra juice. There is much, much more at work. Physically and …

30: Bits and Chips

October 8th, 2015


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It’s all about nostalgia and limitation as Mike chips away (ahhh?!?!?) at the world of chiptunes music. If you played video games years and years ago, you’ll hear a set of sounds …

29: Acoustic Body

October 1st, 2015


It’s the stethoscope and the sampler as Mike leads us through “the alien nature of [our] own interiors.” In this journey into the sounds of the body, he explores the work of corporeal sonification as music, as well the …

29: Acoustic Body

September 27th, 2015


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It’s the stethoscope and the sampler as Mike leads us through “the alien nature of [our] own interiors.” In this journey into the sounds of the body, he explores the work of …

28: HBD™

September 17th, 2015


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Originally published September 17, 2015

It’s the birthday episode for Reasonably Sound! Celebrating 1 year, Mike dives into why he can’t lead us all in a rousing chorus of that …

27: Peace and White Noise

August 17th, 2015


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Mike is on a brief vacation on Cape Cod. At the beach. Where he considers why the point of the beach isn't really the beach, but instead the strange draw of waves, water and the …

26: Little Night Muzak

August 2nd, 2015


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It's convention season and Mike is on the road for three weeks straight, spending a LOT of time in centers and major hotel chains. And he's noticed how much of his life has …

25: Fetish Character

July 19th, 2015


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Mike explores audience, taste, morality, subjectivity, commodity, and so much more in a pastiche of readings from Theodor W. Adorno, Gawker, Taylor Swift’s Tumblr, Fashionista, …


July 6th, 2015


Mike explores the sonic aspects of fireworks: What is an explosion, and why do they sound the way they do? These questions lead to a breakdown of combustion versus detonation; low explosives versus high explosives; the …

23: The Real Song of the Summer

June 22nd, 2015


It’s the ice cream truck jingle. Even Mike’s hated Mr. Softee one. Mike provides the secret origin of the jingle, touching on the Great Depression, the growth of the American middle class, the Good Humor Man, …

22: Echoic Memory

June 7th, 2015


Echoic memory, how it differs from other kinds of memory, and the definition of sound itself, all on this episode of Reasonably Sound. Plus: Jamiroquai.

21: Road Trip

May 11th, 2015


Mike and Molly (not the TV show) take a road trip and consider Spotify, MTV2, and how we discover music now. (Also: Cover versions, N.W.A., and the …

20: The Drop

April 27th, 2015


That part in dance music, where the music builds and builds and builds and BUILDS before the tension finally, FINALLY, gets relieved? That’s “the drop.” Mike talks about its origin, construction, and application, and …

19: Molly’s Misophonia

April 13th, 2015


Misophonia is, literally, “the hatred of sound.” Molly Templeton has it, and talks to Mike about the noises that trigger it.

-- Molly Online --

18: Play It For All It’s Worth

March 30th, 2015


How much is a song worth? How do you even calculate it? And what do DJ Shadow, Tom Waits, and the Wu-Tang Clan have to do with it? Mike Rugnetta …

17: What Does the Universe Sound Like?

March 16th, 2015


Mike explains how pigeon-lovers Arno Penzius and Robert Wilson found evidence to prove the Big Bang. Find out about hisses, #starstuff, photons, …

16: Active Listening, Eavesdropping, and Surveillance

March 2nd, 2015


Mike navigates the streets, subways, and pizza shops of NYC, and as you listen, ponder whether listening to this episode makes you an active listener, an eavesdropper, or a spy.

15: This Episode Has Subliminal Messages

February 16th, 2015


On this installment of Reasonably Sound, Mike Rugnetta covers subliminal messages and their (lack of) effectiveness with help from BrainCraft’s Vanessa Hill. Chandler Bing is referenced.

-- Find Vanessa --

14: Joe Hanson on Animals, Sound, and Semiotics

February 2nd, 2015


When an animal makes a sound, does that sound have meaning? Mike talks to Dr. Joe Hanson, a biology expert and curator/host of It's Okay To Be …

13: Shopworn Sound Effects

January 19th, 2015


Mike takes you on a tour of the most commonly heard sound effects. And fair warning, when you hear them on this episode, you’ll start hearing them EVERYWHERE. Plus, Mike tells you why sides of beef and planks of wood …

12: The Printing Press and the Great Vowel Shift

January 5th, 2015


What explains the difference between English and American accents? On this episode of Reasonably Sound, Mike Rugnetta explains that this spoken phenomenon starts with the written word.

-- On American versus English …

10: Auditory Illusions

December 8th, 2014


Mike Rugnetta would like to talk with you about auditory illusions (not tricks), specifically the Shepard tone and binaural beats. Use your …

9: On The Road with Mike Rugnetta

November 23rd, 2014


It's a Thanksgiving travelogue with Mike Rugnetta, who, like a bazillion other people, is on the road for the holiday.

8: A440

November 10th, 2014


A440 is not a steak sauce, nor is it a tax form. Rather, A440 hz is the standard tuning for musical pitch. Why is that? The reasons include, but …

7: Taylor Swift’s White Noise

October 27th, 2014


Taylor Swift accidentally released eight seconds of white noise to iTunes, and it went to number one in Canada. Mike Rugnetta offers his take on it, …

6: Sound as a Weapon

October 13th, 2014


Mike Rugnetta and Atlas Obscura‘s Dylan Thuras have a fascinating discussion on the use of sound in war and at what point sound becomes a weapon. Among the topics covered:

- World War I “sound mirrors” (giant concrete …

5: Whisper Quiet

September 30th, 2014


Do you have a favorite sound? Mike Rugnetta has a few:

- A Snapple bottle opening
- An orchestra tuning, with a couple instruments clearly off-key
- A …

4: Snikt!

September 17th, 2014


Mike would like to talk with you about snikt. And sploorp. And butcher some French while he’s at it. Today’s subject is onomatopoeia and the …

3: The Cadillacs of Quiet

September 2nd, 2014


On this episode of Reasonably Sound, Mike Rugnetta considers noise-canceling headphones, whether you use them for cross-country flights or to mute your Simply Red-listening neighbor. He tells you how they work (and …

2: The Voice

August 23rd, 2014


Why does your voice sound like your voice? A lot of reasons, but Mike's interested in the dispersive mediums that impact it. This also leads to the …

1: The Ear

August 23rd, 2014


Mike Rugnetta opens the inaugural Reasonably Sound podcast with an appreciation of the ear, especially the floppy, weird-looking part of it on the …

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