Sound Transit, The Flickr for Sound

Sound Transit is a collaborative site where individuals upload high quality audio recordings of every day sounds, called field recordings, together with a short description of the main activity contributing to the recorded sound and their location, city and country.

In some sense, this idea is similar to Flickr, from Yahoo, but uses audio files instead of images. Such audio recordings are called phonographs, and the process of recording them is called phonography.

The wonderful thing about this is the way it suddenly makes you conscious of the wealth of sound around you.

What makes Sound Transit unique is the way it presents these recordings to listeners, which is where the “transit” part of the name comes in. What you do is, similar to booking a airplane ticket, choose a starting country and city, and a destination country and city, and number of stopovers. Then Sound Transit searches its database of phonographs together with their recording locations, and attempts to compile a transit from your starting point to your destination. Usually, more than one transit route can be found and you get presented with a choice of routes, each with a brief description of what you will hear along the route. Once you confirm you selection, an mp3 file is produced that blends the recordings along your route into one continuos sound. You play the mp3 file to begin your audio journey. The audio produced is very high quality stereo, very immersive, so much so that you will be imagining your journey as the audio plays. The variety of sounds you may hear is fascinating, the humdrum of people going about their lives, or technology and machines ticking away, or noisy birds, or water splashing along a beach, or a whale song.

The wonderful thing about this is the way it suddenly makes you conscious of the wealth of sound around you, sounds that you simply ignore during your day, because your brain is too busy thinking, working, or your ears are blocked with earphones pumping music into them.

After hearing a few transits, I found myself immensely quietened, listening out intently to the sounds that were around me. The ongoing transit of life around me.

Give it a try and book a transit now, or listen to a transit booked from New York to Budapest, via Morocco, or another from Russia to India, via Germany. Who knew, you can travel the world in sound. Sound Transit urgently needs your support to stay online. If you enjoy it, please consider making a small donation using the button below.