Former Apple Sound Designer Discusses History Behind 'Sosumi', Mac Startup Tone, and Camera Click

Discussion in 'Mac Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 24, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2001
    #1
    [​IMG]


    In the late 1980s Jim Reekes began working as a sound designer for Apple, creating some of the Mac's most iconic sounds like the "Sosumi" beep, startup chord, and camera/screenshot click. In a new interview with CNBC, Reekes discussed the origins behind each of these sound creations, and what he thinks about the current audio design of Apple devices. Reekes has touched upon these topics before, but they remain interesting for anyone who might not have heard about this part of Apple's history.

    Reekes explained that the reason for the name "Sosumi" began with a lawsuit from The Beatles' record label, also named Apple. At the time, Steve Jobs promised that his company would stay focused on computers and not get involved with music, so that the two similarly named companies could coexist.

    [​IMG]

    After Macs added support for audio recording and MIDI (a standard that connects musical instruments to computers), The Beatles sued and forced Reekes to rename any sound effect that had a "musical-sounding name."

    Reekes' frustration with the lawsuit eventually led him to the name "Sosumi," because it sounded like "so sue me." Today, Sosumi is still available as an alert sound in the Mac System Preferences.
    Reekes also looked back on the Mac's original startup tone, which annoyed him "immensely" because the Mac crashed so many times that it was easy to equate the tone with a frustrating situation. Although he didn't have permission to change it, he recorded a new c-major chord in his living room and used The Beatles song "A Day in the Life" as inspiration.

    [​IMG]
    Jim Reekes and the keyboard he used to record the original Mac startup sound via CNBC


    Eventually, Reekes managed to sneak the sound into the original Macintosh Quadra computer.
    On the topic of startup sounds, Reekes voiced his disappointment in the lack of any startup chimes on most Macs today, and gave his opinion on the company's current overall sound design. "I haven't really seen much interesting audio coming out of Apple for a while," he said. Reekes left Apple in the late 1990s and is now a consultant and "out of the sound design business."


    There are plenty of other tidbits from Apple's sound design history in the interview, including the origins of the camera click heard on Mac screenshots and in the iPhone's camera app, taken from Reekes' old 1970s Canon AE-1. To read more from the interview, visit CNBC's website.

    Article Link: Former Apple Sound Designer Discusses History Behind 'Sosumi', Mac Startup Tone, and Camera Click
     
  2. Relentless Power, Mar 24, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018

    Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2016
    #2
    Interesting article. As strange as it sounds, The Mac start up tone makes me think of Jobs days and its a classic tone of where the Mac was during Apples early years.
     
  3. jonblatho macrumors 6502a

    jonblatho

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2014
    Location:
    Oklahoma/Missouri
    #3
    I’m not sure if he’s heard the watchOS sound effects. I think they’re beautifully done.
     
  4. earthTOmitchel Contributing Editor

    earthTOmitchel

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2015
    Location:
    Louisiana
    #4
    Agreed, the Breathe notification chord especially.
     
  5. AngerDanger, Mar 24, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018

    AngerDanger macrumors 68040

    AngerDanger

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    #5
    If I recall, the series of Macintosh II's startup sound was a tritone—a combination of notes with three steps between them played simultaneously. The tritone is an example of harmonic and melodic dissonance and was called the "devil's interval" by 18th century music theorists due to how off-putting it sounded.

    By contrast, Jim Reekes' C-Major must've been so refreshing to hear.
     
  6. Avieshek, Mar 24, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018

    Avieshek Suspended

    Avieshek

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2013
    Location:
    India
    #6
    What I love & miss the most, is the original iPhone 4s lock-unlock sound effect. It felt so real than digitised or artificial or second version of anything for the feeling.

    It was the skeumorphism of sound.
     
  7. DaRrePorter Suspended

    DaRrePorter

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2018
    #7
    S
    strange is right. Considering Reekes despised the early start up sounds and was doing this while Jobs was ousted from Apple
     
  8. GrumpyMom macrumors 604

    GrumpyMom

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    #8
    Lol that sound IS beautiful but the effect of hearing it is like waving a red cape at a bull for me. I may be the only person on the planet who finds that whole exercise stressful and infuriating. I think it's because it's got the uncanny knack of popping up right when I'm in the middle of something important and can't take the time out for it. So I've come to associate it with all inopportune things like a call from a telemarketer when I'm already answering the doorbell.
     
  9. TwoBytes macrumors 68030

    TwoBytes

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2008
    #9
    What a funny guy. I feel a bit sorry he didn't profit from anything. I like his humour though, maybe he could go into dry standup. I laughed during the interview :)
     
  10. idunn macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2008
    #10
    I quite agree.

    But principally I wished to chime in with an explicit thank you to Jim Reekes. His inspiration and work have added immeasurably to my experience with Apple products. Definitely, thank you.
     
  11. coolfactor macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2002
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC CANADA
    #11
    Enjoy!



    I guess my early Macs rarely crashed, because I only recall hearing that crash sound once.
     
  12. kkamann macrumors regular

    kkamann

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2011
  13. MichaelQ macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2007
    #13
    This whole article from CNBC sounds like a complete ripoff of the Welcome to Macintosh podcast from 28 October 2017, "Let It Beep".
     
  14. mpavilion macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2014
    Location:
    SFV, CA, USA
    #14
    He doesn’t seem to understand difference btw. trademark & copyright (or what it means to register a sound mark), but that’s ok
     
  15. justperry macrumors G3

    justperry

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2007
    Location:
    In the core of a black hole.
    #15


    The PowerMacintosh 6100 crash sound in the video is hilarious.
    .
    .
    .
    .
     
  16. Rocketman macrumors 603

    Rocketman

    #16
    I was hoping the article had a link to the sounds themselves. Oh, well.
     
  17. Marx55 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2005
    #17
    Mac startup sound is a must in many instances, including troubleshooting (single-user mode, verbose mode, safe boot, rebuilding PRAM, booting from other booting drive, etc). Now you can do it if you check out when the Mac display changes from off to on with a bit of light, but that is not visible under normal light environments. It is a real pain in the back. Apple, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
     
  18. nwcs macrumors 68000

    nwcs

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    Location:
    Tennessee
    #18
    Classic sosumi: worst kept secret back in the day. Reminds me of BHA although Sagan lost that lawsuit.
     
  19. macaddict06 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
    Location:
    about 3 meters from here. *points*
    #19
    The problem I have with Apple now is their products lack heart. The little tiny details (like the startup sound) were what Steve obsessed over and gave the products personality.

    The exclusion of the startup chime in new Macs took them from a part of your life to a machine you use when you need it.

    Bring back the heart, Apple. Make the machines mean something to people.
     
  20. mpavilion macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2014
    Location:
    SFV, CA, USA
    #20
    My 2013 iMac has a startup chime – did they remove it after that?

    The problem w/startup chime is if the volume was left high at last shutdown, it will start up w/ear-splitting chime... not good if someone’s sleeping, etc.
     
  21. cl516 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto
    #21
    2015 iMac here, I still get the startup chime.
     
  22. earthTOmitchel Contributing Editor

    earthTOmitchel

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2015
    Location:
    Louisiana
    #22
    Here ya go: https://reekes.net/sosumi/
     
  23. twistedpixel8 macrumors regular

    twistedpixel8

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2017
    #23
    Nope, you’re not alone. Same with the “stand up” thing. I’m almost always really trying to concentrate on some complicated bug (software dev) or trying to remember an important series of steps I need to do and then “bump bump - time to stand!”

    As much as my Apple Watch has done wonders for my cardio, it infuriates me a surprising amount.
     
  24. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #24
    Same with my 2015 MacBook Pro. But, now that I think about it, the 2017 MacBook Pro I was just setting up yesterday for a new work colleague did *not* play a chime - I didn't explicitly notice that, but something just seemed "off". And now with these comments I know why I felt that way.

    I like the chime.
     
  25. twistedpixel8 macrumors regular

    twistedpixel8

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2017
    #25
    Same, I also have it on my 2012 MBP so I’m gonna be sad when the time comes to replace either!
     

Share This Page