Sometimes its nice to sit somewhere in SL where the crickets sign softly while the particle fireflies make patterned circles about your head without worries of snorting one up your nose. Maybe you prefer to take your ambiance alone, or perhaps with a friend or partner - however you want it - its available in numerous sims.
I love scenery. I like land that's actually landscaped and not just flat and green. The builders/estate owners that have gone the extra step to add their own texture to the ground get a big thumbs up from me. I like to hop from pose ball to pose ball in the gazebos that seem to be plentiful waterfronts ... but I confess I have to do all this with the sounds off.
Think of all the random background .wav files that are slapped into objects. Earlier I stood next to an 8' tall waterfall (approximately) and it sounded like an A-10 was taking off near my head. And I *know* what an A-10 sounds like taking off, people!
I understand that these things aren't silent in the real world. In fact many waterfalls are so loud and have so much force that they nearly knock you over. However, the small ones in which I am referring should not be that loud. It seems you get one of two sounds in the "Waterfall o' Doom" so your choices are limited. You get the "A-10 Taking off in your face" or the "Beer Piss". Its either loud and roaring, or just an annoying trickle. W T F
It doesn't stop there, though. That horrible HOWWLLLL that we all probably have somewhere in our gesture cache is also a 'background' noise. Why on earth anyone with a beach house would feel the need to have a random "HoWwwwLLLLlll" going off every few minutes is beyond me .. but I tell you the truth. So now you have a fighter jet, drunk hobo, and a cartoon wolf all within earshot. Oh, but it gets better.
I've noticed that many sounds have been 'remixed' in that they aren't the exact sounds in every object that is similar. Does someone sell 'annoying background loops' on SLexchange? And if they do - why has no one made some that involved more variety in the sounds? On any given summer night I can open a window and hear many of these sounds - except the waterfall - and there is no pattern to these sounds. The sounds in SL are more of a drone than anything.
White noise schmight noise - how do these sounds create a mood at all? I know it would probably be really boring to build a great waterfall and have no sound in it ... but to me its worse to have a beautiful waterfall or lagoon with frogs that croak with a sonic boom or if your waterfall sounds like the rumble of train tracks.
So do these loops help set a mood, or do they break them? Well if used correctly I could see how they could help enhance the visuals, but it seems so rare that the sounds are used in this way. There are so many sounds that just aren't a part of SL that maybe should be. Like doorbells. I know its pretty pointless to have a doorbell or even doorbell sound in sl (other than the ding ding you get when you get an IM) but wouldn't it be great if we could modify our SLounds? Instead of the default ding ding if it were to make a different sound. Man something, ANYTHING to kind of switch it up!
I'd like to know just how many people actually turn their ambient and sound features way down or even off in order to escape the ear drum barrage that's included in so many builds. Better yet - if LL insists on giving us options that no one really wants until everything else is more stable - why don't they offer more customizable UIs? Why can't we change the sound of our IM notification? Why can't we change the 'clunk' that we hear when we right click an object?
It just feels as if the sound loops are overdone - or maybe they aren't done enough since (as far as I know) no one has taken steps to remake any or better them in some way. I do know that I've had quite enough of ponds that sound like flushing toilets, splashy pool water that sounds like a killer whale is doing a belly flop, howling, owls louder than cars ... the list could go on and on.
Is this a new form of metaversal sound pollution or do I just have over sensitive ears?