Created By: Melkior on August 12, 2013 Last Edited By: Melkior on October 23, 2013

Reproduced Sound Sounds Live

Artificially reproduced sounds are treated as though they sound the same as when live

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Who is The Ditz on "Mrs. Brown's Boys" who mistakes live sound for phone sound in a recent episode? (I don't watch the show but I saw the preview advert with this incident)

In real life, it's usually quite easy to tell when a sound is being reproduced artificially, such as through a loudspeaker. This is mostly because of the inherently limited bandwidth and dynamic range in artificial reproduction. In fiction, people can't tell the difference.

Can be a subverted trope with some modern sound equipment which is capable of reproducing sounds almost perfectly. This trope only applies if the method of sound reproduction would not normally be expected to produce an adequate simulation of live sound. A subversion can be listed here, but the reason why it's a subversion needs to be provided.

Usually used for Rule of Funny but can be used for drama, especially if subverted by high quality sound equipment.

Compare with We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future for the visual version of this trope.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • Memorex had a TV commercial claiming that recordings on their tapes were practically indistinguishable from the originals. "Is it live or is it Memorex?" was their tagline.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Detective Conan relies on this as part of its main premise. Conan uses the Professor's device to change his voice to sound like other people, who he usually knocks unconscious while pretending the voice came from them. This is how he reveals the solution to mysteries. Not only is the voice electronically reproduced, it wouldn't even be coming from their mouth, which isn't moving anyway (unless he's imitating the Professor, who cooperates by moving his mouth).

    Comic Books 
  • In one Archie Comics story, Reggie is tricked by Archie and Jughead into believing that a parking meter is talking, by using a walkie-talkie taped to the opposite side.

    Film 
  • An aversion was used as a plot point in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. The Enterprise has to respond to a Klingon hail in Klingon; they can't use the Universal Translator because it would sound fake.
  • In both Predator and Predator 2, the title creature used alien technology to reproduce human voices and the humans who heard it couldn't tell the difference.
  • In Bolt, when Bolt believes that Penny has been kidnapped, he tries to follow what he believes is her calling for help but is actually a recording being played over and over again by a sound editor. (May be an aversion depending on the quality of the equipment used).

    Literature 
  • The Sherlock Holmes story "The Mazarin Stone" has Holmes trick the villain into thinking Holmes is playing the violin in another room. In reality, Holmes is hiding in the same room as the villain and the music is coming from a phonograph.
  • In Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code, Artemis uses a recording of the voice of Jon Spiro to fool a voice-encoded security system. The narration notes that the security system wouldn't have been fooled if the recording had been made with human technology, but Artemis has access to fairy technology which is decades ahead of anything humans could invent.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: In the Barber Sketch, a barber doesn't trust himself to cut the hair of a customer without killing him so he uses a tape recorder of cutting sounds and Small Talk while he hides in a corner. The customer doesn't notice until he turns to talk to the barber face-to-face.
  • Batman: Alfred fills in for a missing Batman by wearing the costume and using a voice synthesizer while standing far away and yelling. Robin explains that Batman has a cold and doesn't want to spread it.
  • An episode of Warehouse 13 had Pete and Myka tracking Paracelsus in a morgue by the sound of his voice, which to viewers had a noticeably distorted quality. When they finally found the source, it turned out he was talking to them remotely using an artifact.
  • There is a justified example in the Doctor Who episode "The Time Meddler": The Meddling Monk makes it appear that a room is full of singing monks. Since it's done through a closed door and in the Middle Ages, before anyone would know what an electronic voice is, it's believable that ordinary people would think that the singing is real.

    Video Games 
  • The Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth game, case 4, Turnabout Reminiscence, features a high-quality video cassette recording of a gunshot (supposedly security camera footage) that is played on a TV with the volume maxed out, and somehow the sound is never challenged as a recording until Edgeworth brings up the idea. It was used to make people think that the murders occurred when they heard the shot.

    Western Animation 
  • In an episode of The Simpsons Bart gets a Bland-Name Product version of Mr. Microphone, where you speak into a mic and it comes out a nearby radio. He uses it to prank people, eventually making them think that a young boy had fallen down a well.
Community Feedback Replies: 39
  • August 12, 2013
    RandomSurfer
    • In an episode of The Simpsons Bart gets a Bland Name Product version of Mr. Microphone, where you speak into a mic and it comes out a nearby radio. He uses it to prank people, eventually making them think that a young boy had fallen down a well.
  • August 12, 2013
    randomsurfer
    • Monty Pythons Flying Circus: In the Barber Sketch, a barber doesn't trust himself to cut the hair of a customer without killing him so he uses a tape recorder of cutting sounds and Small Talk while he hides in a corner. The customer doesn't notice until he turns to talk to the barber face-to-face.
    • Batman: Alfred fills in for a missing Batman by wearing the costume and using a voice synthesizer while standing far away and yelling. Robin explains that Batman has a cold and doesn't want to spread it.
  • August 12, 2013
    arromdee
    Detective Conan relies on this as part of its main premise. Conan uses the Professor's device to change his voice to sound like other people, who he usually knocks unconscious while pretending the voice came from them. This is how he reveals the solution to mysteries. Not only is the voice electronically reproduced, it wouldn't even be coming from their mouth, which isn't moving anyway (unless he's imitating the Professor, who cooperates by moving his mouth).
  • August 13, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Aversion used as a plot point in Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country. The Enterprise has to respond to a Klingon hail in Klingon; they can't use the Universal Translator because it would sound fake.
  • August 14, 2013
    Melkior
    I'm now looking for some hats, although I'm sure there must be more examples.
  • August 17, 2013
    Melkior
    Changed the trope title to better reflect the trope.

    Also weekend bump for examples and hats.
  • August 21, 2013
    Melkior
    Another bump for examples.
  • August 21, 2013
    MetaFour
    Memorex had a TV commercial claiming that recordings on their tapes were practically indistinguishable from the originals. "Is it real or Memorex?" was their tagline.
  • August 21, 2013
    Orcaalien
    Two non-funny examples:
    • In Bolt, when Bolt believes that Penny has been kidnapped, he tries to follow what he believes is her calling for help but is actually a recording being played over and over again by a sound editor.
    • An episode of Warehouse13 had Pete and Myka tracking Paracelsus in a morgue by the sound of his voice, which to viewers had a noticeably distorted quality. When they finally found the source, it turned out he was talking to them remotely using an artifact.
  • August 22, 2013
    Arivne
    Film
    • In both Predator and Predator 2, the title creature used alien technology to reproduce human voices and the humans who heard it couldn't tell the difference.
  • August 22, 2013
    ChunkyDaddy
    Hmm. Are modern forms of sound playback a Trope Breaker for this trope. Nowdays, it's hard to tell a voice that comes from the computer speakers is almost indistinguishable froma live voice. Surround sound systems can produce a very faithful reproduction of music played in a concert.

    So, does this trope apply only to works where the characters are suppossed to distinguish artificially produced sound from live sound, but they don;t because it suits the script? or does it apply to all works?
  • August 23, 2013
    Melkior
    Good point. Time to update the description.
  • August 23, 2013
    Medinoc
    • Home Alone both plays it straight and averts it: the movie with Johnny and Snakes has dialogue good enough to fool both the pizza delivery man and the Wet Bandits, but in the latter case Kevin uses real firecrackers for the machinegun fire.
  • August 23, 2013
    arromdee
    I don't think the Simpsons example counts. That's not making the electronically reproduced voice sound like a live voice, but sounding like a radio, which doesn't have the same problems as making it sound like a live voice.

    In the Doctor Who episode "The Time Meddler", a justified example: the Meddling Monk makes it appear that a room is full of singing monks. Since it's done through a closed door and in the Middle Ages, before anyone would know what an electronic voice is, it's believable that ordinary people would think that the singing is real.
  • August 23, 2013
    m8e
    ^Bart threw a radio(or walkie-talkie?) down the well and uses the Mr. Microphone to make it sound like somebody is down there.
  • August 23, 2013
    SharleeD
    Isn't this pretty much We Will Not Use Photoshop In The Future as it applies to audio?
  • August 23, 2013
    ChunkyDaddy
    Ok, so with your updated description, Predator and Bolt are aversions because the trope doesn't apply in those scenarios
  • August 23, 2013
    maxaxle
    Ace Attorney Investigations (the game) features a high-quality video cassette recording of a gunshot (supposedly security camera footage) that is played on a TV with the volume maxed out, and somehow the sound is never challenged as a recording until Edgeworth brings up the idea.

    EDIT: The case name is Turnabout Reminisce, wikia link here: http://aceattorney.wikia.com/wiki/Turnabout_Reminiscence
  • August 24, 2013
    Melkior
    I updated the description again because according to my understanding, subversions and inversions of tropes are allowed on the page for the trope. In fact, I believe that the rules specifically say that you shouldn't create a trope page which is all subversions or inversions.
  • August 25, 2013
    Melkior
    Bumping for hats and discussion. I think we have enough examples for a launch. This is a chance to bring up anything about the trope which you find unclear.
  • August 25, 2013
    ralphmerridew2
    Averted in an episode of Murder She Wrote: A dog whistle's sound wasn't reproduced.
  • August 26, 2013
    Melkior
    ^ Too close to a Zero Context Example. Why wasn't the dog whistle sound reproduced? Was it live but someone thought it was reproduced? Did someone try to reproduce it but fail because of sound equipment not up to the task? What was the evidence that the sound existed (or didn't exist) in the first place?
  • August 28, 2013
    Melkior
    Hats please, people.
  • September 9, 2013
    Melkior
    Post-weekend bump for hatting (and examples if you have more).
  • September 14, 2013
    PapercutChainsaw
    The Sherlock Holmes story "The Mazarin Stone" has Holmes trick the villain into thinking Holmes is playing the violin in another room. In reality, Holmes is hiding in the same room as the villain and the music is coming from a phonograph.
  • October 8, 2013
    Melkior
    Pre-launch bump just in case someone wants to either add a hat or object to the launch.
  • October 9, 2013
    pawsplay
  • October 9, 2013
    Melkior
    ^ Why? Is it unclear? If so, maybe Reproduced Sound Sounds Live should be the name? Whatever, you need to at least say why you think it needs a better name and possibly suggest one.
  • October 9, 2013
    Skylite
    • In Real Genius, Mitch and Chris put a transistor in one of Kent's fillings, and spoke to him through it. He heard the transmitted voice as if in the same room with him; Mitch told him it was God.
  • October 9, 2013
    pawsplay
    It needs a better name because if you read it literally, you don't get this trope at all. Ugh, Improbable Audio Quality Deception.
  • October 10, 2013
    Melkior
    ^ That's a bit clumsy but it does describe the trope better. Anyone else have a better suggestion?
  • October 10, 2013
    pawsplay
    Ok, let's see if I can come up with something a bit more refined. Audio Playback Gambit?
  • October 10, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Namespaced and italicized some examples + linked the examples to their respective pages.
  • October 13, 2013
    Melkior
    I've changed the title to Reproduced Sound Sounds Live for now, since that describes the trope better.
  • October 13, 2013
    Astaroth
    • In Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code, Artemis uses a recording of the voice of Jon Spiro to fool a voice-encoded security system. The narration notes that the security system wouldn't have been fooled if the recording had been made with human technology, but Artemis has access to fairy technology which is decades ahead of anything humans could invent.
  • October 23, 2013
    PhantomDusclops92
    Every talking doll ad ever. In the commercial, their voices sond live. In reality? Very crispy audio.
  • October 23, 2013
    Folamh3
    Maybe compare Rule Of Perception?
  • October 23, 2013
    j21
    • In the Tintin album The Black Island, Tintin mistakes the sound from a television for some commotion occurring in an adjoining room. (TV was still quite new at that point, however, so it is somewhat justified that he wouldn't be used to the sound of canned speech).
  • October 23, 2013
    Generality
    Another Doctor Who example:

    • In "The Empty Child", the characters fail to notice that a tape recording has run out, and the voice they're hearing is from the actual child and not the tape.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=5hwhnue0b3k8b9zy1kjlc2cg