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.
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- 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).
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.