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4.4 out of 5 stars16
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on 19 August 2014
A few dreary and carping reviews here. Surprisingly, because this book brilliantly achieves what it clearly sets out to do - that is to share and instil a sense of wonder in the strange and little discussed world of sound phenomena.
If Professor Cox had wanted to produce a fusty academic tome, no doubt he could have done so. But his book imparts lots of acoustic scientific facts and hypotheses in an easy to understand and fun-to-read style. He easily imparts his enthusiasm for the subject. And enthusiasm isn't a commodity you see every day, in my experience.
Prof. Cox also lightly (and I think accurately) explores our perception of sound and noise and how and why we react the way we do.
He also stakes his claim for the "most embarrassing parent of the year" award as he (tongue firmly in cheek) describes how his family have (perhaps unwillingly) shared in his investigations of some unusual acoustic phenomena.
It had me chuckling, anyway!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 17 April 2015
As other reviewers have noted this book isn't totally "scientific" but as it obviously aimed at the general reader then there is no harm in that. Having said that there is still some science in here with some useful if basic illustrations and graphs which help demonstrate some of the theories explained within but on the whole this is an exploration of various sound effects, both natural and man-made, around the world and the causes of these phenomena. On the whole this is an interesting and diverting journey but a couple of things let the book down for me somewhat. The author is obviously at great pains to appear as a "man of the people", wearing his expertise lightly but sometimes the humour he injects into certain passages just seems crass and unnecessary. Yet in almost direct contradiction to this at the start of the book states phrases such as "...experts in architectural acoustics like me..." and refers to himself as being amongst "other" acoustic experts and details some of the great works he has done, almost to establish his bonafides which to me just comes across as a bit big headed. In reality he needn't be so obvious in proclaiming his authority on the subject - this is obvious as we go through the book - and to be fair after the first few pages this lessens so maybe this is just a quirk that slightly annoys me alone. Having said all that my criticism may be a bit harsh as this book is very well worth reading and once you have finished it you will go around with your ears just that little bit more wide open and you might just be amazed at what you might hear.
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Trevor Cox is an acoustic engineer and his passion for sounds of all kinds comes over loud and clear in this fascinating exploration of some of the sonic wonders of the world and the mysterious sounds that the natural world often produces. He points out that sound is often ignored or blocked out when it becomes a nuisance but in fact we should pay attention and celebrate sound and thus become better listeners. His study is wide-ranging and covers a wealth of topics, from physics to music to neuroscience. Most of the time he manages to make often difficult science at least reasonably accessible – although I must admit he lost me at times. A website accompanies the book, so the reader can hear some of the sounds Cox talks about, but this is definitely a book that cries out to be produced with hyperlinks – it would have so enhanced my reading if I could have heard what I was reading about as I read it. However, given the limitations of writing about sound, Cox does an excellent job of making an abstruse subject comprehensible and if his aim is to make his readers more aware of the world around them, then he’s certainly succeeded with this particular reader.
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on 25 February 2014
Trevor Cox's book is full of interesting facts about the aural world, amusing anecdote and tales of wriggling into very tight spaces.
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on 26 March 2014
For anyone interested in the applications of sound and (latterly) some awareness of acoustics, this book gives a wealth of examples, explained and described in an easy-to-follow format. It considers both the natural and built environments - giving food for thought for the full spectrum of readers, from naturalist to architect.
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on 25 July 2014
A totally different way of looking at sounds, from an acoustic engineer who not only thinkg and tries to understand some of the acoustic marvels of nature, but can explain them well. A thoroughly fascinating read, and give you a lot to think about, and to look out for yourself.
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on 20 June 2014
Excellent journey of interesting sounds and strange sounding rooms all over the world! Interesting for all "new ears", but still correct enough for academics!
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on 18 March 2014
This is really a very interesting read and obviously Trevor is a very important authority on this subject, reflected in his writing. Well worth a look.
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on 17 March 2014
Weird and wonderful soundscapes across the world with clear explanations of how and why. Training for my ears and brain to listen and appreciate sounds wherever I am. A delight.
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on 13 January 2015
Fascinationg book putting a completely different perspective on sound. I sent it to my bother in law as apresent
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