This is one of the coolest uses of the Internet I've seen in a long time (ob. Obi-Wan: ...a long time.) In any case, the Silophone is a combination of art, architecture, audio, acoustics and (damn, no word with a) the Internet. No, wait, an application server! Anyway.

It is constructed (physically) in Montreal, Canada's Old Port. There is a silo there (actually a collection of 'em) and this one in particular is named, unimaginatively, Silo #5. What the artists/hackers have done is to run an internet connection to the silo, and inside it place a server that does two things:

  • Allows anyone on the internet to upload sound files and have them played on large speakers, and
  • Simultaneously broadcasts a RealAudio stream from the middle of the silo.
The result, of course, is that you can listen to really cool acoustic effects on your computer with the sound file of your choice. They limit you to .mp3 and .wav formats, and 1MB in size. I think the server can play a few sounds simultaneously in cases of heavy use. The construction of the silo causes any sound heard inside to have a resonance time (echo length) of over twenty seconds.

Silophone's website is at For information on the history of the silo and the project, check it out. It's really addictive; although I spent around an hour playing it myself, I've become fascinated with the stream of random audio that internet users find echo-worthy, and have just left the RealPlayer window up. You can optionally have the system save your soundfiles so that others can try them; there are around 7,700 sounds on the thing as of today (7/14/01).

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