Ice Cream Van

Now here’s a sound I haven’t heard for a while – an ice cream van

The chirping of the local sparrows start off the clip, then as the van comes round the corner the kids get excited and the honky tonk sound starts

I’m not sure if this is a genuine mechanical ice cream van seriously off tune or a recording of one. It has an odd combination of honky tonk untuned notes combined with what sounds like really rough distortion at the end, but the recording is not over 0dBFS and not so close as to compress the OKMII mics

Ain’t the web a wonderful thing. Apparently these have always been electronically amplified. They used to use a Swiss musical box amplified by vacuum tubes (valves) as long ago as the 1950s. Nowadays the amplification is electronic, and, ideally, output using Grampian Horn narrowband speakers aimed at the road surface. The Swiss clockwork has long been replaced by an electronic chip to synthesise the tunes. Beats me what is wrong with a CD of the music box – you could have up to 99 different chimes that way. However, that isn’t the way it’s done. Thanks to Tom at MusicThing for the heads up

from 25 June 2006