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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old July 30 2015, 05:05 AM   #1
Wingsley
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TOS Control Sound FX - Why the Change?

Throughout most of the original STAR TREK series, the sound effects used for buttons, switches and other controls aboard Federation spacecraft sounded essentially the same. There seemed to be an established kind of musical vocabulary to the sounds made when many controls were used whether it was stations of the Bridge, Engineering, or the Transporter Room of the Enterprise or even some controls aboard a shuttlecraft.

Then, partway through the show's third year, this set of sound effects changed considerably. It was no longer as musical as before, and it sounded much more like touch-tones than the previous set did.

There was another change: buttons without the melodic sound effects, which typically had a "snap" sound effect applied to them, were given a newer sound effect I can a "button" effect, right from the beginning of the show's third year.

Why did all of these sound effects change?

What was the first episode of TOS Year 3 to use the "new" touch-tone-like sound effects?

Where did all of these control panel sound effects originate from?

Why didn't the TOS producers simply stick to the first set of sound effects for consistency?

It is interesting that TOS-oriented fan films such as "The Tressaurian Intersection" and "Fairest of Them All" mix the two sets of sound effects together.
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Old July 30 2015, 11:26 AM   #2
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Re: TOS Control Sound FX - Why the Change?

Does this change correspond with Bob Justman leaving the show?
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Old July 30 2015, 12:16 PM   #3
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Re: TOS Control Sound FX - Why the Change?

I'm fascinated not to have noticed the change in sound effects. Good ear!
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Old July 30 2015, 05:06 PM   #4
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Re: TOS Control Sound FX - Why the Change?

Although it was a very long time ago I do recall it eventually dawned on me that the control sound f/x did indeed change during the third season. It is distinctly different and I never understood or heard an explanation as to why they were changed. It certainly would have made more economical sense to continue using the original set of sounds (which to this day I still prefer).
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Old July 30 2015, 05:27 PM   #5
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Re: TOS Control Sound FX - Why the Change?

I did not recall this. Anyone know why it occurred?
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Old July 30 2015, 06:27 PM   #6
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Re: TOS Control Sound FX - Why the Change?

^ Echoing my O.P.

Anyone have any ideas?
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Old July 30 2015, 06:40 PM   #7
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Re: TOS Control Sound FX - Why the Change?

My first thought was perhaps many of the original sound elements were damaged or lost and thus new ones were needed, but I have no knowledge to support that notion.
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Old July 30 2015, 07:30 PM   #8
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Re: TOS Control Sound FX - Why the Change?

Warped9 wrote: View Post
My first thought was perhaps many of the original sound elements were damaged or lost and thus new ones were needed, but I have no knowledge to support that notion.
Unlikely as many of the sound elements were in fine enough shape to survive to 1978 when this album was first released.

Wingsley wrote: View Post
^ Echoing my O.P.

Anyone have any ideas?
As Maurice astutely inquired, did the change occur in conjunction with the departure of Bob Justman? If memory serves, he was largely involved with running the final mix/playback of the episodes in post-production, including sound and music mixing.

If the change in the use of effects does match Justman's exit, it's highly likely whoever took over making final decisions about sound mixing elected to use different sound effects.
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Old July 30 2015, 07:47 PM   #9
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Re: TOS Control Sound FX - Why the Change?

The next logical question would be:

When did Justman leave TOS? Was his departure times with a specific episode?
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Old July 30 2015, 07:53 PM   #10
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Re: TOS Control Sound FX - Why the Change?

Justman resigned in the third season after working on the first fifteen episodes. Not sure, off the top of my head, which episode was his last.

EDIT: Just looked it up. Justman's final TOS episode was "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield." The first produced without him was "Whom Gods Destroy."
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Old July 30 2015, 09:26 PM   #11
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Re: TOS Control Sound FX - Why the Change?

Justman sent Roddenberry his resignation letter on October 3, 1968, after That Which Survives wrapped photography.

http://startrekfactcheck.blogspot.co...etter.html?m=1

Presumably, his involvement in mixing ceased a few episodes prior to that in production order.

When did the sound effects change?
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Old July 31 2015, 01:38 AM   #12
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Re: TOS Control Sound FX - Why the Change?

The new "button" sound can be heard only in third-season (all of the season) episodes.

As for the "new" touch-tone-like control panel sounds replacing the "older", somewhat more musical sounds:

The "old" sounds can be heard in these third-year episodes:

Spectre of the Gun (about 90% sure on this one)
Elaan of Troyius (100% sure on this one)
The Paradise Syndrome (100% sure on this one)
The Enterprise Incident (100% sure on this one)
Spock's Brain (100% sure on this one)

Off the top of my head, I can't be sure about "And the Children Shall Lead", but I'm at least 70% sure that one used the "new" sounds.

I am 100% sure that "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" used the "new" sounds, as did the rest of the third year of the show. The only other one I'm not clear about is "Day of the Dove". For some reason, I keep thinking the sound effects are a mixture of "new" and "old", although the only sounds I remember from it are "new".

I don't have access to any of these eps right now, so I can't verify any of iffy ones.
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Last edited by Wingsley; July 31 2015 at 01:45 AM. Reason: typo correction
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Old August 1 2015, 10:00 PM   #13
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Re: TOS Control Sound FX - Why the Change?

Well, re Starship Exeter's TTI episode, the reason the sound are "mixed" is because Ralph Miller has a fairly complete TOS sound library and he laid all those sounds in there, and I doubt he was even aware that there was a point at which someone started using effects B instead of effects A.
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Old August 1 2015, 10:19 PM   #14
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Re: TOS Control Sound FX - Why the Change?

The season 3 sound effects also turn up in Star Trek V in the shuttle! (in addition to sound effects from 2001).

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Old August 2 2015, 12:16 AM   #15
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Re: TOS Control Sound FX - Why the Change?

^On the bridge too.
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