Mechanical Typewriter is a royalty-free collection of recordings of an old mechanical typewriter, specifically a Royal 10. The Royal 10 started production in 1914, but that variant has two glass panels on each side. They later switched to one panel on each side (which is what this has), and no one seems quite sure when this change happened. This Typewriter is likely from roughly the 1920’s-30’s, but that’s a guess. It did not suffer the same fate as the cash register, as I didn’t really want to destroy something this old (and the cash register had the excuse of being beyond repair).
I found the typewriter at a yard sale, and it was in remarkable condition for its age. I’ve always wanted to record an old non-electric typewriter, so I grabbed it.
The recordings include everything that moves on the typewriter. Isolated keystrokes, keystrokes soft enough not to advance the carriage, platen rotations, carriage return lever at various line spacings, bell, continuous typing, spinning ribbon spools, switches etc. Included are 74 files recorded in stereo at 24-bit, 96kHz, totaling 45 minutes.
All the sounds in the library were recorded in XY stereo, as that is how I do about 90% of my recording. Being XY, they can be mixed to mono with no issues, if that better suits your needs. The mics were place about the same distance from the typewriter as one’s head would be when using it, presenting the most natural image. As with my other libraries, the sounds have no processing applied except cleanup. Many of the sounds (particularly the typing “clacks”) have large dynamic range and need limiting or compression, but I left them alone, so you can choose how to do this.
When I was first experimenting with how I would record the thing, I assumed that contact mics would result in really cool sounds. When I actually started experimenting, however, I found that, no matter where I placed them, they resulted in very underwhelming material. In the end, I included no contact mic recordings in this library. That’s the annoying thing about contact mics, they never do quite what you expect…
I almost never have a low-cut filter enabled when I record, as this allows me to keep the bass should I want to, or remove it easily in software when editing. As such, in some of the files, there is noticeable low-end rumble from vibrations traveling up the mic stand (despite the shock mount). While I could have removed this in seconds, I chose not to, as, when working with the sounds, I quite liked having it there when I was doing some design stuff. Outside of weird design usage, if you simply want clean typewriter sounds, these frequencies can be low-cut out very easily.
The following demo does contain limiting in order to keep the loudness of the various recordings somewhat even, but rest assured, this is only for the demo.
Here’s a demo showing some random sounds I made while playing with sounds from this typewriter library. These sounds are not included with the library itself, but they are a decent example of turning mundane sounds into something else entirely. While some include sounds that are not part of this library, they all involve something from this library on some level.
74 stereo files at 24/96, 45 minutes, 1.55GB (1.07GB download)
Includes PDF, CSV, and XLSX track lists
All photos by Herschel Matthews