Have you ever wondered what an MS Paint file sounds like? How about a PDF file, or how about a whole program? Now you can find out, and it's as simple as 1, 2, 3.
YouTube and SoundCloud user r2blend thought of something quite interesting: What does something that's not an audio file sound like if you run it through an audio processor? The answer: It's some pretty weird-sounding stuff! Here's how you can give it a try.
First things first: Download Audacity (don't worry; it's free). Audacity will let you mix music and sound, as well as import non-audio files or entire programs. Once you install Audacity, you'll want to download the Lame MP3 encoder (and follow these instructions) if you plan to export files as MP3. You can also export to WAV and Ogg Vorgis (an open-source audio format) file types.
Next, you'll want to import the raw PCM data. All you need to do is go to the "Project" tab on the top of the screen in Audacity and click "Import Raw Data." Next, browse to the file you want to use and select it. It can be almost any type of file--.exe, .jpg, .pdf or even .xlsx. Once you've selected your file you'll be able to mess around with a couple different settings, all of which you can change later if you wish.
Once Audacity imports your raw data, you can click play. It'll probably sound like a bunch of random noise, but you can get rid that and make a lot of other tweaks by using the "Effect" tab in the menu bar at the top of the screen. For more information on these tweaks, check out Audacity's site and use the search bar, or visit the Audacity Forum.
With a little ingenuity, you can do this with Paint.exe:
If you thought that was awesome, check out the rest of r2blend's audio files; they're pretty interesting.
James Mulroy is rockin' to the sound of Paint(.exe).
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This story, "The Sound of Music (And Random Data Files and Programs)" was originally published by PCWorld.