(Yes, I said "through my ears", not just "into my ears".)

It looks like HTML5 <audio> elements are now used to produce notification sounds in chat. And good heavens have they become startlingly loud.

Please lower the volume of these notifications — or do whatever it is that needs to be done to make it consistent with what it was before the change. I'm not going to extort you with medical bills or insurance or anything if I go deaf or get scared to death from these bloodcurdling pops or dings because I can always bring back my old Packard Bell running Windows Me and IE5, but I can't guarantee the same for other chat users, so please do us all aural users a favor.

  • 6
    Better yet replace the absolutely horrible chat.SE sound with the more gentle chat.SO sound.
    – yannis
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 4:19
  • 1
    And replace the flat-out creepy chat.meta.SO sound as well while we're at it. Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 4:19
  • 5
    – Tim Stone
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 5:55
  • 2
    @Tim Stone: As this theoretically answers the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the link as an answer, and provide the link for reference. Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 6:05
  • Any reason why lowering the volume of your computer doesn't work?
    – user149432
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 6:16
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    @Mark Trapp: I'm not going to lower the volume of my entire system or my entire browser and adjust the volume of everything else for the sake of one or two browser tabs, especially when I never had to until just a day ago. Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 6:19
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    @MarkTrapp The main issues are that the sound has become noticeably louder after the migration to <audio> and that it's a horrible sound to begin with. And what BoltClock said ^^^.
    – yannis
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 6:20
  • 1
    My response that is to provide you another link
    – Tim Stone
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 6:32
  • @BoltClock'saUnicorn To paraphrase an old comedy routine: "Hey doc, it hurts when the volume is all the way up!" "Then don't do that!" If something gets louder, I'm not sure why the go-to answer is "SE fix it fix it fix it fix it." Pressing the lower volume button a couple of times also offers immediate gratification.
    – user149432
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 6:33
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    @MarkTrapp Unless you are also playing some other sound on your computer at the same time. Previously it would be possible to have music playing and also a chat window open. If the chat sound has suddenly in the past day become disproportionately louder, then you can't lower the volume of chat to a comfortable level without making music too quiet to hear.
    – Crashworks
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 6:51
  • @Crashworks Why is your music situation SE's problem? Moreover, why is the fact that BoltClock has his system volume up so loud that it can cause deafness if an un-normalized sound plays SE's problem? Any other website or app and there'd be no question: just lower the volume. It's troubling that we resort as a whole to abuse developer goodwill like this and demand changes for something that is beyond trivial to fix ourselves.
    – user149432
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 6:55
  • A semi-related question: Why is the 'plink' noise in chat not an account setting?
    – thecoshman
    Commented Feb 27, 2013 at 10:41
  • In case this re-occurs I've added an answer to this question that asks for a volume control in chat.
    – rene
    Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 15:35

1 Answer 1


I have (just now, again, only to be sure) tested the flash version and the HTML5 version right next to each other. The new version definitely is not louder. Are you sure your mixer setting don't have the Flash volume lowered, compared to the rest?

Update: Tim Stone just noticed that jPlayer silently changed their volume range numbers, so it would indeed have been louder (which wouldn't make a difference between Flash and HTML, but between before and after). I have adjusted the code accordingly now. Please let me know if it's now back to what you expect (in which case your "icicle" analogy is a faaaar stretch, the difference is noticable, but certainly not orders of magnitude) so I can tag this , or if you still have bloodcurdling pops or dings, in which case this would be .

Oh, and regarding the discussion about the sound choice (mainly happening in the comments on your question), I'll say what I've said time and time again: Anything that is not constructive is in vain. Opinions on particular sounds are more subjective than on Jarrod's toe socks, so to change a notification sound, you have to a) offer an alternative, not just "the current one is bad, give us another one", and b) there has to be reasonable agreement that the new choice isn't worse than the old one. In such a case, we're happy to change notification sounds. The sounds for the no-longer-existing sites are still there, so you even have some suggestions to start with (1, 2, 3, 4).

  • Are you sure your mixer setting don't have the Flash volume lowered, compared to the rest? That could be the source of the problem, however having the Flash volume down is a solution, that's not as easy with <audio>, as now we have to have the browser volume down (if I'm not horribly mistaken). How about the chat.SO sound as an alternative? It clearly works for a crowd that's as large as chat.SE (perhaps larger?), and don't remember seeing anyone complaining about it. Would that be completely out of the question? Is there any practical need to have different sounds per chat server?
    – yannis
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 7:36
  • At least for large sites, we want them distinguishable by sound (so we may at some point e.g. even give gaming rooms their own sounds), but the other way around -- even more rooms with the same sound -- is out of the question.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 7:42
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    I only frequent three rooms, all on chat.SE and all with the same sound, but I can see how having different sounds per site could be helpful. I'm guessing lazers for Arqade?
    – yannis
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 7:47
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    Pew pew! :) I'm not saying there are immediate plans for this, I just picked Arqade as an example.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 7:49
  • For some reason I never saw your edit before now. I'd always wondered if the volume had indeed gone down - I should have checked back here, and yep, it has, so it's completed now. Commented Apr 14, 2013 at 19:46
  • I love #3. Though I'd still prefer audiosparx.com/sa/summary/play.cfm/crumb.1/crumc.0/… :D Commented Jul 26, 2013 at 15:01
  • Any chance they changed the settings again? Very similar report just now. Commented Nov 25, 2013 at 20:03
  • The links to the 4 sound files point, by the looks of it, to the oregon datacenter where they work on and off (500). Is it correct that their stable url is at //cdn-chat.sstatic.net/chat?
    – rene
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 17:07
  • @rene Yep, that's right. Updated.
    – balpha StaffMod
    Commented Mar 7, 2015 at 17:25

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