NeXT Sounds

Wednesday, August 23rd, 02023 at 13:31 UTC

Back in 02019, we were invited as a small team back to CERN to look into emulating the very first Web Browser: WorldWideWeb (Nexus). It was created on the NeXT system by Tim Berners-Lee.

As part of the spelunking on an actual NeXT box, we took the opportunity to copy off all the sound files. NeXT shares a legacy with Apple and the Macintosh. There are a lot of sound files carried over from the old System 9 Mac Operating system, which were put into the NeXTOS, which then made it into modern day macOS (and even iOS).

And a few that didn’t.

Wild Eep (System 9) → Ni (NeXT)

Along with some of the more realistic ones: Glass, Bullfrog, Rooster never making the jump. Others, like Cricket and Ping made it through to the iPhone as Crickets and Ding.

The other thing to consider about why there are not more sounds that carried over to our modern devices is because of the quality! In the early 90s we had MIDI sounds. Lots of beeps, boops that were short. Now, our phones play mini-symphonies to let us know an email has arrived. Many of the NeXT sounds wouldn’t fit or make sense today’s soundscape compared to the alternatives. None the less, with these files it is easy to add them to your mobile devices as custom ring tones & sounds and keep them alive for the future.

So Sue Me!

Back in 01991, Sosumi was add to the Mac System 7 list of sounds. At the time, Apple Computers and Apple Corps Limited were in a legal fight because Apple Computers were playing sounds and making music, which was infringing on Apple Corps Limited business. Because of this, anything that sounds remotely musical was scrutinized by Apple Computer’s legal department. One sound called “Chime” was denied by legal, so an alternate name of “So Sue Me!” rendered phonetically as “sosumi” was using instead. You can still find it today on any Apple Computer.


Mac System 9 Sounds: Zip File containing original .aiff and .wav files (1.3mb)

NeXT Sounds: Zip File containing original .snd files and converted .mp3 files (518kb)

Mac OS X Old System Sounds: Internet Archive