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ThoughtPhreaker

Voicemail/Numbers Station doppleganger

6 posts in this topic

So I've been messing around with some of the CBS PBXes (and centrexes) in the Los Angeles and New York areas. That's for the most part, a subject for another post. But I called the Los Angeles PBX, and sure enough, it's a Definity. 323-575-2xxx if you'd like to drop in on it. Surprisingly though, they had some kind of third party voicemail system. It's definitely some sort of Dialogic-based system (you can tell by the sound of the voicemail beep; up until the very latest software releases, that was a hardcoded sample), and from the sound of it, a bit on the old side. But then as it started reading back digits, something about them seemed a little familiar.

 

numbers_station_vmcount.wav

 

So as a curiosity, I pulled up a recording of the numbers station in Virginia. If you want to cut right to the chase, it starts counting sequentially around 25 seconds in. Sound familiar? http://www.numbers-stations.com/ns/english/e05/

 

If you ignore the dynamic range compression, they're only off by a hair from the originals. Not the same recording (though the seven and nine make me wonder), but I'd be willing to bet money they're the same person.

 

This would make for a really good hoax. You could probably doctor the voicemail takes (and I might do that, actually. At first look, it seems like just a few minor corrections) to match the ones from the shortwave station exactly.

 

So does anybody know what voicemail system this is, or when it was made? From what I understand, the numbers station thing was gradually phased in starting in 1987. For it to be using the same voiceover talent, the VMS would probably have to be developed around the same time period.

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I almost didn't make the connection without all of the hiss!  Definitely sounds like the same person to me.  This is how I first came to know that numbers station:

 

https://youtu.be/3NrhKM3G8Mg?t=367

 

Edited by JmanA9
I don't need to embed the video!
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Well, you know Cognitronics machines were also known to have been used at number stations...

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1 hour ago, scratchytcarrier said:

Well, you know Cognitronics machines were also known to have been used at number stations...

 

Gonna say, Evan Doorbell did a segment on Cognitronics and numbers stations, and those were well before 1987.

 

Back in the 80s I listened to a lot of shortwave and they were around in the early 80s when I was first scanning the bands :)

 

 

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I almost didn't make the connection without all of the hiss!

 

I was thinking about this morning, actually. Here's a quick mockup of what a station might sound like with those samples. At least relative to that recording. Crappy EQ and compression are actually really hard to copy.

 

numbers_station_mockup.flac

 

The inflection of some of those digits, like the zero, seem way off. I wonder if you could get away with using some sort of pitch correction tool to make it a little more convincing without making it sound artificial.

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On 6/14/2017 at 11:30 AM, ThoughtPhreaker said:

So I've been messing around with some of the CBS PBXes (and centrexes) in the Los Angeles and New York areas. That's for the most part, a subject for another post. But I called the Los Angeles PBX, and sure enough, it's a Definity. 323-575-2xxx if you'd like to drop in on it. Surprisingly though, they had some kind of third party voicemail system. It's definitely some sort of Dialogic-based system (you can tell by the sound of the voicemail beep; up until the very latest software releases, that was a hardcoded sample), and from the sound of it, a bit on the old side. But then as it started reading back digits, something about them seemed a little familiar.

 

I eagerly await a post about the oddities people discover when they reach the thousands block(s) a client of mine has...of course I can't say who it is or the NXX...;)

 

There may or may not be a very broken DISA...

 

On 6/14/2017 at 11:30 AM, ThoughtPhreaker said:

 

numbers_station_vmcount.wav

 

So as a curiosity, I pulled up a recording of the numbers station in Virginia. If you want to cut right to the chase, it starts counting sequentially around 25 seconds in. Sound familiar? http://www.numbers-stations.com/ns/english/e05/

 

If you ignore the dynamic range compression, they're only off by a hair from the originals. Not the same recording (though the seven and nine make me wonder), but I'd be willing to bet money they're the same person.

 

This would make for a really good hoax. You could probably doctor the voicemail takes (and I might do that, actually. At first look, it seems like just a few minor corrections) to match the ones from the shortwave station exactly.

 

So does anybody know what voicemail system this is, or when it was made? From what I understand, the numbers station thing was gradually phased in starting in 1987. For it to be using the same voiceover talent, the VMS would probably have to be developed around the same time period.

 

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