November 16, 2016 9:57 AM   Subscribe

I received a voicemail via email through our office phone system. I double-clicked the attachment to play it in iTunes (Mac) and it's a legitimate voicemail. However, there is a lot of background noise (coffeeshop ambience, some singing). After the voice message finishes playing, the background audio continues and doesn't stop until iTunes is closed. Has anyone experienced this or knows what is causing it?

A few more details:
This doesn't happen with any other file.
The background/phantom audio does not sound familiar at all.
iTunes acts in every way like the 30 second voicemail file is done playing.
All browsers and programs like VLC are closed.
I can't provide the voicemail, unfortunately.
posted by michaelh to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's possible the recording is malformed/corrupt; in an MP3 sometimes you'll have a file that says it's a certain length but is actually much longer.

You can try converting the file to some other format, and see if it gets longer.
posted by gregr at 10:14 AM on November 16, 2016

When you open the file in iTunes, what length of time does iTunes assign to the file? It seems possible that the person leaving you the voicemail didn't disconnect the call properly and, because audio was still recording, your office voicemail system continued to record, resulting in an extremely lengthy voicemail consisting mostly of background noise.
posted by slkinsey at 10:32 AM on November 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

iTunes says it's 30 or so seconds long. You can watch the playbar progress from start to finish while the voicemail is playing. The other audio goes on quite a bit longer (haven't heard to the end yet, but at least several minutes.)
posted by michaelh at 10:39 AM on November 16, 2016

I would download Audacity, and see how long it thinks the file is.
posted by WCityMike at 11:18 AM on November 16, 2016

Have you ever used Coffetivity or any of the other sites that let you stream coffee shop background noise? A leftover file from something like that might be the source.

Also, what happens if you open up your task manager? Any programs running that you don't recognize?
posted by MsMolly at 11:31 AM on November 16, 2016

What's the filesize and apparent bitrate? You can use those numbers to convert to a true length, at least if the bitrate isn't a variable bitrate.
posted by Sunburnt at 4:16 PM on November 16, 2016

I found out the source of the other audio (a video in another application), so now the only question is why iTunes would cause two audio sources to play at once.

Thanks for everyone's help -- I was able to use some of these methods to guarantee that the file couldn't have contained both audio streams.

Still interested in any theories as to how itunes could get entangled with this other file.
posted by michaelh at 1:55 PM on November 18, 2016

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