The quietest place on earth

Anechoic chamber
Sound-absorbing technology prevents external sounds from entering the anechoic chamber at Orfield Laboratories. These rooms are so quiet that according to Orfield, "if we let you sit in here for half an hour, you'd start to hear your heartbeat, you'd start to hear your lungs flow."
MPR Photo/Orfield Labs

Minnesota has received a lot of attention lately for nationally acclaimed buildings like the new Guthrie Theater, the new Minneapolis Public Library, and the Walker Art Center. One building in Minneapolis has even made the Guinness Book of World Records -- twice.

The building was first put on the map as Sound 80 Studio, where Bob Dylan recorded "Blood on the Tracks." This year, Guinness labeled it as having the "world's first digital recording studio." In 2005, Guinness called one of its rooms the "quietest place on earth."

MPR's Cathy Wurzer took a tour of this building with Steve Orfield, founder and president of Orfield Labs. He talked about his psychoacoustic research, which examines how people perceive sounds. The research involves such noise-generating products as motorcycles, dishwashers and artificial heart valves.