Projects/Oxygen/Sound Theme Technical Specification

This section is under HEAVY development.


The idea behind these sound specifications is to empower anyone with the will to make sounds in accordance to the Oxygen sound theme to be able to do so with these guidelines. The Oxygen sound theme covers the defaults UI sounds of KDE, few applications developed with the KDE enviornment in mind were developed, sound wise, respecting Oxygen's sound style, thus this reference will be of value if anyone wishes to create custom sounds that don't clash with Oxygen's and KDE's default sounds.

Technical Sound Specifications

All sounds recorded and saved at 48.000kHz, in accordance to KDE's multimedia specifications by Joseph Gaffney, in ogg lossless format.

Sound Samples Used

User Interface sounds

The sound used is a 50/50 unison mix of a "bright" acoustic piano and an electric piano. No specific scale was used in the creation of the sounds.

Logon and Logoff sounds

Instruments used are the "bright" acoustic piano and electric piano (not in unison) and a string ensemble of violas. The scale used is the Major F# sus2.


The main sounds are recorded at 0 db's, however all sounds that tend to be repetitive and distracting/disrupting should be down somewhere between 20 to 25% the normal volume of the theme. (i.e. IM sounds as "user logs in" "message received" or "new email".)


Every sound has a reverb effect with the following settings:

Table 2. Reverb Settings
Setting Value
predelay 20ms
threshold -18db
highpass 70hz
attack 3ms
hold 20ms
release 416ms
dry-wet ratio: 1/5 (aprox.)

If you have a reverb device that has some "visual" shortcuts it should be set for a reverb "hall" with 26m2, and it will likely be close to the above values with the obvious exception of the dry-wet ratio.

A stereo enhancer was used on the logon sound for the rotating "hard-panning" at the end of that specific sound.

Sound Style Guide Lines

Audio Patterns

In order to produce a consistent sound experience throughout the entire time a user using is KDE, a pattern of sound styles was developed, in a way that within a few hours of use the user is able to recognize, for example when a sound is a warning that requires attention or a message that can be disregarded, all this without looking at the screen. It's of the utmost importance to adhere to the following guide lines, as the consistency of the entire sound set depends solely on it.

Table 1. Sound Patterns
Type of Message Pattern
Informational Message Single Note
Error Message Single note + Chord
Question Posed Single Note + Arpeggio (ascending or descending arpeggio)
User Attention Required Fast Arpeggio (ascending arpeggio)
Error messages consist on a single note followed by a chord or several sequential and identical chords, depending on the gravity of the error.

For dramatic freedom no scale was imposed on the user interface sounds, one should feel free to improvise and use the entire spectrum of feelings associated with all the scales and even disonances (not to abuse it's use, though).


Oxygen Sound Theme Naming Specification

This page was last edited on 28 November 2007, at 11:45. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.