This has also started happening to me for several weeks. I am using a Mac Pro, originally with Lion and have now installed Mountain Lion. The problem has moved across.
I find that sending and receiving mail didn't play any sound at all at the time. When I wake the Mac from sleep the next time I get exactly the correct amount of bleeps and whooshes that should have been made at the time.
This is not a solution but probably a workaround. I'm also very annoyed by the woosssshhy sound and would like an explanation from Apple expert.
In the mean time I went to Mail -> Preference -> General Deselect "Play sounds for other mail actions"
That seems to be working 15min after the change... I suppose it makes that sound every time that it checks it sends or does any mail related activity. Very annoying...
Dear aphiffer and ALL PEOPLE HAVING "SOUND" ISSUES WITH MAIL!!!!:
in answer to your question, YES, but the problem is multifactoral....myself, and several others, some who have mountain lion, and others who do not, have been having various "sound" issues with mail, specifically: sometimes, they don't get any sound for outgoing mail, sometimes none for incoming, sometimes none for both, and sometimes, like you, they get too much sound, even when they are not doing anything. if you look to the right you will see several, under "more like this", all related to sound issues on mail. I personally have called apple tech support at least 3 times, and taken my computer in at least 4 times, regarding this issue (for me, it was either a complete absence of sound, either incoming or outgoing, or just no incoming sound, but to me, all of our issues, either excessive sound or no sound, are obviously related somehow, and a glich within the mail (and/or cloud???) system....one time, i was told by apple tech support that the techs were "aware of the issue, but it was a "low priority"!!!! this was one of times i called...the last time i took my computer in, the genius bar guy said it had to do with having to reset the "permissions", which he did, and my sounds came back. He showed me how to do it, and i also posted on one of the other discussion groups re: absence of sound...the other times, they tested it, and of course, it worked while i was there, and stopped working when i got home...i am thinking it has something to do with their connection at the apple store vs. home (i have wireless connection)...maybe they are directly connected to apple somehow..don't know. here is what he told me to do:
go to the spotlight (looks like a spyglass in the upper right hand corner of the screen)...click on it, and type in utilities, then go to disk utilities, then highlight (upper left of box that comes up) the words "Macintosh HD"...then click the "reset permissions"...it will take a while...this worked for me, but didn't for some others....someone else posted another fix, having to do with the audio midi settings...type in "audio midi" in the spotlight window (as i described above for "utlilies"...then highlight "built-in output", then click the down arrow next to the "format", change the setting to anything, other than what it was originally set on (mine was set on 44100.0 Hz). they said you will hear a cacophany of sounds...when the sounds are finished playing, you can set it back to the first choice that it was originally set on. this worked for lots of people, especially those with Mountain Lion, but not for me...someone else said the only thing that worked for him was doing a reboot of the entire computer.
even though some have excessive sounds, like you, and some have no sounds, either partially or completely, it is all still "sound" related, which tells me the problems are all related within the apple mail system. totally frustrating...i have been fighting with this problem for 8 months plus now, and many others have too...APPLE NEEDS TO FIX THIS NOW!!! LOW PRIORITY, my BEHIND!!! Not for all of us!!! This "sound" issue should be working properly, and if it isn't, they should fix it, period!!! the last technician i spoke with at apple assured me she would make a report on all of our behalf, as i told her there are lots of us out there, ready to throw the computers out the window, due to sound issues....
i suggest you track some of these discussions, and look at some of the other discussions related to sound issues, as i mentioned...maybe if we all share info, we will find something that will work. looks like they are not going to do anything about it, any time soon!!!!
hope one of the above "fixes" works for your problem!
I get my series of whooshes and bings immediately on waking the macbook pro with mail open. I didn't set it to sleep just closed the lid, it triggers once I have entered the password and in the most recent case was just closed overnight, so I couldn't have sent any mail, or received so much while I was asleep. If it is a backlog, it is from before the computer was put to sleep. Always the same wireless network connection, no headphones/usb or other connected accessory, running Mountain Lion. I do have a gmail with IMAP, a @me.com account with IMAP, and a work POP account.
I also use iCal and have various reminders on there, and I have OmniFocus running, thought perhaps it could be that? Very annoying, not so much for the noise which stops fairly quickly, but more for the fact you don't know where those whooshes are going or what they contain. If it were a virus I doubt they would want to highlight the activity with a swoosh, and why would you get all the bings for received mail (which you don't receive). My hunch is a bug with a backed up log, but that's hard to explain as I just did a test email and received the whoosh/bing for both sent & received.
Look forward to someone bright resolving this.
PS. Just set up an iCal reminder to test that sound, and it makes a different sound (bong dingaling dingaling), so doubtful it is that.
Here's another clue for you: I've noticed I can also trigger the beeps and whooses manually, by changing the audio output to the Soundflower plugin. At least once, then again after a period of sleep. No idea why, or even if Soundflower is installed by default or was later added by some third party app (Airfoil?).
(Mountain Lion, same problem as OP.)
I've been having a couple of issues with Mac mail since buying a new desktop computer upgraded to Mountain Lion a couple weeks ago. The worst is a glitch in mail list time stamps and styles, which are picked up from earlier e-mails. Just as irritating is the problem with both mail received and mail sent sounds, which often can't be heard at all. If I restart my computer, mail sounds work for awhile. My former Mac computers were real workhorses and lasted for years with absolutely zero issues. How times have changed. . .
Nale, your issue is different from the rest. I recognize the problems of the repeating "Wooshes/bings" and this is in my opinion not related to your problem. Also, the "repeating" issue really started since Lion, I never heard about this issue with 10.6. I guess your thread has been hijacked... A possible solution for the "repeating" issue will not fix your problem.
Your issue does seem related to iCal. When iCal send a reminder, you will not find this mail in your Sent mail box. Also you said it happens when you start the application. That makes sense, because that is the moment Mail can send its reminders. You might want to investigate that. I guess you are more worried/curious about what happened, then that it bothers you.
Back to the "repeating" issue: As another user mentioned, Mail seems to be broken in more ways. Since I run Lion (I bought my machine with Lion, didn't do a Time Machine import), mail doesn't find older e-mails by searching for it, even though they exist. Recent ones it does find. And the issue happens for me every two weeks as well, as mentioned by another earlier, when it comes out of sleep.
No result at the Genius bar. They told me to erase and re-install, but I don't find that a solution. I find this an interesting problem. Most likely Apple is aware of it, but just don't have the answer. You can't replicate it on will.
Ok so I have been doing a lot of testing on this, making sure that every night I come in the morning and only have one app open.
And what do you know, Outlook is the culperite!
This happens on 3 of my machines.
2010 iMac, 2010 Macbook Pro, 15 and 2012 Macbook all 10.8.1 - Also when it was 10.6 and 10.7 it did this, on all macs.
I will come back to you guys with a solution now I know. Stay posted.
Dear Fancytricks and All:
excuse my ignorance, but what is 'outlook'?
btw, i know some of you have the problem of alert sounds, when you are not doing anything...i have the problem of my alert sounds (mostly for incoming mail) going off, for no reason...i don't have mountain lion, but 'lion, 10.7.4....i have had some say mountain lion fixes the problem, but others say they never had any problem with alert sounds, until they bought mountain lion....one of the times that i called in to apple care, the guy told me that there is a way around it, in the mountain lion program, without having to go into 'sounds'....some capability that mountain lion has (it is listed in systems preferences), but lion and older programs do not...don't know the name of it....(not 'capabilities'??)
yeah, do let us know, if you find out anything further...although we seem to have a couple of different issues, they all have to do with alert sounds, so i have the feeling they are all 'related'...
If you browse back to the begining of that long chain of messages, you'll realize that the whoosh sound appears on iPad and iPhone platforms as well... Furthermore, changing the default 'Outgoing Mail' sound from Whoosh to something else will not change the ghostly whoosh evry 15 minutes...
Unfortunately, that is more than just platform dependent issue...