Physiological work on fish sound production may require exposure of the swimbladder to air, which will change its loading (radiation mass and resistance) and could affect parameters of emitted sounds. This issue was examined in Atlantic croaker Micropogonius chromis by recording sounds from the same individuals in air and water. Although sonograms appear relatively similar in both cases, pulse duration is longer because of decreased damping, and sharpness of tuning (Q factor) is higher in water. However, pulse repetition rate and dominant frequency are unaffected. With appropriate caution it is suggested that sounds recorded in air can provide a useful tool in understanding the function of various swimbladder adaptations and provide reasonable approximation of natural sounds. Further, they provide an avenue for experimentally manipulating the sonic system, which can reveal details of its function not available from intact fish underwater.