This work belongs to the ongoing debate surrounding the mechanism responsible for low-angle sound emission from subsonic jets. The flow, simulated by large eddy simulation (Bogey & Bailly, Comput. Fluids, vol. 35 (10), 2006a, pp. 1344–1358), is a Mach 0.9 jet with Reynolds number, based on the exit diameter, of . A methodology is implemented to educe, explore and model the flow motions associated with low-angle sound radiation. The eduction procedure, which is based on frequency–wavenumber filtering of the sound field and subsequent conditional analysis of the turbulent jet, provides access to space- and time-dependent (hydrodynamic) pressure and velocity fields. Analysis of these shows the low-angle sound emission to be underpinned by dynamics comprising space and time modulation of axially coherent wavepackets: temporally localized energization of wavepackets is observed to be correlated with the generation of high-amplitude acoustic bursts. Quantitative validation is provided by means of a simplified line-source Ansatz (Cavalieri et al. J. Sound Vib., vol. 330, 2011b, pp. 4474–4492). The dynamic nature of the educed field is then assessed using linear stability theory (LST). The educed pressure and velocity fields are found to compare well with LST: the radial structures of these match the corresponding LST eigenfunctions; the axial evolutions of their fluctuation energy are consistent with the LST amplification rates; and the relative amplitudes of the pressure and velocity fluctuations, which are educed independently of one another, are consistent with LST.