Posts Tagged ‘Field Recording’

Field Recording 2010 Top 10

December 11, 2010

2010 has been a year with amazing field recording work hitting my radar screen. So much so I decided to compile a top 10 of the year with the work that has made the most impression on me or influenced me to considerable extent.

Not all of the work listed was published in 2010. And not all of the work are albums or CD releases. Field recording artists use Bandcamp and Soundcloud as much as any other artist. Perhaps even these media are more important to sound artists compared to others to get their work the exposure it deserves.

My selection is not exclusively ‘field recording’. Some of the releases are musical compositions that take field recordings as their building blocks. All of the releases I feel are explorations in sound.

Jana Winderen, Energy Field, Touch
Seattle Phonographers Union, Seattle Phonographers Union,  and/OAR
Chris Watson, Jana Winderen and others, Sleppet, +3dB Records
Francisco Lopèz and others, Dérives, Universinternational
Seaworthy & Matt Rösner, Two Lakes, 12k
Richard Ranft, Rainforest Requiem, British Library Sound Archive
Solo Andata, Ritual, Desire Path Recordings
Mark Brennan, wildearthvoices,
Louis Antero, Sound Narratives vol. 3, mimi
Surround2011, Zushi Sound

North India Field Recording on SoundCloud

September 26, 2009

Just posted an excerpt of the field recordings I did in North India earlier this year. Using SoundCloud for the first time for this.

Recorded with a Sennheiser MKH8020/ MKH30 MS stereo microphone configuration to a Sound Devices 702 recorder. MS converted to AB stereo at the recorder stage.

SoundCloud uploads are transcoded to 128 kbps mp3 format for streaming. That’s still twice as good as MySpace.

Field Recording and the Loudness Race

March 2, 2009

It appears to me that field recordists and phonographers are the only remaining people in the audio industry who still care about having dynamic content in their material.

The battle for the consumers money has resulted in increasingly loud music. Louder is better. Louder means more money in the bank.

Louder however also means boring song material and fatiguing music because dynamics and clarity have disappeared in the process of compressing and limiting the sound material to maximum loudness. It is not uncommon for CD’s today to peak at full scale almost throughout their entire length.

This stands in sharp contrast to the dynamics of sound in the natural world. Quiet and very quiet sounds exist alongside louder sounds. Consider a forest at dawn in spring or a tropical rain forest after a thunder storm. Quietly falling drops of water, the rustling of the foliage, birds in the trees vocalizing their songs and insects humming above the flowers, some rolling thunder in the distance. Imagine how this would sound if everything was compressed to equal loudness and normalized to peak level.

Sound artists and more so field recordists and phonographers are trying to capture the world of natural sound dynamics.

Recording in North India with Chris Watson

March 2, 2009

Beginning of next month I will be going on a recording trip to Corbett National Park in North India. On the trip also will be Chris Watson.

Corbett is situated in the foothills of the Himalaya mountains in the Nainital and Pauri Garhwal districts of Uttaranchal at altitudes ranging from 400m to 1100m. The forests, jungles and grasslands feature some of the richest wildlife in the Indian sub-continent.


Mammals are typically Rhesus Macaques, Langurs, Leopards, Jungle Cat, Leopard Cat, Fishing Cat, Dhole, Jackals, Red Fox, Sloth Bear and the Black Bear. Near to 600 species of birds can be observed and reptiles are typically the Gharial Crocodile, the Muggar (Marsh Crocodile) but also the Indian Python, Viper and the King Cobra.

This will be a unique opportunity once again to work with Chris and learn from the master in wildlife recording.

My recording kit so far looks like this:

Sound Devices 702 recorder
Sennheiser MKH 8020/ MKH 30 mid side kit
DPA 4060 spaced omni kit

Mid-side and the MKH 8020

November 1, 2008

This is slowly becoming a series.  I posted a recording to Freesound where I am testing the new Sennheiser MKH 8020 omnidirectional microphone as the mid microphone with my MKH 30 as the side mic.

The low end response of the MKH 8020 is very very impressive.  It is more sensitive than the MKH 20 omni (31mV/Pa compared to 25mV/Pa) and adds a few dB to the high end response. Beyond 20 kHz the frequency response goes all the way up to 60 kHz. It’s also very small: diameter 1.9 cm, length 7.4 cm. The pair fitted in my size 3 Rycote windjammer.

Better low end response is what you expect from an omnidirectional microphone as I explained in earlier posts but the MKH 8020 is in a league of it’s own. So, curiosity put to the test I set out in Brussels city center. The “carbon chorus” of the city never fails you if you are looking for those low frequencies. With so much low end energy setting levels proved a bit of a challenge. Dynamic bandwith gets eaten fast and limiters kicked in often.

The sample on Freesound is a recording of the air vent of an airco system. A giant outlet of 2 by 5 meter or so. That night it all came together. Traffic, airplanes, the airco system everything in perfect harmony.

Hear the recording here: Air,

or jump to the Drones Sample pack.