field recordings

These are just some random field recordings I’ve made. It’s fun doing stuff like this.

Roller coaster- nothing really noteworthy about this recording. It’s just a nice wide stereo capture of an old style wood-frame roller coaster. I think there were only 2 or 3 people riding it as I did this recording, as it was a not-at-all busy weekday afternoon in the off season. We get a passing motorcycle at the very beginning, and then a distant plane just prior to the roller coaster.

Plane- it’s difficult to get good recordings of planes taking off these days. There’s always major streets or highways close by which results in a bunch of unwanted traffic noise. It’s difficult to find a good vantage point to set up because there’s hardly any public parking with unobstructed sight lines (or in my case hearing lines) to the planes. Plus, with all the extra security measures in place these days, how suspicious would I look setting up a laptop and some cables and some other electronic equipment  in the general area of the runway?

But I managed to get this recording. It’s not spectacular, but it’s OK. There’s some worker truck at the end of it which gets in the way, but doesn’t ruin it.

Bowling alley- the thing with recording a bowling alley is that the pins are so far away. When you’re the one bowling, you’re not really listening to all the chatter around you; in fact your brain does its best to cancel it out (it’s called selective listening, google it), and so you really hear the clamoring of the pins as they crash and fall. Microphones don’t have any such ability; they just take in whatever sound waves reach them, and they don’t care either way about the relative loudness of those sound waves.

So what happens in a recording like this is that even though it sounds like any ordinary (busy) bowling alley, the pins sound really far away in relation to the human chatter.

Fireworks- recording fireworks is really strange. There are two distinct things going on with fireworks- the sound of the explosion, and the powerful physical impact our bodies feel when all that sound energy reaches us. Thing is, the mics don’t have any way of capturing that physical impact; they can only record the pop sound of the initial explosion. So what ends up on tape? Honestly, it doesn’t sound much different than popping popcorn in your kitchen. Even with my good mics, I think I had to boost the low end a little bit in this recording to make it actually sound more like fireworks than popcorn. But judge for yourself.

Zagreb train station- when I lived in Europe, I travelled quite a bit by train (exclusively by train if I remember correctly), and I LOVED recording the big train stations. I didn’t always get a chance to record them because often times I just wouldn’t have the time. And I haven’t been to all of ‘em, but I’ve been to some really great ones that I would really like to get back and record- Zürich, Munich, Brussels, Budapest, Prague…

The train station in Zagreb is actually on the smaller side, but I got some good sounds there.

Nady stereo condenser mic

Focusrite Saffire Pro24 preamp/interface

Logic 8 for recording, editing, mixing

Soundtrack Pro for mastering

MacBook Pro

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