Last week we had some stormy weather moving in over large parts of Sweden. Last Friday I had the chance to go to Falsterbo, a small settlement on the south-western tip of Sweden, where I in cover of some breakwaters recorded quite strong gusts creating a howling sound when moving in over the marina.
I would’ve liked to use the NT1-A’s to get it in stereo but my DIY windscreens wouldn’t have stood a chance against this kind of wind.
Geek note: Sennheiser ME64 (mounted in a Røde blimp) -> Sony PCM-D50 (low cut filter on)
Me and Matilda went out on a short hiking trip last Saturday to Sunday. The ambivalence that shows itself in nature being dragged back and forth between winter and spring truly is fascinating and beautiful.
Arriving at Listersjön, a lake in the middle of Blekinge, we decided to set up camp and go for dinner after which we set out exploring the surroundings while collecting firewood. The area consisted of several small frozen lakes framed by coniferous as well as beech woods.
Once back at camp we went to bed for what on my behalf would turn out to be a restless night. I was awakened several times by loud cracks and strange sounds I couldn’t relate to in my drowsiness. After a while I realized that the sounds were coming from the frozen lake just 20 meters away. At about 5.30 in the morning I got up just as the sun started to rise. Those of you who have been following this blog for the last month knows that I recorded a few sessions of cracking ice, but nothing I’ve heard before comes close to the sounds that the ice on Listersjön emitted. Have a listen at these extracts (headphones recommended for best results);
When finished with the ice recording many of the forests inhabitants had awakened. Birds where singing as the sun was rising so I grabbed my gear and went up on a small crest just behind camp to record some birdsong, in the meantime I took the opportunity to warm up in the sunlight.
Spring will surely prevail sooner or later.
About load and carrying
This is what I brought with me:
-2 x Røde NT1-As
-Camera tripod with DIY-shockmounts for the NT1-As
-2 x DIY-windscreens for the NT1-As
-2 x Røde WS2 Windscreens
-2 x socket wrenches
-4 x 9v-batteries
-8 x AA-batteries
+Everything else you need not to starve or freeze to death when hiking in temperatures sub zero.
As you can see this gear is far from portable in the sense that you would not like to carry it with you for longer periods of time. However when out trekking for just a couple of days you’ll be fine, even during winter when you need to bring a heavier sleeping bag, more clothes and so on.
What I did was to distribute the weight like this: On my back I had the backpack containing everything excepts the audio gear which I carried in a camera-bag on my chest strapped to the backpacks shoulder straps. This somewhat evened out the load even though the strain on my shoulders increased some.
When going out trekking later on this year I’ll probably try to fit my audio gear into the backpack as I think this will put more of the pressure on my hips where it doesn’t feel so burdensome. The downside of this will be a bulkier backpack as well as the fact that it will be harder to reach and assemble your gear quickly when needed.
Some of you reading this probably have vast experience trailing different kinds of gear around and I’d be more than happy if you want to share your experiences with me.
Despite bulky equipment I’m glad that I made the decision to bring all the gear with me as the memory of this audio intense spring hike will live on forever.
Geek note: Both recordings made with 2 x Røde NT1-As (ORTF position, angled 110 degrees 17 cm apart) -> Rolls PB224 -> Sony PCM-D50
As you might have noticed I haven’t updated the blog for a while as I’ve been busy lately working on a couple of projects leaving almost no time to go out sound hunting.
Anyway, here’s a sign of the oncoming spring; a drifting ice floe down at the marina in Limhamn recorded underwater with a hydrophone.
The thumping sounds you hear comes from the floe slowly nudging against a boulder in the breakwater.
Geek note: Aquarian H2a-XLR -> Sony PCM-D50 (using a XLR->3,5mm adapter)
Starting out tomorrow I’m going for a short hike in Blekinge over the weekend, hopefully this will give me the opportunity to get some nature recordings for a sound installation I’m working on as well as some stuff to post here.
Last weekend I went back to my grandparents place together with a friend of mine. First I thought of trying to get some recordings of wind for this months theme from the Sound Collectors’ Club but as the weather was going to be calm I changed my mind and brought with me my mobile gear with the Eagle owl nesting close by in mind. Of course I ended up recording something completely different, namely ice, as no sign of the Eagle owl were to be found during our stay.
As you can hear below the recordings are in mono and colored by the ME64s’ self noise as this isn’t the quietest of mics. If I’d known in advance that I would end up recording ambient sounds I would have brought my much quieter NT1-As’ for stereo recording. But hey, you got to make do with what you got and I rather end up recording something than returning empty handed.
First we went down to the sea by night. I mounted the mic on the shoreline and we seated ourselves scanning the area for foxes while the recording was made. The temperature were about 11 degrees Celsius below zero.
The next morning I woke up rather early and went down to the same spot as the night before and made yet another recording.
At this point the temperature were about the same as the night before but the sun was warming. Yet another sign of an eagerly awaited spring. You can hear a flock of Greylag and Canada geese in the distance.
Geek note: Sennheiser ME64 -> Sony PCM-D50 [Some white noise removed afterwards, believe it or not.]
A couple of days ago this arrived at my local post office:
With winds blowing around 10m/s today I decided to go out for a test run bringing my Sennheiser ME64 and the Røde blimp. Being used to DIY windscreens as I am I must say that this blimp really impresses me with its performance.
The recording below is made at what probably is one of Malmö’s windiest spots; down by the ocean on Ön (an artificial island in Öresund). There were some strong gusts battering down on the blimp but my ME64 didn’t clip once even though I had chosen not to turn on the low cut filter for this test.
Having my mic suspended in a schockmount on a pistol grip I for the first time experienced the freedom of being able to poke my mic into holes. I found some cavities between the rocks of the breakwaters on Ön that I lowered my blimp into. I like the low frequency rumble emitted in between the rocks combined with the random splashes of water. At 2:05 you can hear an airplane going in for landing on Kastrup, Copenhagen’s airport situated across the straight.
Geek note: Sennheiser ME64 (mounted in a Røde blimp) -> Sony PCM-D50
I’m at my grandparents place helping them with their sheep and other duties this weekend as my grandfather hurt his right hand falling a couple of weeks ago.
Close to their house a couple of Eagle Owls is nesting and I’d hoped to hear them while being here, as their call is most certainly a sign of the oncoming spring.
At dusk this afternoon I got lucky. I heard one of them calling while tending the sheep so I walked around for a bit trying to locate where the sound came from. After awhile I found a good spot in the outskirts of the garden and put my D50 on the ground and pressed REC (I didn’t bring any gear except the D50 and my OKM’s with me going here). After walking away about 10 meters from the D50 I started scanning the surroundings. Suddenly my eyes detected a small movement in a tree some 30 meters in front of me. After focusing a while i managed to distinguish the contour of something pretty large sitting on one of the lower branches. I’d been standing there watching (and being watched) for about three minutes when it took of.
It’s not unusual at all to encounter Eagle Owls here as a couple is nesting about 200 m from my grandparents place. You can literally see the bird nest from one of my grandparents windows. So, next time coming here I’ll bring my NT1-A’s with me to hopefully get some good quality recordings of this mighty bird. Until then you’ll have to settle with this:
Geek note: Sony PCM-D50 (mics placed X/Y 90 degrees)
Last Monday I went to Stockholm on a short trip with work. I am like Des Coulam when it comes to at least two aspects; I rarely leave my recording equipment at home and I enjoy the sounds at railway stations. So I took the chance to record some train related sounds while heading north.
Please use headphones when listening.
The two recordings below are from down by the tracks of the newly re-built central station in Malmö. The first recording, in which you hear an approaching train, is made at a less crowded part of the platform.
When recording the second session I placed myself in the middle of a crowd waiting for an arriving train.
The last recording is made at the rear end of one of the railway wagons on a X2000 (the Swedish fast train) bound for Stockholm. Close to Södertälje something interesting happened while I was recording; the train passed through a number of tunnels that pressurized the space I was standing in, making the hearing on my right ear diminish for a while. This is something that most of you probably have experienced at one time or another. Once at home I listened at the recording from the train and noticed that the pressure probably also had affected the microphone placed in my right ear. You can hear it at about 2:55 into the recording.
Can someone who is more technically oriented please explain this to me?
Geek note: All recordings made with Soundman OKM-II Klassik -> Sony PCM-D50.
Last week I spent a couple of days working in Gothenburg. When trying to sleep at night in my hotel room I became aware of a weird ticking sound coming from the fire alarm.
The recording below is all I got in between the handling noise I caused (the D50 is really sensitive when it comes to that) when standing on a chair reaching for the alarm that was located just beneath the ceiling.
Geek note: Sony PCM-D50 (internal mics pointing straight forward)
Triangeln is yet another mall in Malmö. Located in the central parts of southern Malmö it hosts a whole bunch of shops of different kinds. The layout of the place is pretty messy, even though I’ve been there a lot of times I often tend to get lost when trying to find the shortest way out.
As in Mobilia (see: Public spaces pt. 3: Mobilia) there is an open air dining area that spills out into the mall, the seatings are belonging to a couple of different cafés. At this specific location the ceiling height is very generous which creates an acoustic atmosphere that resembles a very noisy cathedral, light-hearted pop music added to the background. I find this interesting as you somewhat get filled with a devotional feeling in a place dedicated to shopping.
The recording below is made from the second floor of the mall, so I’m elevated a couple of meters compared to the dining area. The very audible background noise, that I didn’t pay attention to while recording, must be coming from the surrounding traffic as well as the loads of people walking around. Once again it hits me how many sounds it is that my brain selectively ignores when visiting familiar areas out in the field.
Please use headphones when listening to this quasi-binaural recording.
Geek note: Soundman OKM-II Klassik -> Sony PCM-D50