D112 & Shure sm58
I have been meaning to do some proper testing on car recording for quite some time and I finally had the chance today. As I’ve mentioned before we hire a car when we need one and this weekend we had a Hyundai Accent which was a perfect example of a stock standard small car, exactly what I wanted to test on. About a 5 minute drive from where we live is a large industrial area at Port Melbourne which on a Sunday morning is completely deserted and nice and quiet. The perfect location to get some clean recordings.
I started by strapping the R09 to one of the radiator tubes under the bonnet. A good length of Velcro strap meant that it was nice and secure and well away from any moving parts in the engine bay, while still being right in amongst the working parts of the engine. This resulted in a very good clean recording of 90% of the material captured. Because the bonnet is closed when driving there is almost zero wind to worry about in this location. I had one short section of recorded material that was effected by wind and only one level peak out of twenty minutes of recording. I made sure I tested the levels carefully before I started by revving the car up to 5000 rpm and ensuring the levels could cope. The good thing about this position is that it is so close to all the integral workings of the engine that pretty much all other sounds are irrelevant. This mic only captured very slight tyre/road noise and almost no noticeable noise from other traffic.
The other input for the H4N had the Shure sm58 attached to it, and the mic itself was mounted pointing out of the back of the boot to capture more general sound of the car as it moved. This was generally ok, but didn’t really capture anything that wasn’t covered elsewhere. Next time I will try this mic in different positions and see what I can capture. Lastly I turned on the H4 with the MKH60 attached in the boot of the car. Again this did capture some material but I think I could have made better use of a third recorder. I did later try the R09 inside the car as I was driving, and I think this would have been a better use for the H4 with maybe the NT4 mic attached. Overall I got some very good material, but I would still like to perform some more tests before I go off and record anything I cant get access to easily. I don’t want to waste an opportunity on a good sounding car while I am still sorting out the best approach to recording.
When it came to the interior sounds I used the R09, but I found later that it was quite a shrill sound in the closed environment. I think I may have had the levels up a little too much, but overall the material is a little harsh. One thing I will say is that I need to be far more patient when I am recording something like an entire car. When cut up I have over 70 sounds to add to the library once I selected the good quality material, this is something I should not expect to achieve in an hour by hammering through every aspect of the car. Its certainly worth taking my time and capturing each aspect properly. I did spend over two hours doing the recordings, but I think I could have spent even another hour making sure I positioned the mics in more locations and doubled up on everything to improve the raw material I had to work from.
I plan on having at least one more full session with a standard car before I move on to anything more worthwhile, and just iron out the last few issues I have. I’m still not sure about the exhaust location microphone, but as I said a car with more grunt is going to produce a lot of sound from the exhaust anyway so it might be ok.