Built in mics and
DPA 4061 pair
4 days, 2000 km, 5 sets of batteries and about 10 gig of raw material. With Tuesday the 3rd of November being a public holiday I decided to take the Monday as well and have four days straight to go on a recording trip. Anna has a business trip up in Sydney anyway so it’s a good use of the time. I drove to Adelaide to visit my brother and sister in law and capture a range of different material over the four days.
I drove to Horsham on Friday night (about 300 km from Melbourne) The first opportunity for the day was at the hotel I was staying at. They had a large birdcage with a few unusual birds in it, the most distinctive was an Indian Ring Neck Parakeet, which was a very unusual blue green colour. It was quite noisy so I thought I would record some samples. Of course as soon as I went near its cage with the recording gear it stopped completely. A lot of animals and birds are very wary around people in general and even domestic pets can be worried about people they don’t know. The simple solution to this was to rest the H4N on a pot plant next to the cage and go for a walk. 10 minutes later I had collected a good collection of material. I could here the bird from where I was sitting out of view around the corner. I realised some time ago that often the best way to record something was to not be around. I plan on doing a similar thing on our balcony back home, set up the recorder, drop a bunch of birdseed, and then go inside and wait for the birds.
As usual I had hired a car for the trip. This time I got a Ford Focus which I have not driven before. It was also the first trip since I picked up the new DPA microphone set I had purchased, so it was a good opportunity to get some sounds from the Ford and test out the mics. After breakfast in Horsham I set up the mics on the car. One clipped close to the exhaust and the second one clipped under the bonnet to a coolant pipe. The leads on the DPA mics are very fine and quite fragile so I made sure they were tapped down securely. I also had an issue with some of my rechargeable batteries going flat very quickly; I think they might be nearing the end of their usable life. I’ll swap them over and use them for my XBox controllers instead. Once the mics were in place I did some basic tests at low speeds around the streets of Horsham to get my levels right and test for wind noise. The DPA set comes with some small foam windshields, but I also bought two Rycote fluffy wind covers as I plan on using these mics for a lot of vehicle recordings.
I got some good material driving along the highway, a long country trip is a good time to do car recordings as highways usually have consistently higher speed limits for a long distance, also the roads to Adelaide are often not very busy so I was able to capture a lot of material with no other vehicles on the road. I did stop regularly while I was recording to check the position of the mics and how they were coping. After spending over $1500 on new mics the last thing I wanted to was for them to fall off while I was driving at 110km p/h. I am going to record some more sounds of the Ford Focus over the weekend to try and get a full set of sounds for it including doors, horn controls etc. I am also thinking of starting a new review section where I review a car from the sound point of view and a score it based on how good it sounds when recorded. Completely useless for most things I know, but it might be fun once I start to get access to things like sports cars and classic cars.
Stephan Schütze has been recording sounds for over twenty years. This journal logs his thoughts and experiences