Japan has a lot of people, for how big the country is it really has a lot of people. But I am starting to think it has even more vending machines. They are everywhere! Even in really remote country areas you will see them glowing in the night, hiding in amongst the trees. If I were in to conspiracy theories I would be reaching for my tin hat and trying to hide from them. They are however really convenient and to be honest we use them all the time. You can get coffee, soft drinks, cigarettes, booze, magazines, batteries, food, you name it and it is often available from a machine.
So considering how frequent they were I thought it would be inexcusable to leave japan without having recorded one, so I popped down the one closest to our house, which was about 50 meters down the road at the sports park and bought myself a drink and recorded it going click, clunk and hummm.
Certainly no the most amazingly interesting sound int he world, but I have one now so it's all good.
Anna's Father, step Mother and brother are over visiting us, so we went to see some snow. There are plenty of mountains in our area, but Hakone is one I had not been to either so she thought it would be a good choice. the weather was really nice and the view was great.
I managed to record the most obvious thing, walking through the snow, and in fact got some good material because there was very deep snow as well and the sound is quite different to walking through shallow snow. I also discovered another trick by accident that I am going to share. I had often wondered about recording skiing as it would be great to have some sounds, but it would be difficult because even if you could attach mics to a set of skis the wind noise would be terrible. Quite by accident today I discovered that moving your gloved hand over the surface of the snow sounds alot like skiing. Its makes sense as its just a surface moving against the snow, and its all essential a type of white noise, but when recorded it sounded very realistic. In fact if you move your hand quickly and change direction back and forth you can really simulate the sound of someone skiing and turning. Its a much easier method and probably safer than strapping microphones to someone as they fly downhill.
This is another entry from memory as it dates from before I started keeping a regular log.
I have only owned the Zoom H4 for a short while now. I bought it from my favorite audio shop when I was down in Tokyo for a few days. Now I am back up in Sannohe I have the time to do some tests with it and see what it can do. I am still slightly limited on gear currently, one of the main things I need to pickup is a wind jammer I can use for recording outdoors, but today is quite still so I'll see what I can record.
I really love wandering around Sannohe, it is such a beautiful little town. The buildings and houses are all drab and gray and functional, so they are not very nice to look at, but the town is surrounded by mountains and full of rice fields and orchards so it always looks alive. I thought one of the best ways of comparing the two recorders (The Zoom H4 and Edirol R09) would be to record a passing train and some ambient bird sounds around town. For the ambience both units performs pretty well and very similarly, it was the train that really illustrated the difference.
I stood right next to the level crossing on one of the back lanes in the farming area and activated both recorders as a train approached. I also wanted to take a picture so I placed both recorders on a fence, this would also remove any handling noise. The train passing was quite loud, especially as I was only about 4 feet away from it. Listening back to the two different recordings it showed one main difference. The R09 actually did a better job of recording the fast moving train because its microphones could cope better with the wind generated by the trains movements. I think this might be because the R09's diaphragms do not point straight out and so did take the full force of the wind, whereas the Zoom H4 mics are far more exposed and its recording was very badly effected by the wind.
Normally I would never record without a wind cover, but it is still interesting to see what each unit can handle and which one is better to use should a fluffy cover not be available. I think that in general the Zoom H4 has better and more sensitive microphones, but the R09 is more capable of coping with some wind, so it’s probably a better unit to carry around in case of emergencies.
Stephan Schütze has been recording sounds for over twenty years. This journal logs his thoughts and experiences