Sennheiser MKH 60
Boom pole array
There were a few specific sounds I had wanted to record in the short busy time that we would be in Melbourne. One of those was the bells at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne’s CBD. I contacted the Cathedral office and they put me in touch with the captain of the bell ringing group, who invited me to come along to one of their rehearsals.
What I initially thought would be an opportunity to get some basic bell sounds from the area in which they pull the bell cords proved to be a much more exciting and fruitful trip.
Upon arriving I was shown the setup and then allowed to carefully climb right up to the actual belfry. This was not only incredibly spectacular, but also somewhat daunting. I was a long way up, and the bells were very large and VERY loud. I needed to have hearing protection on to be able to tolerate being so close while they were ringing. I set up my recording gear a level below because even on the lowest input settings the shear amount of sound energy produced by these bells was overloading the equipment if it got any closer. The largest bell at St. Paul’s weighs approximately 1500 kilograms and has a stunning sound when it rings. I recorded with both of my portable devices to try and gather as much material as possible. I think in total I captured nearly an hour of material which I will need to go through. This was a great experience and completely exceeded my expectations for the day.
Stephan Schütze has been recording sounds for over twenty years. This journal logs his thoughts and experiences