R09 hand held
I’ve been waiting for a storm like today's for about 5 years. At various times over the last few years I have tried recording thunderstorms but the circumstances were never ideal. The main issue with recording thunder is that the best position to be is directly in the storms path. The low rumble sound that most people associate with thunder is the sound of distant thunder. When it occurs directly overhead it makes a loud sharp crack sound as if the sky has just been torn open. It is a sound with an incredible amount of power and another indication that we humans just can’t compete with nature when it comes to making loud bangs. Of course predicting where a storm is going to go and being in it's path ready can be a little tricky, then of course you have the issue of, if being in its path puts you in the middle of a noisy street then the sounds get contaminated.
Melbourne traditionally gets a couple of big thunderstorms every summer, and so far this season we hadn’t had any. Being at work meant that I was right in the middle of the city, but it also meant I had access to the roof of our building. Initially I was disappointed I didn’t have my main gear with me and that I would have to rely on only the R09, but I have been finding more and more lately that the R09 is the best unit to be using under certain circumstances and this was one of those. The nature of the R09 means it has less direction and less sensitive mics than using the shotgun mic with the H4, but when dealing with really loud sounds this has worked out well. Also the relatively short range of the mic pick-up meant that on the roof I didn’t capture the sound of all the air conditioning units. Basically the mics won’t pick up quiet sounds that are more than a few meters away, but the thunder was so loud that it was recorded very well. The end result is some great material from the thunderstorm without any peaks and without much contamination at all so I’m really happy with the results.
Stephan Schütze has been recording sounds for over twenty years. This journal logs his thoughts and experiences