A hot day and a trip to the beach is a pretty normal way to spend a Sunday. I wasn’t planning on doing any recording specifically, but as always I brought the R09 with me just in case. After spending an hour or so in the water I realized it had probably been ten years since I had been swimming at a beach. Explains why I was so out of practise. While having a rest on the beach I thought I would try an idea that had been floating around in my head for some time. I have been somewhat disappointed with the Hydrophones ability to record underwater sounds and I have heard of other people who have just used ordinary microphones wrapped in a water proof bag to record underwater. I realized that the new range of handheld devices might make this even easier.
I took the R09 out of its normal slip cover I have for it and switched it on, set the levels and then put the whole thing in a zip lock sandwich bag. This all may seem extremely low tech, and I limited my test to about knee high water and only lowered the unit underwater for about 30 seconds, but the results when I listened back were infinitely superior to the purpose built hydrophone. Even with some initial noise from the bag itself when lowering below the water, once underwater the quality of the recording was pretty good. The advantage with the R09 is that it is a small totally inclosed unit of mics and amps etc. all in one, so it was very easy to bag it and carry it swimming. I am now planning to go snorkelling somewhere appropriate where I can take the R09 with me and record a range of underwater sounds. Obviously I do need to be careful as if the bag leaks I am likely to completely destroy the unit, but I think the potential for material is worth the risk. Stay tuned for more on underwater recording.
Stephan Schütze has been recording sounds for over twenty years. This journal logs his thoughts and experiences