Water Test Number 2
and a zip lock bag
In further tests to see how useful the R09 is for recording underwater I tried two different approaches today. We decided to go for a quick swim because it was about 30 degrees. On the way we made a brief stop at a small area with lots of rocks and I got some quick samples of digging and using a pick on the rocks. At the beach I once again wanted to try the R09 in the water. First off I put it in a heavy plastic waterproof satchel. I wasn’t sure how well sound would transfer through the heavy plastic. The pouch was well sealed and I had no problem diving with the unit and swimming through waves. No water got in. Next I tried a small zip lock sandwich bag for the sake of comparison. I think a little water may have gotten in, or it might have just been my wet hands leaving some damp on the unit, either way there was no problem with either setup.
When I got home and compared the recordings there were several notable things. In both cases I had the recording level set to absolute minimum, but even with this the levels peaked out quite often. It seems that being in surf or infact any decent wave is just too much for the unit to cope with. There wasn’t a huge amount of difference in the quality of the two recordings. The both peaked out when waves hit, then there was a sweet spot just under the water where they captured some nice wave movement, but once they got deeper both units seemed to not capture much of anything. It looks like the subtleties of deeper water currents are not being transferred through the plastic.
I will need to analyse further what bits sound useful and see if I can try and do another session to grab some usable material. This is all very much trial and error at this stage, but it is a good way of understanding the limitations of the equipment under these circumstances.
I was also lucky enough today to have our next door neighbour outside working on one of his cars. Lu owns a 1983 Mazda RX7 series 3 with a series 5 engine in it, and he was flushing out the radiator getting it ready for a hill climb race next month. Lu also owns a 1956 Chevy as well as an old BSA motorbike and a Harley. Today I got to record the RX7.
While Lu was flushing the system he had the car idling for quite some time, so I asked if he minded me recording, he said “go for it” I made sure I got as much material as possible, recording near the exhaust, under the front end, from inside and under the bonnet. The constant idle sound of a car changes dramatically depending on where you position the mic. I wish I could always have the liberty to spend this much time with every vehicle I get near. When he had the engine off I made sure I go t the door, boot, glove box and popup lights. Finally when he was finished Lu asked if I wanted to come for a drive, well of course I did! J
Cars will continue to be a challenge, because you really need to have them in a studio up on rollers so you can record a constant sample in each gear etc. But while that is not possible I will continue to gather as much material as I can. I plan on going to the hill climb competition to record Lu’s car as he races as well as, as many others as I can.
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Stephan Schütze has been recording sounds for over twenty years. This journal logs his thoughts and experiences