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Posts Tagged ‘Lóa’

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This two midsummer recordings were made around four o´clock in the morning 15th of July 2017 nearby Arnarholt farm in Stafholtstungur, in west of Iceland. It is recorded on two stereo channels with two different microphones because usually every time I recorded in this place the recordings has been disturbed by traffic noise all night long. But somehow for some unexplained reason no car went around nearby road for more than two hours, so I got a wonderful recording this morning.
I placed those two microphone rigs very close to each other and pointed them toward north. Afterwards I could not decided which of those recordings were better so it is yours to decide which you like.
There are many bird species in this recording. Common Snipe, Golden Plover, Whimbrel, Common Redshank, Black Taled Godwit, White Wagtail, Black headed Gull, Winter Wren, Northern Wheatear, Snow Bunting, Rock Ptarmigan, Common Starling, Redwing, Great Northern Dever, Whooper Swan, Graylag Goose and probably other species. Birds like Starling and Redwing are flying between branches in nearby trees.

My favorite microphones for nature recordings are Sennheiser MKH20 an omni-directional condenser microphone and Rode NT1A (slightly modified), a large capsule cardioid polar pattern studio condenser microphone. Both these mics have lowest self-noise available on the market.
I am used to use MKH20 in AB setup which mean the mics are in 40-45cm spaced parallel position (AB40). Then I turn the capsules 2-5° outward which gave me sometimes slightly „wider or more open space feeling“. This setup give me a stereo recording, 360° surround the rig.
My second best omni-directional ultra low noise mic for nature recordings is AT4022 but it does not sound as „musical“ or „natural“ as MKH20, so it is not as often in my tool box,
Cardioid mic detect sound mainly from one direction. so I use NT1A in different circumstances.
Lets say I like to record a birdsong. At the same time it is disturbed with unwanted noise, coming from another direction like waterfall, river flow, surf or traffic noise. I can place the backside of the cardioid mic to the noise source which mean I will get less of the unwanted noise and more of the birdsong.
In last two or three years I have not used NT1A in ORTF or NOS setup for outdoor recordings. But instead use AB4, same as for MKH20, which seems to give less phase error for the sound behind the rig.

These two recordings are NOT good examples for this two different mics in critical circumstances because no car passed by behind the rigs and most of the birds activity was also front of the rigs. But it gives a nice insight how this two different mics sounds and how the self-noise act in „quiet“ nature recordings.
NT1A was inside Rycote Cyclone + fur. MKH20 was inside Rycote WS2 windshield + fur. Both rigs are in AB40 +3°
I use MixPre6 in this recording. There is no doubt, the new Sound devices Kashmir mic preamplifier is ultra low noise and a sweet step forward to get better field recordings.
The HPF was at 40Hz and the gain was at 50dB for NT1A and 43dB for MKH20. The gain settings mainly get this arrangement because then both rigs sounds have equal level in the headphones while I was recording. In post the gain was increased almost 30dB on both stereo channels, up to -10dB.
Specrogram shows „all“ frequencies was bellow 8Khz so to lower unwanted mic self-noise I pull everything above 10Khz down with EQ (-5db @ 11Khz & -30dB @ 15Khz) .
This is a „quiet“ recording which mean you should listen to it at low level in quality headphones or speakers in quiet place.

NT1A recording
(mp3, 256kbps / 50,6Mb)

MKH20 recording
(mp3, 256kbps / 50,6Mb)

Here are two shorter version of this recording but now without high frequency cutoff and the gain level is normalized up to 0dB, so it should be easy to hear the mic self-noise in low quality headphones and PC amplifiers.
It is also easy to notice that MKH20 is covering 360° of the surround soundscape, while NT1A is only covering 180° with less bird songs and other activity.

NT1A. Without high freq cut off, normalized to 0dB
(mp3, 256kbps / 11Mb)

MKH20 Without high freq cut off, normalized to 0dB
(mp3, 256kbps / 11Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Rode NT1a and Sennheiser MKH20 (AB40 setup)
Pix. Canon EOSM

Location: 64.673460, -21.629304
Weather: Calm, cloudy, ca. 7°C

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During Icelandic independence day, 17. of June 2012, I was in Önundarfjörður fjord in the Westfjords, the north west peninsula of Iceland. This fjord lies deep between steep mountains with high cliffs. After midnight I entered an Arctic tern colony to record their sounds. The recording conditions was as good as it gets. The weather was calm, dry but cloudy, and the temperature was about 7 °C. Almost no traffic was in the fjord so most of the background noise was only coming from falling water in the mountains and sea waves at the shore.
This Arctic tern colony is big and has been there for decades, even centuries. This bird is very territorial and aggressive protecting the colony and many other bird more passive species feel safe to nest among the Arctic tern. So this recording includes sounds from many other bird spaces such as Whimbrel, Black-headed Gull, Black-tailed Godwit, Common Redshank, Oystercatcher, and Golden Plover… and many more
The recording contains also human and sheep voices from a nearby farm. Swans, Red-throat Diver, and common Eider at the shore side and a some sound from a Gull colony high in the cliffs all around the fjord.
During the recording the Arctic Terns attack many times the furry microphones. Sometimes you may hear their excrement fall to the ground around the microphones, but at this time they never hit or peck the Blimps.
The duration of the recording was almost 80 minutes. Following recording contains the last 36 minutes so my disturbing visit is not much audible. This is just a nice ordinary summer night in the north west of Iceland.

Krían í Önundarfirði 17. júní 2012.

Upptaka þessi var gerð í kríuvarpi nærri Holtstanga innst í Önundarfirði.
Veður var stillt, þurrt en skýjað og hiti um 7°C. Það var því varla hægt að kjósa sér ákjósanlegra veður til upptöku á fuglalífi. Allt iðaði af lífi. Fyrir utan kríu mátti sjá og heyra í hettumáfum, spóa, lóu, stelk, tjaldi og fleiri fuglum, Efst í fjöllunum mátti sjá allt fullt af fuglum á sveimi björgunum. Í flæðamálinu voru álftir, lóm og æðarfugl.

Download mp3 file (192kbps / 50,7Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 744t
Mics: Rode NT1a
Pics: Canon D30

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