Posts Tagged ‘Sennheiser ME20’


Last month I published hydrophone recording „Crawling glacier“ from the lagoon beneath Svínafellsjökul icefall.
The original recording contains two other channels with the sound above the lagoon.
It is not as clear in this short mp3 file as it is with headphones in the field, but during the recording it seems to be possible to hear the flow of the icefall though the valley. Its is a slow event. It usually starts high above in the mountain with rumbling sound and then slowly moves in a shock wave as a silk smooth „white noise“ though the valley all the way to the toe of the icefall. Regularly the ice moves faster in some places when the pressure get high. Then it cracks, some parts brake off and other just crawl faster which is usually audible for everyone.
This behavior of the glaciers is not often audible during the day because of traffic, wind or the clear sun which can easily disturb the sound waves in the air. Then it is also too slow for impatient listeners. Nights are usually the best time to hear this sound of the „flowing mass“. Changeable nature or different types of glaciers will also play a big rule how it acts and sounds.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at medium level.

(mp3 256kbps / 44,3Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 788
Mics: Aquarian H2a-XLR & Sennheiser MKH20
Pix: Canon Eos M

Weather: Calm, cludy. 11°C
Location:64°00’12.7″N 16°52’39.6″W

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It sounds a bit stupid to record silence. But if the equipment can capture something in the silence you can not hear with your bare ears, then it can be very interesting. For instance, you never know what you will see when you look into the deep space with telescope. You never know what you will hear in the silence with a low noise microphone.
I will not define all my views of different silence, but for sure, silence is never completely quiet and it is my favourite recording material.
Best time to get „silence“ is normally during the night in calm weather after sunny day (like this one). In such moments temperature waves are also calm or in layers, so sound can travel long distances without being disturbed. Noise from one car can travel up to 30 km in open field and if you hear it with your bare ears it will be clearly audible through most quality recording gear today. Amplifying sound with low noise microphone, works like a telescope. It drags weak sound far away closer to your ears. In places where you need to hold your breath to hear probably only your heart beat, it can be a very busy place in your headphones.
But there is also other kind of silence. It is on hot sunny days when wind blows and the air is very unstable. Sound normally does not travel long distances in such circumstances.
One of these days was 18th of July 2016 on the World Listening Day. I was traveling on Kjölur, west highland route in Iceland. The sun was shining all day and the wind was blowing from the south. I took of the main rode and followed a track into Kjalhraun lava field. My plan was to find the mysterious Beinahóll (Bone hill) and the field where Reynistaðabræður (Reynisstada brothers) and almost 200 sheeps lost their lives in a insane weather in September 1780. It is still possible to find bones on this field so for a long time I have bin interested in this tragic story.
But the track through the lava was too ruff for my car so I kept on by food.
Many times for almost three decades it has been my plan to find this place while travelling by bike over Kjölur. I never did it because I was always wearing a green jacket and for superstitions reasons it has been told dangerous.
This time I did not find Beinahól. Instead I started recording the silence in the lava.
The weather was a typical sunny „midday silence“, where the thermal heat from the sun makes the air unstable so sound waves did not travel long distances.
This was one of these days I did not hear any plains or car traffic, even though Kjölur main route was not far away. When I held my breath, I only did hear weak bird song in the distance and some flies around. Because the mics are located close to the ground, you will also hear the wind wipe the ruff lava surface.
This recording is captured with MKH20 microphones and SD744 recorder. Gain was set at 56dB and HPF 80Hz. In post the gain was again raised about 25dB. Below 20Hz and above 10Khz the freq. was pulled down by 25dB.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at low level. Hold your breath while listening 🙂

(256Kbps / 46Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 744
Mics Sennheiser MKH20 (AB40 setup)
Pics. EOS-M
Weather. Sunny, about 18°C, calm up to 3 m/s in gusts
Recording location: 64.77883, -19.42805

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An outwash plain, also called a sandur is a plain formed of glacial sediments deposited by meltwater outwash at the terminus of a glacier. As it flows, the glacier grinds the underlying rock surface and carries the debris along. The meltwater at the snout of the glacier deposits its load of sediment over the outwash plain, with larger boulders being deposited near the terminal morraine, and smaller particles travelling further before being deposited. Sandurs are common in Iceland where geothermal activity accelerates the melting of ice flows and the deposition of sediment by meltwater.
The original sandur from which the general name is derived is Skeiðarársandur, a broad sandy wasteland along Iceland’s south-eastern coast, between the Vatnajökull icecap and the sea. Skeiðarársandur is the largest sandur in the world, covering an area of 1,300 km2 (500 sq mi). Volcanic eruptions under the icecap have given rise to many large glacial bursts (jökulhlaups in Icelandic), most recently in 1996, when the Ring Road was washed away (minor floods have also occurred since then). This road, which encircles Iceland and was completed in 1974, has since been repaired. The 1996 jökulhlaup was caused by the eruption of the Grímsvötn volcano, with peak flow estimated to be 50,000 m3/s (1,800,000 cu ft/s) compared to the normal summer peak flow of 200 to 400 m3/s (7,100–14,100 cu ft/s). Net deposition of sediment was estimated to be 12,800,000 m3 (450,000,000 cu ft).
The main braided channels of Skeiðarársandur are the Gígjukvísl and Skeiðará rivers, which incurred net gains of 29 and 24 cm (11.4 and 9.4 in) respectively during the 1996 jökulhlaup. In the Gígjukvísl there was massive sediment deposition of up to 12 m (39 ft), which occurred closest to the terminus of the glacier. The erosional patterns of Skeiðarársandur can be seen by looking at the centimeter-scale elevation differences measured with repeat-pass laser altimetry (LIDAR) flown in 1996 (pre-flood), 1997, and 2001. Of the overall deposition during the 1996 jökulhlaup, nearly half of the net gain had been eroded 4 years after the flood. These two rivers on the sandur display drastically different erosional patterns. The difference in sediment erosion can be attributed to the 2 km (1.2 mi) wide trench near the terminus where the Gígjukvísl flows, in contrast with the Skeiðará, which has braided flows directly onto the outwash plain. The Gígjukvísl river is where some of the highest level of sediment deposit occurred and also where the largest erosion happened afterward. This indicates that these massive jökulhlaup deposits may have a large geomorphic impact in the short term, but the net change on the surface relief could be minimal after a couple years to a decade. (*Wikipedia)
This recording is just 23 minutes of 1o hours long overnight recording. It is very quiet and highly amplified. The microphones are unexpected located near to Northern Wheatear´s nest which is between stones in old ruins in the middle of Skeiðarársandur. You can hear wing flaps and some kind of a conversation between the birds and the youngsters. The birds sounds a little bit out of phase but that could be either because the bird is mostly behind the microphones, or the stone wall, or because the fury windshield was still soaking wet after heavy rain one hour earlier.
At 1:35 min a thunderous boom sounds from glacier in distance. During the recording the weather changed from calm to be windy.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at low level.

Sögur af Skeiðarársandi 1. hluti

Hér er á ferðinni rúmlega 20 mínútna löng upptaka sem er partur af 10 klst langri næturupptöku frá því 29. maí 2016 á Skeiðarársandi. Á sandinum svo til miðjum er hlaðin rúst sem líklega hefur gengt því hlutverki að vera fjárrétt áður en árnar á sandinum voru brúaðar. Í upptökunni má heyra að í vegghleðsluni er hreiður Steindepils. Hann pirrar sig eitthvað á óboðnum gesti þessa nótt, hljóðnemunum, en virðist svo líka eiga einhver samskipti við unga sína með lágværu tísti eða muldri. Heyra má að á þessum rúmu 20 mínútum að veðrið breytist frá því að vera logn yfir í rok.
Mælt er með því að hlusta á upptökuna í góðum opnum heyrnartólum og á miðlungs- lágum hljóðstyrk.

(256kbps / 43Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices 788
Mics: Sennheiser MKH20 (AB40)
Pix: Canon EOS-M
Weather & time: Clam and windy, Drissle rain, at 2AM
Location: 63.969892, -17.160032

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My favorite recordings are those who are many hours long. Even in places where I hear „nothing“, I will more often end up with expressively moments. Here is one of these moments when curious sheeps are sniffing, licking and biting the microphones. Not very interesting, but anyway the loudest part of seven hours long recording. It was recorded in Álftaver, in the south east south of Iceland, around midnight, 4th of June 2015.

Forvitnar kindur

Mitt skemmtilegasta viðfangsefni eru langar upptökur úti í náttúrunni. Jafnvel þó fátt makrvert heyrist, þá er oftar en ekki eitthvað áheyrilegt í þessum upptökum. Hér er ein slík uppákoma þegar rolla og lambrútur snuðra við hljóðnemasettið. Þetta er ekki merkileg upptaka en engu að síður háværasti parturinn úr sjö klukkustunda langri upptöku. Þessi hljóðpartur var tekinn upp um miðnætti í Álftaveri þann 4. júní 2015.

  Download mp3 file (256kbps / 30,8Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices 788
Microphones: Sennheiser MKH20 (AB40)
Pix Canon EOS-M
Rec. Location: 63.522821, -18.351570
Weather: ca. 4°C, calm (SW 2m) cloudy

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In 10th of February 2013 I recorded a concert with Amateur symphony orchestra.
The program contained a wonderful melody “Senur” composed in four chapters by Sigurður Sævarsson. It was composed for string orchestra and obo. Both the orchestra and the soloist, Guðrún Másdóttir, played it flawless. Hereby is the first chapter of Senur without any post work.
I was pretty happy with the recording result, even though the concert hall (a church) sounded terrible for recording. It has a very harsh sound and difficult peaks in some resonance frequencies.
Over the orchestra I used a Jeclin disk with a double pair of mics, parallel MKH8020 and MKH20 in 45°+45° (as shown on the picture).
Close to the soloist there was a pair of MKH8040 and far behind in the hall was a pair of SE4400 with spaced Omni (70cm).
Past months I have got a few emails where people ask me for a sound sample with my Jecklin disk. So here are two samples, both almost the same, but one is recorded with MKH20 in 45°+45° and the other one with parallel MKH8020.

“Senur” fyrsti kafli

Sigurður Sævarsson hóf söngnám við tónlistarskólann í Keflavík undir handleiðslu Árna Sighvatssonar. Þaðan lá leiðinn í Nýja tónlistarskólann, þar sem hann nam hjá Sigurði Demetz Franzyni og Alinu Dubik. Hann lauk þaðan prófi vorið 1994. Sama ár hóf Sigurður söng- og tónlistarnám við Boston University í Bandaríkjunum, þar sem kennarar hans voru William Sharp, Charles Fussel, Sam Hendrick og Martin Amin. Hann lauk þaðan meistaraprófi í báðum greinum vorið 1997.
Helstu viðfangsefni Sigurðar hafa verið óperur og kórverk. Tveir geisladiskar haf verið gefnir út með verkum hans. Hallgrímspassía kom út árið 2010 og Missa Pacis kom út 2011. Nýjasta verk Sigurðar er Jólaóratórían sem var frumflutt 2. desember 2012.
Sigurður samdi “Senur” upphaflega fyrir óbó og strengjakvartett, að tilhlutan Eydísar Franzdóttur óbóleikara. Verkið var frumflutt á Myrkum músíkdögum 2012 og hefur verið flutt nokkrum sinnum síðan í Tékklandi og Þýskalandi. Sigurður umritaði verkið fyrir skömmu fyrir óbó og strengjasveit og er sú gerð verksins frumflutt hér.
Guðrún Másdóttir hóf að læra á óbó í Tónskóla Sigursveins D. Kristinssonar 14 ára að aldri. Hún lauk þaðan fullnaðarprófi árið 1992 undir handleiðslu Daða Kolbeinssonar. Hún sótti nær öll námskeið Sinfóníuhljómsveitar æskunnar undir stjórn Paul Zukovsky á árunum 1985-1991 og hefur nokkrum sinnum leikið með Sinfóníuhljómsveit Íslands. Guðrún hefur leikið með Sinfóníuhljómsveit áhugamanna óslitið frá byrjun árs 1991. Hún er í stjórn hljómsveitarinnar og hefur umsjón með vefsíðu hennar, en aðalstarf Guðrúnar er staða tölvunarfræðings hjá fyrirtækinu Mentor.


Recording with Sennheiser MKH20
Download mp3 file. (256kbps / 9Mb)

Recording with Sennheiser MKH8020
Download mp3 file. (256kbps / 9Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices 788
Mics: Sennheiser MKH20, MKH8020, MKH8040 and SE4400
Picture of the Jecklin disk

Recording with MKH20(+8dB) and MKH8040.
MKH8020 and SE4400a are turned off.

If you do not see the Sound Cloud link above, please press on this link: https://soundcloud.com/fieldrecording-net/senur-chapter-one

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Common Eider

It is not possible every day to record nature sounds in as nice weather condition that was early morning at Seltjarnarnes in 25th of May 2000. Weather was calm and dry. Birds as Black backed Gull, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Common Snipe, Golden Plover and Arctic Tern were everywhere along the shore side, busy with their daily life. Close by, a group of female Common Eider was teaching very young ducklings how to search food.
Just after few minutes, I finished to set up the microphones, the Eiders came so close to the rig it was possible to listen their conversation in smallest details for almost two hours.
The quality of this recording still surprises me. It is one of the latest recording I made with Sony TC-D5M cassette deck with a pair of ME 20 microphones. The key of the quality was the microphone cables. Instead of ordinary mic cables I used CAT6 data cables. It makes extraordinary difference for the high frequency signal. All small details in the recording were cleaner and much brighter.
This recording is part of my second CD release, published in limited edition later the year 2000.

Fuglar í Seltjarnarnes fjöru 25. maí 2000

Það er ekki á hverjum degi sem hægt er að taka upp fuglasöng við veðurskilyrði eins og voru þessa nótt á Seltjarnarnesi 25. júní 2000. Veður var einstaklega stillt og allir fuglar voru komnir með unga. Einkenni þessarar upptöku er návígið við æðarkollur og unga þeirra sem leita fæðu í flæðarmálinu. Í mikilli nálægð er hægt að heyra buslið í ungunum og hvernig kollan kennir þeim og ver þá gegn varasömum gestum. Að auki má heyra í öðrum fuglum sem einkenna Seltjarnarnesið s.s. kríu, tjaldi, lóu og hrossagauk. Hljóðin eru síðan síbreytileg þar sem heyra má fuglahópa koma og fara í stöðugri leit sinni að fæðu.
Á sínum tíma þótti upptakan svo góð að hún endaði á CD útgáfu (sjá nánar á sölusíðu).

Download mp3 file (192kbps / 46Mb)

More Audio from this recording at Xeno-Canto and AudioBoo

Recorder: Sony TC-D5M (TDK MA-90mín).
Mic. Sennheiser K3U / ME20 (40cm/100° apart. Hi-Pass filter on level 1).
Pix: Canon 30D (pictures taken 2010).

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Æðarfugl við Bakkagranda fjöru

Það eru ófáar ferðirnar sem ég hef farið út á Seltjarnarnes til að hljóðrita. Ein af mínum uppáhalds upptökum er frá því 10. júní 1994. Hefur hún verið fáanleg í fullri lengd á CD diski í nokkur ár.
Hér er á ferðinni eitt þessara hljóðrita þar sem allt gekk upp til að hljóðritið heppnaðist. Algert logn var á upptökustað, sem var ströndin undan Bakkagranda. Æðarfuglinn kom alveg upp að hljóðnemunum með unga sína. Hér má því heyra kollur kenna ungum fæðuleit og einstaka blika slást. Þá heyrist í kríu, tjaldi, hrossagauk og öðrum fuglum.
Hef ég farið margar andvökuferðir út á Nes til að reyna að fanga svipað hljóðrit. En það hefur ekki tekist. Fyrst og fremst stafar það af því að nú er stöðug umferð bíla fram og til baka út á Nes allan sólarhringin.
Það merkilega við þessa upptöku er hvað hún hefur varðveist vel miðað við að hún var tekin upp á kassettu fyrir tæpum tveimur áratugum. Nánari upplýsingar má finna á sölusíðu.


Birdlife at Seltjarnarnes in June 1994.
The birds are mostly Common Eider and ducklings searching for food in the beach, Artic Tern and Oystercatcher.
This recording is/was avalible in full length on CD in 16bit/44,1Khz on Sale page
Recorder: Sony TC-D5M (TDK metal bias tape)
Mic: Sennheiser ME20 and ME80 (40cm apart/100°)
Picture was taken 17 years later at recording place.

Sækja mp3 skrá (192kbps / 41mb)

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