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Posts Tagged ‘Sennheiser MKH8020/8040’

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At the end of July, a seismic period began on the Reykjanes peninsula, which ended with a volcanic eruption in Meradalar south of Reykjavík, not far from the place that last erupted in Fagradalsfjall during the COVID period.
I recorded for a few days during the earthquakes. Both with microphones and simultaneously with Geophones on four channels. After I had set up the microphones, the big quake stopped, but I did catch one that was 4.8 on magnitude.
When it started to erupt in Meradalir, the seismic activity stopped almost completely.
I took advantage of the weekend for a cycle trip to the eruption site and recorded approx. four hours of material. It was not easy. There was a lot of gas pollution and wind that are always characteristic of volcanic eruptions, but tourists and drones in the area never shut up.
I didn’t have a gas mask, which made the situation almost unbearable these four hours. It was therefore also impossible for me to record in places where other visitors could not reach.
I had my second best microphones for this project. It was my parallel MKH8020/8040 rig that gave me a lot of options to record a difficult and different subject. The attached recording is a small composite story of the events of the last few days, starting with an earthquake that then leads to a volcanic eruption.
The earthquake was recorded on four channels with two NT2a in MS configuration and two LOM geophones fixed in X/Y axis in my garage.
The eruption was recorded in AB40 on four channels with parallel MKH8020/8040 mic rig.
In post-processing, 8020 was used for the low frequency and 8040 was used for the higher frequency, which significantly reduced the noise from tourists and wind noise without losing the low frequency which in some places sounded more like a shock waves from the crater.
The recording of the eruption is from three places at the eruption site. You can actually hear it when I move the microphones once.
Then, unfortunately, drones and airplanes can be heard.
During the eruption, sounds are heard that would be worth explaining. There is a lot of all kinds of white noise, which mainly comes from glowing slag that splashes in all directions when it falls to the ground around the crater. It was also interesting to hear when it rained on the lava, an unusually loud white noise filled the air. It may be heard for a while in this recording.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at mid volume.
Be careful, this recording starts quietly. But most of it is pretty loud, especially at lower frequencies.
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(mp3 256 kbps / 65,2Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices MixPre6
Mics: Rode NT2a in MS & LOM geophones in X/Y axis (earth quakes) and parallel MKH8020/8040 in AB40 (eruption site)
Pix: Canon EOS-M50

Weather: Wind 2-4m/sec, drizzle rain, foggy & 5-8°C
(but on the recording site, gust up to 20m/sec and 15-35°C )
Location: 63.900428, -22.246934
Eruption site on Map.is

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Hjörleifshöfði is a 221 m-high inselberg in southern Iceland. It consists of palagonite. The mountain is located on the Mýrdalssandur outwash plain about 15 km east of the village Vík í Mýrdal, and was an island in the Atlantic Ocean several centuries ago (More info: Wikipedia).
I have very often visited this mountain, both those years when I was used to travel by bike in Iceland and now resent years when I am on my field recording trips.
But in recent years, mainly because of tourist traffic, it has not been so pleasant to stay there overnight to enjoy the natural soundscape, which can be a very different on each side of the mountain.
Thanks to COVID I got the opportunity on the 21st of June 2021 to record the soundscape on the west side without traffic noise from the main road, motor vehicles or tourists around me.
Even without traffic noise it has always been difficult to record this place because of the surf along the coast line which makes constant rumble in the background.
I arrived just before midnight. It was foggy but bright. This was last night before the summer solstice.
The weather forecast told me I would have more wind and even rain later in the morning so I quickly prepared the recording gear. I use the Kayak trailer behind the car to make a shelter from the breeze from the south and point the microphones toward the north in the middle of a big lupine field.
Most birds were mostly in the distance. But what makes the soundscape actually so interesting in this place is the redwing songs. They start their songs or themes differently from what I have heard in other places in Iceland. There are other places in Iceland where I have noticed this difference and it seems like it is somehow connected to places where lupine grows. These songs are also different between these „lupine locations“ e.g. Bæjarstaðarskógur in Skaftafell national park, while redwing songs sound pretty similar all over the country.
I have not investigated this in detail, but I have noticed this by listening to recordings from these locations and comparing them in spectrograms. What I need to do next is film them singing in these places to be sure I am actually listening to redwings (which is though 98% clear in my mind). Other things which make this a little bit difficult is the fact that not all birds sound similar in these locations so it is necessary to collect „closeup songs“ in good sound quality from several redwings to work with and investigate.
This is not my best quality recording, but it is almost impossible to record this place without traffic or surf noise. So I was just lucky to get this one.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at mid or low level
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(mp3 256kbps / 60Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser MKH8020/8040.  (Parallel AB) 
Pix: Canon EOS R

Location: 63.424336, -18.763861
Weather: Calm to breeze. Foggy, around 10 °C

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Snæfellsnes peninsula has long sand and gravel beaches, especially in the south.
These beaches can easily attract everyone who traveled there. So when I was there on the 1st of July 2021 I did a hike along the beach below the Langholt guesthouse (Garðafjara).
Surf is usually not interesting recording material and there are not many „surf recordings“ in my sound blog. But this beach had a special sound that night
I thought something was disturbing my hearing, but soon I noticed it was the gravel in the surf which made this sound. Instead to be almost constant pink noise, then the noise on this beach constantly changes with every wave. From brown noise to white noise.
As usual the recording gear is never far away so I record this interesting soundscape just before midnight. 

(mp3 256Kbps / 52Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser MKH8020/8040 Parallel AB
Pix: Canon EOS R

Weather: Calm to 2m/sec, cloudy,  about 15°C
Location: 64.809722, -23.147333

 

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The eruption was in full action on the 17th of July 2021 and the weather forecast was fine, calm and dry when I decided to go and record at the eruption sites.
I decided to stay not near popular sightseeing places, so therefore I went by bike to get further away to another place at the lava field.
But when I arrived, there was a strong wind because both the eruption and the lava itself has its own weather system due to the heat in the area. Pollution was also high, so it was not easy to operate in the area.
Eventually I found a „good place“ where I had to block the microphones between rocks on the ground right by the glowing lava.
As soon as I pressed „Record“ the volcano stopped erupting and it did not erupt in the next few days, which is very typical for me.
It is quite descriptive of this eruption, although it is a small and beautiful „tourist eruption“, I have not been able to record the eruption itself these four times I have dragged equipment to the eruption sites. There have always been strong gusts and sometimes „small“ hurricanes around the volcano which have made sound recording very difficult. Plus, when it erupts it does not make much sound, especially when no water is involved in the eruption or the lava which would have made an explosion. But when the volcano is active the boiling lava sounds like boiling water in a huge pot.
Even though I could not record the eruption that day as was planned, I managed to record the lava itself without too much wind-, tourists chatting-, drones- and helicopter noise.
The lava did not seem to be moving while I was recording, but I could see embers in the cracks.
I have no clue what makes this „pop“ sound in the lava while I could not see it move. The sounds could be coming from the lava that was possibly rising when the liquid lava flowed under a thin shell crust. Or it just sounds like that when the lava cools down.
The gust rumbling sound in this recording sounds pretty similar as the eruption from the volcano so let’s play with with the imagination while listening.

  (mp3 256kbps / 56,3Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics. Sennheiser MKH8020/8040 (Parallel AB40)
Pix:  Canon EOS R

Location:  63.886300, -22.230307
Weather:  Gusty, 15°C and 35°C at the microphone place, cloudy and high gas pollution.

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Recording Icelandic glaciers aims to be my main passion for the coming years.
Unfortunately, I feel I’m starting too late because the sounds have changed significantly over the last 20-30 years. It is because they have lost a lot of mass, especially on the edges of the glaciers where they mainly produce sound.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to get to places where a glacier is crawling because there are no roads or tracks near the places that are considered suitable for recording today.
Not enough. Most of the glaciers are within national parks and protected areas today. Therefore, I need to apply for a permit to go to various places within the national park to record.
Once in place, it is not a given that it is possible to record exactly where it would be best to get an interesting sound. It must be taken into account that glaciers are not playgrounds and they can be dangerous. Glacier lagoons’ coastline are also dangerous when large pieces of ice fall from glaciers and large icebergs flip over and break down in pieces.
Weather conditions are also important. I am used to record continuously for many hours, even days, so calm and dry weather most of the time is always on the wish list.  
Last summer Jökulsárlón lagoon and Breiðamerkurjökul glacier were my main targets. It was slightly more difficult than I thought in the beginning, mainly because I did not have a clue what microphones worked best for this project so I brought with me microphones for all kinds of situations which is a hell a lot of stuff. In the end it was my parallel MKH8020/8040 rig which worked best for this glacier project last summer. Mainly because glaciers are not so quiet and therefore microphones with the lowest noise floor are not so important . 
It takes me almost two hours to sail on pedal Kayak with all luggage to the location near the glacier. I started immediately to record with two recorders after arriving. Then it takes me almost a day to find the best location for the microphones. It was not the best place to get the highest quality of sound recording. But they were sheltered from the wind and in safe distance from big waves or tsunami from the lagoon.
This following recording is a part of a 20 hour recording on this location. 
WARNING. This recording has a wide dynamic range. It includes several blasts (especially at 6:34) which are very loud that can damage speakers, headphones or your hearing if played too loud.
As usual for nature recordings it has not got any process in post. Just add gain about 20dB. Therefore is clipping inevitable in the „blast“ at 6:34.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at low level.

(mp3 256kbps / 56,3Mb)
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Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser MKH8020/8040 in Parallel AB40. Mixed50/50%
Pix: Canon EOS R

Location: 64.109285, -16.243593
Weather: 4°C 2-4m/sek, cloudy

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I was shocked last summer. Then I realized it was becoming increasingly difficult to get interesting recordings of glaciers. I was missing out on unique opportunities if I would not change my traditional methods of recording glacier sounds.
Glaciers that have so far been accessible with all kind of sound seems much quieter than before. Finding good places seems to be more difficult each year and to reach them with all of my equipment are getting even more difficult. Many glacier toes in Iceland seem to be turning into „dead ice“ at the toe end so they will not be crawling under its own weight anymore just lay where they are until they melt down.
One of this glacier which has gotten thinner, smaller and quieter each year is Svínafellsjökull glacier.
I spent three nights recording there last summer without recording anything „interesting“
The temperature varies between 2°C over the night, to 18°C during the day. During the night it melted little but it started to melt intensely at dawn and became very intense during the day, especially when the sun was shining on the glacier.
The following recording was made in a small „Ice cave“ in the glacier toe, 27th of May 2019. The time was around 8 AM, about an hour after the heat started to rice and the melting began. In this 27 minutes long recording  you will clearly hear the melting of the ice increase until I became afraid about the microphone and I stop the recording.
You can hear several times a deep rumble sound, probably because the glacier is crawling high in the mountain. Many other strange sounds are in this recording, some are known, while other unexplainable. I was never close by so it is not sound from me.  Some of them are loud, so be careful, do not listen to the recording on high level.
Other sound in distance are tourists, almost constant motorist traffic. But fossil fuel machines and humans mobility are sadly one of the reason for rapidly shrinking glaciers now a days.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at low-mid level.
If you are having problems playing this or other recordings on this blog, try to open each blog-post in separate new frame or tab.

(mp3 256kbps / 51Mb)
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Recorder: Sound Devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser MKH8020/8040 in Parallel AB40
Pix: LG G6
Location: 63.996493, -16.874061
Weather: Calm, light clouds, around 10°C

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Svartárkot means “Black River Croft” and is a working sheep farm at the southernmost part of Bárðardalur valley in northern Iceland. It lies on the western bank of Svartárvatn lake, at the southernmost point of Fljótsheiði heath, around 400 meters above sea level, at the foot of the Ódáðahraun lava, the wildest uninhabited lava interior of Iceland. To the south, a wilderness extends all the way to Vatnajökull glacier, the largest ice-cap in Europe. To the south and east lie the rugged uninhabitable areas o the highlands, the domains of glaciers and lavafields. A colourful cultural history is to be found further down the valley towards the lowlands. Svartárkot has been inhabited through most of Iceland’s history and can be seen as a symbol for the interplay between humans and nature, human habitation and wilderness. In addition to sheep, the farmers at Svartárkot maintain a trout fishing business by selling fishing licenses and home-smoked trout and arctic char. They are also experienced guides with a vast knowledge of the interior preserved through generations, and lead both hiking tours and mountain jeep excursions(source).
I was at Svarárkot farm in late May 2018, with Bob Mcguire who was collecting bird sounds in associate with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds. Farmers were busy in lambing and birds in mating, especially Barrow´s Goldeneye. This duck is not common in Iceland. They are mainly found in NE Iceland, around lake Mývatn and at Svartárkot farm, probably because farmers make nesting boxes inside the barn´s walls.
I and Bob spent maybe two or three hours at Svartárkot recording birds, sheep and soundscapes. Just before we were leaving the place, I put up my rig between the lake and the sheep sheds and started recording. The outcome was the following recording.
It starts peacefully in calm weather. Behind the microphones is the sheep sheds and in front is the lake with most of the birds that make sounds in this recording. Nosiest are the Barrow´s Goldeneye with its strange male´s „ticking“ attracting sound. There are also other birds like Raven, White Wagtail, Dunlin, Arctic tern, Common Ringed Plover and Whimbrel. The farmer is driving on four wheeler between the buildings on the farm and suddenly the wind gets stronger until it was almost impossible to continue the recording.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at medium level.

(mp3 256kbps / 62Mb)
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Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser MKH8020/8040 (AB40)
Pix: Canon EOS-M

Location: 65.340929, -17.244718
Weather: Calm up to 10m/s, clear sky, about 12°C

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Remote islands are interesting places. Almost every island has it’s own ecosystem which can be interesting to record. One of those islands is Elliðaey, which is a part of Vestmannaeyjar islands, south of Iceland.
I got an opportunity to go there on a 24 hours trip with Bob McGuire, which is recording birds in association with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds.
I am not a specialist in the ecosystem in Elliðaey so I will not say much about it here. It is slightly different between each island in the region and the bird species can be different from cliff to cliff
Our main target in Elliðaey was European storm petrel and Leach’s storm petrel. Bob was collecting individual calls and songs but I was going to record hours of ambiances. The bird colony gives a strong smell as usual, but this island also has a strong smell of sheep. For decades there have been several landowners and farmers from Heimaey island who keep there several dozens of sheep during the summertime.
Puffins have been in a very difficult situation for many years, especially south Iceland and Vestmannaeyjar islands. Mainly because some annually rhythm changes in the ocean biosphere. That situation was visible in Elliðaey. Probably more than 50% of the Puffins burrows were empty and abandoned and dead chicks were also visible around.
Not all birds have difficulties and many other bird species also live and breed in the island; Atlantic Puffin, Manx Shearwater, Leach’s Storm-petrel, European (British) Storm-petrel, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Northern Fulmar, Common Eider, Common Murre, Black Guillemot, Common Raven, European Starling, White Wagtail
As soon as we arrived I quickly found locations for the recorders and then we walked around in the bumpy landscape for other locations. We were early in the breeding season, 4th of June, so we were even not sure if birds we were going to record, like European storm petrel, had already arrived. What surprised me most was the silence in the interior island. No sound from the ocean waves or cliff birds, only wing flaps from busy birds above our heads, mostly puffins. But there was also a low rumbling noise, which filled the air and was difficult to locate. It took me time to figure out what it was, but it was from ships somewhere far away on the ocean, so far I could not even see them in the horizon. This noise never stopped when I was awake. It was just differently loud during day and the night, and of course louder when ship passed close to the island.
The following recording was made just before midnight on a hill south of the hut in the island, located almost in the middle of a puffin colony.
It is mostly puffins wing flaps, when they fly over, landed close by the microphones and sometimes a „spray & splash sound“ when they poop
Later that night both Leach’s Storm-petrel, European Storm-petrel surprisingly arrived to the island. But that will be for another blog.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at medium level.

(mp3 256kbps / 60.3Mb)
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Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser paralell MKH8020/8040 in AB40 (4ch)
Pix. LG G6
Location: 63.466604, -20.176682
Weather: Calm, misty & light shower, ca 12°C

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Iceland’s electricity is produced almost entirely from renewable energy sources: hydroelectric (70%) and geothermal (30%). Less than 0.2% of electricity generated came from fossil fuels (in this case, fuel oil). In 2012 there was no wind power installed in Iceland. Electricity production increased by 24 MWh/person from 2005 to 2008, an increase of 83%.
According to Statistics Iceland the total electricity consumption was 7,958 GWh in 2002, 11,480 GWh in 2007, and 17,068 GWh in 2012. The aluminum industry in Iceland used 71% of produced electricity in 2011.
The electricity supply and consumption were equal in 2008: 53.1 MWh per inhabitant when the European union (EU15) average was 7.4 MWh. Iceland’s consumption of electricity was seven times higher than EU 15 average in 2008. The domestic electricity supply promotes use of electricity.
The Icelandic electricity market is geographically isolated. The market was closed for competition prior to 1 July 2003. Almost all electricity was supplied by Landsvirkjun and sold through regional distribution companies. Landsvirkjun had a monopoly position on investment in generation. Full market opening began in 2006 e.g. with the opportunity to switch supplier. Contracts for large scale energy users were in general long term, up to 30 years with options for extension.
Landsvirkjun, the largest electricity producer, had 76% annual production in 2007.The majority of the electricity is used in industry, mainly aluminium smelters and producers of ferroalloy. Landsvirkjun does not participate directly in the retail market for households and smaller businesses. In the retail market the main companies are RARIK, Orkuveita Reykjavíkur and Hitaveita Suðurnesja.The last two have also entered into the market for energy intensive users. The households heated with electricity, not many, receive subsidies to make their heating costs comparable to hot water heating. (Wikipedia) .
The following recording was recorded at Skóey island in Hornarfjörður fjord under a powerline “Byggðalína”. It is a 132kV powerline which connects all the regional and local electrical grids together and stabilizes the whole electrical grid in Iceland. The structure is in most parts over thirty years old and for the last several years it has been quite overloaded.
The recording was in 24bit/48Khz. Behind the aggressive electrical sound is a typical calm, quiet wetland soundscape with rumbling background noise from the ocean shore not far away and traffic.
When the recording is inspected in specrogram it shows the sparks fill the whole frequency spectrum of noise, or up to 24Khz (see picture). It would have been interesting to record this sparking sound at 192kHz because the whole microphone frequency range is up to 50Khz. That is not all, because the air is massively loaded with EMF/radiowaves, from 50Hz up to several hundred kHz. The strong radio signals travel long distances and make it almost impossible to record clean spaceweather signals with VLF receiver without human electrical noise pollution.

(mp3 256kbps / 55Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser MKH8020/8040 (Parallel AB40)
Pix: Canon Eos M

Location: 64.311677, -15.322010
Weather: Calm, Cloudy, drizzle rain. Temp: ca. 9°C

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World Oceans Day takes place every 8 June. It has been celebrated unofficially since its original proposal in 1992 by Canada’s International Centre for Ocean Development (ICOD) and the Ocean Institute of Canada (OIC) at the Earth Summit – UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[1] The Brundtland Commission, i.e. the World Commission on Environment and Development, provided the inspiration for a global oceans day. The 1987 Brundtland Report noted that the ocean sector lacked a strong voice compared to other sectors. At the first World Oceans Day in 1992, the objectives were to move the oceans from the sidelines to the center of the intergovernmental and NGO discussions and policy and to strengthen the voice of ocean and coastal constituencies world wide.
The Ocean Project, working in partnership with leading organizations from all sectors, including the World Ocean Network, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and many others in its network of 2,000 organizations, has been promoting World Oceans Day since 2002 and together with World Ocean Network led a three-year global petition movement to secure official UN recognition. World Oceans Day was officially recognized by the United Nations in late 2008.[2]
World Oceans Day events are celebrated on 8 June, the closest weekend, the week, and the month of June. The day is marked in a variety of ways, including launching new campaigns and initiatives, special events at aquariums and zoos, outdoor explorations, aquatic and beach cleanups, educational and conservation action programs, art contests, film festivals, and sustainable seafood events. Youth have been playing an increasingly important role since 2015, including the development in 2016 of a World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council (Wikipedia).
The following recording was recorded at midnight 29th of May in a wonderful weather nearby Hraunhafnartanga peninsula, close by the arctic circle.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at medium level.

(mp3 256kbps / 55Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser MKH8020/8040 (Parallel AB37)
Pix: LG-G6

Location: 66.52273, -16.03947
Weather. Calm. Clear sky. around 7°C

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