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Posts Tagged ‘Silence’

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One year ago I was recording in Skaftafell national park and neighborhood in southeast of Iceland. One of my favorite recording place in this area is not exactly in the park, but on Skeiðarársandur, a huge broad sandy wasteland along Iceland’s south-eastern coast, between the Vatnajökull icecap and the sea.
One of the reason I love this place is the silence. There is almost „nothing“. Just the sand. In the horizon far away is the glacier Vatnajökull on the one side, and on the other side just the sky. The only thing that disturbs this silence is traffic or the wind. So when it is calm during the night and traffic is down it is possible to listen deep into this amazing open space. There is not much life. There is probably only Rock Ptarmigan that lives there all year around. Other species are migrants during the summertime so it is easy to say, Rock Ptarmigan is the residents of silence.
This recording is a recording of silence. Most people will not hear anything in this circumstances, probably only its own heartbeat and notice „they have“ tinnitus. But with best equipment is it possible to listen deeper into this quiet place.
You will hear some birds and insects. With good headphones you will hear the rumble sound of heavy surf on the beach 20 to 30 km far away.
BUT this recording is not completely quiet. So be careful while listening. Two birds, a male and female Rock Ptarmigan, are coming very close, „talking“ loud into your ears (2:05).
It is also worth to listen to another earlier recording from this place. „Stories from Skeiðarársandur„.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at low level.

(256kbps / 61Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 788
Mics: Sennheiser MKH20 (AB40 +5° outward)
Weather: Calm, cloudy, +5°C
Location: 63.969892, -17.160072

Auglýsingar

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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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Nothing is closer to a perfect experience as being alone in the wilderness, as far from any machines or human activity as you can. And when it is in cold or high altitude with no, or very quiet animal spices, your sense of organ, automatically starts to detect many things you may have never noticed before.
This is one of the things that make field recording in quiet environment so exciting. When you ignore the noise in your head and start to use all your senses, you suddenly noticed another level of sonic world. As a former touring cyclist I spent many weeks every year on the Icelandic highland. I was mostly alone so I got a great opportunity to listen deeply to this quiet soundscape.
Most of this soundscape is just a sound of wind and water and sometimes birds, sheep and gnats in distance.
Following recording contains this typical Icelandic highland soundscape as I remember it. It is so quiet that even the best modern recording equipment can barely capture it and lot of people would not hear anything in such places.
This recording sounds really nice in full quality, but as in mp3 format I am not sure if it interest online listener. Most PC soundcards and headphones do not have the sufficient quality to make it interesting. But anyway it is now online. This is, by the way, my favorite recording material.
The recording was captured between 8 and 9 am 26th of June 2014 in Vesturöræfi moorland, a huge open landscape east of Iceland in 600-800m above sea level. It was “early spring” so there was still a huge of snow.
The beat, or ticking sound, is a drops falling of strew down about 1cm in a small puddle (the picture above).
Some of the pink noise in the background is coming from the waves on the lake “Hálslón” (behind the microphones) and other flowing water in the area, so it is not only amplified noise or mic noise.
Audible birds are mostly Dunlin and in distance Golden Plover, Whimbrel and Northern Wheatear.
Thanks to the Friends of Vatnajokull who made this recording trip possible.
Quality headphones are recommended while listening at low level.

Droparnir falla á Vesturöræfum

Hér er á ferðinni upptaka frá Vesturöræfum vestan Snæfells. Þögnin var alger en þó mátti heyra í einstaka fugli. Það var tilvijun ein sem réði því að af þessari upptöku varð. Ég rölti um volteldissvæði nærri Klapparlæk rétt ofan við flóðlínu Hálslóns. Ég rak þá augun í vatnsdropa sem láku af strái í gríð og erg í lítinn poll þar sem þeir flutu og köstuðust til á vatnsfletinum í skamma stund.
Við að leggjast á fjórar fætur þá mátti greina taktfast ,,tikk” hljóð sem ég hlóðritaði í um klukkutíma.
Afraksturinn var að hluta til upptakan sem hér má heyra.
Fuglin sem helst heyrist í er lóuþræll, en í bakgrunni má heyra í lóu, spóa og steindepli.
Bakgrunnssuð er að hluta til frá öldugangi í Hálslóni og seitlandi leysingavatni í nágrenninu því enn var mikill snjór var á svæðinu þó kominn væri 26. júní.
Ekki er víst að allir geti notið þessarar upptöku þar sem hún þarf helst að hljóma í fullum upptökugæðum og góðum tækjum. En hér þó á ferðinni það upptökuefni sem heillar mig mest, það er það sem flestir mundu kalla ,,þögn”.
Þessari upptöku má þakka samtökunum Vinum Vatnajökuls sem gerðu það kleift að af þessari upptökuferð gat orðið.
Mælt er með því að hlusta á þessa upptöku í góðum heyrnartólum og á lágum hljóðstyrk.

Download mp3 file (256kbps / 45,68Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices 744
Mics: Rode NT1a (NOS)
Pix: Canon EOS-M See more photos from the highland recording tour
Recording location: 64.873400, -15.817833
Weather: Cloudy, about 5°C. Calm

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