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Posts Tagged ‘Sonosax SX-R4+’

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I don’t expect many people to be interested in listening to this recording. It is mainly a silence. But this is just a normal natural Icelandic soundscape in calm winter weather, so I have a lot of stuff like that in my collection which I think should be published in this blog
At least I can tell. it is very good to fall asleep from recording like this.
This one was made overnight on 4th of March 2023 and the time is around 5 o’clock. For some reason, there was unusually low traffic that night. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that the television that evening had some musical contest, so lots of folks in the county had been drinking alcohol that night. So there were few people who could or had to drive unnecessarily around the countryside that night.
But anyway it is a traffic noise in this recording. Mainly from the main road no:1 for about 5km away and one car will pass by the recording location, 250 meters away. So don’t play this too loud.
As expected at this time of year, silence was something that was significant from nature’s side. Fortunately, the weather was completely calm. It gave me the opportunity not to use low pass filter LPF, which gave me the ability to listen for a variety of low-frequency sounds that I’ve often encountered on this recording site before but has been hard to explain. Was it an earthquake or something else?
When silence is greatest, there is little or nothing that attracts attention in this recording. Two foxes can be heard calling. Rock ptarmigan, ducks and swans in the distance. But as ears sink deeper into the material and every sound is separated from each other and from the background noise, there is the „sound of water“. Sound of wet grass. Maybe an ice crystal transformed to a drop of water. At times, you may hear a „flow of water“. Probably a small creek far away or maybe as well an underground water flow because there is no stream nearby. But the ground in this place has thin soil on a rocky glacial soil
The background noise is equally fascinating. Some of them are known and could best be considered as „technical problems“. But there are also intriguing things to be found because sometimes it is hard to figure out where this noise comes from.
So let’s talk about „background noise“
At the lowest frequency, the vibrations caused by the wind are usually almost always detected, i.e. “Brown noise”. Hence, it is usually necessary to use HPF for all outdoor recordings, except in recordings like this where the weather’s so calm that it’s like being in a wardrobe. This recording, as well as others I’ve done at this location, may include rumbles or knocks that may come from a horse or horses from a great distance, possibly some kilometers away. I think this noise coming this distance travels through the ground. It might be earthquakes, but it is unlikely in this recording. Apart from the distinctly low frequency of sounds that take place in a particular setting, I suspect that the constant rumblings that can be heard in the recording have both technical and natural explanations, which mostly though is related to turbulence in the air.
On the other side of the frequency curve, at the highest frequencies, “blue noise”.
It is usually only self noise from the microphones and recorder’s amplifiers. I tried very carefully to use RX for noise reduction, but there is always a limit to what is possible to do without spoiling the recording.
In the middle is “Green noise,” something that always interests me. This is a background noise that normally includes sounds that may come from far away and be heard only in a calm weather.
There is something called “Sea State Zero Noise,” a natural silence, or background noise in the oceans. I believe that something similar is happening here. This is noise, which is due to a number of natural factors, but mainly because of the wind and water in the combination of temperature and atmospheric conditions. Today, though, „mechanical traffic“ has constantly been overwhelming the natural noise. The source of this “green noise” like the recording below has a possible origin from car traffic up to 20Km away. From the surf at the beach shoreline 20 to 30 km away as well from a waterfall behind hills, in a canyon 7km away. None of these sounds are discernible to the bare ears. So for me it is often good to identify which direction this theme comes from by recording in IRT setup as this one.
In this recording (or that night) this green noise varies as a calm wave in different frequencies. Whether it is due to variations in air pressures or layering of temperatures or something else, I cannot easily confirm
Therefore, it is best to listen and let the imagination guide you to the course.
For those of you who find a lot of noise in this recording, I would like to remind you that it was recorded with 50dB gain. In post-production the gain is increased by another 25db, up to -10dB peak. So I agree, this recording certainly doesn’t sound good. But I think you can’t do better with the Lewitt 540s and Sonosax SX-R4+ in silence.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid volume.
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  (mp3 256kbps / 56Mb)

Recorder: Sonosax SX R4+
Mics: Lewitt LCT540s in IRT setup
Pix: Canon EOS-R
Location: 64.673374, -21.628710
Weather: Calm, partly cloudy, 0°C
Information about „color of noise

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Sólheimar in Grímsnes is a fabulous place. There is an eco village that was founded in 1930. I stayed there for one night on August 16th, 2021 and of course I let the recorder run overnight.
What is remarkable about this place is that it is located in a small shallow valley in the landscape, so there is not much man-made noise from the surrounding countryside.
When I first visited this place 45 years ago, it was not different from many other places or farms in this county. Just several houses and unique tall trees in open moorland.
Today, the landscape and the previous horizon have disappeared by forestry and new houses have been built. The place is therefore unrecognizable from what it was 45 years ago. The natural soundscape has also changed. Previously, this was a favorite land for peacocks, but with the advent of trees and vegetation, it has changed and the number of sparrows has increased.
The silence is interesting in this place. It’s extremely quiet so people can call each other at a considerable distance. Over the night in calm weather, nothing is audible with bare ears. Even though the recording gain has been increased by 70dB. The only occasional sounds come from vegetation, trees or bugs.
But, there is also some background noise at mid-low frequency that slowly changes the pitch during the night. I have noticed this in many quiet recordings and it seems to be slightly different from place to place. It is not possible to tell if it is related to moisture in the air or temperature. In this recording it might be a light breeze in the leaves on the top of the trees or maybe air conditioners in nearby houses. One thing is for sure, this recording was not disturbed by traffic, not even traffic somewhere far away in the county.
However, this „ultra silence“ part is not what can be heard here. Recording begins at a quarter past five. The sun seems to be warming the area, because fly swarms are buzzing in the background.
Birds started to call and sing half an hour earlier and people were clearly waking up.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at mid or low level.
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(mp3 256kbps / 60Mb)

Recorder: Sonosax SX-R4+
Mics: Lewitt LCT540s  (IRT cross setup)
Pix: LG G6

Location:  64.066517, -20.642249
Weather: Calm, partly cloudy, ca 10°C

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It is rear now a days to discover new places without traffic or engine nose. I found one in June 2019. It was at Fellströnd, in the northwest of Iceland. That means I have natural silence for more than a one hour. It is a south part of a peninsula which only have gravel roads and no shopping service so motorist are normally not driving there for pleasure.
Less human traffic means more biodiversity. It thrives better in places with less farming and fast driving cars. One roadkill can as well mean a death of the whole family. Car covered with smashed bugs means less food for birds… and so on. This is clearly visible and audible in those areas which have „industry“ farming and lots of fast driving traffic.
No traffic, or engine noise, means more natural silence and more transparent soundscape. Therefor it is very interesting to listen to this recordings. It is even possible to hear sheep footsteps far away and detect what bird species are in the area, even far away. In fact it is possible to analyze the situation of the biodiversity.
This is a high gain recording, recorded at +50dB. Gain was then increased in post about +25dB, normalized at -8dB and gently NR.
This is a part of 10 hour recording. This part was recorded between 7 and 8 in the morning at 21st of June.
Many bird species are audible in this recording. Black tailed Godwit, Common Redsank, Whimprel, Red necked Phalarope, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Common Ringed Plover, European Golden Plover, Dunlin, Raven, Redwing, Purple Sandpiper, Meadow Pipit, Geylag Goose, Whooper Swan, Red Throated Diver and Common Eider. I am almost sure I have not counted them all.
You can hear sheep footsteps which was though far away, also birds wing flaps as a low rumble noise.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low or medium level.

(Mp3 256Kbps / 48Mb)
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Recorder: Sonosax SX-R4+
Mics: Sennheiser MKH20 (AB40)
Pix: Canon EOS M50
Location: 65.169836, -22.404601
Weather: Calm, cloudy ca 13°C

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Hólmavatn is a heath lake in the interior in west of Iceland between the two valley Kjarrárdalur and Hvítársíða. It is a part of a big lake system on a heath named Arnarvatnsheiði.
I have once before record the soundscape by this lake before. That was mostly a struggle with wind all the time, so I did not get anything interesting.
But at 22nd of June 2019 the weather forecast was perfect for this area, clear sky and calm most of the night.
I arrived with my gear around 9 pm at my previous recording place. It was still windy and some anglers about 500m away east of the lake. I quickly put up my rigs knowing that a calm weather meant just lot of gnats. I decided to put a two stereo pairs close to the shore, facing out to the lake. LCT450s in NOS about 60 m east from my car and MKH20 pair 70 m in the west. Suddenly around 11pm the wind stopped to blow and I started the recording.
What glorious soundscape. All those small tiny things and all those bird species. The LCT540s sounds much cleaner and brighter than MKH20, I guess mainly because of the different location.
But there was a big problem which I did not notice with my bare ears. The anglers made so much noise it was clear they would destroy my „natural silence“ recordings this night. They were playing a radio all the time, talking, starting car engines, and even worse, soon after I started the recording two of them started a motor boat. All this noise lasted for about two or two and a half hours.
Later that night when this noisy anglers were gone, all the birdsong became calm and less active. I am not sure why, but afterwards when I listened to the recordings it seemed like the anglers on the boat were disturbing birds on their habitat.
Following recording is a part of this „anglers moment“, probably the best part because the motorboat was mostly far east on the lake most of this time.
In the beginning of the recording you can clearly hear tiny sparks. It is coming from foam which forms between stones in the shore during windy days. When the bobbles in this foam blows, they make this tiny sparking sound. During the recording the sparks get fewer and lower because the weather is calm and no waves on the lake.
But there are so many bird species I guess I will not know them all. Great Northern Diver, Read Throated Diever, Arctic Tern, Whooper Swan, Pink Footed Goose, Black Headed Gull, Golden Plower, Dunlin, Whimbrell, Common Snipe, Common Redshank, Arctic Skua, Rock Ptarmigan and probably some other which you are welcome, if you know, to name in comments below.
You will hear the fish jumping and Arctic Tern hunting on the lake surface. Other background noise other than human noise from anglers is mainly from the river Kjarrá which flows in the Kjarrárdalur valley 4Km north of the lake .
This recording got a gently noise reduction, mainly because of high gain.
It was recorded with 47dB gain. In post the gain was normalized +26dB up to -5dB
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at medium level.

(mp3 256kbps / 68Mb)
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Recorder: Sonosax SX-R4+
Mics: Lewitt LCT540s (NOS setup)
Pix: Canon EOS M50
Location: 64.799603, -20.895132
Weather: Dry. Mostly calm up to 5m/sec

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