Wind is very often the recordist´s enemy. Especially if the rumbling noise of „hammering membrane“ is not acceptable.
Some recordists may say this rumbling noise is just normal. Everyone will hear similar rumbling noise when they stay in wind.
For me it sounds like „clipping distortion“.
Wind protection is one of the most important thing for nature recordings, especially in the country where wind below 3m/sec. is almost unique.
I have tried several wind protections. My own, Rode Blimp and Rycote Softie and Modular series. All of them sounds similar. So it was welcomed when Rycote introduced the Cyclone windshield. Cyclone have Floating Basket Suspension, which is very nice. Until now, it has been only be used in the overpriced Cinela products.
Rode NT1a is one of the best cardioid microphones available today for nature recording. But sadly it is not build for outdoor use, so it has some poor futures like handling noise.
So when I choose it on the field, it has been important to keep it in Rycote modular windshield, place it close to the ground (sadly very often too close) and pray for completely calm weather. Then pray again for nice outcome.
I per-order a pair of Cyclone mini windshield last summer and got it in mid September. My plan was to fix them with parallel MKH20/40. But I also gave my modified NT1a a try when I saw it was almost „plug and play“ to fix it .
Without fur Cyclone was not far from to be equal to Rycote modular series with fur. But when Cyclone was dressed in fur the rumbling noise almost disappeared in wind around 5-7 m/s. That was a huge success.
Following recording is a short part of overnight recording from Stafholtstungur, in the west of Iceland. The gust goes up to ca. 7m/sec. and the recorder HPF was set at 80Hz. The rig is about 1 meter above the ground.
Some rumble noise is audible in this recording, but some of it could as well be a vibration from the tripod. Keep it in mind this is NT1a which is particularly sensitive for handling noise.
I will spend more time to test this setup but it looks like I need to order another pair for my MKH20/40 rig.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level.
Hjalteyri is a small village on the western shores of Eyjafjörður, fjord in north of Iceland.
It all began when the Norwegians started salting herring around 1880 and the village Hjalteyri was confirmed by law as a trading post in 1897. Swedes, Scots and Germans would fish there in the following years but all foreigners had left by 1914.
The Icelandic fishing company Kveldulfur was active there from 1914 and in 1937 built the largest herring factory in Europe at Hjalteyri, which ran until 1966. The company also built many of the beautiful residential buildings that still stand in the village, such as the house of Thor Jensen, the founder of the company, and Asgardur, where the head of the factory lived.
The herring disappeared from the fishing grounds in the 1960s and Kveldulfur thus left as well. Fishing from small boats increased. Today, at Hjalteyri is a harbor and a small fishing industry, the drying of fish heads and aquaculture are the mainstay of the economy. During the summer months the buildings of the old herring factory are often used as a venue for art exhibitions. Around 40 people lives there today. There is also a pretty big Arctic Tern colony which brings also many other bird species to the area.
The following recording was captured in 8th of July 2015. It is 25 minutes of 6 hours long overnight recording.
This is one of my recording where I probably should have used another microphones because of the noise source in the surrounding. In this case a „fan noise“ from the factory. I use cardioid mics so the noise is only on the left side, instead of omni which would have brought the noise more to both sides and made the listening more pleasant in headphones.
So now I would recommend to listen to this recording in speakers in low-mid level, instead of headphones.
(256kbps / 46Mb)
Recorder: Sound devices 744
Mics: Rode NT1a in NOS setup
Location: 65.853976, -18.194666
Weather: Calm up to 4m N, almost clear sky, temp around 8-12°C
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)
Weather. Sunny, about 18°C, calm up to 3 m/s in gusts
Recording location: 64.77883, -19.42805
When I use boom in recording I have used Audio Technica BP4025 stereo mic in Rycote windshield. It is not too heavy and it gives me stereo recordings. But very often I have been disappointed with the „musical“ sound quality, so I don´t often get quality ambiance recordings with this setup. Saying that, it does not mean BP4025 is a bad mic. BP4025 has a very low noise floor. It is the perfect mic for special circumstances like where size does matter and for very quiet environment/nature recordings.
DPA4060 is a pretty sounding miniature mic, sold in pairs and much lighter than any original stereo mic on the market. That means it is perfect to use for boom recordings. But because DPA4060 is an omni mic it is necessary to separate the capsules to get stereo. It is done in two ways. Separate the capsules with space (around 40cm) to get time difference, or place them in two sides of some sonic baffle materials.
The BP4025 was in a short Rycote WS2 windshield which has overall length (wide) 34cm. So it was important to place the capsules each side of some baffle material to get acceptable wide stereo.
I end up with a simple „binaural“ project I made out of wooden leftover (see pictures).
I decided not to use silicon artificial human ears because the ears will change the frequency curve at 2,5Khz and 5,5Khz, which means I needed to fix the EQ afterwards on all recordings made with this rig.
The result was stunning. The rig I made was lighter and better wight balanced than previous BP4025 setup. The overall wight is only 750gr (mics+wood baffle+WS2 basked+fur). It also gives me wider „stereo image“. But best of all, it withstands wind- and handling noise much better than previous BP4025 setup.
Following recordings are 4 and were made in three locations. The two first one are waves on seashore, then one from a cliff, 300 m above sea level with seabirds and the last one is from a football game in Reykjavik. All where recorded on Sound devices 744.
All recordings are straight from the recorder. Just cut and paste, fade in and out and then down grade from WAV to mp3.
(256kbps / 29Mb)
The two first recordings are big and then small waves. The mic have fur, HPF is off and gain at 45db. The mics are faced from the beach to the fjords. You will hear car pass by „behind“ the mic. Notice, you will hear a short „drop out“ when it pass. It is because it passes my car which was located on the road side. See location.
In the cliff recording the mic is without fur. It is possible to hear how strong gust sounds on the Rycote basket, but that is anyway much better (or different) than the my previous BP4025 setup. HPF at 40Hz and gain at 45dB. The boom with the mic reaches the cliff edge about one meter. See location.
The last recording is from a football game celebration in downtown Reykjavik. No fur, HPF at 40Hz and gain at 40dB. The mic stood on a boom about 1 meter above the crowds head. See location.
The Vestmannaeyjar archipelago is young in geological terms. The islands lie in the Southern Icelandic Volcanic Zone and have been formed by eruptions over the past 10,000–12,000 years. The volcanic system consists of 70–80 volcanoes both above and below the sea.
The largest island, Heimaey, has a population of 4,135. The other islands are uninhabited, although six have single hunting cabins. Vestmannaeyjar came to international attention in 1973 with the eruption of Eldfell volcano, which destroyed many buildings and forced a months-long evacuation of the entire population to mainland Iceland. Approximately one fifth of the town was destroyed before the lava flow was halted by application of 6.8 billion litres of cold sea water.
With extremely high precipitation considering the latitude, Vestmannaeyjar features an ET Tundra climate (closely bordering Subpolar Oceanic (Cfc)) under the Köppen climate classification. It is often very windy in the islands, and the highest wind speed measured in Iceland (61 metres per second;140 mph) was recorded in Stórhöfði. The main wind directions are easterly and south-easterly. The islands enjoy the country’s highest average annual temperature, the Gulf Stream having a strong warming effect, especially in winter. (Text Wikipedia)
The following recording was made at Stórhöfði 31st of March 2016 in a windspeed around 20 m. pr/sec
Stormur í Vestmannaeyjum
Upptaka þessi var hljóðrituð hádegi á Stórhöfða þann 31. mars 2016 stuttu áður en viðvera á Stórhöfða varð óbærileg vegna veðurs.
Þarna hvín ansi hátt í stögum á loftnetsmöstrum sem eru sunnan við vitahúsið. Hljóðnemarnir voru hafðir skjólmegin við húsið á meðan á upptöku stóð. Gera má ráð fyrir að vindstyrkur hafi náð þarna 20m/sek en síðar um kvöldið komst vindstyrkur upp í 35m/sek og enn meira í hviðum.
Það hafði legið í loftinu í heilan sólahring að kvöld hins 3. apríl 2016 yrði viðburðarríkt.
Þjóðin sat því límd við sjónvarpsskjáinn þegar Alþjóðasamtök rannsóknarblaðamanna sendu frá sér fréttaþátt um aðkomu íslenskra stjórmálamanna að skattaskjólum.
Þetta kvöld var stór hluti þjóðarinnar beinlínis tekinn í þurrt rassgatið. Fram til þessa hafði fjöldi fólks fylgt gömlu hægri hrunflokkunum í blindni en þetta kvöld upplifðu margir algert siðrof gagnvart þessum flokkum.
Það fór því svo að met var slegið í þátttöku í mótmælum daginn eftir þegar á milli 20 – 25 þúsund manns mættu á Austurvöll og kröfðust afsagnar Sigmundar forsætisráðherra og allra þeirra sem höfðu verið nafngreindir við að fela fé í aflandsfélögum. Þá var einnig krafist þingrofs og að boðað yrði til þingkosninga hið bráðasta.
Hljóðupptakan sem hér fylgir var tekin upp á fyrsta degi mótmæla framan við Alþingishúsið.
It is easy to go in to a special mood when I think of the Icelandic highland and all the fabulous moments I have experienced there twenty to thirty years ago.
This quiet black desert gives me always a wonderful feeling. Just like I am in love.
Endless fields of weather beaten black and gray gravel, with a soundscape of wind and water, or just a real silence.
River sources and oases are there in many places. This water sources have very often some life. If not just a thin layer of sensitive moss, then grassland with birds, insects and even mammals.
Sadly, many of these wonderful quiet places have been under a threat by humans activity last decades, so they are not anymore this magic places as they were for a lonely cyclist more than twenty years ago. Some of them has been totally destroyed, like huge area in the east highland, like Vesturöræfi
For that reason I will not inform where the following recording was made. I just like to say, it was recorded in the highland in one of my „hidden places“ that still exists and has not been destroyed with hydro power plant, tourists, offroad driving motorist, or human waste.
This recording is very quiet. It contains a dunlin, howling arctic fox, europian golden plover, red necked phalarope and pink footed goose.
The background noise is a waterflow from nearby water source.
This was recorded 17th of July 2015 around two o´clock in the morning.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at low level .
Það verður að viðurkennast að á þeim árum sem ég ferðaðist sem mest um landið á reiðhjóli, var ég ekki oft var við tófu, hvað þá að heyra í þeim. Eftir að hætt var að greiða mönnum fyrir skott hafa tófuveiðar svo til lagst af. Tófu er því að fjölga og það líklega um allt land því ég er farinn að sjá hana oftar og heyra.
Það gerðist svo í sumar að ég náði að hljóðrita tófuvæl á hálendinu á einum af mínum leyndu eftirlætis dvalarstöðum frá fyrri tíð.
Í upptökunni hér fyrir neðan má heyra í tófu á 5. mínútu. Hún er því miður í talsverðri fjarlægð enda kannski ekki furða með mann í næsta nágrenni. Þótt þetta sé ákaflega þögul upptaka heyrist líka í lóuþræl, heiðlóu og grágæs, sem og óðinshönum í návígi á 18. mínútu.