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Posts Tagged ‘Sound devices MixPre6’

IMG_2200

First weekend of August I traveled to Ísafjörður in the northwest of Iceland. From Isafjörður I took a daytrip with a boat over to Hesteyri which is located in a nature reserve named Jökulfirðir.
The weather was splendid so it was ideal to bring the recording gear with me and record the atmosphere at Hesteyri. This time I brought with me my newest mic setup I built inside Rycote stereo AG windshield. It is a 40cm spaced AB rig (AB40), a two stereo channels with parallel MKH8020/8040, which is slightly angled outward (around °5).
In Hesteyri I record in several places in a small area. Two of them was on the beach where the waves gently plays the music on the coastline during the rising tide. One of this recording is posted here below.
The wind was about 3-6 m/sec, blowing parallel among the coastline so the wind hit only the other side of the windshield, not front of it.
I used MixPre6. The gain was at 50dB, High pass filter on MKH8020 was 120Hz and on MKH8040 80Hz.
The microphones were placed on tripod 60cm above the ground. During the recording the tide rise so in the end the waves went under the rig.
Background noise is mostly the sea waves further outside the fjord and rivers behind and allaround the fjord. Sometimes the boat is knocking on the pier, 200 m away on the left side.
In post I lower the gain -5dB on MKH8020 and rise the gain +5dB on MKH8040 to keep the audible gain between the mics close to be equal. Use again Hi-Pass filter at 100Hz to minimize wind rumbling noise. and then normalized all three audio clips to 0dB. No low pass filter or noise reduction was used.
Both MKH8020 and MKH8040 sounds pretty similar in this recording, so I guess someone will ask:“ Why use four mics when two seems to be fine?“ “ Why making this four channel rig with this expensive mics?“ The short answer is this. The 8020´s are detecting sound from all 360° while 8040´s is only detecting 180° front of the rig. So if there was something behind the rig, like traffic noise it would been clearly audible with 8020´s, but far less with 8040´s. At this time (in Hesteyri) it was only a silence behind the rig so this is not a ideal recording for omni – cardioid comparison.
Field recording is mostly „once in a time – moment capturing“. So having a two different stereo recording of the same event, it is more likely either recording is OK. Two different recordings also give several opportunities in post.

MKH8020/8040 mixed together.
(Mp3 256kbps / 38Mb)

Only MKH8020
(mp3 256kbps / 5,3Mb)

Only MKH8040
(mp3 256kbps / 5,3Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser MKH8020/8040 (AB40) in Rycote AG (See pictures)
Pics: Canon EOS-M

Weather: Sunny. Light breeze 3-6 m/sec, ca. 14°C
Location: 66.333261, -22.873719

Auglýsingar

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IMG_2200

This two midsummer recordings were made around four o´clock in the morning 15th of July 2017 nearby Arnarholt farm in Stafholtstungur, in west of Iceland. It is recorded on two stereo channels with two different microphones because usually every time I recorded in this place the recordings has been disturbed by traffic noise all night long. But somehow for some unexplained reason no car went around nearby road for more than two hours, so I got a wonderful recording this morning.
I placed those two microphone rigs very close to each other and pointed them toward north. Afterwards I could not decided which of those recordings were better so it is yours to decide which you like.
There are many bird species in this recording. Common Snipe, Golden Plover, Whimbrel, Common Redshank, Black Taled Godwit, White Wagtail, Black headed Gull, Winter Wren, Northern Wheatear, Snow Bunting, Rock Ptarmigan, Common Starling, Redwing, Great Northern Dever, Whooper Swan, Graylag Goose and probably other species. Birds like Starling and Redwing are flying between branches in nearby trees.

My favorite microphones for nature recordings are Sennheiser MKH20 an omni-directional condenser microphone and Rode NT1A (slightly modified), a large capsule cardioid polar pattern studio condenser microphone. Both these mics have lowest self-noise available on the market.
I am used to use MKH20 in AB setup which mean the mics are in 40-45cm spaced parallel position (AB40). Then I turn the capsules 2-5° outward which gave me sometimes slightly „wider or more open space feeling“. This setup give me a stereo recording, 360° surround the rig.
My second best omni-directional ultra low noise mic for nature recordings is AT4022 but it does not sound as „musical“ or „natural“ as MKH20, so it is not as often in my tool box,
Cardioid mic detect sound mainly from one direction. so I use NT1A in different circumstances.
Lets say I like to record a birdsong. At the same time it is disturbed with unwanted noise, coming from another direction like waterfall, river flow, surf or traffic noise. I can place the backside of the cardioid mic to the noise source which mean I will get less of the unwanted noise and more of the birdsong.
In last two or three years I have not used NT1A in ORTF or NOS setup for outdoor recordings. But instead use AB4, same as for MKH20, which seems to give less phase error for the sound behind the rig.

These two recordings are NOT good examples for this two different mics in critical circumstances because no car passed by behind the rigs and most of the birds activity was also front of the rigs. But it gives a nice insight how this two different mics sounds and how the self-noise act in „quiet“ nature recordings.
NT1A was inside Rycote Cyclone + fur. MKH20 was inside Rycote WS2 windshield + fur. Both rigs are in AB40 +3°
I use MixPre6 in this recording. There is no doubt, the new Sound devices Kashmir mic preamplifier is ultra low noise and a sweet step forward to get better field recordings.
The HPF was at 40Hz and the gain was at 50dB for NT1A and 43dB for MKH20. The gain settings mainly get this arrangement because then both rigs sounds have equal level in the headphones while I was recording. In post the gain was increased almost 30dB on both stereo channels, up to -10dB.
Specrogram shows „all“ frequencies was bellow 8Khz so to lower unwanted mic self-noise I pull everything above 10Khz down with EQ (-5db @ 11Khz & -30dB @ 15Khz) .
This is a „quiet“ recording which mean you should listen to it at low level in quality headphones or speakers in quiet place.

NT1A recording
(mp3, 256kbps / 50,6Mb)

MKH20 recording
(mp3, 256kbps / 50,6Mb)

Here are two shorter version of this recording but now without high frequency cutoff and the gain level is normalized up to 0dB, so it should be easy to hear the mic self-noise in low quality headphones and PC amplifiers.
It is also easy to notice that MKH20 is covering 360° of the surround soundscape, while NT1A is only covering 180° with less bird songs and other activity.

NT1A. Without high freq cut off, normalized to 0dB
(mp3, 256kbps / 11Mb)

MKH20 Without high freq cut off, normalized to 0dB
(mp3, 256kbps / 11Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Rode NT1a and Sennheiser MKH20 (AB40 setup)
Pix. Canon EOSM

Location: 64.673460, -21.629304
Weather: Calm, cloudy, ca. 7°C

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