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Posts Tagged ‘Sound devices MixPre6’

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It really doesn’t matter where you turn on the microphone or other sensors, there seems to be life everywhere.
There was no exception to this in the nature reserve in Flói, southwest Iceland 17th July 2022. All night I had been recording the bird life in the same place as I have done every year for over a decade. I had gathered all the equipment about noon and was ready to go, when I decided to prepare a coffee before heading to the next recording location.
So it was the perfect time to dip the Hydrophones in the next pond while waiting for the coffee.
The pond was full of life, although it could not be seen or heard on the surface. The soundscape was so interesting it turned out I was recording there for almost three hours.
After a short investigation I saw Agabus and Spined Stickleback. I am sure there were also moth larvae of different species, even some kinds of shrimp, where the sea is not far away. Some of these sounds may also be methane gas being released from the bottom of the pond.
The soundscape in the pond was similar to birdlife. The chorus from the biosphere in the pond came in waves. Sometimes the sounds were few and quiet, but then there came a time when the whole biosphere in the pond needed to be heard.
Below you can hear one such period.
The recording was recorded in 24bit/48Khz, but a lot of these sounds seem to be able to go well above 24Khz. It tells me that the next time I record in this pond, I should do it at a higher resolution, 96Khz or even higher.
It is always quite difficult to record with hydrophones. The sensitivity is such that, once they are in water, the cables must not touch anything that might move, not even the wind. Although the Hydrophones were well immersed in the pond, you can hear many things in the recording, e.g. in planes, car traffic, footsteps and a Black Headed Gull that probably made a sound as it flew over the pond.
This recording didn’t require a lot of editing. However, 20Hz was taken down by -20dB. I thought it was necessary since these Hydrophones have flat frequency range down to 0.4Hz and the MixPre6 down to 10Hz. Most of the rumble that was heard in the original recording was therefore vibrations from cars and air traffic and possibly also from the waves along the south coast. The recording got a very gentle noise reduction and normalized about +7dB, up to -8dB peak level.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid volume.
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  (mp3 256Kbps / 49,6Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Hydrophones:. Benthowave BII-7121
Pix: Canon EOS-R

Location: 63.900400, -21.192364
Weather: Gust 1-4m, partly cloudy

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In recent years, I have been on the evening shift on December 23 (Þorláksmessa). So I haven’t been able to go downtown Reykjavík to record the ‘mood for Christmas’. But this December I was on a day shift which gave me the opportunity to record.
The last time was 5 years ago when I recorded this beautiful song on December 23, 2017.
It was a different atmosphere in the city center this year. I didn’t understand what it was, at least now there were more foreign tourists and the streets were covered in salt-slush and ice. This year there were no beautiful singing voices in the crowd as so often before. However, music comes from some street stalls and bars. On the ice skating rink at Hallærisplan (Ingólfstorg square), music was played loud during the skating dance.
After total 1Km long walk the recording ends rather quietly in a bar where I bought a beer.
In this recording I am using the same ultralight stereo microphone as I did in 2017. Baffled double capsule EM172/272 with a LOM Phantom power amp,
But today I have filled the empty space inside the wind shield between the microphones with a sponge of different density which has improved the separation between the right and left channels. It reduced the audible phase error between the channels which was clearly audible in the 2017 recording.
In addition, in the space between the microphone, outside the Rycote WS2 windshield and under the HWC2 Hi-wind fleece cover, is also a sponge. That sponge stops most of the vibration in the windshield due to wind, without affecting the sound quality.
This stereo microphone is very light, can withstand incredibly high winds, as well it has almost no „handling noise“. It is therefore good for booming where strong winds can be expected.
In this recording I did not use HPF. Between the houses and out in the open spaces where I walked, there was a considerable amount of wind that probably few, if any, microphones would have been able to withstand without wearing a good fur windshield plus additional HPF.
The more I use this DIY mic, which is mostly made from scrap materials, the happier I am with it.
Earlier that same night, I also recorded with simple EM172 binaural microphones. In many ways, that recording was very funny because no one around me noticed that I was recording, unlike the recording below. But that recording will have to wait to be published until later.
I also recorded for over an hour at the bar a nice mood recording, but I will never be able to publish it because the bar was playing copyrighted music.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at mid to mid+ volume.
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(mp3 256kbps / 48Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices MixPre6
Mics: Primo EM172 / EM272 capsules v. LOM phantom power amps  (Baffled AB)
Pix: Samsung S22

Weather: -10°C, calm to 5m/sec, clear sky.
Location: Downtown Reykjavík

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I was recording at Breiðamerkurjökull when the weather forecast suddenly changed. It was nothing special, except that I had to row a kayak with another one in tow with a lot of recording equipment about 8 km on Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon before the weather would hit the area.
It fit, as soon as I got to land on the other side of the lagoon at midnight the fool weather arrived, so I just managed to pack all the equipment in the car and on the trailer before everything got wet. It was around two in the morning when I was able to leave. But I didn’t go far. I decided to sleep in the car near the high voltage power line (Byggðalína) on Breiðamerkursandi, south of highway no.1.
The next day it was dry, but still very windy. In fact, I could barely see Öræfjajökull glacier through a sandstorm. I decided not to be on the road with the trailer and the kayaks, but to wait until later in the day when it would calm down.
I could not sit idly by, but recorded in several places close to me. Including the high voltage line with all available equipment I had. With Omni & Cardioid microphones as well as Geophone and hydrophone which I use as a contact mic.
The result was quite amusing. By the time this happened, the strongest wind had subsided. But that moment a moisture was in the air, which caused a sizzle noise from the power line, which added a different sound and gave the recording a clearer picture of the recording location.
The recording below starts with the audible sound (microphone). Then slowly the contact mics are added . In the end and microphones faded out and you will only hear the sound from the contact mics (geophone and the hydrophone)
Because the microphone are located close to the ground in grass under the electricity pylons you will hear lot of „gray noise“ when the wind wipe the grass.
If you keep your attention Whimbrel are also audible.
So I explain the name of this blog, „Byggðalína“ is a name of high-voltage line that connects all the main settlements around Iceland. „Breiðamerkursandur“ is a name of a broad sandy wasteland south of Jökulsárlón Glacier lagoon.

  (mp3 265kps / 46Mb)

Recorder: Sound Devices MixPre6
Mics: MKH8020/8040 & LOM geophone & Aquarian H2a
Pix: Conon EOS-R

Weather: Gust up to 20m/s. Clear sky, ca. 14C°
Location: 64.028360, -16.265129

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One of my friends for many years is Gísli Sigurgeirsson. He is a genius in many fields. In recent years, he has had strong opinions on climate change, and I therefore have great respect for him as a climate activist. I myself have given up on fighting for cycling infrastructure and a sustainable life for everyone, although I try my best to live as sustainably as possible in a western society. I am also always ready and waiting for radical movement if the governments like to change society into a sustainable lifestyle.
On August 20, 2022, a Climate festival was held in Reykjavík downtown in connection with a Reykjavik Culture Night. That day I was recording several things, including Gísla Sigurgeirsson’s speech.
Before and after the speech there were musical performances. The first was Maria Viktoria who sang and played. Then came Gísla’s speech and after that Vala Yates and Maria Viktoria sang and played a song together. Both these ladies are very talented, so everyone should remember these names.
Everyone involved in this recording gave me permission to put this content on the web.
It was very windy that day so I didn’t have much choice of microphone. My best stereo microphone for that is actually a homemade „baffled – binaural“ array with double EM172 and LOM mic amps in a Rycote WS2 windshield.
I have to admit that it always surprises me how good this DIY microphone is with unbelievable low „handling noise“ and low wind noise, even without HPF.
Although there were strong gusts of wind, you can hardly hear it in this recording, other than the sound waves from the sound system from the stage is distorted because of the wind.

  (mp3 26,7Mb / 265kbps)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Promo EM172 Baffled – Binaural.
Pix: Samsung S6

Location:  64.147287, -21.940348
Weather: Strong gust, partly cloudy, around 14°C

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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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I have recorded various things with LOM geophones. Including electricity pylons as well as other steel structures as for example around the Hellisheidi geothermal power plant.
All these steel structures can sound extremely different, even between different types of electricity pylons. It was also interesting to hear various ambient sounds through the steel, such as birdsong, traffic and spoken words. Wind and rain is also audible through the steel
What you hear in the recording below is a very simple mix of different sources of two electricity pylons which I recorded close to Búrfell power station..
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at mid.
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  (20Mb mp3 / 256kbps)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics. Two LOM geophones.
Pix: Canon EOS-R

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It has been several years since I published a recording from Flói nature reserve. The reason is more or less because of foul weather in recent years when I have had the opportunity to record there.
It was no exception last summer from late April to mid July. It was cold, windy and wet most of the time which is actually the high season for birdsong recording.
I went there on the 3rd of July 2021 and recorded overnight. The weather was calm in the beginning but the wind increased over the night. I was also struggling with increased sea tide and therefore a surf noise from the coast line, actually at the same time when the birds were most active during the dawn.
My mics were Lewitt LCT540s in IRT cross setup. Most of the bird’s activity was in front of channel 1&2. Most „silence“ was in front of channel 2&3 and most of the surf and traffic noise was at channel 4&1.
It surprised me how much traffic was there the whole night. There was almost constant rumble in the air during the ten hours I was recording, except between four and five o’clock in the morning. This noise was much more audible than I remember in my earlier recordings. The reason could be found in different mic setup and mics. Ten years ago I used to use NT1a in NOS or AB, pointing towards the open field and keeping the nearest road and coastline behind. I have also used MKH20 in AB which is less sensitive for these details than large capsule mics.
It takes time to search in this 10 hour long recording for some nice sounding 30 minutes moments. Listening to the whole four channels it starts with heavy traffic noise in all channels, then surf noise. Then traffic noise again until the wind and the sun makes the air so unstable close to noon, both traffic noise and bird activity almost disappear in the wind noise.
But with an IRT cross rig I have many options. I can turn off the channel or channels which are disturbing for the soundscape I am looking for.
The recording below is a very good example of this. Instead of using all four channels and mixing them to stereo, I use only channel 2&3 (NOS 90°/30cm) to avoid the surf noise. The time when it starts is about 04:15 so there is almost no traffic noise, but anyway, the recording starts and ends with some engine noise in the distance.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at mid or low level.
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Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Lewitt LCT540s,  NOS 30cm/90°
Pix: Canon EOS R

Location: 63.900944, -21.191958
Weather: Calm to breeze, partly cloudy, ca 5-10°C

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Jökulsárlón is a fascinating glacial lagoon. It is about 300m deep below the glacier tongue and from Kayak I have measured with sonar a spot which was more than 280m deep. It is deeper than many places far away in the Atlantic ocean. So if something happens in this lagoon, like Iceberg calving, the sound will echo in this huge space down there as in a large dome.
It has been almost eight years since I recorded the sound in Jökulsárlón for the first time. I was both surprised and disappointed. The sound was much richer than I thought and because of this loud and rich sound down there it was clear I could not get a detailed sound of it when an Iceberg was scratching the bottom of the lake, or calving glacier.
The most common sound there is a loud „spark sound“ when highly pressed air bubbles break out of the ice, but also when dripping water falls on the surface from the melting ice above. Sometimes the iceberg moves and scratches the gravel in the bottom of the lagoon.
The following recording is made from a Kayak, where the lagoon is 40-80 meters deep and not far away, about 200-400m, from the place I did the recording 8 years ago.
You will hear a buzzing engine noise from sightseeing boats in this recording which has sadly increased in the past decade on the lagoon. Because of increasing tourist traffic this lagoon has almost constant engine noise pollution, both above and under the surface between 9-19 o´clock every day mainly during the summer time.
It is anyway interesting to use the engine noise to get insight into how loud the natural soundscape is in this lagoon. If there were NO ice surrounded by salty seawater, then engine noise would have been echoing loudly in the space below the surface, just as an noisy moped gang was driving inside Pantheon in Rome.

(mp3 256kbps / 63Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Benthowave Bll-7121 hydrophones  1,8meters apart.
Pix: Canon EOS R

Location: 64.048029, -16.192690
Weather: Calm to breeze. cloudy around 13 °C
Recording date: 25th of June 2021

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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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It was at Sunday 19th of September 2021 that I suddenly decided to go on sea to record with the hydrophone. The weather- and tide forecast promise me a few hours of decent circumstances.
But when I arrive at the harbor, people there like to chat about my kayak and equipment. So when I finally went on I was getting late. The wind had increased and the tide was getting too low for the place where I was heading to, so after 4 km paddling I ended up beside a pier in Viðey island which is only 800m NE from Reykjavik Sundahöfn harbor.
I tied my boat to the pier and put the hydrophone about three meters below the boat. It surprised me how quiet this place was. Almost no sign of life, mussels or shrimps, probably because just 700 meter away is a dock for cruise ships which have most likely destroyed the ocean floor in this area with their powerful propellers.
Nevertheless the silence is as interesting in the ocean as the silence on open land, so it is worth listening to.
While I was recording, the ferry to Viðey came and went. So be careful, you need to lower the volume between 11 to 14 min because the propeller noise will be very loud .
You can get an idea how Bethowave 7121 hydrophones perform in this recording. It comes straight from the recorder. No noise reduction, just fade in and out and downgrade from 24/48 wav to 256 kbps mp3

(mp3 256 kbps / 58Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Benthowave BII-7121
Pix: LG G6

Location: 64.161135, -21.855538
Weather: Gust 5-8m, cloudy, about 7°C

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