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Posts Tagged ‘Sound devices MixPre6’

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Shortly after I set up my gear in a safe spot near the lagoon beneath the Svínafellsjökull ice fall. I heard thunder behind the Hafrafell mountain
Two minutes later and suddenly all icebergs in the lagoon began to move around like corks in a boiling pot. Big waves paralyzed the shores of the lagoon, in some places for many meters.
„Shit“ was my first thought. „I was not in the right place“. I should have been on the other side of the lagoon and closer to the glacier, where I have spent hours and days in recent years trying to record incidents like this without success. I ran to the lagoon to see what was going on.
…Or maybe I was lucky to be where I was. I saw big waves go far up on the shore at the place where I have been recording the past years. I probably would have damage or destroyed the Phantom power adapters inside the hydrophones XLR´s.plugs   
Thanks to COVID I was now in a place which has been impossible to record because of the tourist explosion in recent years.
Two microphones were now placed under a high steep crawl on the lagoon´s west bank, 5 meters above the lagoon surface. Below the microphones, two hydrophones were put in the lagoon between big rocks to prevent them from getting crushed or touched by icebergs. It was a bad placement for a successful underwater recording. But I  remember quite well what happened in this lagoon few years ago. So I was sure I would lose them both and probably something more if I threw them deeper into the lagoon. 
Although the outcome is OK, even though the hydrophones did not pick up the whole soundscape underneath the lagoon’s surface. 
The glacier calving starts in this recording at 3:15 min far away and behind the Hafrafell mountain, so it doesn’t sound very loud. But it makes a big wave in the lagoon which makes a chain reaction of a few other glacier calving.
Just before the first incident you can hear the hydrophone pick up a sound of crushing ice. It would have been much louder if the hydrophones have been deeper in the lagoon. But recording glacier lagoons is not an easy task when the lagoon is full of ice which can flip without warning.  
This recording was made in the late afternoon so traffic noise from rode no:1 is audible in the background. But compared to recent years, it is nothing. Thanks to COVID.   
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at medium level.

(mp3 256kbps / 48Mb)

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Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6 
Mics: Lewitt LCT540s (NOS) & Aquarian H2n XLR (Spaced AB)
Pix: Canon EOS R

Location: 64.007567, -16.880922
Weather: Cloudy, calm,  +11°C  
 

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There is a place near Fjallsjökull glacier I have tried to record several times in recent years. But I´ve never been happy with the result.  Mainly because of noisy traffic from road no.1 and/or surf noise from Breiðamerkurfjara beach or because of weather.
But COVID19 gave me an wonderful opportunity to record this place without tourist traffic in June 2020.
This place is a small glacial corrie south of Fjallsjökull glacier. It is a small, wet area, with several fresh water springs. Arctic flora brings lots of birds to this place so the soundscape can be very interesting with a rumbling glacier in the background.
This is a part of several hours long recording. The time is around 5 o’clock in the morning. Flock of noisy Barnacle geese has already landed not far away from the microphones. Through the whole recording these Barnacle geese come closer and closer to the microphones, so be careful, in the end they get loud.  Early in the recording two Whimbrels sing an interestingly long „love song“. Other birds are audible too, like Golden plover, Dunlin, Rock Ptarmigan and Red Throated Diver.
Once, about 2km away, a big piece of ice breaks off the glacier into the lagoon with noisy consequences.
Background noise is mainly a surf from the ocean behind the microphones, about 5 km away.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at low level.

(mp3 256kbps / 62Mb)

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Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics. Lewitt LCT540s (NOS setup)
Pix: Canon EOS-R

Weather: Calm, Cloudy, about 4°C
Location: 64.010735, -16.391960

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Recording Icelandic glaciers aims to be my main passion for the coming years.
Unfortunately, I feel I’m starting too late because the sounds have changed significantly over the last 20-30 years. It is because they have lost a lot of mass, especially on the edges of the glaciers where they mainly produce sound.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to get to places where a glacier is crawling because there are no roads or tracks near the places that are considered suitable for recording today.
Not enough. Most of the glaciers are within national parks and protected areas today. Therefore, I need to apply for a permit to go to various places within the national park to record.
Once in place, it is not a given that it is possible to record exactly where it would be best to get an interesting sound. It must be taken into account that glaciers are not playgrounds and they can be dangerous. Glacier lagoons’ coastline are also dangerous when large pieces of ice fall from glaciers and large icebergs flip over and break down in pieces.
Weather conditions are also important. I am used to record continuously for many hours, even days, so calm and dry weather most of the time is always on the wish list.  
Last summer Jökulsárlón lagoon and Breiðamerkurjökul glacier were my main targets. It was slightly more difficult than I thought in the beginning, mainly because I did not have a clue what microphones worked best for this project so I brought with me microphones for all kinds of situations which is a hell a lot of stuff. In the end it was my parallel MKH8020/8040 rig which worked best for this glacier project last summer. Mainly because glaciers are not so quiet and therefore microphones with the lowest noise floor are not so important . 
It takes me almost two hours to sail on pedal Kayak with all luggage to the location near the glacier. I started immediately to record with two recorders after arriving. Then it takes me almost a day to find the best location for the microphones. It was not the best place to get the highest quality of sound recording. But they were sheltered from the wind and in safe distance from big waves or tsunami from the lagoon.
This following recording is a part of a 20 hour recording on this location. 
WARNING. This recording has a wide dynamic range. It includes several blasts (especially at 6:34) which are very loud that can damage speakers, headphones or your hearing if played too loud.
As usual for nature recordings it has not got any process in post. Just add gain about 20dB. Therefore is clipping inevitable in the „blast“ at 6:34.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at low level.

(mp3 256kbps / 56,3Mb)
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Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser MKH8020/8040 in Parallel AB40. Mixed50/50%
Pix: Canon EOS R

Location: 64.109285, -16.243593
Weather: 4°C 2-4m/sek, cloudy

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Thanks to COVID, I got a unique opportunity this summer to record in places I have so far not been able to record because of traffic, mainly due to tourists. One such site was Skeiðarársandur, a broad sandy wasteland along Iceland’s south-eastern coast, between the Vatnajökull icecap and the sea. This area has been a „desert“ with deadly glacial rivers for centuries. But due to global warming and receding glaciers, rivers have disappeared. Instead, vegetation like moss, grass and trees has occupied some areas without human intervention.
It is therefore obvious that biodiversity will change significantly in the coming years.
Here is a part of an 8-hour-long recording that was taken just east of the dry riverbed of Skeiðarár, which was a huge glacial river for centuries until a few years ago when it disappeared due to changes in Skeiðarárjökull glacier.
This is a recording of silence. The microphones were placed beside a small creek which can be found all over Skeiðarársandur. Because of the wind I did not use a tripod, they just stood on the windshield on the ground which gave a pretty good result.
The background noise is mainly a gust of wind stroking the ground and surf among the coast, about 20-30Km away
Birds in this recording are Common Ringed Plover, European Golden Plover, Dunlin, Purple Sandpiper, Common Snipe, Whimbrel, Common Redshank, Whooper Swan, Greylag Goose.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at low level.
The name of this blog „Dögun við Eyrar“ means „Dawn at Eyrar“ (Eyrar is the name of the place)
Other recordings from Skeiðarársandur can be found here

( mp3 256kbps / 63Mb )
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Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Lewitt LCT540s (IRTcross) channels counter clockwise 1-2-3-4 = L-R-L-R
Pix: Canon Eos R

Loation: 63.972468, -16.956438
Weather: Clear sky. Gust up to 6m/sec. around 10°C
Recording time between 5.am to 6.am

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This following recording was made between 03:00 and  04:00, It is a part of seven hours long recording between 02:00 and 09:00 which I did in Skálholt, south Iceland 10th of July.
The grass was tall so the microphones were almost hidden in the grass. Lots of birds were in this grass searching for food and some of them came close to the microphones.
This is a typical soundscape of silence in a countryside which is not disturbed by traffic or by other engine noise.
Imagen you self standing in a grassland.  Front of you is a wide open wetland field.  Behind you is a  small hill with tall trees  which make a reflection of some bird calls. Two rivers are in the distance with flocks of whooper swans. The birds are all around you but mostly quiet and busy searching for flies and other insects in the grass all around you.
The recording contains many birds. Like Common Snipe, Golden Plover, Whimbrel, Raven, Common Redshank, Black Tailed Godwit, White Wagtail, Black headed Gull, Rooster, Winter Wren, Northern Wheatear, Snow Bunting, Rock Ptarmigan, Common Starling, Redwing, Whooper Swan, Eurasian Oystercatcher and probably other species.
This recording was made with four Lewitt LCT540s microphones in IRT cross. All capsules are 90° & 30cm apart which was in post mixed to two 180° stereo.
This recording is highly gained with a wide dynamic range so keep it in mind, some moments can be loud
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at low level.

This recording is my contribution for the world listening day 18th of July 2020

  (mp3 256kbps / 60Mb)
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Recorder: MixPre6
Mics: Lewitt LCT540s (IRT cross 90¨/30cm)
Pix: Canon EOS R

Location: 64.121864, -20.534631
Weather: Calm, cloudy, around 12°C

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I recently noticed the best tripod I can get to avoid high levels of „mechanical wind noise“ in recordings. It is simply a hummock. I have many times recorded nature sound by leaving omni mics on the ground. But it has not been as simple for cardioid mics because it changes the EQ on the frequency range, especially when the mics are in the windshield.
Here below is a recording I did in Flói bird reserve in south Iceland. The average wind was probably around 4-5m/sec with some gust up to 5-7m/sec. The high pass filter was at 40Hz so mechanical wind noise should be with a typical tripod clearly audible at 3m/sec.
Keep in mind this is a recording of silence. It was barely nothing audible while this was recorded
It was recorded with 48dB gain and in post the gain was increased again about 27dB.
Most of the background noise is the surf on the south coast which is very noisy. The wind is almost constantly wiping the ground and airplanes make a rumble noise for many minutes. You will also hear wind noise but far less than it would have been with a typical tripod. 
One of the reasons I think it is so effective to put the rig on the ground, is mainly because the LCT540s is a heavy mic. So while the windshield lay so heavily on the ground, the ground works like a damper for all vibration on the windshield which therefore make less „mechanical wind noise“
Most bird species are in distance so this is not a very attractive recording. But many things are going on in this wide open space in south Iceland and it is always interesting to listen to soundscape which is too quiet for most human ear.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at low level.

(mp3 256kbps / 60Mb)
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Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Lewitt LCT540s IRTcross setup
Pix: Canon EOS R
Location: 63.901024, -21.192173
Weather: cloudy, calm up to 7m/sec, around 12°C

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After a dark winter with an awful weather nothing is as pleasant when migrant birds arrive to the country in the spring. Most birds arrive in April and May, and few species in Mars and June. So in mid May the air is loaded with birds song. What amazes me always is the fact that many of these birds are coming far distances from hot claimed continents like Africa and when they arrive they still have the power to fly around and sing almost 24/7 in several weeks.
It was no exception to this on May 12, 2019 when I arrived at Stafholtstungur in SW of Iceland  with my recording gear. Lot of snow was still in the mountains and the weather was cold but dry.
There are many bird species in this recording. Common Snipe, Golden Plover, Whimbrel, Common Redshank, Black Taled Godwit, White Wagtail, Winter Wren, Northern Wheatrxear, Snow Bunting, Rock Ptarmigan, Common Starling, Redwing, Great Northern Diver, Read Throated Diver, Whooper Swan, Graylag Goose and probably other species too.
This is a part of 9 hour recording I record over night with four Lewitt LCT540s microphones in IRT cross setup.   
Even though this part was recorded early morning, between 3:00 & 3:30, the recording is disturbed by human traffic in air and on ground. Wind noise which is usually difficult to avoid are audible in some moments. 
I do not strictly follow the rules about the IRT setup. I have 30cm / 90° between all capsules.
Counting clockwise normal arrangement for the channels are 1-2-3-4  to  L-R & Rs-Ls. But I pair these four channels L-R-L-R into stereo. This allows me to record 360° soundscape with four separated microphones without exactly noticing any time errors.
At the same time I also have four stereo recordings into individual directions which can be useful in some circumstances.
The problem with this „IRT stereo mix“ is that I can´t locate the direction of the sound source. But if I need that information I can always get it in the original recording file. 
In this recording Ch1 is facing to north, Ch2 to east, Ch3 to south and Ch 4 to west
This is a high gained recording. Recorder with 50dB gain, plus 24dB in post, close to be normalized (-3dB). So this is a „quiet“ recording even though it seems to be loud.. Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at low level.

(mp3 256kbps / 62Mb)
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Recorder: Sound Devices MixPre6
Mics: Lewitt LCT540S (IRT cross arrangement)
Pics: Canon EOS-M
Location: 64.673439, -21.628673
Weather: Calm to light gust, Cloudy  about 2°C 

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I was shocked last summer. Then I realized it was becoming increasingly difficult to get interesting recordings of glaciers. I was missing out on unique opportunities if I would not change my traditional methods of recording glacier sounds.
Glaciers that have so far been accessible with all kind of sound seems much quieter than before. Finding good places seems to be more difficult each year and to reach them with all of my equipment are getting even more difficult. Many glacier toes in Iceland seem to be turning into „dead ice“ at the toe end so they will not be crawling under its own weight anymore just lay where they are until they melt down.
One of this glacier which has gotten thinner, smaller and quieter each year is Svínafellsjökull glacier.
I spent three nights recording there last summer without recording anything „interesting“
The temperature varies between 2°C over the night, to 18°C during the day. During the night it melted little but it started to melt intensely at dawn and became very intense during the day, especially when the sun was shining on the glacier.
The following recording was made in a small „Ice cave“ in the glacier toe, 27th of May 2019. The time was around 8 AM, about an hour after the heat started to rice and the melting began. In this 27 minutes long recording  you will clearly hear the melting of the ice increase until I became afraid about the microphone and I stop the recording.
You can hear several times a deep rumble sound, probably because the glacier is crawling high in the mountain. Many other strange sounds are in this recording, some are known, while other unexplainable. I was never close by so it is not sound from me.  Some of them are loud, so be careful, do not listen to the recording on high level.
Other sound in distance are tourists, almost constant motorist traffic. But fossil fuel machines and humans mobility are sadly one of the reason for rapidly shrinking glaciers now a days.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at low-mid level.
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(mp3 256kbps / 51Mb)
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Recorder: Sound Devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser MKH8020/8040 in Parallel AB40
Pix: LG G6
Location: 63.996493, -16.874061
Weather: Calm, light clouds, around 10°C

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Natural silence is my favorite recording material, mainly because now a days it is so difficult to find it and it gets more difficult every year. I have been interested for salience in many years, or since I discovered it in my cycling trip all over Icelandic’s highlands about three decades ago. It was before the tourist boom and before Icelanders started to travel in their own country. So I was sometimes alone for many days in the desert. This moments in deep silence have inspired me so much it has shaped my life for lifetime.
One of this quiet places in Iceland was north of Vatnajökull glacier.
Shortly after the millennium, the traffic in this area increased a lot, especially because the Icelandic government had planed to build the biggest dam in Europe (Kárahnjúkastífla dam)  to make electricity for one ALCOA aluminum smelter in Reyðarfjörður, east of Iceland.
All that project ended as a huge natural disaster, which also split the people´s community in Iceland into two groups with and against this project. More information about this disaster can be found on Saving Iceland´s website.
Last time I visited this area was early summer 2018, I spent a night in Vesturöræfi on a place named Kofaalda.
I remembered my first thought when I sat up the recording gear. I was going to waste gigabytes for nothing because I heard nothing. Totally nothing. Well, there were some birds in distance …and yes, on the left side, behind hill about 2 km away there was the river Sauðá and on the right side a waterfall in Kringislá river about 4-5 km away.
I started recording.
It was not until last summer when I got opportunity to make a noise reduction on this recording, I noticed, after about 90dB gain this silence was rich of sound.
Most of this night I was struggling with rumble by gust. But between 5 and 6 o´clock the wind went down and something unexpected happened above end near the microphone.
Several bird species are in this recording: Dunlin, Golden plover, Pink-footed goose, Purple sandpiper, Common ringed plover, Snow bunting and Arctic skua.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at low level.
If you have a problem to play recordings in this blog try to open each blog-post in new frame or tab

( mp3 256kbps / 48Mb )
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Recorder. MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser MKH20  (AB40 setup laying on the ground)
Pix. Canon EOS-M50. See pictures of the landscape which was drowned by the bloody Kárahnjúkar dam project. „Lost landscape“ Part 1 & Part 2  and more pictures „Cycling trip to east fjords 2006“ Part 1 & Part 2
Location: 64.833417, -15.848694
Weather: Light gust, Calm, cloudy about 3°C

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Storm petrel (Hydrobates pelagicus) is a seabird in the northern storm petrel family, Hydrobatidae. It is the only member of the genus Hydrobates. The small, square-tailed bird is entirely black except for a broad, white rump and a white band on the under wings, and it has a fluttering, bat-like flight. The large majority of the population breeds on islands off the coasts of Europe, with the greatest numbers in the Faroe Islands, United Kingdom, Ireland, and Iceland. The Mediterranean population is a separate subspecies, but is inseparable at sea from its Atlantic relatives; its strongholds are Filfla Island (Malta), Sicily, and the Balearic Islands.
The storm petrel nests in crevices and burrows, sometimes shared with other seabirds or rabbits, and lays a single white egg, usually on bare soil. The adults share the lengthy incubation and both feed the chick, which is not normally brooded after the first week. This bird is strongly migratory, spending the Northern Hemisphere winter mainly off the coasts of South Africa and Namibia, with some birds stopping in the seas adjoining West Africa, and a few remaining near their Mediterranean breeding islands. This petrel is strictly oceanic outside the breeding season. It feeds on small fish, squid, and zooplankton, while pattering on the sea’s surface, and can find oily edible items by smell. The food is converted in the bird’s stomach to an oily orange liquid, which is regurgitated when the chick is fed. Although usually silent at sea, the storm petrel has a chattering call given by both members of a pair in their courtship flight, and the male has a purring song given from the breeding chamber.
The Storm petrel cannot survive on islands where land mammals such as rats and cats have been introduced, and it suffers natural predation from gulls, skuas, owls, and falcons. Although the population may be declining slightly, this petrel is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as being of least concern due to its high total numbers. Its presence in rough weather at sea has led to various mariners’ superstitions, and by analogy, to its use as a symbol by revolutionary and anarchist groups.
See more information at Wikipedia, eBird and Fuglavefurinn.
Largest colony of Storm Petrel in Iceland can be found in Elliðaey Island, near Vestmannaeyjar island, south of Iceland, but they can also be found in small numbers in two other places in south and east Iceland.
When I and Bob McGuire and Marino Sigursteinsson arrived in Elliðaey the 5th of June 2018, we were not sure if the Storm Petrel had arrived. It was almost too early for their breeding season.
So it was a big success when suddenly at midnight the air was filled with flying Storm petrels. I never saw this tiny bird, even though they were all around my head. They flew extremely fast like bats and disappeared in holes in the ground, and in the load wall of the old shelter.
I started recording inside the shelter because it was like hundreds of birds were heavily busy in conversation inside the wall, but outside and behind the shelter was a low lava cliff, named Skápar also with interesting soundscape. So I started to recording with other recorder there too.
Sadly I spent to much time talking in too short distance behind the rig, so most of the recording is spoiled with human talking. It is sad because this fabulous Storm petrel soundscape did not last more than two or three hours before they all flew to the sea again.
The following recording is what is left of the recording without the human chat. So the best part of Storm Petrel is sadly missing. Instead other bird, very similar is common in this recording. It is Leach’s Storm Petrel which is audible throughout all the recording. More info in Wikipedia, eBird and Fuglavefurinn
Background noise is a rumble noise from a trawler. It was almost constant noise all the time we stayed on the island. Even though I did not see any ship around the island, the air was vibrating with this deep rumble engine noise.
It seems like I need to spent much more time in this remote island and record its biological soundscape. It change over the day, every months, spring, summer, autumn and winter. So just 24 hours is not enough. Same as with other nearby islands, which host different bird species and different soundscape.
Quality open headphones are recommended while listening at low to mid level, or in speakers at medium level.

( mp3 256kbps / 27,6Mb )
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Recorder: Sound devices MixPre6
Mics: Sennheiser MKH20 AB40
Pix. LG G6
Location:  63.466924, -20.175122
Weather: Calm, misty & light shower, ca 12°C
Listen to the recording Elliðaey part1

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