Posts Tagged ‘Stafholtstunga’


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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The 14th of September 2014 over 100 people met in a ceremony in Arnarholt, west of Iceland, to introduce the tree of the year. This tree is 105 years old European Larch (Larix decidua) so it is one of the oldest tree in Iceland .
The one hour ceremony included speeches, songs and valid measurements of the tree.
The tree was 15,2 meter high with 2 m circumference.
The following recording does not include the whole ceremony. The problem was that all the speeches were trough megaphone so the sound was awful. But the songs were ok and one speech about history of the tree too. The recording ends with another recording I made after the ceremony under the tree with binaural array and contact mics on the tree bole.

Tré ársins 2014

Í Arnarholti í Stafholtstungum var 105 ára Efrópulerki útnefnt tré ársins þann 14. september 2014. Hátt á annað hundarð manns mættu við hátíðlega athöfn og hlýddu þar á ræður og söng. Þá var tréð mælt með löggiltum hætti og reyndist það vera 15,2 metra hátt.
Meðfylgjandi upptaka er ekki lýsandi fyrir það sem gerðist við athöfnina enda upptakan talsvert styttri.
Menn töluðu þar óspart í afar slæmt hljóðkerfi sem ekki var áheyrilegt. Eftir stóð þó söngurinn og ein ræða þar sem stuttlega var sagt frá sögu trésins og þeim tveimur mönnum sem að gróðursetningu þess komu. Í enda upptökunar má heyra vindinn gæla við trjátoppana og hljóðin innan úr bol trésins tekin upp með „kontakt“ hljóðnemum.
Full lýsing á dagskránni þennan dag er annars ágætlega lýst í Laufblaðinu, Fréttablaði Skógræktarfélags Íslands.
Upptakan er birt með leyfi söngvara.

Download mp3 file (192kbps / 31,2Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 788
Mics: MKH30/NTG3 (MS config) & MKH20 (binaural) & Aquarian H2a-XLR
Pix. Canon EOS M
Rec. Location: 64.675469, -21.630393

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IMG_5242 (1400x933)

It is shocking how hard it is to find quiet places. Our planet is completely rumbling of humans machines. It does not matter where it is, in the ocean on land or in the sky. The situation just goes worse every year.
But „quiet nature“ is not „nothing“. It can be a glorious soundscape with lot of details that can be really wonderful to listen. That is one of the reasons why „quiet nature“ is my favorite recording material. It is hard to find and always difficult to record.
It is a luck to get a nice recording of ¨quiet nature“ It must be all in one, right place, correct time and specific calm weather.
Most of Iceland is without trees or forest. It is mostly bare open landscape so sound can travel in long distances. Sometimes is it possible to hear traffic up to 30 km away. So just one car can cover a huge area with noise pollution for a long time.
In October 2013 I was recording over night in Stafholtsunga, west Iceland. I located the microphones in a ditch to avoid traffic noise as much as possible. But traffic noise all over the county and air conditioner at nearby farm infected this recording most of the time.
The recording starts between 6 and 7am.
If you have quality headphones and sound card you will hear many other things than noise. You will hear in several bird species like raven, starling and swans and birds activity near the microphones. Also barking dog, sheep and horses in distance. You will hear some dripping sound from the groundwater in the ditch. Gust will also gently weep grass and nearby bush.
Quality headphones are recommended while listening at low level in relaxed position.

Dögun í Stafholtstungu, fyrsti hluti

Það er orðið skelfilegt hversu erfitt er að komast í „náttúrulega þögn“ án vélrænna hljóða frá manninum. Það skiptir engu hvar maður er og á hvaða tíma dags, hávaðinn er alls staðar frá vélum mannsins, í sjónum, á landi og í lofti.
En stundum kemst maður í ágætis færi við „þögula náttúru“ svo langt sem það nær. Auðvitað mætti komast í þessa þögn fjarri mannabyggð en áskorunin er mest að ná þeim í byggð, enda er þar mjög margt áhugavert sem spennandi er að hlusta á án vélahljóða.
Þann 20. október 2013 var ég í Stafholtstungum í Borgarfirði. Setti ég hljóðnema í skurð svo að umferðin í sveitinni kæmi sem minnst inn á upptökuna.
Þarna má heyra ýmsilegt svo sem í húsdýrum, fuglum sem og ýmsu sem fer fram hjá flestum í dagsins önn.
Mælt er með því að hlusta á þessa upptöku í góðum heyrnartólum og á lágum hljóðstyrk um leið og slakað er á í þægilegum stól eða rúmi.

Download mp3 file. (256kbps / 56.6Mb)

Recorder: Sound devices 744
Mics: Sennheiser MKH20 (AB40)
Pix: EOS-M
Rec. Location: 64.672699, -21.629450
Weather: Clear sky, calm, -4°C

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