Recording Tips

Audio Field Recording – A Starting-Out Guide


If you found my Recording Tips useful, I made a print-friendly 24-page PDF version of it, which you can download.

It is now titled  Audio Field Recording – A Starting-Out Guide.

You can also download the associated audio file, and if you wish you can use the player below the description to listen now.

This audio is a test recording I made to evaluate a foam solution to handling noise. I recorded my footsteps at stupid o’clock on a drizzly morning in Dublin, using a homemade boom acoustically deadened with magic foam. See the PDF for more details about this. My footsteps leave the bedroom, walk on laminate floor, through the flat door to the carpet outside, through a door to the stairs, down carpeted stairs, through a security door onto a brick-laid path, through a security gate, across a badly tarmacked car park, through another security gate onto the footpath, down a hill past two young men with Dublin accents just getting home from the pub at 04:00 or so, and approaching a junction. This test runs for 07:21.

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5 Responses to Audio Field Recording – A Starting-Out Guide

  1. Microscopia says:

    The recording seems to be ok – no discernible handling noise apart from right at the beginning, where no doubt you had to start the recording and feed the boom outwards!
    I am a bit puzzled as to why you opted to put the recorder on the end of the boom, rather than a plug-in microphone. I realise that it saves the expense of an additional microphone, but with a lightweight one you may find the boom easier to handle and not liable to damage the recorder if you accidently swing it into something! The other problem you may have is that once the boom is fed out, you have then lost control of the recording process – you would not be able to ride the volume controls in noisy or exceptionally windy conditions etc.
    Nevertheless well done – I like it!

    • Good questions!

      Why the recorder on the boom rather than a microphone?
      – At the moment I only have dynamic microphones which sound crap with this recorder (I do now have 2 omnidirectional condensers on the way)
      – I was testing foam solutions to handling noise specifically for the circumstance of using a portable digital audio recorder’s built-in mics
      – I was testing quiet mounting solutions for my particular portable digital audio recorder
      – I was testing the viability of this particular boom with this particular recorder for the specific purpose of recording my footsteps in motion

      Regarding the point you raised of losing control of the recording process, I kept my headphones on the whole time, so I was monitoring the audio throughout, and if at any time I needed to adjust the levels, I could have done so. Also the boom is only about 2.5 ft long, being the boom arm of a mic stand, and I held it vertically with the recorder near my feet. So accessing the levels is pretty easy, just a smidge time consuming and noisy.

      I’m going to do additional footsteps tests soon with the gooseneck boom (shorter, easier and more ergonomic to carry), and I’ll do even more tests once my mics arrive. They’d be done already, but it’s just that motivating myself to get up at stupid o’clock when the weather is suitable, that’s kind of difficult. 😛

      I think on this occasion, this combination of foam solution passed the handing noise test with flying colours. And I agree, I really like the result, I’m glad you liked it too. Thanks for your comment. 🙂

  2. Microscopia says:

    Have a break and lie in – don’t stress yourself out getting up early – do some real recording and capture the ambience of modern day life! 🙂

  3. Pingback: April Bird Serenade | Lady Lubyanka

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