It’s that time of the year again when the flowers start pushing their leaves right aside the dog poo that’s uncovered from under the snow. I’ve said it before in different videos: leave your studio, it’s healthy. One way to still continue the studio-geekery outside is the good ol’ pretentious ‘field recording’. I have for long recorded all my stuff with Zoom H2 and it has served me well but there are certain issues. Yes it’s lightweight and small but the plastic casing is prone to all sorts of handling noises and rumble. Zoom’s latest model H6 seems extremely sturdy and I really love the idea of interchangeable mics so I just had to give it a go. With a little help of the friendly people at Studiotec I got my hands on a unit and decided to throw in a little challenge. I wanted to go out and record all sorts of random stuff and build a track completely made out of those sounds, which I did. I recorded all sorts of stuff ranging from ambiences to drumming and kicking various items in- and outdoors such as construction equipment, monuments, buildings, people and animals (no not really). My intention was not to record any kinds of instruments whatsoever but the end bit needed something so I just had to add a little Otamatone solo in there. Then again it’s freakin’ Otamatone of all instruments so I can live with that. I’m also challenging you to play that lil’ bugger with a fractured wrist and a cast. It adds a little pain and agony in the delicate emotional interpretation of the solo. At least by keeping it painfully out of tune.
Anyway, the final result ended up using quite a hefty bass drone recorded from inside of Sibelius Monument, which is.. well.. a monument (duh) in Helsinki built from large welded steel pipes. When a wind blows past the monument, the pipes make these weird droney sounds which have pretty impressive bass content. I definitely recommend sticking your head in there if you happen to walk past. You look really smart and you’re up for an interesting sonic experience. A satellite dish and an empty cargo container provided a nice bit of oomph and boom to the beats and the rest is various small and big stuff you can spot from the video. Yes, effects are used on the sounds (I think it’s pretty obvious listening to it) as I didn’t want to do a boring engineery test but to have fun and try out what I can do with the sounds I get. You can get the specs and the unboxing videos elsewhere, this is not for it.
Verdict on the recorder itself? It’s an absolutely gorgeous piece of gear. Compared to the H2 it completely removes the issue of handling noise as it’s built like a tank. A very small tank that is. The noise level is considerably lower and the details and dynamics are on a completely new level to what I’m used to with the H2. The interchangeable mics extend the use quite a bit as you have an M/S mic to capture spaces and ambience, good X/Y with width control and a shotgun to get quite surgical with if needed so the palette to work with is really versatile. The downside compared to for example H2 is that the unit is larger so it’s not the kind of recorder you slip in your pocket. I rarely do carry a recorder randomly with me so it’s not a big issue but for example a unit without the additional four inputs would be a killer. I’m not sure if I’m to use those too often. But what I do use is the option to plug the unit on a USB and record directly into DAW. Saves a lot of hassle.
All in all, I’m quite excited to head outside and keep recording with the H6. Listen to the track and judge for yourself.
Really sorry for the awkward pun. Few weeks back I did the Kesä/Summer jamieoliver barbecue video performance. In case you haven’t seen it, check it now and give a little focus on the intro. In case you saw it already and didn’t notice that none of the sounds in it are actually “real”, I can pat myself in the back. All the sounds are created afterwards, partially as recoded ‘foley’ and partially edited from sounds on freesound.org. As you might know, the microphones in the consumer (prosumer, whatever) cameras are not really that good for more than holiday videos as the they capture all kinds of unwanted noises from the camera itself, wind etc and the quality of the sound is not too good, so it wasn’t really usable for the video. I could have used a separate mic to get better results but I was doing the whole thing by myself so it would have been a bit tricky and the main focus is not on the intro anyway.
Creating the sound on the intro kind of snowballed as first I was supposed to just put some kind of a soundtrack or ambience on it, and ended up adding birds chirping to fit the summery vibe. That seemed to lack depth and dimension as the camera angle keeps changing so I started to play with phase and filtering to alter the position of the ambience and mimic the placement of a microphone. I ended up with this (also few other sounds already in place): Read More…