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Nature recording
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You are currently reading a thread in /out/ - Outdoors

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Hi /out/ hopefully this is an acceptable thread here.

I've been interested in wildlife/nature sounds recording for some time and I really don't know anything about it.
For what I've understood the equipment isn't too big or heavy so it'd be easy to carry and record when out.

Would love to hear if someone does this and has some tips on the topic.
you should go to /mu/. they probably have something to recommend you there
just be aware we're one of the most awful boards ever. good luck tho desu
For what it's worth I've got a little Tascam sound recorder, pic related. It's got a lot of bells and whistles which I don't know how to use but it's light as a feather. It cost $100 so I assume it's good. Recordings turn out quiet as fuck, though, I guess it's meant to be held right next to a sound source. It's fine once you crank up the decibels in Audacity. No idea what you're supposed to use for nature recordings, but this is a decent all-rounder.
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Please, don't do this. /mu/ is a terrible, terrible place.

There is some anon that has tons of awesome nature recordings. You need a couple nice mics I'm sure, or at least not total garbage. I know the one anon actually made his own microphone as well, but I'm sure you need some knowledge of how it all works to build stuff successfully.

Does that have an input to plug a mic into? Something like that, plus a decent microphone made to record a whole area will probably be the way to go. Or a directional mic depending what you want to do.

But I have no clue what I'm talking about. Just stay away from /mu/.
Im a professional sound mixer for tv/film ask me anything?
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Rent a Zoom H4n and a Sennheiser MKH416 with a windcover and boom. Try and get a stereo MIC from them with a MIC stand if you want to record broader sounds and Stereo Images.

After your first outing have a listen back and kind of judge what you did right and wrong and start building on your experience. Sound is also very dependent on environment and how much exterior unnatural or specific noise hits your recording location.

If you feeling hardcore and have good DIY skills I would recommend building a parabolic mic for long range applications. There is some tutorials online but I can explain in steps if you can't find it.

If you want to listen what some other sound recordists are doing I would recommend this community: http://freesound.org/

There is allot of nature recordings on there and I can personally lose myself in searches there for hours on end.

Hope this gives you some insight I know /out/ is kind of slow but I will check in for questions.

This is me if anyone is wondering
I was trying to do this, but I need a bigger laptop, my netbook won't power/amp the "C01U" mic I have which really sucks. It works fine on my PC. Once I get that problem fixed I'll be using the mic with a DIY dish so I can point and record. Although, that will make it much bulkier.
me loves that throne
A comfy throne is worth its weight in gold. Especially if you have a longer session with the band or something.
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OP what kinds of sounds do you want to get? Do you want stationary ambience to capture a place, or are you looking to home-in on individual sounds (i.e. a bird, a frog, etc)?

Also what's your budget?

Overall I think these anons have the right starting point >>675808 >>675820

Get yourself a handheld recorder to get started with. They tend to have a lot of handling noise so get a shockmounted handle or just stick it on a cheep little tripod. You'll need a windmuff for it as well. The mics in those things are nice and sensitive, but they're highly susceptible to handling noise and wind. Now if you want to collect isolated sound effects you'll want to look into a shotgun mic or a parabolic mic, as has been mentioned. Do you know anyhting about audio and microphones at all? Because there are lots of differences between shotgun, parabolic, cardioid, and omnidiretional microphones, not just in how directional they are but also in their sensitivity, frequency response, proximity effect, handling noise, mic techniques you can use them for, etc. You kinda have to find a broad starting point (pickup a handheld recorder with a pair of cardioid mics on it) and then learn what you need from there.

Here's a recording I did with just the onboard cardioid mics of my Tascam DR-40 (and windmuff!)

And here's one with my omni mics and Jecklin disk rig:

Here's one with my binaural sphere mic:

I also have a shotgun and a parabolic mic, but I've found very little use for them... I should try to record at least a decent demo of them. I just don't like to record mono generally.
Thanks. I checked that Zoom H4n and it seems suitable for what I was thinking. But does it work great alone with a stand?

Also I checked couple of DIY videos. They seemed really cheap which is always great but then again they're all parabolic mics which is hard to carry. I'm more like looking for a good recorder with a decent sound. And I'm willing to give up some quality for portability.

Seems like there's a lot of options and I'm definitely have to take a closer look before buying anything.
Idunno if I would do this anon. That mic can record good sound but large diaphram mics aren't usually taken /out/. Too bulky. You can certainly do it though... it's a directinal mic already so I wouldn't bother with using a parabolic dish with it, it'll ruin the sound of the mic. Just point and record ƒam.
Birds but also nature in general. It'd be great to be able to record birds at night for hours while sleeping in my tent. All kind of nature sounds though.

Budget isn't too big at the moment but I'm not in a hurry with this.

That Tascam with a windmuff is definitely enough quality! It sounds great for my purposes. Also it seems really portable and that's one of my top priorities among the price.

Also, I'm OP >>675840
Well I have a Tascam DR-40, and it's great. It's the same features as the Zoom H4N with a few less software features that don't matter to us (amp simulators and other software plugin FX for when you're recording guitars and stuff and mixing them all inside the recorder - shit we don't need).

You will need a windmuff for it (windtech makes one that fits it for somewhere around $20), and you will need a tripod (get a $10 cheapie, any standard camera tripod will screw onto the recorder). The DR-40 has two cardioid mics with the option of recording with an XY configuration or an ORTF configuration... you'll sort that out on your own.
So what exactly do you want to record?

Running water?

Birds or crickes? Its all been done before man
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The same could be said about taking photos anon, yet everyone takes photos of where they go and what they do.

But the photos are from different perspectives and they are timed at different moments in life, a recording of a cricket is always just a cricket

If you aren't recording footage too it just seems like a waste of time, you don't plan on getting back from a trip and forcing people to listen to shitty sound bites and a lame story about how you got a recording of a random bird no one cares about, do you?
Yeah, definitely won't need those, not for starters at least. Also, I don't know anything about mics.

Thanks a lot anon! This Tascam DR-40 with a windmuff seems awesome for my purposes.

Well sure it's done before but just as taking pictures it's something I've done and it's a great memory.
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eh, 3/10 effort
I'm seriously curious as to what you do with the recordings, there is no wah you make people sit around and stair at a wall while listening to random background noise

Is it a personal collection thing like bird watching? Are you trying to get certain sounds each time?
The DR-40 has XLR mic inputs so you can plug professional mics into it someday. If you never plan to do that you can get a smaller recorder with the same onboard mics and save some money. This DR-05 this anon posted >>675808 is a great budget option, has the same omboiard mics as the DR-40 (but only records in ORTF, not in XY) and it has a 3.5mm "mic-in" for battery-powered mics (inexpensive shotgun mics, for example). Unless you want to be able to expand to a using one or two XLR mics, you don't really *need* the DR-40. I do like the fact that you can change the mic configuration though, it makes a big difference
I don't make or ask anyone to listen to my shit. My soundcloud and youtube channels have thousand of views/listens. People enjoy this stuff. Also, I record audio professionally but usually I'm stuck in a studio or when I'm on-location it's still usually indoors. This combines my love of /out/ with what I love to do.

Sound uses a different part of your brain than photos do anon, so it's just a different way to remember a place. It's more similar to capturing the way a place smells. You can take photos of your food and no matter how much you try, it'll never feel like you're in the restaurant again when you look at it. But if you were able to capture the smell of the place, it' would take you right back. Sound recordings do that for you, there's no need to try to remember, it'll all come rushing back.

Finally, nature sounds are relaxing and beautiful so it's entertaining for people who are into that, and capturing a place *well* can be very challenging from a logistical and technical point of view. It makes it something that isn't easy, and something that takes lots of practice and experience to get güd at, something that's challenging and lot of people can't do and don't have the expertice to pull-off, which makes it fun and worthwhile.

Here, this one has like 800 listens just on clypit:

That makes sense, still sounds like a massive waste of time but everyone needs to stay busy
So is the quality same? Then it does seem like a better option, though that anon said it turned out quiet. I hope that wouldn't be a problem because obviously that is the most important thing in the end.

Well put my thoughts into words.
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Are you a Sound Designer or do you specialize more in the field recording side of things. You mentioned that you do studio work as well?

Myself I'm more of a film sound mixer for local films in my country. Currently running Sound Devices 633 with allot of Lectrosonics wireless. Also work on the Zaxcom Nomad on bigger jobs.

When we are filming when ever I have a gap we go out and record any nice atmospheres around the location. Usually with Sankin Stereo Rifle mic or a 416 in the center. Unfortunately we need more directional mics to steer away from noise from the crew working close by and generator noise.
Not everyone is trying to make the next biggest tech startup, faggot.
Not OP btw
I don't see any reason why it should be quiet, I think perhaps anon isn't 100% knowledgeable about what he's doing :| Part of the problem migh tbe that it's an ORTF mic array and not an XY, so it doesn't have as much of a solid center in the stereo image. Or maybe he just didn't crank the preamps enough, or maybe it wasn't actually quiet, just seemed quiet compared to mastered music, idk

Check youtube vis comparing the two, the DR-05 seems fine
I record music normally, either in the studio or on location (choirs, pipe organs, etc). usually I do stereo, sometimes surround which is nice. I've done production sound for films a handful of times years ago and can't stand it, usually because most of the filmmakers I've worked with are completely incompetent and it's always a disaster. I've done sound design and dub mixes for post-production sound a few times as well, which is more fun but again, filmmakers don't know anything about sound and make your life so much harder. "we didn't get any production sound except for the dialogue, but you can just add all the footsteps and clothing movments and stuff pretty quick right? the movie's 156mins long and most of the sound we did record sucks".

BLAH i got out of that, it'd rather work with musicians and performance spaces than filmies. I wish I could afford a Sound Devices recorder! I don't use the preamps in my DR-40 at least, I run external preamps which are a total game changer, it's like 30dB less noise.

Yes taking something down to line and bringing it up to mic level is my mantra these days. I use to do that with the Sound Devices 302 going out at line into my Zoom recorder with a limiter on. Eliminated any hiss those shitty pre-amps had and made for decent recording quality.

I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience with my peers the indie hipster kids with the Red Dragons or even worse DSLR's are usually the guys who thinks investing in good sound and locations is dumb. The key is finding a director that understands that sound is the only non-visual medium and how important it is to telling the story.

This is a sniper in a forest thriller short film. It's a phone conversation between sniper and his friend. We recorded it in a forest. I always try and keep it clean for post so they can ad stuff in afterwards like what you record I do get buzz and atmos tracks if time and location permits.

Sample: https://clyp.it/05i0ooas
heh, nice! and it's weird, it's not so much that they don't understand the importance of sound, it's that they don't know anything about it... so they get terrible sound and they have no idea what has to be done in post. i spent 100 hours on a 17minute movie once, which was a few weeks of work, and after the first week they were calling me bitching about why it wasn't done. jfc!

I think you can even get better pre-amps installed on smaller recorders these days. My friend had it done on his Marrantiz Stereo recorder and we recorded these gun sounds with it with out any external gear other than a Audio Technica Rifle Mic. Would be advantageous if you in the States.


I can relate...Did 4 weeks of ADR and 2 months of post mixing on a student feature. I wanted to die but did mange to finish it. I forgot to mention last minute edit changes that makes the whole mix go out of sync and it's two days before deadline. I hate post....
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>100 hours on a 17minute

Fuck bro you tried
Too bad it doesn't seem to work like that. Post processing can fix most parabolic problems.
>Post processing can fix most parabolic problems.
such as?

I found that condenser mics in very low wind or with ball gag fluffy on it focused inward to a deep metal dish delivers good results in terms of range. You do hear the metal though but still amazing to listen to bat sonar calls with it.

Post wise you must record in the field as good as possible and post just ads a little extra onto it with compression,limiting and equalizing. Also if you record too low and raise it up afterwards like one anon mentioned in this thread you will raise the noise in the recording and make it shitty. Always try and good signal to noise ratio when recording.
I loved the swamp at night clip. Is there somewhere I can subscribe or follow your work?
thanks friend! pick your poison I guess:


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>what you do with the recordings

I listen to nature recordings on the car radio while commuting to work. Fav record of mine ( https://archive.org/details/150827 ) takes about 3 days to complete this way. A guy I know manages a cafe with outdoor seating and often plays nature recordings for ambiance. He avoids RIAA fees that way. He played some of mine once but this track ( https://archive.org/details/childrenofthenight_201507 ) caused somebody's dog to freak out. Wish I could've been there to see that. pic related my Sony
I just listened the whole thing. That first one. Awesome, love those bees.
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Also hummingbirds buzzed the red LED on my Sony. pic is loc of recording
no fair man! all I ever get buzzed by is fucken skeetos.

>one lands right on the fucking mic at 0:54
Haha I need a longer version of this. Gotta try to fall asleep listening this. I'll probably find myself waving my hands around my head half asleep.
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Olympus LS-10 here checking in. It's a challenging hobby. Make sure to get a recorder that can accept an external SD card and have extra batteries if you're doing extended recordings.

It's a challenging hobby. All the cool sounds seem to go away as soon as you have your recorder with you and ready. Have to be very patient.
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