Occasional posts on subjects including field recording, London history and literature, other websites worth looking at, articles in the press, and news of sound-related events.

09 November 2009

A beautiful recording made with skill (and expensive mics)

ONE OF THE good things about field recording is that you can get some capable kit together for less than the price of a consumer dSLR camera. But does splashing out big bucks on top-of-the-range gear make a difference? Unfortunately yes.

Unlike expensive hifi equipment, mics and recorders are usually designed to be tools ahead of any function as status symbols. Higher costs should predict performance improvements that you can actually hear. Months ago I came across a nature recording of wonderful clarity on the God’s Own Clay website. It was made by Romilly Hambling with a pair of borrowed Sennheiser MKH20 omindirectional mics. New they’re at least £1,100 each. Romilly has kindly allowed the London Sound Survey to feature it:

Here’s the recording’s original page. The first impression on hearing it over a pair of £50 computer speakers was like a window opened straight onto the scene.

In his email Romilly writes: “I’ve always marveled at that recording and wondered whether it was the acoustics of the location or the mics that did it (both probably).” Plus the kind of situational awareness which good recordists surely develop through patience and a love of the subject.