Australian Sound Artist

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How Do I Record Thee - Let Me Count Thy Ways.........


: Day two of Live Arts Incubator :
: Enjoying Bendigo and the welcome of Jacques and Fran Soddell :

The last couple of days have sparked what I think will be a sharp learning curve in my surround recording technique. As part of my artist residency at the Old Fire Station in Castlemaine, I will be recording the sounds of the Sacred Heart Cathedral in surround configuration.

I would like to mention for the record, that the body and infrastructure of the cathedral is mind achingly different to that of a six level stairwell.............

After spending a number of hours/days/weeks/months etc researching surround recording setups that are both within my budget and suitable to my own ideals I have managed to decide upon my own recording technique. This setup is a hybrid consisting of the designs of other recordists, interwoven with my own.

The first recording design relevant to my own requirements that I stumbled across was that of Peter Caeldries. (I highly recommend having a look at his website as it is not only informative but also incredibly coherent and easy to understand.) It was via this website that I came across the idea of recording in MS configuration but replacing the cardioid microphone that is traditionally used for the Mid with an omni directional. Selected mic's would now be the Sennheiser MKH 30 and the MKH 8020.

While I had considered this combination of figure 8 polar with omni in the past I has never had confidence in it as an idea. I liked the theory of using the MS technique and allowing it to develop into the surround domain via the use of the omni and on reading Caeldries entries have decided to go ahead with the setup. The second source of information and inspiration came from John Willett, who just happens to have designed his own Rycote shock mount and blimp system suitable for my selected microphones. (Many thanks to Willett for being so helpful with all the details re: equipment list.)

The combination of both these two ideas will form the center of my recording configuration. In addition to this, the front facing side will have an omni directional DPA  4060, headed by a stereo Rode NT4. The rear will also have the same configuration (Omni DPA, with Rode NT4 pointing out).

Spacing between the microphones will be kept tight - I hope to fit the configuration into roughly 60cm length. The body of the cathedral is quite long hence, why I have decided upon a placement of microphones in linear form from front to rear. After listening to sample recordings I gathered within the space using only a spaced pair of DPA 4060 I was surprised to find that the natural reverb and delay at the rear of the building was slightly lost - again, this gave me further reason to place microphones in linear form.