Australian Sound Artist

Thursday, February 21, 2013

KunstRadio Commission: Booroomba Rocks Technical

:: Equipment for Booroomba Rocks recording, (minus Quarke the cat) ::
The above is a photo of equipment I took for the Booroomba Rocks recordings, with the addition of leads and minus the cat. The microphones include the new addition to my artillery, the DPA 4023 - matched pair. Items worth pointing out include the Mipro MA101 - a battery powered portable PA, the iPod, the microphone wind jammers and wind socks and the rugged Crumpler Karachi Outpost bag that it all fits in (bar the stand and boompole). The Mipro MA101 is also a new addition that I had not tried out before. Previously I have used battery powered speakers such as the RCF Move100. As light as these are  - they are still incredibly impractical to lug across bushwalking terrain... The Mipro is the same weight and size of a large torch and gets plenty of volume. My biggest complaint would be that despite the advertise frequency response of 60Hz - 15KHz +/- 3db, anything under 90Hz was predictably weakened/not really there. The mids and highs however, were very crisp and LOUD.

The conceptual idea (from a technical approach) was to take the work I had composed using only source material from Uli Kuehn's 'ROBOT', and play it back into this selected space/place (as per it's purpose for creation) in order to record the sonic outcome.

The recordings I did at Booroomba consisted of two stereo paired microphones (four channels in total). The first pair was my tried and true DPA 4060 (omnidirectional), positioned well above headheight, to catch the general surrounds and sound difusion. The second pair was the new DPA 4023's, in ORTF formation, closely positioned to the Mipro to directly catch the playback of the piece in realtime.

:: Recording position ::
:: Recording configuration ::
It was extremely important to me to capture the playback of the composition in it's surroundings as it occurred and likewise, to capture the surroundings as they reacted and conversed with the sounds of the composition. Even I, the most easily pleased listener when it comes to enjoying and discovering the rhythms in everyday sonic occurrences - natural or otherwise - was almost startled by how perfectly,  moments of shift and drama between nature and composition unfolded within the resultant recordings. 

Aspects that I failed miserably in included the positioning of the microphones (a crucial element - I know..). Because of the lack of time and poor weather conditions, equipment positioning was less than ideal. Nerves and rush on setup meant that I pretty much almost just shoved the gear somewhere out of the weather and free of fauna. The PA should have been further away from the 4060 atmosphere microphones, allowing them to capture more subtle diffusions of the playback composition without drowning out the sounds of their surrounding nature. I also wish I had had the time to base the setup right in amongst the trees and shrubs so as to catch the sounds of the rain falling and dripping over them.

Final mistake (another crucial beginners error) was that I did not have adequate wind protection for the DPA 4023's. The recordings suffered terribly for it with not only the grating sound of wind battering a microphone, but also severely limiting just how much time I was able to record (minus the excessive wind). I'd say I know what my next needed piece of equipment will be. Time to start saving (again)......