(please excuse the headlamp glare, but we had all the lights out in the foundry)

Lately, I have been a bit bell crazy. I have been running around trying to find interesting bells for a new Rabbit Ears Audio SFX library. I love recording when I’m building libraries, but I also truly love the research. My bell recording has taken me to a percussionist, an historic barge with old nautical bells, and a working bell foundry in Maine.

At every location each proprietor was passionate and extremely accommodating. In the case of the barge, the owner was thrilled that someone expressed an interest in his passion: old historical shipping on New York waterways. In Maine, they are trying to keep an old art alive in the US (there are only a few foundries left). And part of a percussionist’s job is to have the right tools to make unique sounds when scores call for it.

This bell is a 16″ bronze nautical bell recorded at the bell foundry


This is a bell plate, which is a rectangular steel slab suspended from a rope.

Recording Geek Note:  Rig consists of Schoeps CMC5’s setup for MS, with the MK4 as the mid. It was all tracked to a Sound Devices 744T at 24/96.

Red Hook Criterium

photo credit: chris henry

This blog is all about field recording, so it’s rather obvious that I’m into it!  It’s rare that I get to combine a few of my passions, and the Red Hook Criterium was one of those opportunities. I love running around with microphones and I also have a love for cycling. Last fall, I rode a century ride just three days after I did all of the recording for my Metal Machines SFX library, and I still can’t tell if the metal filings in the air helped me or not. This year was the 4th Red Hook Criterium — an unsanctioned race that takes place in an industrial part of Brooklyn right along the East River.

The night of the race I headed out there with a photographer for Peloton Magazine to capture the sights and sounds. The race had just a few rules: all of the riders were required to ride track bikes, which meant there was no coasting, and lapped riders had to get off the course. That pretty much meant that the hipsters on their “fixies” were out of the race 2 laps into the 10 lap race.

photo credit: chris henry

I spent the race running around the course trying to capture some pass bys and some nice crowd reactions:

I loved the pass bys and the sounds of the hard efforts the riders were outputting:


Apparently, you can’t keep Italians away from a bike race:


If you didn’t know you were on the water, you can catch a barge’s horn in the background:


“Get up there Cutler! C’mon!”


“That’s a Race, That’s a Race”


photo credit: chris henry

Recording Geek Note:  Rig consists of Schoeps CMC5’s setup for MS, with the MK4 as the mid. It was all tracked to a Sound Devices 744T at 24/96.

Tank Treads

I recently released a Tank SFX collection with Rob Nokes on Rabbit Ears Audio and I wanted to take a moment to highlight one of the things that make tanks sound like tanks: the tracks bands.

Over the course of 3 days we recorded 7 vehicles and got quite the workout. We recorded the following vehicles:

M5A1 Stuart Tank
M60A3 Combat Tank
M41A2 Walker Bulldog Tank
M106A1 Mortar Carrier
M4A2E8 Sherman Tank
M42A1 Duster Tank
M75 Armored Personnel Carrier.

We recorded everything from multiple exterior and onboard perspectives. Tanks can really kick up a lot of dirt, so after those sessions I actually had to ship my Sound Devices recorder back to Wisconsin to have all of the contacts under the buttons replaced. Next time, I’ll be putting my recorder in a plastic bag in my Portabrace bag. It also took a few days to not smell like fuel! After all was said and done and we finished editing, the sounds of the track bands really stood out:

Rob recently comment to me about the metallic sounds of the M5A1 Stuart, and if you listen closely to the others they have more of a rubber squishiness to their clatter. The onboards on the tracks really made the tanks come alive for me – especially when they moved at slow speed and started to accelerate. And luckily, we didn’t lose any mics in the tracks of the tanks. Every now and then I wish my car would clank and rumble like that!

You can check out more samples from those sessions here.