Under Waterfalls

A few weeks ago I drove 3 hours north of NYC to a waterfall that sits on the back of a relative’s property, who was kind enough to let me drive up and record with my hydrophones. The location has so many features where the water changes speed and pitch as it moves across the rocks. The recording below is one of my favorite water flows from that day.

I was surprised by the low frequency content because the water is not that deep, but it has really great low end gurgles. One of the key challenges of this type of recording is turbulence.  It is relatively easy to overwhelm hydrophones when placing them in the flow of heavy currents.

I have yet to completely master the technique, and I suspect I am going to have many near-misses in my continued experiments with hydrophones, but luckily for me, this one turned out okay.

Recording Geek Note: Rig consists of Aquarian h2a hydrophone tracked to a Sound Devices 744T at 24/96.  I was also trying not to take my 744 for swim while recording!

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Pool Hum

Lately I’ve been working on a series of underwater and hydrophone based recordings for a sound library.  One of my first stops was my brother-in-law’s pool for some scuba sounds.

He’s a trained diver and he was nice enough to let me come out for the day and put him through his paces.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t get started until late in the day because of this sound:

I consider it a happy accident.  Initially I was really frustrated because I couldn’t figure out where this low frequency sound was coming from and I needed to record scuba sounds!  I kept looking around and there definitely wasn’t a nuclear sub in the pool!  My brother-in-law and I quickly discovered that a neighbor down the block was having his driveway ripped up and repaved.  All of that low frequency information was traveling from down the street and under the pool.  So what do you do when you have a loud hum?  We went out for lunch and then I took my nephew and niece out for ice-cream.  By the time we returned to the pool we were free and clear of construction hums and we could make all of the bubbling sounds we wanted.

Recording Geek Note: Rig consists of 2 Aquarian H2a Hydrophones. It was all tracked to a Sound Devices 744T at 24/96

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Under the Delaware

Independence Day in the States just rolled around and what better place to spend July 4th than the Delaware River?  If it’s good enough for George Washington it’s good enough for me.  I am still trying to get to know my new hydrophones and the bottom of the Delaware was where they ended up for a few hours. There are little rocks on the river bottom, so the trick was not to get the sound of the mics scraping them and actually recording the current rolling by.

If you listen closely you can hear different forms of air traffic filtered through the water.  I also wanted to test the mics ability to be almost crushed, so I picked up a few rocks from the surface of the river and threw them towards the capsules and ended with an interesting effect.  Luckily I only came close to the capsules so they can be used again.

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Recording geek note:  Tracked with 2 Dolphin Ear Pro hydrophones to a Sound Devices 744T recorder at 24/96.

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Hydrophones You’re The One

photo credit flickr/mybloodyself

This week’s post is a bit of an experiment.  I recently purchased two hydrophones, and after a few weeks they finally showed up in the mail.  My work schedule right now wouldn’t permit me to run to the east river for a quick test run, so I settled for my bathtub.  I placed both mics on the surface of the tub and began to fill the tub with water.  Initially you can hear the mics rubbing up against the surface of the porcelain, not the most desirable sound, and then you can hear movement in the water.  I played around with the flow of water and at one point dunked my head below the surface to see what kind of changes would occur.  The grand finale is the water draining out of the tub.

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So far I’m pleased with the purchase, and hope to get them in a river soon.

Recording geek note:  Tracked with 2 Dolphin Ear Pro hydrophones to a Sound Devices 744T recorder at 24/96.

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