Rockets and Rabbit Ears

I’ve been running this blog for over 3 years now, and it is with great excitement that I announce the establishment of Rabbit Ears Audio.  After years of recording for myself, I’ve decided to launch my own independent SFX library company.

My first library, REA_001 ROCKETS features a number of rockets that I’ve posted previously on this blog, and, in honor of the launch, I’ve decided to put up two of my favorite rockets from the library.

This is an large scale amateur rocket recorded at a close perspective with a pair of Schoeps in an MS configuration.

This is slightly smaller Rocket recorded at a close perspective with a pair of DPA 4060s.

They were truly a blast to record.  Here is a little background from the Rabbit Ears Site:

I recorded these rockets on two separate occasions.  The first session was in Plaster City, California, where temperatures soared to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit before noon.  The second session occurred in Pine Island, New York on an onion farm.

One of the biggest challenges when recording rockets is battling the high SPL and developing strategies to overcome it.  Before I did any recordings, I went to a launch and spent half a day just listening.

After working around lots of hobbyists and their wonderful creations, I have a pretty explosive collection of sounds.  None of my microphones or their owner were harmed in the making of this library.

New York Rockets

Rocket recordings have been on my mind lately because I’m in the process of building a Rocket SFX library.  Some visitors to the blog may have heard some of the rockets that I recorded on the West Coast two years ago, and I have been in the process of augmented my rocket content.  I contacted my local chapter of METRA rocketry, which is an organization that shoots off mid and high powered rockets.

As you can see, these guys really don’t mess around.  The rocket on the left was one of the high powered rockets that required over 1000-foot clearance from all of the attendees.  Recording this rocket and many of the others required lots of guessing about where to set levels.  There was some serious SPL out there, kiddies.  Just look at the size of the people in that photo and look at the size of the rocket.  At least 3 rockets that day required FAA clearance because they flew over 5000 ft.

Lucky for me this was my second rocket trip, so I guessed wisely.  I ended up leaving that day with over 15 rockets recorded on 6 different channels.  I have my Schoeps MS pair, my brother’s MKH 60, my newly acquired Sanken CUB-01, and a pair of DPA 4060’s.  The CUB-01 is a boundary layer mic and it was my favorite of the day.

The CUB handles a high level of SPL, but I still had to deal with low frequency vibrations and wind since it would be sitting on the ground.  I found these foam discs that are used for waxing cars and the density was just perfect.  It gave a little, which is good for absorbing shock, but still was stable and firm on the ground.  I cut out a piece slightly larger than the capsule of the CUB and zip tied a high wind cover from rycote over the capsule.  I’m really pleased with the results and I can’t wait to finish this library.  After this past weekend, I think I decided that I need another CUB, but I might have to wait a little while.

Recording Geek Note:  Rig consists of Sanken CUB-01 It was all tracked to a Sound Devices 744T at 24/96.

Rocket Man

I’ve been listening to a fair bit of early Elton John these days, which jogged a memory of weird times spent in the deserts of Southern California.  Back in the spring of 2008, I made arrangements with the DART organization to record some rockets.  The Diego Area Rocket Team (DART) is a chartered section of the National Association of Rocketry, which was founded in Des Moines, Iowa and relocated to San Diego in the late 1960’s.  They were very kind and patient and made it incredibly easy to record.  I originally posted something in June of 2008, but the power of Elton John on a long drive reminded me that I had a bunch more SFX to master.

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Recording Geek Note:

This rocket is a H Motor recorded with a DPA 4060 mounted just a few feet away from the launch pad.  The DPA is also mixed with a Schoeps MS pair with a MK4 running as the mid.  It was all tracked to a Sound Devices 744T at 24/96.