Brook or Stream


photo credit Chris Vickery

A while back, some family friends asked me to record a stream which runs behind their house up in the country.  This particular location is about two hours to the northwest of New York City right on the border of New York State and Pennsylvania and the area is just beautiful.  I wake up most nights in NYC wishing I was in that deep country, but, alas, employment opportunities don’t really exist up there.

It was a brisk 38 degrees when I recorded this, so I was very happy to be wearing some wool to keep me warm;  I know my rycote was also glad to be wearing its furry wind cover.  Often water can sound like white noise when it is too constant, which is why recording ocean sounds can be incredibly difficult.  When you come across a body of water that “babbles” over rocks or the flow of the water is interrupted in some other way, it is always a joy to record.

At the time of the recording I found myself wondering whether I was recording a brook or a stream when I realized I had no idea what the difference was.  My dictionary defines a stream as “a small, narrow river”  a brook as “a small stream”, which honestly doesn’t help me.  Now I need to find out what qualifies as a small stream and my dictionary can’t do that for me.

Enjoy the recording, regardless of my dilemma.

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

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  1. I enjoy your posts immensely, great stuff. Ive always understood a brook to be a small waterway typically draining water from a field that enters into a river or larger stream. Although after reading the wikipedia entry

    Im not so sure.. “In the United States a stream is classified as a watercourse less than 60 feet (18 metres) wide.” From the picture it looks like a stream. (which is also called a brook, just to complicate matters)

Michael Raphael December 7, 2009