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Telinga-tastic: super close up recordings of birds & crickets

In Summer 2014 I’d finally bit the bullet and bought a Telinga Universal MK2 parabolic dish reflector, a piece of equipment that I’d been umm’ing and ah’ing about for years. Though a bit pricey in my opinion, this is a well-built, lightweight parabolic with the added benefits of it allowing you to use your microphone of choice and its relative portability due to the dish itself being foldable.

I’m using an MKH8040 in the Telinga, guaranteeing a flat frequency response, high sensitivity & low noise. It being a cardioid mic it is relatively susceptible to handling noise, so some practice is required using this in a parabolic as a lot of this kind of recording is handheld whilst tracking your subject (like flying birds for instance). The above sound file is an example of tracked recording, as these are the calls of common terns that were flying over my head and around me, at distances ranging from ~20 to 5 meters from the mic. They seemed to be playing a game of chase with each other, which I don’t know if it’s a mating ritual or simply them having fun.

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pondlife

Hydrophone recordings: farting plants & screeching beetles

In June 2014 I took my hydrophones to a likely looking lake and started fishing for sound. It already being past the explosion of life that is spring I wasn’t sure if I’d encounter much pond dwelling activity underneath the surface, but it turned out I did not need to worry. As soon as I threw the mics in the water, a previously hidden world of sonic richness came to the fore, full of surprising little clicks, squeaks and screeches originating from water beetles and plants.

Headphones are recommended to appreciate all the subtle and quiet detail in the following recordings.

 

The almost creature-like pitch bending whine that you can hear in the left channel from the start of this recording is a plant letting off gas – a plant farting, yes. A fancier way of putting it is that this is somewhat ‘the sound of photosynthesis’, as oxygen is released as a waste product during the photosynthesis procedure.

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bees_large

The sound of 35000 bees

In early September 2012, me and two other sound recordists/game audio folk (Andy Riley & Augie Restivo) went to visit a friend of mine who had recently installed a bee hive into his garden. We were armed to the teeth; our total gear list consisted of 10 microphones and 4 recorders. We all felt slightly goofy bringing that much equipment for what was supposed to be a leisurely afternoon in the company of approximately 35000 bees (in fact my friend the owner figured the number was close to 50000). But as it turned out, having that many microphones simply meant we could geek out and stick mics wherever we wanted in order to try and record this army of bees from every possible angle.

We captured a lot of material that day, but below are what were in my view some of the most interesting results.

This first snippet was captured with 2 tiny DPA 4060s taped onto a stick and placed right at the little gap that the bees use for entering and exiting the hive.

 

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bolivia_sounds

Bolivian sounds

Sounds recorded in various locations in Bolivia: the Amazon, the Amazonian wetlands and the barren mountain lakes near the Uyuni salt planes.

You can either just have listen to the playlist below, or read on for a little more detail and context.

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