Field recordings!

Let’s talk about field recording. I’d be interested in tips and tricks, but also fun experiences with field recording. Of course musical applications of field recordings are of special interest. I’m slowly getting into the art, and feel really excited and just a bit overwhelmed.

What’s your favorite technique?
What experiment yielded a surprisingly cool sample?

We can also talk about gear, but let’s not do just that :slight_smile: I recently got a Sony PCM-M10, will gladly share experiences, samples etc. if that helps someone!

I use to do this with my SP-404 (now gone).

One of the most amazing beat I got from it was doing field recording in a train near Brussels. I love the repetitive sound of the wheels and I recorded this with SP-404 onboard mic. But the wire of the headphones hit the SP near the microphone, and the result was really interesting.

At the same period, I had also recorded with the SP some random talking, and just before erasing this nonsense I decided to experiment every “transformation” I had discovered so far on this cheap sample.
Reverse, octave down, distorsion, compression (with as many resampling)… WHAM : I just had “synthesized” my most impressive bass sequence like this !

Writing about this makes me want to retrieve these sounds, shake out the dust and do something with them :smiley:

The things I’ve managed to miss because of the lack of a recorder are numerous, but one thing has especially caught my attention: Old elevators. They often feature a kind of rhythmic clicking and snapping that is actually very very nice. I’d imagine your train sample would be pretty much the same :slight_smile: (would be great to hear it!)

also, a leaking pipe at the parking garage. there were 5-6 buckets placed under the pipe, with water dripping at irregular intervals. Talk about polyrhythms.

Same with rusty industrial fans! There used to be one near a rehearsal studio. Amazing loops.

Trains and escalators.I like waving the OP-1 around journeys on trains.Then continuing up the escalator.Sampling it straight away on the next platform to make a synth effect with train pulling out of station.I remember two drunk girls with annoying voices opposite me,on an intercity.It was nicer to put headphones on and listen to recordings of them (and effect),than actual event.
Internal Mic ain’t too bad.
Recording acoustic Jews harp in cafe is nice as back ground noise and music enhancers it.

For most “in the moment” things my iPhone and Twisted Wave are sufficient since I’m going to mangle it anyway. My Zoom H2n is nice to take camping, I can set it up and go to bed then search the audio file later at the DAW for waveforms to scrub to and see what I captured. 20h battery life ftw.

I use the Tascam PCMRecorder App on my iPhone for field recording. I think of it like my camera, the best field recorder is the one I have in my pocket. Oh, and I’m new here. Hi. :slight_smile:

Using a Tascam DR-40 to

- record samples and misuse as impulse responses in a DAW or
- feed the field recorder directly into the input of the op1 and record to tape or synth/drum sampler and then adjust FX + Modulation -> Master FX & Memorize

I’m reminded by @Spheric_El’s post about the last time I flew to Australia. Was chatted up by the lovely flight attendant about what my OP-1 was and what I was doing. I was recording the radio sounds/static at 41,000 feet/12,000m over the Pacific hehe. Fantastic source of material

I’m glad this thread has resurfaced. I am so intrigued and interested in making my own samples. At the moment I’ve been mangling up sounds from vintage drum hits which is heaps of fun.
There were still some warm days in November and I dropped my flip flop on the floor. It’s crack was very akin to a fundamental found in a snare. At the time I had began to think in frequencies and became obsessed with placing everything within the frequency spectrum. I’ve done this more and more and would love to have a portable recorder.

Could anyone recommend me a good one. I’d like it pretty hi-spec unless there is some old crunchy goodness in years gone by to be found; like an MPC 60 or SP1200 but in portable recorders would be great. Also, I have an iPhone 6 but I don’t think it would be as good as a field recorder dedicated to the cause but I’d be happy to be proved wrong.

Also, there is a great app called Spectrum View for free on the App Store. It measures all the frequencies of sound that are happening and displays them. It’s great to cross check your answers and train your ears.

I’ve recently been having lots of fun with my Zoom H5, @HisMostDarxxxellent. It’s been my first ever recorder and I absolutely love it. It has a “capsule system” that allows you to connect different mic heads. I’ve got an X-Y mix for stereo and a mid side mic (which I haven’t yet experimented with). To my ears, the sound is very good. Even better, my four year old son loves coming round the house with me and recording different noises (banging stuff together in the kitchen, dropping keys on the floor, dropping some ice in a fizzy drink, etc). Then it’s dead simple to connect it up to a computer with USB, transfer the audio, cut it up in Audacity, etc. When you incorporate some of your found sounds into a finished track, it’s very rewarding :slight_smile: It’s also got two additional 1/8" jack inputs that you can use to record stuff from external gear. Dead good!

If you’ve got an iPhone, the FieldScaper app is perfect. You can warp the recording within the app, sample it into the OP-1 and warp it again. Great stuff!

+1 to Fieldscaper, just downloaded it after enjoying Soundscaper and it is loads of fun

+1 on the Zoom H5. I just got one recently, and use it constantly. Lots of cool features, really great sound.

I came across the Fieldscaper but haven’t had time to read up on it yet. That sounds exactly what I am looking for. I can record something and have fun with it instantaneously.

I’m buying it right now…

Got it. Haven’t opened it yet but the screen shots look top notch. Thanks guys!

I’ve been turning on a cassette recorder and sitting it out back and letting it go. I like the tape hiss crackle and pop. I just got an H1 zoom really cheap and have been having fun with it….need a wind screen though. Mangling found sounds is the bees knees. I need to grab the op-1 and do some more sampling with it. I love threads like this!

My favorite was a pair of binaural mics I had for my Minidisc recorders. They picked up everything and could clip on to clothing. I didn’t use them heavily, but I did get some great recordings of things like walking to the supermarket and shopping. I took them on my lone European trip and recently re-discovered some of those recordings and in some ways its better than a photograph. I’ve got recordings of all of these church bells going off in a small city in The Netherlands but can also hear me packing up my hotel room. Listening to it takes me right back to that morning.

I’ve got a Tascam DR-40 now but I seldom take it out with me. In many ways it’s much more convenient than the minidisc and the long long cables of the Binaural mics, but it can also be a bit more difficult to kindof tuck away. Still - it’s fun. But some of the most fun might be playing back recordings years later and re-experiencing some very unique memories.