Harassing hounds

This pair holler at everybody walking down the footpath by the side of the house. At least there’s a tall wooden fence at the front so they don’t go off at people walking on the main road. The dogs seem to be triggered by sight rather than sound. There’s a little growl on the in-breath that gives me a feeling of aggression behind the yap.

Unusually for a soundmark, they are reactive to a listener’s presence.

A moment by a Dartmoor Stream

A lovely little stream near the path to Scorhill stone circle, it was worth a longer recording. Starlings are starting to mass in the Autumn, and they provide some counterpoint to the running water in this binaural recording. Nice not to have to filter anything – straight out of the recorder apart from trimming the timeline and bringing the gain up a little bit.


Osiligi Maasai Warriors at Glastonbury Fair Field

This weekend Glastonbury hosted the Osiligi Maasai Warriors, a performing group from the Kenyan Maasai community of Olepolos.

They performed at the Glastonbury Fair Field on a lovely sunny day, where the public had been invited for a picnic at 3:30 – here is their remarkable performance

Osiligi Maasai Warriors at Glastonbury Fair Field

x-y recording with a Tascam DR-22

Soundman OKMII repair

I’ve had my Soundman OKMII binaural microphones for over ten years, and they are my favourite mics for urban field recordings. DACS is the UK supplier.

Soundman OKMII binaural microphones
Soundman OKMII binaural microphones

They don’t really work in wind, and they aren’t the quietest, but they are as stealthy as you can get, looking just like earbuds. A decade ago you still looked a little bit of a geek using them and monitoring on a recorder, but nowadays most people are looking at their smartphones, rather than the lamp-post/road they are about to encounter. On the off-chance that they do look up, they will assume you are just another human trying to escape the real world for the virtual one inside your phone, which happens to be a field recorder.

I was going for a general recce on the Somerset levels, looking for interesting sounds. I heard a lot of birds congregating in some trees, and started the OKMII. There was a lovely little flurry of about 100 starlings flying overhead at about 2 and 4 secs against a background of other starlings gathering in the trees

The OKMII isn’t really a birding mic, but it picked up some of the essence of these guys

and then I encountered this ghastly full-scale 0dBFS noise on the left

a bad contact on the left channel. After 10 years these mics don’t owe me anything, but I figured it’s worth a look if a fix is possible. Skinning the foam earpads shows this

OKMII Two plastic shells melted together
OKMII Two plastic shells melted together

It’s possible to separate these with a craft knife along the obvious seam, concentrating on the melted bits. The microphone is glued to the shell with a hole, try and keep this together to expose the contacts on the rear of the capsule. Continue reading “Soundman OKMII repair”

Storm Ophelia

Wind is normally the enemy of sound recordists, but going through some recordings from last year I found this recording of ex-hurricane Ophelia from the 16th October 2017. Ophelia had been pretty nasty originally and was still bad when it got to Ireland.

I recorded it in Glastonbury in the south-west, by finding a sheltered spot and pointing the mic in a windshield at a bunch of trees, which made a good recording given the wind. The key was that I had good shelter at the mic, but the trees were exposed to the full force of the wind.

The storm dragged up a load fo Saharan dust, making the sky the sickly yellow in the pic.