Field recording



re: sound and equipment qualities

in these rec. there are a lot of energy (ie emotions), which is what i am looking for regardless of sound quality and equipment quality.


yet most of those sounds were certainly recorded with gear of the best quality available in the era they were made.


haha ! yes most certainly !
as of today’s standards, i guess my phone would rank higher after testings… which leads me to this : did they think about gears the way we do now ? i mean, were they influenced by marketing and engineering spirit/way of thinking, as much as we are today ?
(if anyone has any insight in this matter, i’d love to read/hear/look for/etc.)


hmm actually i meant that those ethnomusicologists and broadcasters were certainly using Nagra or equivalent recorders and expensive mics that are still up to par on most regards with today’s professional quality standards (maybe not inline with today’s aesthetics or post-processing chains but that’s another question). I don’t think there was any “consumer gear” for recording audio around the 50s/60s. The golden age of hollywood did not happen with mass-produced 200$ …things, neither did the French New Wave.

I’m not a specialist on the matter but it’s rather clear to me that there was (and still is) an engineering, pioneering spirit to drive the development of tools; see the history of Nagra, Aaton (i remember great radio shows about both of those but unfortunately they predate the “permanent public archive” politics of Radio France, probably someone has them in their hard drives).


I wonder how many stories we didnt see or hear, as the entry bar to telling them was so high… the golden age was maybe not so good for people who wanted to see films about anything other than white people falling in love, or smoking cigarettes in Paris.


On a philosophical level, this question fascinates me. I think about it a lot, not only in terms of the specific context above (recording/filmmaking in the 50s/60s) but in terms of almost any form of expression, in whatever media.

How many stories never committed to paper?
How many songs never performed?
How many dances never danced?
How many films never filmed?

I can never escape what Joan Didion said: “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”

For the readers of writers like Borges or Akutagawa, you might be able to begin to imagine what I’m getting at here.


thanks for the links to the radio show. i’ll try to find something.


do you think of something that could also apply to sounds, and specifically field recordings ?


Jean-Yves Jouannais wrote an essay about that called ‘artistes sans oeuvres’ - ed. gallimard. (i don’t lnow if it exists in english). he talks about a bartleby kind of attitude towards creating something.

really like the didion quote, thanks.


A friend has this MicW microphone for his iPhone. I really love their form, but none of their models match my rec. requirements: super sensitive omni. I would love to have something like the EM172 for my ipod, as small and cable less like the MicW so I can just stick it in my pocket next to it.

I also found the Edutige EIM-003 btw and ordered it for a trial. But from their specs I expect them to be quite noisy.

So I continued googling if someone else already tried to combine the an em172 with a smartphone. From documentation it seems like the the EM172 needs min 2V plug in power, but is optimal at 5V (less noise). iPhones have 2.7V on their TRRS socket. I’ve ordered all components and hope to start testing next week if this is actually technically possible.

Smartphone audio recording with interfaces/external mics

This is very interesting. Maybe we should start a separate thread on smartphone recording with electret mics? For example, anybody tried the Uši?


You can run usb mic’s using an OTG adaptor with a lot of recent android phones. I’ve not tried a usb mic but I’ve played with a usb sound card hooked up to my samsung note 5 and it works nicely.


I used a Samson Go mic with an OTG adaptor into my Sony Experia ( Via Mini USB) and used USB recorder app.

It worked but the microphone was not recognised every time, which was a pain.

the tech solution worked, but I had to reorder a smaller cable as you need minimal wires between Phone and mic, ( i was clipping mic to top of phone)


This got me thinking - does anyone know of an inline device that lets you power and connect an XLR to a phone, with a quality preamp?

That would be useful.

I did find this: but seems it never got released.


Lets move the discussion on smartphone fieldrecording equipment to another thread, to keep this thread less specific/gear heavy and more about the art itself?

@vehka already started one:


Yeah, actually somebody with thread clipping rights could merge the above comments into the new thread?


Thanks - just spotted that after posting!


about the art itself, any recommendations of good sound artists who use fieldrecordings in their work? like katecarr for example:


You might fall in love with Luc Ferrari’s works.


I really enjoy Budhaditya Chattopadhyay’s work, which often incorporates field recordings, and also his writing.