Field recording



Another recording from me, a bit more straightforward this time.


I missed out taking some recordings of all the snow recently… wanted to grab some nice crunch crunch sounds.


I am looking for reviews of the Nagra Mezzo, any field reports? I will be using it to record nature, found objects for the sampler, the occasional voice or instrument.


Never used that particular recorder, but I imagine it’s not too different to other handy recorders. Are you new to field recording? If so what you need to consider is that there will likely be significant self-noise with a small device like that, and there are no xlr inputs so you’re limited to using less powerful external microphones. That said, these handy recorders are good to play around with as a newbie before choosing to invest in higher end equipment.

If you go ahead with it, I would definitely recommend you buy a furry windscreen for it - foam ones won’t do the trick - as well as some sort of grip/tripod even if you intend on holding it. Tiny muscle twitches are enough to be picked up by the microphones if you hold it in your hand.

Hope this helped, didn’t mean to condescend if you aren’t new to field recording after all.


it’s all legit…no need to wonder:)


Could anyone recommend a good furry windscreen for a portable recorder? (I’ve got ze’ ol’ H4N Pro.) Been meaning to grab one for a while, but it seems like such a crapshoot online. Even after reading that one massive review online of various screens (e.g. DeadCat, Rycote, Redhead), I’m still undecided.

EDIT: @LSA already mentioned the review I was referencing.


I have a Mezzo, and do like it. It is simple to operate, starts up quickly and actually fits in your pocket.

I either use it on its own, or with a mix pre and DPA mics.

Happy to answer any questions if I can.


Thank you. Can you provide any observations regarding the quality of the microphones? Would you use it with a solo instrument or small ensemble?

I currently use a Sony M10. I like it, although I am looking for a field recorder with cardioid microphones.

I also have a sound devices and microphone(s) solution, however I would like something ultra portable for travel.


I just got a Rycote for my h4n and I’m happy with it so far.
I’ve used it in moderatly windy environement and it did the trick.
I haven’t done A/B comparaison for the frequency response but I didn’t notice any drastic loss.


Finally, after a long time I have been able to get back to work on an album of sorts. I think I posted about it in the past in this thread already. Working title is “intimate spaces”, and it’s a very field recording oriented, musical exploration of what I would call “non-inhabitable architectonic spaces” like a caveadium in a flat where I used to live, the inside of a newly-built bridge, the service room below a swimming pool, a water tank, an old metal funnel in an abandoned stone grinding facility. I’m not really after any industrial archaeology type of thing though, not much of a fan of that. I’m personally connected to every one of these places, that’s the main link throughout this planned album.
To be honest I’m making this EP as a way to figure out what my musical workflow could be, and to explore some things that I discovered to be really interesting to me in the last years, which roughly would be:

  • recording sounds that are related to inhabited spaces, urban areas, the sounds made by human life and human artefacts (which is odd, since I recently moved out into the countryside)
  • the hiding of melodic fragments inside non-tonal, non-melodic sound layers like field recordings and noise.
  • in general combining field recordings (with relatively minimal processing) and synthesis-based sounds created on the modular
  • processing field recordings with the modular
  • working with drones in a structured way (sounds like a counter-intuitive thing to do, but I actually enjoy to make drone music that is kind of more complex in structure)
  • creating very dense moments where a lot is going on, but the whole feels more like one thick sonic cloud of frequencies and counterbalancing that with very quiet moments.

Some things I am wondering about:
it seems to me that resonators are a bit to what is commonly labelled as field-recording-based ambient music like guitars are to rock&roll. Not sure though I’m really comfortable with that. Or to say it differently, it always feels like the easy and obvious way to process field recordings but at the same time it also feels like that is one of the primary tools we have to do so.

Ok, I know this sounds all very abstract, will hopefully post some draft versions of the tracks here soon.


Would you point out what you would consider classic exemples of that? I naively use both those things in conjunction sometimes without much knowledge of ambient music history.


I’m not talking about actual music that adheres to what ambient music was intended to be when Eno defined that genre, I’m using the term more loosely here.
I have a hard time finding examples, because I don’t really have that in my music library. I happen to stumble over this kind of use of resonators quite often on soundcloud, but since that is not something that I really find all that interesting, it’s not like I book mark these in anyway.
Though this whole thing makes me think of this track by Helm, which is an artist I find quite interesting atm:

Not sure if it’s a resonator he’s using here, or more some sort of comb filter, but I quite like how it’s used here.


I should do more soundcloud browsing then… or not?
Isn’t a resonator some sort of comb filter?

edit : I like how he used too, quite heavy handed, in a good way. Thanks for making me realize this is a common thing! Maybe I should get out more!


There’s certainly similarities. The basic resonator design (like for eg. the Serge Resonant EQ) is basically a bank of narrow bandpass filters, a comb filter is usually achieved by using delays. So the difference is more technical and the effect can be pretty similar, since both accentuate specific bands inside the spectrum. Still, in practical sue the resonator is more flexible regarding which frequencies are boosted, while for the comb filter you basically set the delay and feedback (and if the feedback is positive or negative), and derive the effect from there. A popular example of a resonator is the one included with Ableton live, which lets you define a base pitch and then set the other bands to intervals relative to that.

Well, I don’t claim to have absolute knowledge about this, it’s just something I hear often, I’ll collect examples as I find them, you made me realize that I should have done that earlier on. I think it’s something worth analysing a bit more in depth.

The thing is this, when you work with field recordings you have a set of tools that you can work with, some will be very “production oriented”, and others will let you have more “live” control.
You can do a lot by just editing the audio, looping it and cut-and-pasting it. But that’s something you can’t really do much live. There’s things you can do in a more performative way, and that includes two classics which are granular processing and boosting certain frequencies to create more tonal effects.
As you know noise does contain a lot of frequencies, synthetic noise usually containing all frequencies across the audible spectrum. Field recordings are often associable to noise from a spectral point of view, so they lend themselves quite a bit to be processed with resonators comb filters or karpluss-strong, since you have a lot of material there that can be boosted.


Thanks again, I was confusing resonator with physical modal synthesis, karplus-strong, etc. I studied some digital implementations of filters this winter and started to think that everything is some sort of delay!

One way to use field recording that interest me is as an organisational factor, via envelope followers and triggers to modulate other sounds parameters. As some sort of stochastic organisation without the algorithm.


Karpluss-strong (and Waveguide afaik as well) is indeed achieved using a delay, and in that is similar to comb filtering. There’s of course other physical modelling techniques like Modal synthesis, which rely on bandpass filters.
btw. one thing that might sometimes be a bit underestimated is using convolution/deconvolution with field recordings. This is maybe similar in certain ways to using envelope followers but with more drastic effects on the spectrum. Usually you’d just use impulses of noise to feed a convolution-based reverb, but nothing stops you from using a random piece of recording, try that, It’s pretty fun.


I’ve been wanting to try convolution with other files for a while but haven’t tought about field recordings! I’ll try that!


It’s worth checking out what Diego Stocco has done with convolution reverbs if you’ve not already seen it.


Yes, he’s been a big inspiration for that and for many other things.


Last year I did a six-minute recording of a summer storm in Southern Cross, Western Australia. Here it is combined with a music visualisation. I wanted something relatively fluid and simple.