A while back I wrote a review of a popular community portable audio recorder, the Sony PCM-D100.

At that time, a number of people mentioned that there a number of better options than the stock windjammer that is shipped with the D100. So, I decided to buy the Sony PCM-D100 Rycote windjammer ($34.50) and try it myself.

So, today’s post introduces a new feature I’ve been meaning to add to a site: a video article: Sony PCM-D100 Windjammer Test: Sony vs. Rycote.

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A few years ago I published a post called the Field Recording Gear Buyer’s Guide. It was intended to help field recording fans decide how to choose the best pro audio equipment for them.

It wasn’t just a list of gear stats, though. It was written for new field recordists. After all, it’s hard to know what is the best gear amongst the hundreds of options available. So, the post was designed to help people grow through their kit choices. It begins by sharing sub-$200 kits that help beginners get started. Each later section of the post included ideas on supplementing their existing kit economically, then switching out to more expensive upgrades, later. That was meant to mimic the natural progression of a field recordist’s career: from simple, enthusiast equipment to elaborate, expensive pro options.

Today’s post also features field recording equipment options. However, it takes a different approach. Some field recording equipment is used only in rare, special situations. So, it’s not commonly added to a growing sound pro’s kit. That’s why specialized equipment didn’t appear in the previous post. Just the same, we shouldn’t leave unique or unusual field recording tools neglected, should we?

Today’s article explores those options in The Unconventional Microphone Buyer’s Guide.

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During the last two articles we explored explored a theme: is it possible to be inspired when shackled to the technical demands of gathering sound effects? The first week’s post suggested there is potential to be creative when using highly sophisticated equipment in the field. The last article shared ways to inject creativity within the rigid requirements of mastering sound effects. That gives hope to creative professionals who need to collect audio and slice sound with uncompromising accuracy.

Is the same true for one of the final stages of sound effect sharing: sound clip curation? The final post in this series will explore that answer, and share ideas for presenting exceptional field recordings and mastered clips to your listeners.

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You rip apart the shrink wrap and pull your new audio recorder out of the box. You power it up. You flip through the menus and apply the settings. You string lengths of cables to a dozen microphones. Each microphone is wiggled into Rycotes and spun onto stands. Their position is adjusted and tweaked. Then you slip into headphones and twist tiny dials so that the levels are just right.

What’s that? There’s hum on the line? Which mic is it? Another is picking up a current of air across the diaphragm. You fix everything. Then, after the first performance, you struggle to get levels from the contact mic without peaking. Half an hour later you’re ready to record. You’re frustrated and exhausted. How can you possibly expect to capture inspired performances now?

It’s not easy to be creative on demand. It’s especially hard when struggling with the technical demands of field recording. Last week’s post shared ideas on how to use adaptation, imagination, and creativity to grow beyond gathering only “sufficient” technical sound effects. And why not? There’s an opportunity to inject each field recordist’s expression into the sounds they capture. That invests a sound pro into their recordings, and sparks excitement in listeners, too.

Is there room to grow in other areas of a sound effect’s lifespan? As we know, capturing a field recording is only part of sound effect’s arc. After being captured, a clip must also be cleaned. Just like field recording, mastering requires precise technical skills. Is it possible to inject creativity when mastering, too?

Last week’s article explored whether field recording can grow beyond the technical boundaries of the craft. Today’s post shares a new idea: that it’s not enough just to record sound effects with emotion; the best field recordings must be presented that way, too.

So, today’s post shares tips and tricks for detecting and applying creativity when cleaning sound clips. Next week will conclude the series with ideas for organizing clips so listeners will be inspired when they discover them.

Please note: I explore this idea in detail. This article should take you about 15 minutes to read. Click the button below to email the article to yourself to read later.

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Years ago, after posting on this site for a year and a half, an email from future HzandBits sound library owner and A Sound Effect podcast co-host Christian Hagelskjær From inspired me to do something I hadn’t previously considered: to write a book about field recording.

That summer, I locked myself in a room and wrote. The result was a book called Creative Field Recording. It shared ideas on how to ensnare creativity and embed it in field recordings. It described tips and tricks to recapture creativity, inspire motivation, and apply it to capturing sound clips beyond the studio.

Later, I explained the premise to my younger brother, an experimental filmmaker. He gazed out the window, thought a moment, then said, “Shouldn’t you explain what field recording itself is, first?”

He was right. I shelved that draft, and began to write what would be my first book, Field Recording: From Research to Wrap.

I didn’t realize it until years later, but that experience reflected what I would come to understand is a significant – and perhaps hazardous – disposition among field recordists: severing the intertwined field recording skills of technical aptitude and creative expression.

Technical expertise is rigidly defined. Tech specs and gear govern whether a performance arrives successfully on our recorders or not. It’s not the same with creativity. That’s much more difficult to apply.

A lot has been written about how to spark creativity in the arts. Field recording is no different. Yet, a silver bullet that provides creative expression on demand within the technical demands of the craft remains elusive. That’s one reason why Creative Field Recording remains on the shelf. I wasn’t satisfied with the result.

I’ve thought a lot about that idea since I retired the draft. I’ve worked to include creativity in the sound effects I myself capture in the field. I won’t pretend I have the complete answer. However, I have made some headway I’d like to share with you today.

Today’s post describes ideas that have been rattling around in my head since that day: why creativity is essential to field recording, the challenge of bringing it to sessions in the field, and concrete tips you can use to sharing inspiring sound effects yourself.

This is part one of a three-part series. Today we’ll look at the idea behind emotional sound effects and how to capture them through field recordings. Over the next two weeks we’ll see how you can do the same while mastering and curating sound effects.

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Last week I saw an interesting conversation appear on Facebook. Field recordist and sound designer Charles Maynes created a post in the Independent Sound Effects group to discuss establishing a standard for audio levels in sound effect libraries. It’s a valuable idea. In fact, I’ve received a handful of messages from readers about this in the last three months alone.

After all, new sound library publishers often wonder how loud their tracks should be. Are room tones best at -15, -20, or -35 dBFS from peak? Should sound design impacts be provided at -5 dBFS, or is a less aggressive -12 dBFS? What’s correct, what’s easiest, and what do sound fx library fans want?

The post generated good discussion. Some people passionately believed current sound fx libraries are mastered with levels set too high. Others felt that the current trend of “hot” levels was appropriate.

Which technique is best? Is it better to master sound effect libraries loudly, with presence? Or, is the best idea to provide sound fx with reduced levels perfectly suited to slide right into editing projects and mix sessions?

Today’s post will present both perspectives and allow you to decide. In the future I’ll share my own choice, and some community-sourced standards.

Please note: I explore this idea in detail. This article should take you about 10 minutes to read. Click the button below to email the article to yourself to read later.

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A few months ago I began a new type of series here on the blog: article roundups. Why? Well, we’ve covered a lot of topics on the site in the last six years. The roundups are meant to gather similar posts in one easy-to-digest serving.

The first roundups covered the two most popular questions I receive from readers: How to Sell Sound Effects and Sound FX Library Ideas & How to Choose Them. The third most common question follows a similar theme:

Where should I sell my sound effects?

How can I choose the best sound library partner?

What is the best website to distribute my sound clips?

How do you find good sound fx distributors?

So, today’s article will share previous posts about sound fx library distributors. It will also include new tips that will help you learn how to choose the best sound stores to sell your clip collections.

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You finally scored a spot at a field recording nature workshop. All weekend you recorded tracks of wind, water, and wildlife in the mountains hours from home. Every morning you woke at 4 a.m. and captured hours of dawn chorus field recordings. You let the recorder run all night gathering the sounds of insects and night birds. Your audio recorder is brimming with tracks.

And now? What seemed like a good idea at the time now feels like punishment: you’re faced with mastering multiple sessions of eight-hour sound files. The amount of audio is overwhelming. It will take weeks to complete. Of course, you couldn’t have worked all day and also stayed up all night starting new takes. It’s understandable to just let a digital recorder run for hours. So, it made sense at the time.

But the problem remains: how do you even begin editing tracks that sprawl for hours? What’s the best way to master hour-long soundscapes into digestible tracks for your listeners?

Today’s post is designed to help. I’ll share solutions for solving this problem using a screenshots from editing an prolonged field recording example.

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A year and a half ago I sold everything I owned, jumped on a plane, and arrived in Southeast Asia. Why?

To capture field recordings, of course. I’ve travelled through Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, and Indonesia recording the sounds of the cultures in those places. I’ve wandered into obscure corners of Bangkok, Siem Reap, Kuala Lumpur, Denpasar, and other cities to find cool sound effects.

Now, almost 18 months after I began that trip, I am faced with a challenge: my hard drive is crammed full of raw field recordings that need polishing. There are thousands of files. They were captured from three microphones. It’s an overwhelming amount of data that could total hundreds of hours of audio.

I have a special plan for those field recordings that I’ll share with you later. In the meantime, there’s a more obvious problem: how does one transform thousands of field recordings into finished, listenable sound effects? What’s the best way to master bulk field recordings?

Today’s article shares techniques that help you tackle the mastering process efficiently to move those raw files from your hard drive into the ears of your listeners.

Please note: I explore this idea in depth. This post should take you about 12 minutes to read. If you’d prefer, you can email yourself a copy of the post to read later.

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About a year ago traffic here to the website increased substantially. With that came many offers and requests from sound companies. Some of them wanted me to write reviews for their products. Others wanted me to promote them. A few wanted to write keyword-laden guest posts with links back to their websites. Many of them offered me cash.

I refused all of them. Why?

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