The View Up Here

Random scribblings about kites, photography, machining, and anything else

Pseudo-SASS Testing at Kiholo Bay

Posted by Tom Benedict on 09/09/2015

Last weekend I took my pseudo-SASS back to the south end of Kiholo Bay to make another attempt at recording wave sounds. The north end of Kiholo Bay has been one of my favorite places to do kite aerial photography, and has a soundscape I haven’t even begun to explore. The south end, though less photogenic in some ways, has some real treats when it comes to sound.

One that I’d tried to record previously is a tiny beach composed entirely of rocks about the size of a fist. The beach is no more than six feet wide, and is framed by heavy basalt rock. Waves hitting the beach have the characteristic crash-boom-bam of waves on rocks, followed by the sound of a wet rockslide as the fist-sized rocks ride the wave back out. In my previous attempt the range of frequencies presented by the waves and the rocks, combined with the tunnel-effect of having recessed microphone capsules, created a sensation that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Not pleasant. If ever there was a test for the flush-mounted mic bodies, this was it.

Unfortunately the other problem I ran into on my previous attempt was still there: wind. I haven’t made a windjammer for this setup yet, and even a doubled-up fleece jacket wrapped around the SASS didn’t cut it entirely. Still, I got several bits of usable audio. The flush mounted mic bodies seems to have fixed the tunnel effect I was getting, at least. I think the mid range may still be a little harsh, but it’s getting closer to what I’m after.

The other problem I ran into was a helicopter pilot who kept flying over Kiholo Bay. I can’t blame them, whoever they are. It’s beautiful there. But half my takes end with my growling, “Helicopter…” Even without a kite line in the air, I always seem to have to worry about helicopters!

So far all my testing has been relatively close to the subject. In the case of the rock beach my microphones were about ten feet from the water. It’s still my intention to use this in the air, though, in which case the mic-to-subject distance will be closer to a hundred feet or more. Unfortunately I don’t have a good way to test this without actually flying the microphones. As soon as I have the wind protection issue sorted out, I intend to give it a try.

– Tom

P.S. I’m still not pleased with how Soundcloud’s embedded player shows up in WordPress. I’ve seen some really nice, small, not over-the-top versions of their player. I just can’t figure out how to make it do that. If anyone knows, clue me in!

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