With the exception of some heavy-duty rain protection that I’ll need to build in order to get a set of sounds I’m after, I think I’m zeroing in on a field recording setup I’m happy to use for the foreseeable future.
The last(ish) step was to add real wind protection for the microphones. In the past I’ve used whatever I had on-hand to protect the microphones from wind: my t-shirt, my fleece, the headrest covers that came with the seat covers for my car, etc. They worked, but they weren’t pretty and they were a little frustrating to use. When tying a shirt onto a microphone it’s easy to leave gaps that wind can get through. After adding the anti-vibration mount I figured enough was enough. Time to make proper wind protection.
I made this out of the thinnest “wetsuit” material I could find. (Real wetsuit material uses closed-cell Neoprene foam. The core in this fabric is open-cell foam that bears a strong resemblance to foam microphone covers.) It costs some high frequency response, but the EM172 microphones are already pretty bright. I consider it heavy-duty in that it’s tough to breathe through this fabric, but most of the recording I’ve been doing has been in areas I’ve flown kites in the past. Heavy duty isn’t necessarily a bad idea. It’s removable, so if I record in an area that doesn’t need this level of protection, it’s easy enough to remove.
I’d do a whole write-up on how I did this, but it’s basically sewing. There’s not much point in posting the pattern, either, since it’s designed around this particular microphone array. This whole setup started life as a 3D CAD model. That provided me with a cut list for building the microphone array out of plywood, foam, and sheet metal. That same CAD model provided me with a pattern for making the wind protection. This material is pretty easy to work with, though hems tend to be a little fat. It doesn’t respond well to ironing, so all of the hems were done using pins. Lots and lots of pins. You do what you have to do to work with the material at hand. At some point I’ll make a fuzzy to go with this for when it’s really howling. But for now I think I’m done.
Last night I took the whole kit ‘n kiboodle down to Kua Bay to record the summer surf. Kua Bay is a white sand beach that’s exposed to open ocean. There is a reef, but it’s deep enough that waves break on the sand rather than out on the reef. When the waves come out of the right quarter they can break left-to-right, right-to-left, and across the entire beach one right after the other. The conditions last night were perfect. The gates close at 7pm, so by the time I got there at midnight the place was completely deserted. I set up my gear, grabbed my book, and walked off to enjoy the moonlit landscape while the recording gear did its work.
I’m pleased by how things turned out. And you can’t beat a deserted beach on a moonlit night. I had a blast.