with 6 Comments

This was recorded at around 06:45 this morning, after a failed attempt at dawn chorus recording. Possibly the fact that it was the coldest night for several weeks had put the birds off, as there was virtually no song in the woodland surrounding this small pond at Dawlish Warren NNR. At least the waterfowl did their best to make up for it…

Species include: Little Grebe, Mallard, Canada Goose, Herring Gull, Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Greenfinch, Magpie and Carrion Crow.

Recorded with a Tascam HD-P2 recorder and two RĂ˜DE NT1-A microphones in a custom-built ORTF array with a central barrier. Filtered to remove vehicle noise and boosted by 6dB in post-processing.


6 Responses

  1. Jan Auke van der Wal
    | Reply

    Hello, Tom,
    I was listening to the latest uploads of the recordings of naturerecordists.com and was struck by the very fine, clear and sharp sound of your fresh early mornings’ recording. Every bird can be heard naerby, very sparkling! The filtered background is very far away. In the recording I could hear the European origin of the birdsounds. The chiffchaff, the crow, the woodpigeon, and the ducks ofcourse. I thought to myself: this is not America!
    I made some recordings too, and I enjoy the raw recorded material as it is, and upload it to n.r.com, surprisingly they acept them! In the Netherlands one cannot wait for silent moments to record birdsounds, you’ve got to accept that in such a densly populated country.It’s a charming side-effect. One of my dreams is to go for a holiday to on of our northern islands like Schiermonnikoog and make a lot of silent recordings.
    Kind regards,
    Jan Auke van der Wal.
    The Netherlands

  2. Tom
    | Reply


    Glad you enjoyed the recording. The quiet roar you can hear in the background, which sounds rather like distant traffic, is actually ocean waves breaking on the other side of a ridge of sand dunes about 100m away. The only human noise which disturbed the recording was the sound of a distant boat engine, which was easy to filter out. You can see where the recording was made on Google Maps here: http://tinyurl.com/cvolhd

    I had a listen to your recordings on naturerecordists.com – I really like how each of them tells its own story. The one of the cows in particular really gave me the feeling of being right in the middle of a group of large animals! The one of the Golden Orioles was nice too… sadly they’re very rare in the UK and I’ve never seen or heard one.

    As you say, silence is hard to find in countries such as the Netherlands and the UK. A remote island sounds like a good idea! I can also strongly recommend Sweden – I spent a week there last summer, in the forest about 150km northwest of Stockholm, and the silence was incredible. The call of a Black-throated Diver echoing through the pine trees is one of my strongest memories from the trip – if only I’d had my sound recorder…

  3. Jan Auke van der Wal
    | Reply

    Thaks for commenting on my recording. I had a lucky moment with my equipment on my bicycle trip along both sides of river IJssel between the towns of Zwolle and Kampen. The cattle were there at the right moment and beneath the platform. The river ends beyond Kampen into the biggest lake of Holland, Lake IJsselmeer. I grew up in nature, as a boy I was always playing with my friends in the open. Was born in the village of Lemmer at Lake IJsselmeer.50 km north of Zwolle, where we live. Lots of wetland birds and geese migrating from Nothern Europe. My father went out hunting hares, ducks and geese with a brother of his. Later in time with two cousins (sons of his brother).
    Some 40 years ago I earned a Sony TC 252 tape recorder with my holyday work on a crop farm.I was always busy recording at home.
    One day on a foggy night in autumn, I put my mikes out of the window, and recorded geese calling in the dark. They were flying over. One hot summer evenin, I played the recording. My father was surprised! He said : Hear the geese! He didn’t hear very well was deaf at one ear. Nature souns have an different entrance in the human hearing! The golden oriole was recorded during a weekend with my wife and her parents in the province of Zeeland near the sea in the neigbourhood of Belgium.

    Kind regards, Jan.

  4. Taisto
    | Reply

    Nice and quiet are these NT1-A mics!

    Just my opinion – the barrier between the mics creates two separate atmospheres in left and right.

    Have you tried omni mics for such field?

    I have used small-diapraghm mics so far as AT825, SE3a, Neumann184, Beyerdynamic 930 – mostly in ORTF, but also in XY stereo.

    I am looking for large-diapraghm mics since I have tested AT4040, but these were bit noisy. I`m planning to suit these into RODE Blimp, upside down, vertically.

    There are some frog recordings from Estonia on my site:


  5. Tom
    | Reply


    Yes, they are amazingly quiet, it’s very often possible to hear things through the microphones that your own ears can’t detect.

    You’re right about the effect of the barrier – I am currently experimenting with angling the microphones apart by 60° instead of the ORTF standard of 110° to try and reduce the “hole” in the centre of the stereo field.

    As I said in my reply to your other comment I’d like to try a pair of omni mics, but the only affordable low noise omni I know of (AT3032) has been discontinued, and I can’t even find a pair on Ebay!

    If you’re planning to mount the NT1-As in a blimp, I’d be very careful with your measurements – they are very large, heavy microphones which are way too big for most blimps. You might just get them into one of the oversize windshields designed for mid/side setups, but even then it would be a squeeze!

    Very nice frog recordings – what microphone setup did you use for them? The stereo field is very wide but with no weak point in the centre – exactly the problem I’m trying to overcome!


  6. Taisto
    | Reply

    I got answer from RODE about fitting big condes into RODE`s Blimp:

    Yes we have measured both NT2-A and NT1-A (also the Classic II out of interest!) and they do fit into Blimp. However we do not supply mounts to support these mics, so you would need to design your own mounting system. Depending on your intended use you might be able to get away with just an arrangement of rubber bands.

    Kind Regards,
    Scott Emerton

    As I remember I used SE3a stereo pair in wide angle as you can see on the pictures at my home page – one covered with Sennheiser`s blimp other with DPA Windpac.


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