AES Section Meeting Reports

Central Texas - March 30, 2021

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Just about everyone attending is familiar with recording in a studio environment. What we discussed tonight was abandoning the restrictions of recording inside and getting out into the world for sounds!

Field recording is the art of recording outside untethered from traditional indoor boundaries. The gear can be ultra-portable self-contained recorders the size of a cell phone all the way up to dozens of microphones in arrays with multiple recorders. The sounds can be as quiet as a calm morning ambiance or as loud as a dynamite explosion.

In this field recording roundtable discussion, we also discussed the techniques, gear, processes, and routines that go into being a successful field recordist.

The presenters were Daniy Oberle, Nathan Smith, and Mark Kilborn.

First, we discussed what they enjoyed about field recording. Daniy brought up her enjoyment of being present, listening, and cataloging her life in sound. Nathan mentioned that he records everything and that the never-ending challenges keep him always pushing to learn more to make the most of his gear and processes. Mark made an analogy that having custom recordings for his work in games is akin to having custom quality ingredients while preparing a meal.

The gear list was impressive between the three of them. Nathan in particular had his travel rig of multiple DMS rigs and discussed how each one had its own pros and cons in practical use. Sennheisers in the pianissimo are rugged and ready for anything while the cyclone top pops off to show the Schoeps DMS rig that is both studio ready or quickly ready for the field.

They all have different rigs, but each person remarked on the CO100k being useful for sound design as it records up to 100kHz. and pitches down in a very clean way. The D100 and M10 were the most common portable recorders for their quality, but Daniy also brought up the Zoom h5 and Lom Usi as high-quality recorders to have on hand.

A common general process for their field recording trips is to research the object and/or place being recorded, plan the microphones needed for that set of circumstances, bring the gear that matches those needs with backup gear when problems inevitably arise, adding markers and slating recordings to easily find things later. Then later in the studio editing things down in a clear concise way to eliminate junk and clutter, cut things up with the best bits, name it in a way that can be searched on later (mostly using UCS), adding metadata, and putting it in folders in a library to be found later on.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society