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Inside the Studio: Assignment 2

September 9, 2009

Going into the recording studio, we first experimented around with the different polar pattern settings for a condenser microphone. Turning on the pink noise, we took turns, one person listening with the headphones while another slowly turned the microphone. When turned on the figure-8 pattern, the microphone behaved as expected – producing noise of greater volume at the front and back than at the sides, where the volume diminished considerably. With the omni pattern, sound was at the same level all around, though we did notice a brief and thin/focused “hissing sound” that occurred at the transition points, when the mic was rotated from front to side, side to back, back to side, etc.  The cardiod and hypercardios had feedback that sounded pretty similar, although we noticed that the cardiod produced “two volume levels” and the hypercardiod three. For the cardiod, the back volume was considerably softer than the front and of a more “hollow” timbre. The hypercardiod had three different volume levels, one for the front, back, and sides.

As to the world with and without headphones, wearing the headphones amplified sounds in the environment I did not realize were there, previously. And many sounds that were merely low rumblings in the background become very present, audible, and annoying drones. But of course! Also, with the headphones on, sounds felt “closer” to my head, or at least my body, possibly because of the increased volume(?) Interestingly, because sounds are now “clustered” so close, it is slightly harder to tell the direction from which they come. They also have a more “hollow” feel; I can hear a distinct “edge.” Without the headphones, many sounds such as taps and knocks and even the sound of my voice, feel, in retrospect, very muted and solid/rounded.

And last but not least, I recorded a number of “food-related” sounds in the recording studio. It’s pretty interesting how we can tell what a certain food is, based on it’s sound. Half the sounds in a dining hall are of eating, chewing, swallowing, though we rarely think of it, since most of us pay attention to the conversation that is also going on. Not to mention, eating sounds make for great sound effects (that other users of freesound can use, haha), so I decided why not, I should record myself eating lunch. So I did. The sounds of me eating a Subway sandwich, apple, soda, and chips. And I threw in the recording of a fork hitting a metal bowl for sonic variety. 🙂

http://www.freesound.org/packsViewSingle.php?id=5151
-benzhen

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 12, 2009 1:31 pm

    You recorded very different sounds and they all sound good. It would have been interesting to explore the different sound qualities of a single one of the actions you did, for example just the apple biting or the sucking on the straw, or any of the other ones.

    …xavier

  2. jaykadis permalink*
    September 14, 2009 7:30 am

    Your observations on listening through microphone/headphones are exactly right. The world indeed sounds different when perceived that way and that is what makes natural-sounding recordings a challenge.

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