Guys and girls
This post is not about a recorded sound. Actually, it is about a sound NOT recorded.
We tend to take things for granted, don't we ?
My boiler used to make a really nice sound. I have been meaning to record it for ages.
I tend to be more onto sound synthesis than sound recording, and I only have a couple of webmics and contact mics to record with.
I do not have a protable recorder, so to record the boiler sound I would have to bring the laptop to the toilet with the web mic, etc.
Not too much of a bother, really. I guess I am just lazy...
Well, too late now. The boiler broke a few days ago and had to be replaced.
The new boiler is a new model and sounds different. So that sound is gone forever. I will never have a chance to record it.
So if you spot a nice sound, record it. Don't postpone it.
Whether it is your cat, your canary, your fax machine or an old toy. You never know if it is going to be there the next day...
If you would like to share your "lost opporttunity" experiences I would be interested to hear them.
Yeah, I had a similar experience. Traveling to my grandmother in the countryside I had to take a small diesel train for the last 20 minutes. These were the last remaining units of that particular type and approximately 50 years old. I always took that train so their sounds have become closely linked to traveling to my grandmother. Never bothered to record it because there would always be another opportunity.
First, the train company changed ownership rather suddenly and they replaced the old noisy trains with one of those very silent modern train sets. Shortly afterwards my grandmother died. Looking back at the pictures I realized that sounds are very important for vivid memories and the fact that I don't have a recording of those trains bothers me tremendously.
Thanks for sharing your story.
Alien, even if you have a portable recorder, you are losing many more opportunities. I take my Zoom H2 almost everywhere but life is so changing and sudden, that you have to record everything in case of something will happen. Of course it's impossible so i didn't recorded many interesting things because i didn't menaged to turn my zoom on
But from the other side - sometimes sounds we think will be interesting are useless and hard to recognize without the image and sometimes accidental noises could turn into awesome fx
One CAN record everything, but obviously the work to catalog all the interesting stuff would take another near-realtime process, or in some case multiples of realtime!
As software gets more sophisticated, it is able to identify certain bits and possibly aid in this chore of finding good stuff after the fact (even if you havent had the time to review the files). This is just an example, but others in the lifelogging community are also struggling with the same:
I have too many stories of the recording that got away, but I really hope that some of these more modern audio programs allow for the classification and the archival storage to enable continuous recording to at least become a feasability.
Ideally, for my own needs:
1. Something that would wait for the daily file to get uploaded (and work on parsing it while I'm sleeping), either outputting tagged and classified full audio tracks, or split into a variety of individual topics; Then
2. Automatically stored into a local copy of Freesound 2.0 for later retrieval
Such a system is possible, but except for some massive packages used for broadcasters, there isnt anything I have found which is sized/priced for the average person. I think we should strive to make this kind of environment.
Thanks for your comments.
On my initial post, I was not talking about continuos recording just in case something comes up. I was moaning about those sounds which you know are cool and plan to record but just keep postponing it until one day the sound is gone and it is too late.
Your comments are appreciated nontheless, and you did raise an intersting point. I have not looked for the kind of software you mention before, so really don't know what is there.
A step in that direction would be that, specific for recording sessions many software and hardware recorders already have buffers that are constantly recording and being purged in real-time, so that when something nice happens you can still hit the record button AFTER the event and capture it from the recorder's buffers.
Something like this would probably be more realistic for a portable recorder. Maybe it doe exist already, I do not know.
So that if were carrying your recorder and happend to witness for example, a car making a skiding turn on the road, you could after the ecent press the button and record the sound.
I am dubious about the practicality of continuos recording reviewed by software. You would probably end up with an endless list of (mostly common/useless) sounds. Any gems would likely be lost, burried under Terabytes of data and almost impossible to find.
It is difficult to conceive a computer program that could reliably catalogue sounds as "car", "truck", "motorbike", "loanmowner", "tractor" without making mistakes.
A partial solution would be to have humans reviewing the sounds and cataloguing them. This database would then be used to train a learning algorhytm. But even this is only a partial solution, as even humans will have no clue or miss-identify sounds when these are presented to them devoid of other audio or visual context.
The construction of such a database and learning algorythm would certainly make for an interesting research project.
Maybe someone will one day have a go, using the Freesound database, or portions of it, as the algorhytm training reference.
Couldn't you use one of those "pre-record" features like on the Edirol? It can be configured to store a buffer of n seconds that will be saved as soon as you press record, then continue recording. So you are able to save sounds that were recorded before you hit the record button as long as it was n seconds ago.
Of course this must drain battery pretty nicely if you just leave it on all the time...
Yep, that is exactyl the buffer feature I was talking about. I know it exists in some software samplers and DAWs.
I do not have a portable recorder and I am not familiar with what is out there, but I assumed that would be a handy feature so would have been implemented already.
Of course, there are implications for battery life if you are essentially on permanent record mode. - You risk missing the good sounds anyway because your battery would run out of juice !
Anyone has more stories of "that great recording that got away?". I would like to hear them.
I brought up the continuous audio idea only because it is probably the only real answer to the 'sound that got away' syndrome, but it is not currently a very feasible alternative to planned recordings. The software tools I am envisioning dont really exist yet in any complete way, there are some components being designed to assist with those tasks. As you mentioned, fully automated sound recognition would not be entirely accurate in the early stages, however I think over the next 4-5 years it might be fully achieveable and accurate enough to rely on in some fashion or other. Perhaps in conjunction with the sound archivist merely have a notepad or palm computer which marks the timestamps of the areas of interest so that one can focus on those periods of the day for the sounds they wanted to hear.
There is a movement of 'Lifeloggers' who are experimenting with continuous audio right now, but I imagine they are merely archiving the results in bulk, and not necessarily re-listening to a majority of what gets captured. I sense it is more of an overall document for them, and not necessarily consider the tiny events or specific sounds as entities onto themselves like we freesounders might.
Even moreso than the technical challenges of continuous audio, I am fascinated with the social implications of such activity. Surveillance laws in various jurisdictions, people inwilling to be on record all the time, and the general quantum-like effect of the overserver principle. (ie. Changing reality through the attempts to measure something)
Continuous audio aside, when Freesound 2.0 becomes a reality, I very much want to run that in-house for my need to classify music recorded in our studio. I tried (through MTG and others) to run this version of Freesound in house, but was told that was not possible.
I'm sure I have missed quite a few sounds over the years. Most recently I have noticed that the garbage truck that had a very unique back-up beep sound no longer seems to come around. I have always meant to record it, but as it always comes at about 5AM when I am sleeping. Now I think a different truck comes so I have missed my chance to be forever haunted by the broken back-up beep. On the upside, I have managed to record a couple of sounds that can no longer be recorded from my apartment radiators. Recently they were removed from my unit so no longer do I have the wonderful heat that they provided (they were replaced with something greatly inferior) nor the wonderful gurgles and hisses and clangs:
lonemonk, thanks for yur discussions.
The subject of continuous audio recording certainly is a fascinating one, and something that I had never thought about in this way before. Althought we are used to CCTV cameras being everywhere these days, with only a very few exceptions, these do not record audio.
In my view, there is something a lot more intimate about audio recording than voice recording. And although I do not object to being filmed by CCTV cameras in the street and inside shops as I go about my shopping, I would certainly object to having my conversations recorded without my previous consent.
God point... I need to record my own radiators before they too become history...
Sounds like a job for my home made contact mic.